Why Bullying isn’t Healthy for ANYONE, a post intended for Karen Kabaki Sisto (Trigger warning for everyone else also I cussed a bit))

I know I have not posted in some time but the surgery I had and slew of failgivers and bad agency issues took my writing spoons for survival. I am just getting settled with my new carer from a new agency and this article has come out that I cannot even finish. This post like most of what I write has a trigger warning for a reason.  Here is the article by the person I am chewing out below.

Dear Karen-

I am calling you out. The initial title of this post? You better run bitch. Why? The internet is coming for you. You see you did something stupid. You wrote an article that promotes bullying. The idea that bullying is acceptable for anyone is already disproven. Children die daily because they cannot endure bullying and the pain it is caused. These are not just autistic children but children across the human spectrum, some of whom fall into the category of normal. People of all ages are bullied for skin color, eye color, hair color, weight, ability, and so many things I cannot list it all. Bullying is always arbitrary and boils down to psychological trauma that sometimes never heals. It shatters confidence.

The article, as far as I could read sounded like my mother. I deserved to be bullied because it would make me stronger. I was weak because I couldn’t take the pain. That is bullshit. I am not weak. Medically, I admit I am, but mentally I have dealt with things people should never be able to imagine coping with, and I am still alive. I have spent my life aware of death itself because of my body and more so my family. My family of monsters. I am angry this was written because there will be people who do not think before they act, and will traumatize already fragile people. Autistics get bullied all the time, this simply removes potential resources. Of course this is also from the people who created the ABA system of abuse. They call it therapy but I mean mother fucking abuse.

In the end I cannot stand by and be silent on this. Bullying caused me to cut myself. With my medical conditions this could be fatal. I thought between my parents and the other children I deserved pain. I thought that if I cut myself maybe they would stop. If I hurt just a little more I would be purified by that pain and worthy. Some of this is through the lense of absurd religion but not all of it is. I am crying as I write this because I know out there people are dying a slow death from bullying and this article will cost them dearly. I am crying because I cannot protect them if I am silent. So I am roaring.

Here are ten effects of bullying regardless of autism.

1. PTSD- Post Traumatic stress is not a choice there is no pushing through it and it can forever undermine self confidence. Avoiding triggers is the treatment, and like avoiding allergens to not die or spontaneously combust into hives and anaphalaxis this is not really effective because its impossible. Anything around at the trauma from a scent, lighting, touch, voice, words, or even clothing can become a trigger and you will not know until you find out the hard way.

2. Lowered Confidence- Confident people succeed. We do. I had to rebuild myself and am lucky I could but not everyone is able to do that with or without help.

3. Depression- This too can feed lowered confidence and can get you bullied. Don’t feel u p to anything because you hurt so much and are sad? People WILL bully you for that. Depression is hard to live with and bullying is a cause. Depression is also painful and often causes people to kill themselves.

4. Lower grades- You do notlearn when afraid, you learn less when stressed. There must be a safe place for people to go to learn. Living without one creates a priority of survival not education. You can’t focus on algebra because you are focused on not sitting wrongly, or the physical threats that bullying can entail. Sometimes people even drop out.

5. Social Isolation- Bullying makes it harder to make friends. Cliques aka human herds are social. While not every autistic is social many are, and this deprives them of the opportunity to make friends, to learn because a bully takes out your friends too. No one wants to endanger themselves for a stranger. Sometimes not for people they know. Bullies are dangerous, predators even.

6. Health issues- Bullied for weight? Well you may just end up anorexic. Bullied with physical violence? You could end up with serious physical trauma that disables you. It can also be BOTH THINGS. Bullying can even cause sexual dysfunction, increase the trauma of having puberty, and living in stress is also just bad for you. Hypertension, heart issues, bad diet, inability to sleep just to name a few.

7. Violent Retaliation- I have written about it before, but I nearly blew up my high school to kill everyone so allthe pain stopped. I also realized this was not healthy and stopped myself. Not everyone has that ability and sometimes these victims make more victims in a violence chain reaction. School shootings, the shooters are often bullied. This isn’t once or twice. Its not “Just Columbine”. Its also not always so clear cut. I became so afraid of bullies and had no safe home and ended up hurting the only friend I made before I was an adult because I didn’t have the ability to think past the fear and she touched my food. Yes I was also abused at home but a lot of bullied kids are, not just the bullies and sometimes those bullies have healthy home lives despite what the Film Industry/TV Industry tropes are.

8. Alchohol and Drug Abuse- Oddly bullies tend to be more prone to drug and alchohol abuse in some studies than their victims but compared to non bullies/bullied people both parties are much more likely to drink. Bullying is not just bad for the victim but creates bad mental hygiene for a life time.

9. Criminal Records- I can vote because my mistake of assaulting my friend came at the right age but not everyone is so lucky to get help and both violent responders to bullying and bullies still have to live with the consequences of their actions and reactions for life. I can’t forget, even with two brain injuries, the realization that I nearly killed my friend. I have to live with that feeling forever. Any time I think of her, it is there. A reformed bully joins me there but often they continue to escalate into other criminal behaviors, as bullying is another word for assault in MANY areas.

10. Missed Opportunities- Bullies and their victims both miss opportunities. Later in life the victim may be successful, needing to hire someone. The bully applies and… I would not hire them if I was in HR. This applies to non work things too. I have forgone games and social outings because an abuser/bully was there. Sometimes I tell the bully/abuser to fuck off, but I am an adult and aware of my power. I am the rare person who despite all of the crap they endured is able to do so. Its not common.

