I don’t know where I’ve gone

I don’t know what my readers think of me, but let me tell you where I’ve been.

About two weeks ago, I started having to drag myself to class. With it being the middle of the semester, I assumed that it was just that mid-semester lulll in motivation. Perhaps I was just getting lazy. My classes felt even more exhausting than usual.

Normally, running cheers me up. I hopped on the treadmill, hoping to kick some joy into my veins. Running only made me angrier. I nearly burst into tears upon returning to the locker room.

At first, I thought that I might be pregnant (I’m not). I had two panic attacks in one day. Damon held me while I freaked out, hyperventilating, feeling my body temperature fluctuate. This had never happened to me before, well, with the exception of one bad episode of Lie to Me three years ago. Perhaps, this was just hormones.

I realized that it wasn’t that I was too lazy to go to class, I was afraid of going. The usual routine of getting dressed and driving ten minutes scared the crap out of me. There was a brick wall in my brain with a huge red STOP sign painted over it. Dead End. Do Not Enter. Being alone with my children brought that same feeling of dread. Ty’s screaming little face would cause me to curl into a ball and sob.

We went to the doctor while Damon’s sister watched the kids; berating Damon stupidly the entire way there. I liked the doc. He was a nice guy who had a sore throat that day. I felt like the room was on fire, both mentally and physically. I kept messing with my hair and fanning myself with a People magazine. The magazines seemed to be staring at me. My hands were shaking. There was no chance in hell I was going to work that day. He wrote me a note for class and work. Thankfully, this past week has been Spring Break, so at least attending class hasn’t been on my list of “things that I suck at right now”.

Being medicated seems to help chill me out a little bit. The doc upped my dose of “Let’s get out of bed today” medicine a little bit. I don’t feel like the room is on fire, but it doesn’t make me any happier. It just puts me at a flatline. At work, I’m normally a semi-annoying little buzz of erratic energy. Not yesterday. I did my job, dead-faced when I didn’t have to smile for residents. I didn’t chat with my coworkers. Working did help distract me, but I could feel a chunk missing from my puzzle.

The upside is that the compulsion to steer myself away from the crushing loneliness motivated me to write two short stories in less than a day. They’re only first drafts, but they were pretty good. I’ve been noticing more in the green grass outside and the pink flower buds on the trees. I’ve been writing more; the one upside of this crapped up situation that is my brain.

I haven’t driven by myself in two weeks. I haven’t been to class since last Tuesday. I cling to Damon’s arm the entire time we’re out grocery shopping. I can’t watch my favorite detective show anymore because it scares me. I don’t sleep well anymore. My poor kids have to deal with my moody outbursts. Damon has to hold me and deal with me while I freak out over nothing. My house has gone to pot, which makes me scream…literally.

I don’t know where I’ve gone and don’t know what’s happening to me. Maybe this is a sign that I need to chill out. Maybe it’s a sign that I need a break. A break from what, though? I can’t take a break from my kids. I can’t take a break from school. I can’t take a break from life. That’d be great, but life doesn’t work that way.

Help.

I don’t know where I’ve gone

Employers don’t care if you were cloth-diapered

You walk into your first job interview, shake the interviewer’s hand, and sit down across from them. Expecting a slew of questions regarding weaknesses and strengths and times that you showed leadership, you lean back and breathe.

“Well, let’s go ahead and get started. First things first; were you breastfed or formula-fed?”

An awkward silence.

“Uhhhh…I think maybe breastfed? I don’t know?”

The interviewer squints at you, jotting down a few notes.

“All right then. What weight percentile were you at six months?”

“Huh?”

The interviewer clears his throat, lest you misheard him.

“Weight. Percentile. What percentile were you at six months?”

“I honestly have no idea.”

“What about walking? How old were you when you took your first steps?”

“No idea. I’m confused. I thought that this was an interview for a customer service position?”

“It is. Now, did your mother feed you organic baby food or not?”

 

What weight percentile are my kids? No clue. Haven is scrawny. Ty looks like he drinks whiskey after weight-training for three hours. Height percentile? Can we talk about something else…please? If I wanted to hear this crap more, I’d get cozy with the pediatrician.

Haven got fruits and veggies thrown in the blender. Ty eats whatever we’re eating or whatever he finds on the floor. I’ve adopted this motto:

“You won’t remember any of this, so how can I make my life easier?”

My mom read to me every day for hours. She made sure that the house was spotless at all times. We got nicely structured amounts of “media time”.

And I don’t remember like…any of it. I can barely remember anything prior to the second grade. Well, I remember her being stressed all of the time. I have six younger siblings, and my mom should have been the CEO of a huge corporation. She had to invest her outrageous amounts of energy into something.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t put effort into your kids? Obviously not. But they’re not going to remember any of this. You are not going to ruin your child’s chances of becoming an astronaut by giving them macaroni and cheese. Your child’s weight and height percentile will literally never ever come up again. The stroller that you purchase will not developmentally hinder or empower them. Look for how it will help you. If you’re happier, your kids will be too.

