The Life Autistic: Let Us Do What We’re Good At!

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I’m good at maybe one or two things. Three, tops.

You’d think it would make sense to just let me do those things. They’re not arson, larceny, or crimes, either.

I remember talking with my friend Josh, and they’d gotten Michael, their son, into track. Michael’s autistic, and he’s an energetic boy, only more so. He loves to run.

My thought?

This totally makes sense.

He loves running. Getting him into track, which involves running, is logical. This makes sense.

Permitting a passion with a purpose is key!

Sadly, I have one very fixating obsession: vacuuming.

My house has dogs, and it has carpet. Do the math.

When it is time to vacuum, it is time to vacuum. I’m more rote and robotic than a Roomba would be here. I bought my expensive vacuum as a luxury item, and I enjoy vaporizing the dog hair and making lines in my carpet.

You would think this would go unopposed!

But no.

“Do you have to vacuum RIGHT THIS SECOND?”

“Can’t this wait until we’ve done XYZ?”

Dad, I’m trying to watch Netflix!”

The Life Autistic is driven by extraordinary propulsion for doing ordinary things.

It’s almost an unstoppable force.

Which is why — if it’s something productive — just let it roll.

It’s like interrupting a golf swing to stop.

It’s like hijacking our logic (good task = do) to bring to a halt.

When my mind and body converge to say, it’s TIME TO VACUUM – y’all, this house is getting vacuumed.

It sucks, I know.

But if it’s good, let it go, k?

 

 

The Life Autistic: If being “weird” weren’t enough, add migraines

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Someone asked me what “the Hunter experience must be like.”

I wanted to joke and say “terrible,” but the question gave me pause.

It’s not something I’d wish on anyone.

Especially the migraines.

Autism and migraines apparently have a small relationship, a sort of fling. I’m stupidly fortunate not to suffer from many health related issues, but shoot — I’d give migraines away if I could.

Migraines are worse for autistic people

Yeah, neurotypicals can suffer from them as much as the next person, but they tend to be an unfortunate complicator to those of us on The Life Autistic.

Why?

We already feel bad (or at least a little ashamed) of our particular preferences

When I insist on keeping it cold, it’s not because I’m a robot (well, uh, anyway) — heat is a trigger. My avulsion to flourescent lighting is already odd, but when it’s migraine time, it’s critical.

My autism is already enough to generate sneers, but when it’s “oh AND for other reasons,” I’m already less thrilled about making insistence.

We also hate how it comes across as a crutch

It’s been more than once, but me needing to “go have a moment to myself” when there are too many people over, too much going on — it’s awkward AF to do that, even when it’s a legitimate migraine missile and not just “generally being autistic.”

It too often invites the question of “is he just faking it? you don’t look sick. you just want an excuse to get out of having to socialize with Aunt Cleotilda” or what have you.

Can we not just suffer in peace?

The Life Autistic: Say This One Thing to STOP THE PANIC

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If you’d like to know how we autistic people think, first, let’s explain what we think.

For me, at the beginning of each day, deep in my subconscious, on a normal day, I’m thinking:

Here is how my day is going to go.

The meetings, the tasks, when the kids wake up, what I’ll have for breakfast/lunch.

I take comfort knowing that this is how my day will go.

Welcome to The Life Autistic, where our comfort is in predictability.

But our discomfort? Well…

Since I take some extreme solace in my day’s order, anything that could jeopardize that order really freaks me out. It just does.

I wish it weren’t the case, but even innocent questions like “When are you off?” or “What all do you have going on today?” or “How long do you think you’ll be in this meeting?” just send these tremors through me.

Like I fear my order will be wrecked, and the nice, cozy routine is about to be altered, shaking my foundation.

SO.

If you want to STOP THE PANIC.

It’s easy.

Start with WHY.

Just start with why!

My family has known me for a while, so they’ve gotten accustomed to it.

“Hey Hunter, since we may be having an uninvited guest show up this afternoon, were you planning on heading to The Cheese Shop this afternoon?”

“Hey Hunter, since Mo’s not feeling too well, what time will you be off today?”

“Hey, something came up over at Dad’s and I might need help – how many more meetings do you have left today?”

Folks, this helps us so much.

And frankly, it helps EVERYONE.

Start with why, stop the panic.