I am I think the sort of person who inspired this false and illogical article. I am strong. I am tough. I kick asses and take names. I push myself and sometimes I can’t get past the bullying. It still hurts me. That isn’t stronger. Stronger would be less of that. If I had not been bullied at school I would have had a refuge. Not having that? I tried to kill myself a few times and failed. I didn’t get found or helped, I just didn’t do it right. I am glad of that but telling me that I am stronger because of this is an insult to my intelligence, common sense, and every autist on the planet. I understand the writer wants to justify their being a bully, but I hope ANYONE with children near them runs, because this isn’t a red flag. This is a sign that reads: I am an abuser. I will hurt you. I will hurt the ones you love. I will forever scar the minds of innocents. I am also not qualified for anything. Not even McDonalds.

No one should be bullied. Autistic children are much more vulnerable, as we still cannot even be guaranteed education, access or care. We are discriminated against at all levels. I have been denied access to medications because of autism, endangering my life. I have been denied access to necessary law enforcement. Autistics are already trained to obey everyone, by ABA which the author supports. We can ill afford more of the same. It is much arder to stand up and say no. A lot of the reason Autistics struggle with these things swings back to being bullied. Bullying is abuse. Calling abuse healthy is assinine. A lot of this post was edited to remove the word fuck and many other unfriendly epithets to the originator of that piece of shit article. I am still cursing in it because frankly, that fucking piece of trash article deserves to be called exactly what it is.

Karen Kabaki Sisto M.S. CCC-SLP I hope you read this. I hope you understand that this paragraph was originally cursing and I hope you learn something. Bullying doesn’t give any perks. Putting the burden of the victim on making it about team work, autism awareness every month, claiming we learn verbal skills when we are terrified of being harmed, grow stronger, gain friends, and a better well being shows me you have NOT looked at the effects of bullying at all and are either high or stupid. Self Esteem is often low in autistic children because of bullying. Please, quit your job. This is not said lightly but quit your job. You don’t belong near vulnerable people.

I will be blogging extensively about your article and I hope you get this on your “other folder.” I also hope you read my article. As an autistic adult I am more qualified than you are to deal with autism and you have proven to be the least qualified hack  since Jenny McCarthy. For your education here is a link from me to you, about the risks associated with bullying. I didn’t consult it, because I know them by living them.

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Voices Rising from Silence (PTSD Trigger Warning)

As an advocate for myself and when I can other people I run into a question a lot. “How do you do this?” This question most often comes from my fellow autistics. As someone diagnosed as an adult I find a lot of my experiences without diagnosis mirror the “medical treatments” others on spectrum who were diagnosed have. Child abuse in disguise as therapy in order to teach control reigns the autistic childhood, we learn silence. We learn stillness. We are erased with in our own bodies as much as possible. We are punished for existing. The best autistic parents even do parts of this because there is no voice that they hear, yet, from the autistic community. Our song has just begun.

The autistic culture is one of enforced shame, it is one where we deal with a lot of hate just for being. This is in part due to a lot of hate organisations like Autism Speaks, who sink their budget not into helping people but into quackery, negative ad campaigns and convincing newly minted parents of autistic children that their children are a burden. That their children will never live on their own, get married, have a “real job”, or anything that is valued as productivity. These parents are convinced that there is only pain in the life of the autist. So they create more of that pain, feeding it. I do not deny that a lot of things with autism really suck but I LOVE who I am.

How does one learn to speak? I think this how to might apply to survivors from many types of abuse. It is about regaining the voice. This process is not universal and is a general guideline to what I answer the most often when people ask me how I blog, how I advocate, and how I risk going out of my house being so far from the norm. I think I hide less and less of my abnormality. I celebrate it now, but it is an on going process and journey.  I wish there was a universal answer but here is what I worked out as far as what I do subconsciously and consciously that I can put to words.

1. When I want to be silent out of fear, I speak up and risk the consequences. This to me is the basis of self advocacy. Oppression is born in a culture of fear, so I must not obey the fear that tells me to be quiet. “If you are good and quiet nothing bad will ever happen.” If that was true I would be a far different person, because being “good and quiet” only lead to pain. It leads to secrets. Good and quiet would mean still being with my exhusband, it would mean watching my father murder my step brother with a frying pan, and it would mean condoning every act of rape, malpractice and other harms brought to me by people who tried to take advantage of my selective mutism, of my physical fragility and of my silence. Sometimes it is a small noise, other times it is a roar. Sometimes it is actually words. Sometimes a song. I am not silent. Not anymore.

2. When I am threatened, I do not revert to silence. Making noise leads to punishment. It leads to the threats that come in a variety of forms. I had a medical professional threaten and then withhold my pain medications on more than one occassion, because she did not believe I was not addicted. I suffered. I was then told if I kept speaking up to her boss about these threats and punishments she would have me black listed. I took that threat to her boss and switched doctors. I have a doctor now in the same facility. I wanted to be silent. She is no longer my doctor but treats others, thus I also am in the process of number 3.

3. Do not let the threat harm others. This is a mixed bag. The threatening person may be someone you cannot stop. This protection must never come at a cost you cannot live with. This means do not chase the axe wielding halloween monster, go for more qualified help. It means talking to someone’s boss, documenting issues. This is often what gets me to perform step 1. If the doctor was allowed to bully me with medications I needed and threaten my life that way, she would be allowed to do that to other people who may not be able to endure it, be able to adapt and if someone else spoke up without documentation I had, then I was harming that person. Thus i went to her boss in step two. As you can see these steps are not in order because they are more a mobius strip how to guide for living.

