Clarity

diamond-cut-scale

©Wixen Jewelers

“There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it’s heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true. God, when he was creating the world, said at the end of each day of creation: ‘Yes, this is true, this is good.’ This . . . this is not tenderheartedness, but simply joy. You don’t forgive anything, because there is no longer anything to forgive. You don’t really love — oh, what is here is higher than love! What’s most frightening is that it’s so terribly clear, and there’s such joy. If it were longer than five seconds — the soul couldn’t endure it and would vanish. In those five seconds I live my life through, and for them I would give my whole life, because it’s worth it. To endure ten seconds one would have to change physically . . . .”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

I have clarity.
I have lightness of heart.
I have joy.

I see clearly now where I looked before. I see you as you are. I see my reality of you. I see through the drapery and the lies. I see what you are. I don’t like what I see but I decided to face you rather than look away. In the past in my subconscious I always held my inner most thoughts private, protected. From what I did not know. I knew just that my pure heart needed protection. I spent years seeing only the good in you. I ignored the reality because I didn’t want to really see. I believed you were better. Now I see you as you are in all your ugliness of thought. I was initially disappointed. Now I feel indifferent. I am not hurt by your lies or your ill intentions. I choose not to join your world of darkness and misery. I am worth more than that. You have made me feel worthless for too many years. You have hurt me without me knowing the cause. I always thought it was my fault. Mental abuse is the label on it today.

I have my aspergers to thank for my inability to understand social behaviour. For so long I could not fully grasp the damage done to me. I had blindly held your words to be the truth. I believed all that you said. You were my role model. Later I had distance and limited interaction with you to protect me. But I see now that despite the ocean between us you were still able to hurt me with the phone calls. I see that now. I always felt deflated after talking with you on the phone. Life shouldn’t have been like that. You should have lifted me up and made me feel good about myself. You should have encouraged me. You should have be my champion.

You never accepted your role. You chose to feel superior, you chose to be vain, you chose to be greedy, you chose to feel jealous, you chose to make me feel insecure about myself. You stole my confidence. You robbed me. You did all this so skilfully that I couldn’t see what you were doing. I thought you were showing me that you cared. I didn’t know any difference. I accepted you wholeheartedly and you treated me so badly.

I am impervious to your poison now. I have been bitten too many times. The venom doesn’t work any more.  I have been in this fog of numbness for too many years. The numbness has finally worn off. I am tired of you. You may not see my scars but they have healed. It has taken me what feels a lifetime to face you but I am facing you now.

I see you. You cannot hide yourself and your actions. I see you.  The odd thing is that you can’t see that I see you now. You have never bothered to face yourself and I see that you think you are fooling yourself, me and everybody else. I see you. You fool me no longer.

Physical distance is a blessing. Answering machines are a blessing. I will be civil. I will not stoop to your level. I will not be used by you again. I see you. I hold you now at arm’s length. I no longer wish to have anything to do with you. I will not cut you completely from my life. I will limit my interaction with you. I will see or speak to you when I am ready to face you.  I will no longer be at your beck and call.  I will see you on my terms.

Thank you for letting me see who you really are. I feel stronger for this clarity. I have a lightness of heart. I have joy. Thank you. I have found my strength and confidence that was there all along. I just had to see it .

MUSIC
Zedd – Clarity

One good deed

PNP


©The Philippine Star

The national police in the Philippines encourages their force to do at least one good deed every day. Read more here.

What is a good deed?
An act you perform to/for others without expecting anything in return.

Stuck for ideas of what to do as a good deed?
Go here from Hub Pages. Not all good deeds require money.
Or here from Canadian Living.
O here from one person’s blog who tries to do a good deed every day for a year.

1GD (100 Good Deeds) has a cause that is inspiring. Read here to see how they encourage you to perform selfless acts of kindness anonymously.

Make someone else’s day! Get some joy back in your life.

Toxic

toxic

©wikipedia

Harmful.
Toxic.
Chemicals are toxic. So are people.
We are able to read the label on a bottle and understand that the contents are toxic. We know to handle with care and keep it away from small children and animals. We wear gloves and store them away out of reach. Locked up even.
Chemicals aren’t always labelled and they can leach into our water or food supply or the air that we breathe and harm us without our consent or knowledge. Sometimes we know we are being harmed but no one is listening. Sometimes we can’t remove ourselves from the situation through no fault of our own.
I blame it on harmartia. It comes from the Greek word ἁμαρτία. To err or to miss the mark. It is the general word that covers all sins. Sorry I’m Not Sorry.

