19 January 2018

The balancing act

The past few weeks have been rough for me. Things happened. I was told that I made people uncomfortable in the things that I say or how I react or how I carry on a joke or conversation. And some relationships ended. And all I could think is...what did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? More importantly...should I change? Can I even change at all? Holy shit, can I change?? And some people are going to read this post and thinking I'm asking for sympathy or that I'm trying to justify my actions or that I'm trying to run away from the problem. But I'm not. I'm writing this post to get out what's in my head and out into the world.

When I found out that I was on the Asperger's spectrum it made so many things make sense. Why I do things the way that I do. Why I react the way I do. Why I act the way that I do. And some people probably think that I use it as an excuse for the mistakes I make or the social faux pas I commit. That's...that's not the case. Or at least the way it is in my head. Because what's in my head is that...I process information completely differently than most people and I can make connections that other people don't see or don't understand. And I can't always explain it because I don't have the "education" or "experience" other people do, but I know, I KNOW, that I'm right. And I know it because the connections are there, the pieces of the puzzle just haven't been turned the right way yet for other people, but they will. And I know that I'm smarter than most of the people I'll meet in my life. And it sounds like I'm trying to be an asshole here or bragging, but...but I'm not. When you hear descriptors for people on the spectrum they are generally associated with high intelligence for a reason, our brains function differently. My brain is like that opening sequence in the Matrix all the 0's and 1's going by at speeds faster than light and I can probably comprehend about 75% of, but the rest of the world is moving at 45% and for me to be able to function, I have to figure out which of the 30% to ignore and push out of focus and its hard. It's easy to get distracted by the bit of information that sees a bird flying in the area and suddenly I see a connection between flying and how beetles swim and I wonder what the correlation is there and just as suddenly it can be gone and I've missed half of a conversation. And that's, that's, where the problems are.

I...don't understand how human interactions work. I just...I don't. I don't fit in, I don't know how to fit in. All throughout my life I've had people tell me that I push people away or that I'm like a robot. I try to open up and then I only discuss things that I like or that I know enough about to teach a class on and then I'm overwhelming people with a tidal flow of information where they can't speak. I'm told that I don't smile enough, so I try to tell funny stories because its the only way I know how to smile since I don't understand half the jokes I hear. And then sometimes I cross some boundary that I didn't realize existed because I repeat a story that was funny to me but it's called bad taste humor. I'm sarcastic to a fault because its the only thing that makes sense to me sometimes, but I carry it too far because all I'm trying to do is connect and I don't know how other than to be sarcastic. And all I want to do is connect and be like everyone else. To fit in, to hold a normal fucking conversation and be a part of a group. To have friendships and relationships and everything else that everyone else has and I don't fucking know how. I...I can't. My brain just can't work that way.

People have told me that all I do is take and take from them. Or that I'm not paying attention to them or that I ignore them until I need something and it's all true! Just...just not the way that they think it is. Or the reasons that they think. Remember when I said it was like the matrix earlier, 30% more information than what everyone else does? Day in, day out its like that. When I sleep it's like that. When I dream its like that. When I wake up it's like that. The constant flow of information in and out. I have to constantly slow my brain down to function. Someone else on the spectrum described it recently as tunnel vision and its true. I get stuck in the tunnel focusing on what I need and see until friends enter the mind again and then I reach out. And that's where the taking comes in. I take information that they give me, things they say, things they do, it goes into my brain and becomes part of something. I missing things. Partners. Weddings. Births. Deaths. I don't see them. I miss them. And I can catch up, I can apologize, but there's only so many times you can do that before eventually people cut you out of their life and say that they're done with you.

One of the things about being on the spectrum is that it's a cursed blade that cuts both ways. I get the social flaws of being autistic, but the ability to recognize it and not do a damn thing about it. I know when I make mistakes. I know when I screw up. After a while I can piece together what I did and shouldn't do again, but...it doesn't work that way. I can't make up a rule in my head to say "don't do x again" because inevitably I'm told that it is ok, so that rule has to become "don't do x again unless y condition is met." But then it becomes modified again. And again. And again. And soon enough the rule is "do x, but only if y and z equal q, but if y and z equal u do x1, but if a is present then do variation x1-2-4, but if c and a are present do...." and it goes on and on and on. And my brain can't process that...and I give up. I stop trying.

All of this to say, there's a reason why a lot people on the spectrum are described as anti-social or "weird" or "strange" or whatever else is used to describe us. To describe me. It's because at some point we all tried to fit in, we all tried to be normal and could never do it. We can fake some things to a certain point, we can use some techniques, but by and large...it gets old to get left out. To not fit in. To not understand what's going on. The one thing in the world that we can't figure out is how to connect with other people because our brains don't process that information like everyone else does.

And so I ride a line. If I cross one way I go out into the world and try to be a part of it. Never quite understanding what I did wrong and never able to fix it or change it. I make friends. I lose friends. Heart smashed. Heart repaired. Repeat. I can cross the other way and stay within, but always longing to have relationships and friendships that I'll never know. Which way does the needle fall? Why way do I go?

10 August 2017

What now?

What now? No...seriously. What now? Because I don't know anymore.

In my last post I said I was going to move to Portland, OR. I was going to have a fresh start, go to a place that I've wanted to go to for a while, and just be me. But after talking with some friends that live out there they convinced me to hold off on that as it was not only going to be a major, major move, but that since I didn't have a job I should wait til I have one, especially since there are some issues with job hunting and affordable living out that way.