4. Document the threat. Little notes from my exhusband, recording the doctor without her knowledge as it is legal to do in my state, pictures of bruises. Those parents who send their autistic kids to school with hidden cameras and find out that not so shocking to any of us, abusers aer out there ready to harm your vulnerable chiild for being who they are.

The same process applies to why I write. I cannot put on a super hero cape, race about the world and fix it. I must slowly advocate for myself and then when I can on bigger projects.  I cannot advocate for others if I do not come first. i think back to my first few tries at blogging. I threw on a secret identity, I tried to hide who I was. Yes, there were other blogs before Textual Fury caught fire. I stumbled, I struggled with my words out of fear. Then I realized that was what i was trained to do and the rebel that lives in the core of my being took over and I wrote the first post here. As I wrote more and more the tone of my blog changed and I let out the “monster” i feared. It turned out that person is pretty darned cool and I began to push further and further out in the world as myself. I never hide anymore.

So how does someone conditioned their entire life to a culture of silence learn to speak? By doing. The posts I never share, those still happen, the poetry saved on my hard drive instead of published, facebook and talking to friends, gathering with other autistic people. Knowing what I know now those are just little things. It has to be something you want, so you have to stop hiding from the desire to write, to sing, to speak, to shout to be. The thing is? Just wanting to IS enough. When people ask me for help it makes me proud, not of me but of them. I am proud of every single person who takes on the difficult journey of learning to speak for themselves. This is not a challenge exclusive to autistic folks, though the culture of silence caused by shaming and abuse seems to be so prevalent among my people that there are no autists I know without PTSD or that they know. There are no autists without pain, suffering and a knowledge of abuse that is intimate and too close, that I know of… except perhaps those children being born right now. So we are learning to speak so that they do not face the battle of a life where our words are forced back down our throats until we choke on them. That is why I wrote this out. The how to on blogging is the same as other things. Baby steps, do what you can and try to do a little more each time. Cry, laugh, feel happy, feel good, struggle with it. Live.

I think of the others who came before me, for I was hardly the first blogger with autism out there. My brain does not want to write names but I can see faces, words piled up before me that create a beautiful sky and world. I remember the first moment I read something by autism speaks and it broke my heart and filled me with fear. Was I seen as such a monster? Did i deserve the abuse? I was a baby back then, not yet a woman and lost in a world of flying diagnosis where everything seemed to stick. Then I decided to find adults on spectrum too. Now I have loving friends who hold me close, even if it is just as text. Better as text since I can enjoy that. The diagnosis that stuck saved me so I could find out that no, those descriptions of horror are wrong. Even if I had never been able to live on my own, they are wrong. There  should be no shame in having a need. There should be no shame. So i am writing this for the people who inspired this post by speaking,by learning to speak, by asking, and by being.

Will I… (Trigger Warning)

 

I have been trying to hold back my level of suffering from the world. The various support groups for autism, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, PTSD… every single one this is a reoccuring theme. I know why. Not only is being in this level of pain dangerous but it makes you vulnerable and often this is when people abandon you, attack you, or they cannot comprehend what you are trying to tell them. I do not as a rule cry when I feel so much pain but I silently sit and try to find the cause to fix it or I just learn that this is my new life. I must always be prepared for the permanence of my agony. There are people who are lucky enough that this is not the case.  I cannot stop hiding this, even when I try sometimes. There is the element of fear. If everyone knows that I can barely breathe for pain, then even the predators know. (Oh hello predators. Yes I will tazer you even when I hurt.)

This song is from rent, it is called Will I… thus the title of the post. I could die from the on going issues I have at any time. My heart could fall to pieces, a literal broken heart. I could have a heart attack from my stress and high cholesterol. I am bleeding internally somewhere, I could run out of blood. I could kill myself. That is why I am writing this post. You see, that is the whisper in the depths of what might be my soul. If I die it is over. I do not live out of some doubt about an afterlife. I do wonder but that is not a consideration in any of my choices. I do not stay alive for other people or the cats. I love many people deeply, so deeply there is an ache of joy. I guess a mental pressure sore from all the goodness. I stay alive because I want to.

I am afraid of dying and missing people. I am afraid of lingering in pain without dignity. I am terrified of being tormented by doctors as Ihave been lately. The nightmare is not the diseases or the pain. In fact some of that is better. I officially no longer am diagnosed with epilepsy but still have a seizure disorder of some sort. The some sort is not defined by science. Yet NOT having epilepsy is a miraculous thing.  It is a wonder to me.

I spend a lot of time advocating, and passionately burning for the world. Now I am just burning. The pain is in every nerve, even though some of them should not be communicating with the brain. My blood pressure is up, my heart is racing, and this is omnipresent. I have had to fight around government shut downs for my needs, but I did this. Yet all I want is to have someone hold me. Something no one can do at all. Maybe ever again. I just want to be held in a soft space of beautiful harmonics without actual sensory input. This dark space has no reality. I often find this song in the undercurrent of my psyche because it holds most of those things. Yet I do not have to wonder. No, my life will never get better. I will always have some agonizing wrong. Yes people care. I have never known how much people care, I think I do then it seems to grow. Maybe I grow. Maybe not.

I am terrified. I feel the race of time, not just because bleeding internally is very bad but I need this resolved for my mental health before november. My PTSD is at a peak height and I am not sure what I will be enduring medically but I know I will survive it if I can. Will I be allowed dignity is the true question. I am afraid to die and leave people I love, this is new to me. I never cared before. I always lived for things like spite, revenge. My revenge has been to build my life up into something I was told I could never have. I look around this space I live in and every corner has a marker of love. Every doll I own someone else gifted me, the Gothmas tree that needs its decorations and makes Sylvani happy, the pile of scarves I know will be useful and necessary that are clean, the myriad of tiny touches. My life has been a life of grief and loss. Now that I have things I want to hold on to I am afraid I cannot survive this. It is not a lack of will to live, it is a lack of trust in my doctors. I have no faith in even the best of them. Why should I with the ineptitude I have fought against for so long?

