Friday, January 30, 2015

Priorities bite

So this is my last semester of Graduate school. I'm taking 2 classes now and working on the incomplete class from the previous semester. All this is going on as I'm working to support myself, getting ready for a stage show, acting in a film, and doing a bunch of freelance work.

For the next couple of months, I'm going into hibernate mode to get things done.

My classes are my top priority right now, very quickly followed by the commitments I have already made.

This is easier said than done for me because I am ALWAYS looking for new things to do. I think life is too short to not enjoy yourself and I enjoy a wide variety of activities. I still plan to keep myself busy with my extra curricular, but I am making an oath (here with you all as witnesses) to not take on any more commitments.

With the way classes are going, and my extension for the incomplete class coming to an end in the next month, I need to buckle down. I'm not overly concerned about not getting everything done, it's really just the knowledge that for the next 10 weeks I'll be living and breathing from my laptop with breaks at work or getting food. Luckily, my Master's thesis is on creating a Circus and Flow Arts program for Autistic individuals. This is something I'm REALLY interested in and it will be fun throwing myself into things.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Give me my bag of skittles!

Sometimes a single skittle is awarded for for accomplishing a small task.

Last night I earned a bag of skittles.

I knew from my dreams last night would be coming and in a big way that knowledge helped prepared me. I went through, in my dreams, the scenarios where I was stabbed. Bleeding out on the floor, my final words were inspirational and poetic. The situations where I resorted to violence were met with acceptance and understanding of the consequences of my actions. I would be hauled away by the police, but met with compassionate looks by the officers who booked me. Earlier this week there was an elaborate fight sequence choreographed to a song from a mix tape my friend gave me which happened to be playing in the cd player in my car.

All of these random scenarios of chaos and violence and hurt prepared me for this night.
(Mainly, it was the months of therapy to properly deal with my abuse and the resulting trauma which prepared me for tonight. However, there was a significant amount of foreshadowing within my perseveration and nightmares.)

My abuser for the past several months stood mere feet away as I talked about my hopes and dreams with friends. My friends and I chatted about my dreams for the future over a drink, something I didn't have months ago. (A view of the future is something people don't always have when they are bullied down into submission. For months I was in a place where I didn't want to think about what was going to happen once I got home, let alone in several months.) Things were doing exceptionally well for the circumstance, but I knew what was coming.

My fear was not so much contact from my abuser, as contact from One of the other parties. The One who watched me being abused. The One who researched Autism and held me as I cried on my couch as I wondered, "why won't she understand me. What am I doing wrong?!" The One I felt a sisterly bond for the first time since College and The One I had supported when she felt the world was against her.

The One who's last words to me all those months ago were, "You could have handled (her {The Abuser's} treatment of you) better."

The only contact I have had with The One in months (Since September really) was tonight. At the end of the night, after Waltzing around the room the evening, she came up to me. She was the one I was afraid of talking to for fear she would not understand the trauma I endured from her. Maybe, despite all her research and knowledge and degrees, she did not understand her neutrality will be remembered in the annals of my memory with the people who directly hurt me. For all the complicated issues, maybe she can not understand what she did.

Maybe that is why she chose the end of the night to hurriedly come up to me  to say anything to me.

In the many scenarios in my head I could have;
  • Resorted to violence.
  • Wept.
  • Run away. 
  • Screamed.
  • Cried. (A common theme)
  • Cursed her out using foul language.
  • Cursed her out using an ancient curse.
  • Teared up. (See a pattern?)
  • Screamed.
  • Asked her simply "Why?"
  • Asked her if she felt bad about her role in the chaos of my life.
  • Begin talking in French and walk away.
  • Run away. (Another popular motif)
  • Not say anything/ignore her.
  • Left and went into the bathroom and engaged in self-injurious behavior. (Far down on the list but considering how damaged, wrong, insignificant I was made to feel for months this was #1 most likely to occur.)
  • Hugh Jackman carries me away and I forget the life I lived as if it were a bad dream.
None of these things happened, however much I wish the last one to have happened.