Since that last post the following has occurred:

  • I didn't pass my MFA thesis, so...no MFA
  • My appeal of the committee's decision was upheld
  • Everyone I had hung out with has moved on to bigger and better things
  • I'm constantly reminded of what I've lost and of bad memories
  • Depression and anxiety have spiraled madly
  • Not having a job that really challenges me is starting to get to me
  • Not having groups around here and decent mental health care are dragging me down
  • Not having a place to live at the end of August is about to shoot me in the foot.
So I don't have any place to go to. My parents don't talk to me. I don't have any family left to turn too that I'm aware of. I'm dead broke and I'm just....I'm just completely lost.

So what am I going to do? 

I've tried to sell what I have left, but I've gotten nowhere. I sold a lot of what I had before I moved up here and what I have left is basically the essentials. I still have my car for now, but I'm not sure I want to give it up just yet. 

I can't stay in Vermont for all of the reasons listed above. Moving to Portland, OR seems out of reach at the moment. So what then? 

After talking with friends I've decided to stay in the New England area for now and move to a bigger city. I can potentially move with my PT job to one of their other locations and I've settled mostly on moving to the Boston area, although I'm keeping other spots like Maine in reserve. The problem is still affordability though. Boston is bloody expensive, especially with my cats.

So I turn to you. My friends. The internet. To ask for help.

Here's what i figure:

So basically I'm looking at just over $3500ish to move and get a fresh start somewhere other than VT.
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. 

20 June 2017

The Next Stage of the Journey

I've always liked roads. They represent the unknown space, the travel, the possibility, the what comes next. And I know a lot of people use the road with a tree, or a sun on the horizon, something that signifies a particular point that you're travelling too, but I prefer the road that you can't see what's ahead. Where maybe the path turns off and takes you on a detour past people you never thought you'd meet or interact with. Or maybe it just keeps going straight, but you won't' know til you get there. And that's the path that I'm travelling. It's time for my next journey.

Three years ago I moved to Vermont to attend the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) and I'm done. I turned in my thesis and I'm just waiting to hear if I passed. During that time period I've made friends, lost friends, came close to ending my life, came out as trans and queer and I've started transitioning and I'm feeling better about myself than when I came. I've learned to improve my craft and I'm ready to throw stuff at the world and see what sticks. I no longer have a FT job here in VT (long story) and my lease is up at the end of July (amicable parting) and so now is a good time to try something new, a journey to the west coast. More specifically to Portland, Oregon. I'm not really sure why, but that's what my gut has been telling me for 4 years now. It was my backup plan if I didn't get into CCS and now it's become my plan.

What do I have planned out? Well....other than moving by the end of July that's where I need some help actually.

  1. I need a place to live for me and my two cats (the cats are non-negotiable as they are my care takers) I'm open to whatever, even if it's just a loft space or a borrowed room, etc.
  2. A job. I'm open to library world work, art world work, anything that let's me use my skill set and try new things. I work hard, learn fast, and kick butt in the process (where needed of course.)
  3. Money. This is the major one. I worked out what it would cost to move and it isn't cheap. It will be about $2,000 just to move stuff. Another $2,000 for first and last month's rent on a place (unless some kinda deal can be worked out.) And another $2,000 for various other expenses.
    1. I had money saved up (not a lot but some) but it went out the window when I left my FT job a couple months back and I've also been paying off some debt accumulated over the last three years.
    2. I plan on leaving a lot of stuff behind when I move, but even though I'm cutting down my book collection I'll still have a fair number of graphic novels and autographed books coming with me. Other furniture though I'll probably be leaving behind and picking up cheap stuff at the other end when I have money.
So all together about $6,000 is what I'm trying to scrounge together as quickly as possible. So if you have thoughts, ideas, can help, etc. let me know in the comments, twitter, etc.

03 December 2016

The fight we must

*warning I do not hold back on language in this post*

This is something that's been bugging me & I just saw an article that kinda summed things up. And it's about voting for &/or defending t-ump.

I did say a couple days after t-ump was elected "hey maybe he was saying that shit just to get elected. He's already started taking back some of the shit he was saying." But I was wrong. He's still doing the same shit and even worse shit than what he was saying. And I'm pissed at myself for blocking out all of the shit that he did up til that point and thinking "maybe he won't be as bad as we think he is. maybe we can work together"

And I think this is a big fucking problem. Maybe we weren't the ones that elected this bigot. Maybe we were. But I fear that we're going to forget all thing anger come January. And we can't. We can't let what he is become normal. Y'all he mocked a gold star family. He mocked a disabled reporter. He insulted John McCain and said he wasn't a hero for being a POW. He insulted women so many f'ing times that we lost count. He said it was normal for rich men to say they could grab women by the pussy and do what he wanted with them. He said that all Mexicans were rapists and murderers. I won't even get started on what he said about Muslims and immigrants to this country, because I fucking lost track!

And I started to normalize this ish as a trans woman. WTH is wrong with me for even beginning to think that this asshole might be better than we think? That's where a lot of my anger & desire to fight comes from lately. That I started to normalize this. And so many others I think have too.

And I get some of it. We don't really wanna fight. We're tired. We're seeing friend against friend. Family against family. And this is something that America hasn't seen in a long fucking time. And I think we don't really know how to deal with it and our method has been to go "ehhhh whatever. It'll be ok. I'd rather have peace." But we can't. Not now. Not this way.

This is the line that is drawn. There is no longer a middle ground people. You either stand and fight against t-ump and his hate-supporters. Or you allow yourself to become a part of them. Maybe you aren't saying the things they are, but you aren't condemning them either. You aren't stopping them. You've passively allowed yourself to become one of them because you said nothing.

This sounds harsh and I'm sure I'm going to lose people I care about over it. But this is reality. I'm not saying you have to go out and picket and protest to show that you don't support him. But give to those that do. Don't let his supporters yell and harass another person. Don't let them corner someone alone. I know. It's scary. But so are the times we face.

The line is drawn. Where do you stand?