So I am left to wonder. Yes, I am in pain. No I do not know if I can survive this. I will try.

One more thing: The man who wrote Rent? He died from a condition similar to EDS called Marfan. That runs in my family too but I lack the features that mark it. That is LUCKY for me. I sometimes wonder if the pain he felt and held too close contributed to his dying, if that is why Rent hits the notes I sometimes NEED. Just a little tidbit for people who may not have known.  I do not reach for the anthems of survival that are broad and direct, they ring hollow. “I will survive” does not match my spirit. Even when that is indeed the attitude that I display as I emulate the bronco and buck for my life.

 

I am jagged glass

shattered now

pick me up

fear the cuts

I do not intend

Yet I broke

can you lift me up?

Will you laeve

I am broken

Never repaired

yet I was beautiful

I am beautiful

Shattered glass

so many sharp edges

yet it is true

I am beautiful

No Fear!

I have been struggling since my discovery that I am free of reasons to be afraid. Some of this is my consistent issue with the identification of emotions, which is not new and I found out is an actual diagnosable medical thing so I will be perusing. No idea if there are treatments or “trainings” to help identify feelings but it is good to know I am not alone on that. I found this out from an article about autism. The term is alexithymia. The discovery has helped me to cope with some of the not knowing. It removes it from “I am a sociopath aren’t I? Why don’t I ever know what I am feeling?” territory and puts it firmly in, “Well it is okay to not know” ville.

I am happy my exhusband can no longer harm me. It feels very good. I also have a spot of sad. Then comes these confusing emotions I have never felt before at all. It took me a little while to figure out why they were so confusing and then I realized, I have not ever had a chance to feel them. In my entire life I have not had one day, until now, where I did not have a reason to be afraid. I was born into a toxic wasteland of abuse and fear, and while I managed to not live that way as an adult most of the time I still had the fears of my family seeking me out for escaping. There was a very real fear until I was freed enough that they would harm me to force me to comply with their abuse and to make me go back to it. They tried, but I endured it and then came out the other side. There was also the fear that my father, the murdering sociopath, would decide one day to harm me. Being someone that he felt threatened him, especially in our adult encounters, was incredibly dangerous. I destroyed one of his marriages in a fit of rage at the age of 13 by telling the woman the truths I could make my mouth say of what he had done. When he did not deny it, she left him. I had never expected that because it was new to me, and he told me he would kill me. By the time he died I was married to the Ex. After surviving being caged and harmed, he continued to try and kill me. My brain has no idea what to do.

I am experimenting in ways to build on these good feelings or to even express them. The colors for good are still those dark jewel tones, blacks and the image is fire and air and water and earth all twisting up. Its a bit explosive, but it is not a bad explosion and I do not have the ability to paint it. Even writing this much I feel the torrent and my heart races, but it races differently from fear. I think it might be excitement. Its a good rush of adrenaline. I am doing things that get me closer and closer to restoring my life to where I had carved it into being before my Ex. Not entirely the same, it could never be as I am no longer that same person. I consider that a good thing however. I want some of the activities back, and I want to see in person some of the friends I feared he would harm. Little things at first, when I try to do more my health is hurting me some and then I am left to struggle with the energy drain of these strange emotions. I crept outside and sat there at night several times. Its not yet summer so mostly it is quiet though the sirens are getting more frequent and later at night. Still, I am outside. I am planning more than a month ahead for small things. Once my wheelchair is repaired I am going to the museum. Those things. Writing this blog is also one of them.

I am sitting here trying to formulate the words to explain things I have no way to, no experience for and the only words that fit are it is like a second childhood. I am reborn. I feel the urge to go running and playing. SO I am. Albeit slowly because my body is not nearly as energetic as a child’s. I have found that not having nightmares has actually disrupted my sleep because it is so new. Yet my sleep feels better. I am less exhausted even when I wake up startled by my dreams of sexy shirtless elvin firemen.

I feel like I can do anything, and I suspect some of the sad is in not having felt this before but despite those pockets of sad I feel… well I wish I could tell you. I feel as if I get not just a new chapter but an entirely new book. Book Two in the Series of Kateryna Fury, maybe three. My life is full of blank pages to fill with adventures and happy memories. So I will. I rebuilt myself to happiness and there is something like satin against bare skin about living without fear and knowing that I, with the help of very dear friends, made my life this good even with the fear. I have an awesome life. I have found too that this story which has haunted me for months and I have been working slowly on writing is no longer something I am afraid to write. It had no ending. It is a dark and somewhat frightening story but the ending exists now. I had not yet felt the things that I needed to in order to let the character feel them too. No fear.

It is strange to me that my brain reaches for things to be afraid of. It is seeking them out and trying to fill what feels abit like a void but none of those fears fit and my emotions kick that away before my logic does. I am working on trying to visualize happy things that might fit that spot. Is it a want? Is it a need? I have no way to know. Something about the unknown is frightening, but this unknown is a kaleidoscopic whirl of potential and I am going to start exploring.

Christmas Murder: A Family Tradition (Trigger Warning)

I wanted to write something cheery, about how good I am doing. I really am doing well. I am going to a friend’s for Christmas, and while i am not religious and they are, they respect this and its about communing and being together, unlike most of the other invites I have had. The things to give people and kitties is in a stack taller than my tree, with some bits on the couch since I just ran out of room. I am still fighting the endless battle of finding a caregiver agency that doesn’t remove the caregivers I get along with, because we get along but I am not grasping by a single thread and falling down a cavern of despair and fear. I am still okay.