Instead, I looked her in the eyes and simply said, "Goodbye."

She was leaving for the night as the club was closing and I don't know if she fully registered the significance of what I said. If she happens to be reading this, it means closure. It means Goodbye in the sincerest form. It hurts to let go of a 10+ year friendship, but not as much as I expected it to. No longer will I look out in a crowd while performing searching for your face, wondering if you decided to catch the show tonight even though you RSVPed no on Facebook. I won't be afraid to attend events I want to go to because they matter to me, even though I know you will be there.

The opposite of love is not hate; it is apathy.
No tears were shed as I realized the pain I experience in 2014 is finally over. I have ended the relationships that needed to end and I have closure.
I can finally bury my dead bodies.

I earned all the *$&%ing Skittles last night.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bring on 2015 conferences!

So I've been getting into the 'zone' of being back in school, or at least trying to find the zone, so I seem to have missed something really awesome.

March 14th I will be presenting at the Southern Maine Autism Conference located at The DoubleTree Hotel in South Portland, Maine.

This is the third year in a row I have presented at this conference and I love doing it. This is a free conference to attend and that helps to spread important information to people who need it. My session is entitled "It's Not Easy Being Me: Highlighting the Strengths". I'll be discussing strength-based perspectives instead of deficit based models and talking about self-advocacy.

For more information and to register for this event, please visit the site below.

In a related note; if you have a conference in your area you'd like to see me at please let me know! I also accept invitations to speak at small groups and do training sessions.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Accessible Cooking: Crockpots

Welcome to this new little feature of my blog: Accessible Cooking!

The idea came to me as I was trying to grate cheese. When I took a break from almost skinning my knuckles (does this happen to anyone else?), I logged onto Facebook. 2 separate friends commented on injuring themselves using a specific cooking utensil. Very ouch.

Like most of my friends, I have limited energy but still need to make myself food on a daily basis. This series is going to be dedicated to time and energy saving ways to cook food or things relating to food. There may be an occasional entry about cute ice cube trays because (almost) everyone loves ice.

The first thing I have to mention is Crockpots, also known as slow cookers. This is one of the greatest things ever because you put in ingredients and hours later food is ready! The simplest recipe I know so far involves only 3 steps so it is ALMOST* impossible to mess up.
*Yet, it has been messed. Badly.

You can purchase a crockpot at various locations, including places that sell used cookware. I got mine used from a friend when they moved away, but they can be fairly inexpensive. In a quick search I found some as inexpensive as $15 all the way up to $175.

Another huge plus of this appliance is, depending on the size, you can make food for a few days. I will totally spend a little extra prep time in order to not think about making food for a few days.

Rating: 5 spoons!
Look, I can make food and still have the energy to clean up after it!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My kingdom for a shovel.

I bought a shovel last week.

Now, for most people that may not be anything remarkable. However, I live in Maine and have lived in Maine for almost 4 years. Before this, I went to college in Iowa. Although Maine has significantly more snow than Iowa, I've never lived in a place unfamiliar with the wrath of winter.

So for the past 3 winters, I have been shovel-less.

If you are familiar with the winter weather in Maine, also known as the tundra, there is a lot of snow as early as October some years. This year it was an actual thought process to get a shovel because I've...ahem...improvised solutions for the past 3 winters.

Unique ways to dig a Prius out of snow (besides using a shovel).
  • A cardboard box
    • Pro: Easily flatened for transportation.
    • Con: Soggy.
  •  The top of a tupperware container.
    • Pro: large surface area to get snow off.
    • Con: When it breaks it gets very sharp.
  • A Case.
    • Pro: Useful when  there is absolutely nothing else avalible.
    • Con: Not sturdy
  • Crouching down and digging yourself out in a city.
    • Pro: Can be a lot of fun if you have time and think of it like uncovering a huge prize.
    • Con: People think you need help and look at you like you are crazy when you tell them you are having fun.