People can be toxic as well.
How come we are able to tell if a chemical is toxic on a label yet we aren’t able to tell when people are toxic to us?
Should we come with labels too?
“Does not mix well with other.”
“Harmful to children.”
“Keep away from family.”
“Toxic.”
“Harmful to self.”
“Seek help immediately if swallowed.”
“Keep away from others.”
What a world we would live in. I would hate to have to read more labels so perhaps it wouldn’t be a good idea.
I blame hamartia for toxicity in people too.

Toxic people can be easily avoided.
Stop calling them.
Stop texting them.
Stop emailing them.
Stop seeing them.
Stop thinking about them.
Easier said than done unless they are family or in the work place. That is a challenge.

Family are a group of people. Bound together through blood, adoption or marriage. Love unconditionally.  Until it is conditional. Life is too short to argue and be full of hate. Let it go. Walk away. Does being right make it worth the effort. Let someone else win the argument. It doesn’t really matter.

QUESTION: You are driving in a car and you are in the correct lane and an oncoming car veers towards you.  What do you do?

(A) Stay in your lane because you are driving in the right lane.
(B) Drive defensively and get out of harms way.
(C) Veer towards oncoming traffic.

The sensible answer is (B) but sometimes we are so caught up with being right that we unintentionally harm ourselves for the satisfaction of being right. Sometimes we are dead right.

I don’t have any answers for toxic people in the work place except perhaps looking for employment elsewhere. Your health is important. Why put up with the toxic environment? You deserve better. For dealing with toxic family here are a few suggestions:

What to Do with Toxic Family Members
(1) Family are people and they have flaws. Recognise those flaws.  Love and accept them but it doesn’t mean you need to be them. You do not have to copy their behaviour.
(2) Limit your contact with family.  (If you are living at home, well then maybe spend time studying, reading, sketching, listening to music, blogging or do sport/music elsewhere. Whatever makes you happy.  Be patient.  But remember while you are living at home you live by their rules. Get a part-time/full time job. Save up. Move out when you are able.)
(3) Be kind to yourself. Mind, body and soul.
(4) Take the time to understand yourself. Believe in yourself.
(5) Step back and reflect. Don’t react. Think. Breathe. Develop patience. Take the high road.
(6) Write a journal. (Worried that someone will read it? Write it on the computer password protected.)
(7) Take the lead on your own welfare. You deserve happiness. You make it happen. Be proactive.
(8) Get advice from another family member, or someone you trust.

You cannot make everyone happy with your decisions 100% of the time.
It’s okay for someone else to not agree with you.
It’s okay for someone not to like your choice.
It’s okay for you to believe in yourself.
That’s the first step.

MUSIC
Britney Spears – Toxic

Imitation

imitation

©BBC

Imitation is the sincerest of flattery
– Charles Caleb Colton

People copy other people. It’s human nature. We learn by imitating. We see a smile we smile back. We hear a sound we try to copy the sound and repeat it back. We see something we like, we want to copy it. We see something we don’t like, we want to avoid it.

We feel a need to imitate until we find ourselves. We are a version of the accumulation of learned behaviour and thoughts. Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a new thought or idea, mostly we are a collection of other people’s thoughts, habits and actions. That unique collection is what makes us who we are.

We can say we detest copying and imitation all we like but we all do it. We cannot help but do it at some stage in our lives. It only becomes a legal issue when we try to pass other people’s work off as our own. I do not condone that. Imitation is the highest form of flattery until it isn’t.

I’m talking about the learning and understanding of other people and what they do and think. The standing in other people’s shoes for a while. Borrowing the moment. We copy or imitate until we make it better or make it our own.

We imitate other people yet we want to be my own person. To fit into society we imitate other people’s actions and habits. We are anonymous.  We like our space, our privacy and our thoughts. This is a conflict in thought, the desire to imitate yet at the same time to be unique, oneself. In society if we blend in well enough by imitating the masses we disappear. Otherwise we stand out.

In art we learn from those we admire or are famous.  We want to get inside their heads and try to understand where they were coming from. We believe we can attain that from holding a brush as they did, mixing paint as they did and applying the paint as they did. To be in that moment we can be that person. The curve of the charcoal stroke, the smoothness of the stone, the dab of the paint just so. Some techniques have been lost. Some are so poisonous that we wouldn’t want to replicate them even if it were possible.