I wanted to write about the Iraq war being over, and how apathetic I feel about this and the whys. The too little too lateness, the fact that just because we decided oh hey we’re done doesn’t negate the consequences, the disabled veterans who are now going to be struggling. I wanted to. I only have one article’s worth of energy tonight, and the others may happen later but this article demands my attention. You see I just had a serious flash back because I was skimming the news and I ran into my first murdered child holiday story this year. I had managed to dance around them for a lot longer than normal.

I am not certain if the effect on me was so much stronger than normal because I am doing well and my brain could focus, because the snow outside in the second obnoxiously white blizzard has me aching and everything already felt a bit raw, or if it is because I got a package from my mother today and it contained not only presents that she clearly put thought into and that I liked but some Xrays of my neck when it was broken the one time this hit as an adult. Not snapped but cracks in the bones show up. In my gift box. That this is the only abjectly weird thing in there actually impresses me, but with Grandma changing her number to get around the call block, texting daily despite my lack of reply (even telling her to stop fails), or any other confluence of events this link which comes with a serious PTSD warning made my brain go off into the dark spaces.

My mind whirled through every holiday where I expected to die. That means twenty five years of expecting to die. My wedding, with my sister and her lovely poison muffins which were so very nasty no one even pretended interest, every beating, each time my mother just went to bed, each time I was afraid because I just wasn’t ever good enough for these MONSTERS. My family. My serial killer father. My molester older brother who still whines about how I didn’t let him abuse me. My older sister who decided that its my fault she threatened my life, technically kidnapped me and crashed the car. These WONDERFUL (that is sarcasm) people? Each time they threatened me was right there.

The time my father murdered me for Thanksgiving was right there. The reasons I began to question religion. Right there. In the name of holiday statistics, people die. The part that really hit me was, this will be amplified in a year because of all of the people too blatantly stupid to use their critical thinking skills. The world really does end 12-21-2012 because of all of the people who will murder in the name of apocalypse. We see this with every cult, every Harold Camping, and every other failed prediction. Every single one has huge points of logic, like the Mayan calendars not being prophetic, but people still buy in to this garbage. Same as with their gods. There are reasons to question faith always and by refusing to do so, they demean their religious choices.

I am totally okay with people believing in whatever, so long as it isn’t just because they were told this is their option and never considered asking why. I am okay with people believing in the end of the world as long as its not an excuse for murder. Someday the sun is going to explode and incinerate people. In a billion more years. This is a scientific fact. So someday there will be an apocalypse. In that eventuality we can always hope that there will be a single child launched in a space ship to a distant habitable planet with a yellow sun, and he shall rise up to become Superman. Until then, every year, ever holiday, and every fauxpocalypse people get murdered because someone just needed an excuse.

I do not believe in crimes of passion. I do believe in self defense. If someone dies because they tried to hurt me, that’s cool. Means a threat is eliminated. It means that I will also be horrified to feel blood on my hands again. I will question everything in my life. I will cry. I will scream. I will thrash against it. I will also have survived. Too often in these Holiday Murder stories there is a component of pity offered for the murderer. Just as there is in any murder of the disabled or elderly. It is as if by putting Christmas lights on the murderer they become somehow pitiable more so this time of year. That woman murdered her child and her father. There does not need to be a why. She killed herself. Obviously there was some sort of problem. Its not okay to use that problem as an excuse for why she murdered the child.

It isn’t okay either for people to presume that the Autistic person at their holiday gathering who is withdrawing out of a desperate need to escape sensory overload just needs to stop ruining the holiday gathering, because of course a melt down is so much FUN for us Autists. We really want to be in so much agony that all we can do is scream and cry. Every autistic person who melts down, I fear will die. I fear it.

I see the traditional tree, the gleaming ornaments, and I feel fear. The gothmas tree being black and decked out with my own brand of decoration isn’t just because Black Trees are prettiest to me, and silvery black ornaments look cool on them. It is because I wanted decorations that didn’t leave me with vague sensations of fear. So I modified my tree to suit my needs. The need to not wonder in the slightly stuck in PTSD mode by the omnipresent holiday if mommy or daddy is going to love me this year. If I am the only one who hears rape in the song “Baby it’s cold outside”, if I am so evil because I think hitting is bad. I regress I suppose to the small child who was hungry, desperate, my entire childhood was one big act of desperation, and wondering if I am expendable enough and which of the adults in my life, and as I got older my siblings, was going to be the one to kill me.

My mother was the only one who never said “I will kill you” with words. She still said it with her actions. Choosing my step father over me. She loved him more than me, and warehousing me was more convenient than murder. I got lucky. If they’d thought about it and figured out that at that point no one would’ve even noticed if I was missing, I think I would be dead. My mother may not have had the stomach for it but the rapist she married surely did.

In this moment I recognize why I have eschewed the holidays even with friends for the most part. The family traditions my family has end badly. They end in bloodshed, violence and tears. I cannot stop crying as I write this because I know each keystroke is another child somewhere in this world who is living as I did, or dying as I thought I would. My choice to believe in Santa was a conscious one. I always knew he was fictional but I wanted to believe in the goodness that he represented. I wanted to believe that there was someone somewhere who brought pleasant things. I wanted to not spend my holidays afraid for my life, or any other day. That is what the holidays are to so many people, and myself.