I think Haven started walking at 11 months…or something. Ty started walking at 9 or 9 1/2 months. Honestly, I don’t friggin remember. All that I remember is that he stood up for the first time in church. The other moms were asking “Awwww! Aren’t you so proud?!” I gave a nervous smile, followed by a whispered: “Ohhhh shiiiii*”

You wanna know my secret for getting my son to walk SOOOO early?

Absolutely nothing. There is nothing that you can do to make your kids “hit their milestones” earlier. It’s like pressuring your children to hit puberty faster. Or to grow taller. It happens when it happens. Unless they’re on the extreme EXTREME ends of either end, it doesn’t make one flickin frickin bit of difference.

Repeat after me: You cannot teach your children to walk any more than you can teach their balls to drop.

Imma get that embossed on a wooden board and gift it at baby showers.

I make my decisions based on how easy they make my life. I’m going to be the one who remembers this time. Not them.

Both of my kids sleep with me because I’m too lazy to get up with them, cuddling them is nice, and hearing people cry makes me want to commit suicide.

Both of my kids were breastfed because it was easier for me. I supplemented with Haven sometimes when I went to class because it made Damon’s life easier while I went to class.

I don’t use a carrier or stroller because I don’t have three kids yet, and they’re a giant pain in the butthole to carry and store.

I’m a lazy person. And I don’t care what other people do with their kids. If using a pacifier makes your life easier, do it. If using a stroller helps make your walks more enjoyable, do it. Whatever makes your life easier. Your kids will not be outraged that they didn’t have organic goat’s milk. Your kids don’t give a crap that they were in daycare. Your kids will not be comparing their “breastfed exclusively” time periods on the playground. Your kid will grow up to be like every other kid. Statistically speaking, that’s just how it has to work. It is very unlikely that your kid will be extremely anything. Ever.

And that’s fine. 

Quit comparing your baby to other babies. Some moms will tell me, “Wow! That’s so cool that your baby can walk so young!” “Yeah…well, you’ll be a lot less impressed in a minute when he starts beating your kid with a water bottle…” Ty was surrounded by crawling baby girls and took it upon himself to bludgeon them with toys.

They’re babies. They are not aware that their mother’s esteem relies entirely on how they compare to other babies! It is not a friggin competition!! The participants are not aware that they are competing. They are slack-jawed and drooling. They are eating carrot sticks out of trash cans. The participants don’t care!! You’re telling me that your value as a human relies on someone who finds it appropriate to shi* themselves in public?!

Come on now.

“Milestones” should be renamed “stuff that will happen”. Every baby follows the same pattern at their own pace. You are not increasing your child’s chances of attending Stanford by trying to force them to walk earlier. You’re not helping them at all by forcing them to do stuff as a baby. I promise that your kid will crawl. They will walk. Eventually, they will talk. Seriously. They’ve got a lifetime to disappoint you. Don’t set your expectations so low that they start disappointing you at 6 months.

Nobody needs that in their life.

Kids grow up to be adults. And employers don’t care if they were cloth-diapered or not. 

 

 

 

 

 

Employers don’t care if you were cloth-diapered

Is it okay to NOT let yourself go??

You don’t have to “let yourself go” to be a good mom.

There’s been so much emphasis on women who are accepting themselves when they gain weight, don’t look the same, etc. that there’s not a lot said for women who take care of themselves.

I’ve established something for myself as a mom of two kids under three. If I’m miserable, my kids will be miserable. Not looking good makes me miserable. Call me “shallow” or “obsessed with appearance.” After Ty was born, I weighed 190 lbs. I was used to being around 110-117 lbs my whole life until I got pregnant.

I did let myself go while I was pregnant with him. I never worked out. I ate a lot more than I should have. And my body retains water like I’m a friggin camel. As a result, I got huge and felt terrible. I was depressed too.

I was tired of not liking who I saw in the mirror. I decided to change it. I wasn’t as healthy as I could be. Now, before you go on a tirade of “YOU JUST HAD A BABY YOU DESERVE TO LET YOURSELF GO!!!!” I had a baby. I deserved to feel better than how I felt. Problem? I was the only one who could make that happen. I didn’t like myself. I wasn’t going to justify how crappy I felt because other people told me that I had a good enough excuse. I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like how I looked. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be better than you are.

We shouldn’t be guilting moms who want to look and feel better than they do. Even if that means making a few other people feel insecure because they’re supposedly super happy with looking….comfortable.