In everything truth surpasses the imitation and copy.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Once we have imitated or shown curiosity of another person or their work to progress we must step further forward to find ourselves or our own work. Imitation is a step in the journey, not the destination.

Autism and Imitation:  The Power of Imitating Children with Autism
The Hanen Centre

The Human Copying Machine
BBC

MUSIC
REM – Imitation of Life

Enough

When is enough enough?
Sounds like a trick question. It depends on the context. It means to either have sufficient or adequate amounts of something for a need or desire; or to be exasperated by something.

Examples:
I don’t have enough money to buy an island.
We have enough rain so we don’t need to irrigate.
She has enough sense to make the right decision.
They don’t have enough time to make the flight.
Enough! Stop it right now.

Exasperation aside what do you do once you have enough? Enough what?
Let’s look at money. If you have enough money then it allows you to do things or buy stuff.

ENOUGH MONEY
How much is enough money?
Society measures success by measuring how much money you earn, how much you have in investments, what possessions you own. Success is not necessarily measured in monetary terms though. Success is accomplishing an aim or purpose. So depending on the aim or purpose money may not be a factor at all. You may be considered successful by others but for your own aims you may believe otherwise. Or the other way around. It all comes down to you. What do you believe? It doesn’t matter what other people believe.

How much money do I need to retire?
According to Forbes calculation see here
According to Sorted here
Retirement Calculator here
We all have different lifestyles, needs and wants, we have different family situations too. We are all different and so we will all have different answers. There is no magic number of enough.

Some people want to live beyond their means. They run into trouble and wonder how it was possible. Some people want to take lots of risk and then wonder why it doesn’t work out. Some people want to live in a dream world and expect other people to pay for them, whether it be other family members, friends or the government. Handouts and shortcuts.

Sometimes people don’t have enough money through no fault of their own. Through hardship due to circumstances they have no control over like natural disasters or being born into poverty. I am not talking about people in these situations.

How much is enough money?
So enough already. Answer the question: How much is enough money?
It depends. Truly. It depends entirely on you.
Let’s go back a moment and look at success. What do you want to get out of life? What are your aims or what is your purpose? I’m not talking about what society thinks here, I mean you. What do you want to do that makes you happy? Fulfilled? Satisfied? Worthy? Have a better idea now? Yes? Read below. If not keep thinking.
Okay how much money does it require? (If you don’t know know, find out.)
That is your number for enough money for your specific aim/purpose/goal.

Enough_Flowchartw

©AspergersOnToast 2015

Revise, revise and revise again
This figure can change too. You may change your goal, aim or purpose and this will affect the need or the want. Remember that a goal is a step, big or small in achieving your aim or purpose.
How often do you change your mind each day? Often? Well then you probably change your mind about your direction too. Revise your goals regularly and see if you are on your right path. You may be forging a new one. Life is full of surprises and we need to work with what we have. Sometimes a wrong turn can be for the better.
Revise, revise and revise again.

I have enough money, now what?
Excellent. Well done. Good effort. Go do your thing. You know the thing that fulfills you. The thing that makes you happy. Enjoy.

Bored? Unfulfilled? Unhappy? Make another plan. If you have enough money to do what you want for your next goal do you stop saving for the one after that? Go back and revise what you want to do. Make another plan. It may come down to the fact that you have enough money but you don’t have enough time. Use some of that money to make enough time. Don’t wait until it’s too late to use that money for your purpose.

Enough time
In an ideal world we would all have enough time and money to do what we want. In reality we need to make priorities and decide what we want to do and make effort to achieve our aims, goals or purpose. When the money and time aligns, then that’s a sweet spot to be in.

Stop wasting time and get out there and do your thing whatever that is. If you aren’t sure yet. Think on in. Try something new and see what fits with you. Act now or forever be disappointed about the little words “what if.”

MUSIC
Almost is Never Enough – Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes

Imagine versus Pretend

socrates

Socrates ©Musei Capitolini

“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
― Socrates

I had an epiphany only yesterday. I realised that I’m not good at pretending and that pretending and imagination are not the same thing. I always associated having an imagination with the world of pretend. But it’s not. The two are completely different concepts. I hadn’t really thought about it until now.

Pretend: to behave or to make appear something that is not true. (Isn’t it just another way of saying lying?)
Imagining:  forming a mental image or concept, or assuming or supposing

The world of pretend and the world of imagination sounded like the same place for me. You hear the expression, “fake it until you make it”, which is really a modern take on Socrates’ quote. I can form an image but I cannot pretend. I always wondered why I was unable to follow this concept no matter how hard I tried. I felt like a failure with each attempt to be someone I am not. The logical part of me will not accept falseness. It rejects it. It is like an immune system rejecting a virus. I cannot accept it. I cannot do it.