The holidays mean family and togetherness. Family and togetherness mean being tied up in a closet, lying awake at night waiting for one of the adults to get mad and demand the ritual beating. I mean literally the ritualized holiday beating. You knew it would come, the question was not a matter of that but if you would survive. Then you had to endure pretending nothing was wrong while making offerings to the parents, and hoping they were good enough. In my case there were offerings to the people around me for a lot longer. This is why I only buy Christmas gifts for people I want to. There is no obligation now, to survival by having managed a nice enough present. I reclaimed gift giving into something of joy.

Yet I cannot reclaim that little girl, who suffered. I cannot give her grandfather back his last moments and make them pain free, horror free. I cannot give voice to every child who is being abused in some way right now. The amount of violence and hatred that spirals up during the holidays, isn’t because of alcohol. That is an excuse that enables domestic and other forms of violence. It is because we all take time off to be together. This means the victims have no out of the house refuge from their abusers, and a smart abuser uses this to their advantage.

There is no excuse for the Family Traditions I have. There is no excuse at all. I look over to my Gothmas lanterns, my tree, and it still makes me happy, its a creative outlet after all. Nonstandard tree means a lot of customization. I look back in time and remember praying I wouldn’t drop the ornaments as we pretended to be a happy family, praying I didn’t bunch them wrong, praying I did the tinsel right. Praying that this year, God wouldn’t tell my father that I was evil. Praying that this year my mother would let me come home and that I would feel like I belonged. Praying that when people showed up to visit, or claimed to, they either would show up and if they did would not act in a way that hurt me. Praying.

I only miss prayer when I have no power to at least reach out to someone and gift them with my understanding, with the knowledge they are not alone in their suffering.

With the article I linked, I cannot overlook the clear premeditation. The gun she obtained without record of obtaining it. The sending her husband away. Did she just love him more or was it less? It was one or the other. The fact she chose the basement, which would’ve muffled the sounds.

This is the holiday season. Readers, if you are feeling depressed, please remember you can always write me. I may not write back immediately but I will try to. you don’t have to be alone. YOu can also find your local crisis line, and anonymously vent.

If you are an autist, advocate for your need for quiet. Even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom for an hour, take the time you NEED to get away from the overload.

If you are alone, volunteer at a homeless shelter. Go help the people who have less than you do, because you can.

If none of that applies, or if all of it does, make a new holiday tradition this year. Do something to either reclaim your holiday from similar circumstance or to share love and joy in new ways. WHile the holidays are arbitrary the need for human companionship, comfort, and to celebrate is not. These are important things and should be done without violence or fear.

You aren’t alone, I am with you and you are with me by the simple act of living. We are alive, and that means you are my new family. Happy Holidays if you celebrate them, and if not, stay warm this winter, enjoy the light displays with their pagan roots and remember the primal need for companionship winter brings out is normal.

Pandora’s Dollhouse (Trigger Warning)

I recently learned I have to play as an adult. There is a drive to create with in me that has always been there, and I think this is my inner child trying to escape. In the last month, which on some levels feels like more than a life time and on others barely any time at all, I have begun to play. I have also focused on eating twice a day at least, and without much preamble I can say I have only missed a few days and i still ate at least once on those days, instead of once or not at all.

I did not expect the effects of my discovery of play to be so drastic. I am a bit more emotional than I would like to be right now between hormonal fluctuations and pain, but those aren’t the only things responsible for my feelings being unleashed. I have found my innerchild locked away was not alone at all, but held on to happiness, sorrow, and joy in even greater potency. I have always been prone to passion, yet my passion feels less like a struggle now and more freeing. My creativity is sneaking out, even when my brain is so fogged over by hormones and pain I cannot think, and I am drowning in ideas.

For the first time in my life it is not terrifying to have too much thought and not enough to do about it on my mind. I am trying to pace myself but I want to race to the finish line of every idea NOW. I am thinking back to that moment at the end of November when I went and got that first Doll. She’s not a very good doll and I have mentioned before I am never buying Bratz again, but my Bratz doll was one I didn’t know if I wanted. I was paralyzed with a fear that I would pick the wrong doll. I was afraid too that I wouldn’t really want to play like my brain kept whispering.The moment I opened her packing, my hands shaking so much so that my carer did most of the unboxing, my heart racing and my mouth dry with terror over the unseen phantoms of wasted money and poverty I found something else.It seems I opened Pandora’s Dollhouse, and it was not full of unimagined horrors, but it was full of pleasure.

I have been playing every day, for the most part. Somedays I have been too tired to do more than eat and stare blankly at people while they try to communicate with the hormonal cement that was once my brain, before I pass out into sleep grateful to escape the confused body. Each day I flesh out older ideas, come up with new ones. Some days this includes my cutting doll hair or fine tuning their appearances in other ways. I am saving up to buy brushes so I can repaint faces, so I can recreate and change what these dolls are. I am making them my own.

I understand now the hairless barbies, I understand why I have hidden from Pink. Pink symbolizing feminine, that forbidden thing that I never quite meshed with. I understand why the idea of toys makes me cry in terror. I was unworthy for my entire life of these plastic idols of perfection, too imperfect to even get to pretend without punishment to be somewhere else doing something else. My brain became the attic where ideas were hidden away so that they could not be destroyed and I stopped being a child so quickly to survive it. I remember crying night after night after I decided to never play again. It hurt. This was my first brush with insomnia that I can recall, based on thinking. Not on pain of the body but of the mind.

I can pull up the experience as if it was now, just as when I imagine things I can overlay them on reality. I laid in bed listening to my siblings breathing as they slept, looking at the toys. I had been yelled at for ideas. I can’t quite recall the idea but it included Barbie not wanting Ken. My sister’s barbies. She had rejected Ken because he was not her ideal mate. I remember reminding myself that it was bad to say no. That I was a disobedient daughter and I had to get better at saying yes all the time so I didn’t go to hell. A hell I fear not because I was there. I grew up in hell.

