Not a Romantic.

“How do you write romance when you’re not a romantic?”

A question my husband posed to me a few days ago. He’s not wrong. We’re certainly not overly sentimental, not in a mainstream or stereotypical kind of way.

We don’t do flowers–I’m allergic.

We don’t do jewellery–I very rarely wear it.

Our ‘dates’ usually involve either long drives or long hours playing multiplayer video games together (Elder Scrolls Online or Battlefield 1). We rarely eat out at restaurants as not only do they overwhelm me, but we hate leaving our dog, so we usually pick something up to eat in the car.

Yes, we’re that kind of pet parents.

My husband, though, has far more romantic moments than I do.

He leaves love letters in my writing notebooks.

I find them all over the place. He picks random pages in my journals and notebooks to write them in. It’s sometimes, days, months, or even years before I find them.

He’s always done it since before we even moved in together. I have over twenty notebooks and journals with no idea how many of them contain love letters. It’s an exercise in self-control not to simply hunt for all of them.

I love the idea that at any point of time while I’m writing a novel there might be such a lovely surprise for me.

Maybe, we’re more romantic than we thought.

What’s the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for you?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Sound.

Well, honestly, it’s more the volume of it that has always been a tricky thing for me. Many autistics struggle to regulate the pitch and tone of their voices as well. We often end up too loud or too quiet–never just right.

Monotone is another word we hear thrown at us. It’s part of what I think convinces people autistics have no emotion. Our speech tends to be spoken with little to no inflexion. For what it’s worth, we also struggle to understand the subtle inflexions when a neurotypical speak.  (And let me tell you that leads to a lot of ‘fun’ if you happen to married to one.)

You can’t learn to add the inflexion either.

Trust me, I’ve tried.

Add to these issues my inability to instinctually grasp the flow of normal conversation, you can start to see how difficult group settings can be. I often end up either monopolising it or not contributing my thoughts at all. I never quite know when I’m supposed to interject.

I tend to speak too quietly to be heard in a group situation. I know don’t regulate my own volume well, so I prefer to err on the side of quiet. There’s nothing so embarrassing as shouting when you don’t know you’re doing it.

That’s the thing about being an autistic adult.

I’ve lived long enough to understand when I’m standing out–and not in a good way.

The other additional issue with group conversations for an autistic is that we usually need time to process what is being said in order to respond. If you have three or four people conversing, it becomes impossible for me to register everything being said and formulate a response. I get overwhelmed and since group settings don’t happen in a void–my brain is usually trying to decipher this through the prism of all the other sounds in the surrounding environment.

On any given day, I probably ask my husband to repeat himself at least twenty times. Not because I didn’t hear him the first time, but usually I need the extra time to process what he said. I often end up answering his question in the middle of his repeating it for the second time. It frustrates him.

And it frustrates me as well.

If I could tell the neurotypicals in my life two things, the first would be to have patience with the neurally divergent.  We’re doing our best.  Our best just might not be your idea of ‘best.’

The second thing would be–don’t tell us that ‘we’ll be fine’ when we’re expressing a frustration or concern. It feels dismissive. For most autistics, dealing with ‘normal’ life isn’t a matter of ‘it’ll all be fine.’ We’re going to push through the situation and on the other side of it, we’re going to struggle to decompress.

That’s the thing I think a lot of neurotypicals miss out on completely.

Can I go out in public and deal with large crowds?

Yes, I can. I’ll probably look just like everyone else when I do it as well–unless you know me well and are looking carefully.

But what you don’t see is me afterwards.  The migraines. The long, long hours I spend watching the same episode of a TV show over and over until the stress bleeds off.

So, don’t be dismissive. Sometimes autistics just want to know their fears have been heard. Maybe instead of ‘it’ll all be alright,’ you could say ‘wow, that sucks’ or ‘That’s rough. Can I help?’

This ramble was brought to you by the letters R and T.

 

 

Five Things about Dentists.

The last five days were spent in a haze of medication while I recovered from a surgery at the dentist.  I thought I’d share five thoughts about the visit.

  1. Reading reviews about the dentist was surprisingly insightful and helpful.  Reading reviews of my book while in pain and drugged was not insightful and helpful.
  2. Dentists really like fish.  Seriously.  There was this massive aquarium with many many fish.
  3. Valium and laughing gas made the surgery quite a hazy bluer.  This was a good thing.
  4. Gauze might be a tool of torture.  Biting on it was almost worse than having the tooth yanked.
  5. Being restricted to ‘taking it easy’ is also like torture.

All in all, despite everything, the visit went brilliantly.

Are you afraid of dentists like I am? How do you cope?

Five Things about My Weekend.

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I thought I’d share a few things about my weekend–mostly because it’s Monday and my brain refuses to do any deep thinking.

  1. I bought a new shower curtain. (see above)  Isn’t it lovely?
  2. Chocolate was eaten.  Bad Dahlia, bad, very naughty breaking the diet. 
  3. The house was cleaned.  Go me!
  4. I read through All Lathered Up for the second time while waiting for my betas to get back to me.   I hope to submit it to Hot Tree Publishing this week.  *fingers crossed*
  5. Watched lots of football (soccer) and food network.

What did you do with your weekend?

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OH! I also coloured in my adult tea colouring book. Have you gotten into the new colouring fad?

 

Small Victories

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“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” ~Princess Bride

I feel we can be honest with one another, right?

Life might not quite be ‘pain’ constantly, but it has a rather naughty habit of kicking you in the arse when you’re least expecting it.  How does one cope when life (or writing) knocks one to the ground?

I find celebrating the small victories, even when they require a microscope to see, is highly important.

One of my oldest,d earnest friends once gave me a great bit of advice when I was nineteen.  He said sometimes you have to create your own happiness until things get better.  Or put others wise, fake the happiness and eventually it will become real happiness.

Fifteen plus years later, I’m not completely convinced that wasn’t the numerous beers and rum & coke that he’d drunk that evening.

Either way, I sometimes find enjoying the small things in life helps it be a little less painful.  So here’s some examples of my small victories this week:

  • beans on toast.
  • the start of the new season for the British Premiere League.
  • deciding on a series title for Elaine.
  • updating my website.

So, what small victories can you celebrate?

 

*Film poster for The Princess Bride – Copyright 1987, 20th Century Fox

Oh Vile Betrayer

Replacements6Dear Noise-Cancelling Headphones,

Oh, how your betrayal hurts.

The agony of being stabbed in the back by my own possessions.  You yank me back into my chair when I stand.  Your sound distorts unreasonable.

Oh, the agony.

The pain.

I send you no love.

An Inconsolable Author

P.S. Bought a new pair. You’ve been replaced.

The Bucket List

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I’m still on the fence as to whether I not I like the term Bucket List.  I heard someone once say they hated the term because they didn’t want to accomplish things ‘because they were going to die.’  I understand the sentiment.

We could just call it a life list.

Sounds trite.

In any case, my list has changed over the years since I wrote my first one at nineteen.  Items have been added, accomplished or just removed.  I think the first version had ‘meet Michael Crichton’ on it.  He was my favourite author at the time.

A few more highlights:

Things I’ve accomplished:

– Written/published a book.

– Started my own business.

– Traveled the world (at the time I meant to somewhere I’d never been, since I traveled rather extensively as a child.)

A few of the things I want to accomplish:

– Get a tattoo.

– Have a garden.

– Walk the John Muir Trail.

– Become fluent in a second language.  (I’ve dabbled in languages, can curse in multiple languages, but I’m not as fluent as I’d like to be).

How about you? Do you have a bucket/life list? What’s on it?  Have you actively tried to accomplish the things on it?