I now know that my fantasy dream of being an actor is just that, a fantasy. Of course I would loathe people staring at me the entire time plus I would hate to pretend to be someone else. However the empathy side would be easy. I could relate to the character as that requires an imagination. The dressing in other people’s clothes wouldn’t be half bad either. I will continue to enjoy being the audience.

I also know why I have performed so poorly during job interviews. One excruciating one was an impromptu one arranged by a friend many years ago. They thought they were being helpful. I didn’t have any interview clothes so I had to go out and buy new ones. Different city, different country. I couldn’t get my size in anything so I had to wear men’s clothes, shoes, the lot. I felt so uncomfortable before I walked through the door. I was nervous and stiff. I was not myself. I was trying to pretend to be somebody I was not. I tried to be somebody else. It was like “the pretend switch” was turned on and the circuit board wasn’t soldered correctly and it kept short circuiting. I didn’t pull it off. The entire process was torture. I didn’t get the job. I wouldn’t have hired me either.

I believe people should be hired on their actions rather than what they can say. The system is wrong. Some people are excellent at pretending but lack imagination and action. Of course it depends on the job. Some jobs are all about pretending. And all I can say is good luck to them. I will not be competing. Create your own job. Create your own niche.

“There’s a difference between playing and playing games. The former is an act of joy, the latter — an act.”
― Vera Nazarian

I am excellent at and enjoy playing, but I detest and am poor at playing games. I am a straight talker usually. I know I hold my tongue sometimes because I have been burnt with the results. I also have learnt to soften my words at times. Other times I just don’t join the conversation. I know I am occasionally blunt which can come across as rude. I remove myself from those I don’t wish to communicate. Other times I forget to reengage with people. Laziness perhaps. Other times we just out grow our peers. Life is too short. Why should I try to convince someone. Discovering for yourself is the best way to learn. Okay not always but the lessons self learnt will be retained better. We learn and grow right up to the time we die. Who says we stop when school finishes.  The mind must keep moving or it goes moldy.

“Pretending is such a hard game to play sometimes.”
― Bushra Khanum

Pretending may be a hard game but how about trying to pretend to pretend, exhausting. Pretending to be fine. Pretending to be average. Pretending to be normal. And I have no idea what that means.
These days I am me. I’m good with that.

MUSIC
Pretend – Nat King Cole

Court clash between Green Bay High School and student with Aspergers

DSC05381
Students have the right to study. In fact there is a legal obligation to attend school until the age of 16 years old in New Zealand. After your 16th birthday you can chose to stay on or leave.
Ignorance, lack of empathy and apathy has a lot to answer for today. I only glance at the news these days because I find the negative spin quite disheartening. Yet this headline caught my eye because of the word Aspergers.
The Human Rights Commission, The Disabilities Commission, Crown Law, IHC and the Green Bay High School all have an interest in this case. The school is trying to overturn a ruling to allow the Asperger’s student back into the school. The student was 14 years old at the time of the incident back in 2013. It was an altercation between the said student and a teacher with a skateboard. The student is no longer in the area but would like to return to the school despite the obvious resistance from those in authority at the school.
Give this student the support and help he needs to allow him to stay in a main stream school environment.
When a student has a desire to learn, give them all the help they need. This is the time to build their foundation for the rest of their lives. Let’s make it solid so they can stand on their own later in life feeling loved, supported and encouraged.
For more details on the story see the links.
Shame on Green Bay High (20 March 2014)
Green Bay High School clash (31 May 2015)

The World Beyond Your Head

world_beyond_your_head

©Amazon

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming An Individual In An Age Of Distraction
by Matthew B. Crawford

I am 9th in line to read this book after requesting it at my local library. There are three books in circulation so I urge those reading to read faster. Any book that makes you think for yourself is a good one. Looking forward to getting the email to come and collect it.

Portrait of the Autist as a Middle Aged Man by Rod Dreher

Have I been living under a rock? Am I the last person to know the term autist? Even my spell checker doesn’t recognise the word. I checked the definition and it is someone who either is autistic or plays minecraft too often depending on the source. I confess to owning minecraft but I would say that that was beside the point.