My mind became a dystopian wasteland and I lost my love of pink and girly that night. I put it so far down so I could be a good person. My adoration of black and death is in part rebellion, for those things too had to be locked away. It was easier to lock pink down because the color has never tasted right or settled right on my brain, but most pastel shades of anything are adverse to my perceptions. I like rich colors, they feel better. When I touch them they feel alive. When I see them,t aste them, smell them. There is something more than a hint of a bitter flavor. I associate pastels with death. I tried to hide from joy because I associated joy with playing.

I wonder little now why by the time I started school I was already too weird for others. I was not just Autistic but I was a four year old who did not play. I did not understand that I technically played with my neighbor. That was different. Boy Toys were just as forbidden but they did not get me into trouble at the house. I think merely because my parents presumed my brother played. With in two years I did not play. I would read books, because most books did not get me into trouble. I would watch TV, if allowed. I would try to stay with in the boundaries.

This feeds my love of science fiction too. The struggle in the original series of V is about people who try to conform and fail, on one level. The original had depth of history behind it and many layers but it was the person unable to conform that was quickly persecuted for being a scientist. I failed to perform. I failed to adapt a way to play and not fear hell. So I built myself a mental hole and crawled in it. This was of course out of more than a dearth of play, but the abuse that inspired that lack of play.

I opened the first doll, and I have stuck to my rule. I am about to face the big challenge on my rule about unopened toys. Tomorrow I go to the comic book store for the last time. I go only once a year minimum and a maximum of six times. This is it. The end day. I face my action figures, that I must unbox. I feel afraid again.

My toys scare me. I know that by playing with them I am subverting parental messages. I am also struggling against a life time of training myself to not think. I am horrified by how much energy I have expended turning my brain off. I do this often before bed, I find ways to melt my thoughts so I can just go to sleep. I am not sure I am accurate on my reasonings now, I have always presumed that was due to physical pain. I am considering trying to not melt my brain sometime. I am considering a lot of things.

There is no closing Pandora’s Dollhouse. Inside of this dollhouse the seeds of creation live. Each child is given seeds to plant in their minds, and those that let them grow or have minds that are weedy such as in my case, can grow up to be creative and brilliant. They can do anything because they learned how to create worlds with in worlds as children. Pandora’s box has been demonized but what if the hope left inside was just a child’s toy? A small bit of creation?

Give your children toys and love, and they will change our world. It is not technology that is the root of progress but the teddy bear, the doll, the basketball, and the stories from the playground. Giving a child a toy is the equivalent of giving a scientist an unlimited budget for their works, it is the same as curing cancer, it is in fact what could have lead to the idea for the cure in the first place. A child’s toy is merely the key to training the brain on problem solving and for breaking down boundaries.

I now have toys marketed to girls and boys, and the only thing that could make them better? If they were just sold, no previous gender applications involved. Imagine a world where anyone can have a doll and that is awesome and wonderful?

Oh, and one more thing. My favorite toy isn’t one of the Monster High Dolls (at least Until Ghoulia Is Mine). It’s a Barbie named Becky who is the school photographer, has almost normal human proportions, and uses a wheelchair. One thing is for certain, unlike most houses in the world, Pandora’s Dollhouse is always accessible.

Apocalypse Now (Trigger Warning)

I am a survivor, as should be well documented by my propensity to not die when people tell me to. I spent a good portion of every day, without consciously realizing it, assessing my surroundings for survival. This is not as bad as it used to be, but even so the moment I had extra money I bought things to survive on. All things I buy must have a purpose. I consider reading purposeful as I have all sorts of books in my ereader, and most are about survival. Pleasure is also important to survival. My solar charger fits all my electronic devices that aren’t wheelchairs. In fact I have a design for a wheelchair based on surviving without electricity.

I didn’t realize how much surviving ran me until today. I have had mini epiphanies before about small aspects of this survival mode I have never lived without, and I am further away from that bare bones mentality than I used to be. In fact I like to think on how I could survive things to be prepared. This has caused a few issues including hoarding tendencies. I can use this to survive. I wonder for a moment how many people who hoard are survivors stuck in a world that hasn’t hit the apocalypse yet. Like me.

I sat down to watch a reality TV show, The Colony. I made it through two episodes, but I was NOT okay. At first I thought it was the machismo that was displayed by the men while the women were relegated to cooking and laundry. Then I started to talk to M, my friend. M who has helped me to survive, and has seen me grow over many years. He is in so many ways the balance to me. That scares me too but I started to talk with him about where these survivors went wrong. They first and foremost ignored food and water for too long, I kept laughing as their shelter had things magically appearing and no one tried to eat the camera men. I would. I would refer to them as bacon and by the end of the first episode would have them wary about getting too close to me if I were to partake. Then again, reality tv shows are too scripted.

It was the lack of their realism that hit me. I looked at the actions of these men and women and not one was gearing towards actual survival. They know that this experiment will be over, and they are just playing along. They waited almost a week to go food hunting, water they did sooner but really, they waited too long. Their shelter is not secure. If there were real threats, they would be dead. In the world in which I would survive these people who spend their hours trying to restore privileges like electricity are lost.

I realized as I watched them eat more food in their survival mode than I do a day that I have a problem. I call my meals my rations. I get accessories for cellphones and MP3 players that could work without electricity. Music is my coping skill, and I value feeling happy. You survive better with joy. Some of this triggering brought images of hunger from my childhood. I felt a panic about all the food I cannot eat, the water I cannot drink. I cried.