In reading Rod Dreher’s article I noticed something that I had in common with him. I’m not a middle aged man yet I also have noticed as I age that I am living more in my head and also becoming more honest with myself. I am tending to listen better to my inner self and do things that I actually enjoy, spend time with myself and discard the parts or people in my life that I find toxic. I am finding myself and learning to get to know the me that has been here all this time.
I am seeing better, listening better and feeling better.  Today at least.

Peri-Menopause, Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

I am quite prepared to go off to the doctor to ask for medication to relieve or eliminate hot flushes and night sweats but I am stick in the mud stubborn to not ask for help with depression.  Yet the medication that I received for the hot flushes turns out to be the same for depression. Go figure. It turns out that Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor medication or SSRIs in low doses can actually stop women in peri-menopause and menopause from getting hot flashes and night sweats. This side effect was discovered when doing anti-depressant trials. As I was researching hot flushes as how to get relief or get rid of them I discovered the SSRIs, along with black cohosh, soybean/tofu and wild yam creams.

I decided that I would try SSRIs and supplement that with soya milk. The SSRI that my doctor recommended was one with a long half life (slow release; easy to begin taking and easy to stop taking). Fluoxetine was what was chosen for me. Would it work? There was only one way to try. 10mg daily.

The first two weeks I became an insomniac and I was beginning to suffer from a lack of sleep but I managed to get into a normal sleeping habit and can now fall asleep within 10 minutes, for me that’s normal.

I discovered that I don’t like drinking soy milk, the natural unsweetened kind, no matter how many bananas or blueberries I put in to disguise the taste, I just don’t like it. So that idea went out the window. Tofu once or twice a week is a much more sensible option.

I don’t drink coffee or tea, as in no caffeine. I cheat once a month, but I don’t count that.
Because I don’t drink lattes anymore nor do I indulge in masala chai I don’t drink milk anymore. That was a natural progression. It didn’t occur to me for a while that I had stopped dairy.
I am not eating bread, noodles, rice or potatoes just now, I am a meat and vegetables eater.
I am not eating sweets from a bag. I have cut down on sugar a lot!!!
I do however still bake and make everything in smaller sizes. And instead of eating many in one sitting I can make the tin last for a week sharing.

I feel healthier and lighter and I am becoming leaner. All a welcome change.
I feel brighter too. Cloudy days don’t bug me as much anymore.
The hot flushes have gone.  Hooray!
The sweats have gone.  Hooray!
One particularly bad day I had hot flushes and sweats every half hour. Now. Nothing. Absolute bliss.
I am going into winter and the one good thing about hormonal changes is that my body temperature seems higher and I don’t feel the cold the same.

On getting home from the doctor’s that first day I went home to check the medicine, Fluoxetine. It gave me a bit of a jolt. That’s the generic name for Prozac. I panicked a bit and thought of addiction but then realised that I would not be upping my dose anytime soon this side of Sunday, or the other side either. A plus for Aspergers, being able to follow the rules. I was actually killing two birds with one stone. An ugly saying but one that seemed the most appropriate. Killing the sweaty monster and the dark shadow, what could be better than that? Was I hoping too much?

I just about cried in the car park. With relief. Why did it take me so long to get help for myself? Finding a good doctor was important. Moving around a lot makes it harder to settle on one. Now I feel settled.

So how do I feel?
Menopause feels under control.
Depression feels under control.
I feel that I have my life back again. I feel like someone left the gate open but I don’t realise yet that I can walk through. I can’t believe my luck.

For those of you wondering the difference between a hot flash and a hot flush, well, they are the same thing.
For those wondering what a hot flush feels like, honey, it ain’t anything like a royal flush in cards, it’s more like a wave of heat that hits you suddenly, and only you, it creeps up your body to your face and neck, it makes you come out in a sweat, soaking you to the point that you think everyone must be staring. You feel like you need to mop up fast in case anyone saw. You stand anywhere with a breeze so you get some relief. It can last for years, only weakening in strength with age. It affects everyone differently. Some don’t suffer from them at all. Probably a tiny minority.

Update: Exercise habit is almost nil. I’ve upped the dose from 10mg to 20mg to balance with my weight increase. Drinking tea and the occasional coffee. No night sweats, no hot flashes/flushes. Could do better. Why is it that we know what we should be doing yet we just don’t do it? That in itself makes it doubly frustrating. One day at a time. Don’t be hard on yourself. I know. I know. But still…

Read more on perimenopause and aspergers

MUSIC
Lou Reed – Perfect Day