I am crying again just thinking on the feelings. I live as if the world is ended now. I stock pile food. If my food is below a certain level in my fridge I stop eating. I have a problem. I am aware of this and have been to a degree but I had not seen the whole picture. Each item separated from itself was less of a worry than putting them together in one go. I will kill you and eat you to survive. I also spend too much time worrying about how to survive things. I know the best places to hole up in my community, I know that I would not want a lot of people with me but at most four, I know… what to do. Unequivocally, a lot of this is based on my life.

I am setting a goal. M and I discussed it and I am going to try to eat two meals EVERY day not just when I feel safe. So… seven days a week. I am up to snacking daily and eating a moderate meal. I am not going to let myself call my food rations anymore. I do this just mentally but it is what we think to ourselves that betrays our reality the most. I feel a bit sick even thinking about changing my food. Yet, what if I get stronger by leaving survival mode? I know too eating well BEFORE the End of Days would be the best way to survive. Going in stretched already mentally and physically thin is an issue.

I also understand why I have been in tears over Monster High Dolls. I have cried at night when I could not conceive of wanting them. They aren’t needed for survival. That’s my worry. I am looking at the toys and art I have, most of it predates my recent starvation triggers with the room and the year of stuff. The few bought after either have one still in a box just like it on my wall or are just in their box. The only action figures opened either predate my disability, are in a very small phase that lasted a week of mental security post disability, or are in their boxes in case I need to sell them later. Even Batman.

I haven’t bought any new books over the years, I have more rechargeable batteries on hand at all times fully charged than most people ever need. Though I could use them all, I ration them too. Just in case. I have four flashlights, two that will travel with me, and I have been saving up for a solar charger. I also have first aid kits everywhere. I am so ready for an emergency that sometimes I sit here when nothing needs to be done and visualize my plan of escape in my house in case of X disaster forcing me out. Where would I go? Would I have time to grab my wheelchair charger? If not how will I get around after the battery dies? I am still going to work on that solar powered chair design but, that is so I can become a wealthy woman in a mansion.

In fact there is more. In my mind when I imagine having money I don’t buy a house, a car, a boat and all the trappings of wealth. I buy a computer that is reliable, I buy a house that is in a secure location or if it’s a better day it is built to my specifications, and I marry M. We then can live forever on my money but both still work. I understand my anger at the man who lamented no coffee, the man who spent a day finding coffee on the show, and everyone being jubilant over a bean being smushed and boiled. Their goals at restoring privileges I do not even concieve of is a concern. I am afraid for myself.

I cannot conceptualize a world where there is enough food, water (Sprite), shelter, and where things are replaceable. This has come up several times recently. As I consider moving, I am faced with culling things that are replaceable to others but the cost stalls me. My bed is fine, but to move it will cost me 1000 dollars. To replace it? Less. So why is it that I am afraid to move because I would have to get a bed that isn’t jury rigged? My bed is in need of replacement if I move. No choice, yet just in case there is no more, I want to haul it across the country. This is just an example. Everything is that way. In fact I have cried more in the last few days over the ideas of having new things than I knew I could.

I have never lived with enough. My first apartment, I never unpacked my things because I didn’t believe I could stay there. This is a trait that is multi generational. This is terrifying to me all the more. I come from a family of hoarders. I come from a family that is so trapped up in the cycle of abuse that we starve ourselves and think we aren’t just in case there is never any more food.

So here is my plan. This takes care of two issues.

At Walmart I am to buy something completely useless on the first. Not shoes, clothing, bags, make up or anything that I actually need. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just useless and something I desire.

Tomorrow I am going to lay out a meal plan, setting a menu of food. I am going to make a check list. At the end of the week, if I have eaten every meal and snack planned, I am going to get a gold star on the proverbial chart. After ten gold stars I get a prize. After the restocking I also get a monster high doll. I am not allowed to buy anymore toys that I keep in their packages. I may even get to a point where I can unbox my action figures. Most of them anyway. The ones where I bought two just so I could play with them can stay in their boxes. I am going to move and when I move, I am going to get a nice bed, that doesn’t have broken supports that are held up by a homemade set up. The bed is safe but that is because I know how to survive.

I know surviving isn’t a BAD thing. The problem is when I am so busy trying to survive an apocalypse that hasn’t happened yet that I forget to live. i forget that being happy is important to survival. I know that eating daily is important and I have always struggled. i know that my family is a pitiful mass of humanity and my baby sister (she is not pitiful but is awesome despite them) and they hurt like this. I am going to escape the pain by facing it.

I am afraid of seeing this for what it is, generational sickness. This is a product of how I was raised and of my fears based on being homeless, hungry, and all of the times I have not had enough. This is the Aha moment and perhaps facing these issues will improve my quality of life. I have had some start on this already, recently M the carer commented that I only buy staples for food and so we made a very large amount of fudge. I am eating some of that fudge now as a reminder that the world did not end because I made something delicious to eat out of pleasure.

I secretly hope that I can maybe consume more fruits than before or some of my food allergies decrease if my body is not strained. I don’t know yet. Maybe the spontaneous tissue tears that are starting up are a result of this too, because there is no cause. Yes I am eating, but am I eating enough? No.  Ineed to eat at least TWO meals a day. The goal is three. What if my eating breakfast makes me physically ill because my body just hasn’t learned how to eat that much food yet?

What if I feel so good and am so happy the world explodes into a Happypocalypse of joy where I really am okay? Scarily, there is pink involved in this image in my head. Horrid horrid pink.

 

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