Here are some things that I’ve done while pregnant, throughout my postpartum time, and currently. Do these make me “superior” to other women who don’t? No. I don’t care what other women do. I spend plenty of posts going on about my deficiencies. So, here is my list of stuff that I manage to do while being a mom to 2 kids under the age of 3:

  1. Straighten my hair every day. The only time that I haven’t in the last 8 years was while camping, the days after my kids were born, and maybe a handful of other days. Actually, the morning after Ty was born, I braided my hair because I had a baby in the NICU and needed something to be okay. If I was going to have a crap day, I was going to have cute hair.
  2. Shave every single day (legs, mhmms, and all). A few other moms looked at me, bewildered when this came up. Apparently, that’s not common? Look, I hate feeling itchy and fury. I feel gross when I don’t. It takes like 3 minutes of my day. And Damon likes it better when I shave. Win-win. I don’t give a single crap what you do with your body. I like feeling like a dolphin.
  3. Wear makeup most days. Some days I don’t because my bare face is pretty dang cute. But most days, I put on eyeliner, lipstick, and mascara. It takes about thirty seconds. Again, if I’m going to have a crap day, Imma face it looking pretty.
  4. Eat well. I started the ketogenic diet back in October. It’s high-fat, low-carb. Before people start shrieking about whatever it is people shriek about when other people decide to do something with their bodies….I went from weighing 147 to 119. I lost a bunch of body fat. I no longer have a muffin top. I don’t have jiggly bits anymore. Well, aside from the lovely loose patch of skin around my tummy, but maybe that’ll go away one day. I eat butter, bacon, oils, meat, cheese, olives, and pretty much everything else delicious. Not eating carbs can be hard because most people eat a ton. Social gatherings can be challenging because carb-loaded food is a staple in the American diet. Thankfully, my dad is on the diet too, so my parent’s house is usually a green zone. I feel much less tired. I think more clearly. I’m skinnier. Seriously, it’s fabulous. I barely have to work out to lose weight anymore. Most people drink fruit smoothies and eat low-fat stuff, then wonder why they spend so much time at the gym with minimal results…It sounds exhausting. Please stop doing this to yourself in the name of health if it’s not working.
  5. Take time for me. This part wouldn’t be possible without Damon. I go to class every weekday and do homework. I take a long shower every day. I take the time to read and write. I go running sometimes. I’m not going to sacrifice every part of myself for my children. I hauled their baby butts around in my womb for 18 months of my life. I literally let them suck me dry. I deserve a dang shower. I deserve to feel like a person. I’m not going to martyr myself for them. I deserve better. So I treat myself better.

So, riddle me this…does any of that make me less of a mom? Does any of that take away from my children? Do they really need me 24/7? No. I would rather have my kids have a happy mom than a bitter one. Does the fact that I take care of myself make me less of a mom? I can have pretty hair, a did-up face, shaved legs, skinny waist, write, and be a good mom. My house is a disaster…so there is that. But feeling good about myself is a higher priority. Dishes can come further down the list. *Glances in kitchen*…Waaayyyyy down that list.

Everybody has different priorities. If running after your children and hovering 24/7 matters THAT much to you…power to you. If you hate it, then stop doing it in the name of “Saintly motherhood”. Quit comparing yourself to other women and saying “I would rather be a good mom than have nice hair!” People can have both. I do both. I’m not saying that you can do everything or have everything. But you can have yourself.

You can take care of yourself and be a good mom. But the Internet doesn’t like to cheerlead those moms. Nobody wants to hear about the moms who are making it work. Nobody wants to hear about the people who actually love themselves and take care of themselves. They’d rather throw a bit Mother Thereasa pity-party about how everyone has to accept them because they don’t like themselves…….WHAT?!?!?!?!

If you genuinely love yourself and don’t give a crap about how you look, then own it. Do you. If you feel good about you, then who gives a rip about what other people think? But don’t martyr yourself, then insist that other people accept you when you’re actually bitter that you lost yourself. It’s nobody’s job to accept you but yours. You are in charge of what you do with what happens to you. 

And the kid excuse only works for so long.

One day, my kids are going to get big, meet special people, and leave me. I refuse to face my menopausal self in the mirror, greeted by a fatty, saggy, worn-down looking face staring back whispering “Well, you had a baby….so it’s okay….”

 

Is it okay to NOT let yourself go??

You know you’re comfortable in your relationship when…

If it were just me, I’d be all pretentious and tell everyone on social media that”Valentine’s Day is an overmarketed holiday for sappy couples and sad losers.”

Which is kiiiiiiinda is. But I married a man with feelings who wants to do stuff for Valentine’s Day. And by stuff…I don’t mean sex. I’ve been pregnant for the last two Valentine’s Days or had a newborn. This year, I’m on my period. Go friggin figure, right?

Damon and I hit our 6-year mark together on the 12th. Woohoo! Happy Day! In the spirit of the heartsy holiday and ish, I decided to throw together a list. Here’s a bunch of stuff that Damon and I have done or do on a regular basis that kinda shows how dang comfy we are with one another.

  1. When we first got married, we would get all defensive if one of us criticized the other’s, family. Now we chuckle and agree wholeheartedly that *insert family member here* is batshootsnoodle crazy. Sometimes it turns into a competition…
  2. If there’s a chance to sleep for an extra 25 minutes or have sex…….ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  3. I’ll walk into the bathroom while he’s taking a dump and try to start a conversation about something “important”. This is usually followed by “Go away!” or “I’m trying to focus!”
  4. I used to share my treats with him. Now I hide them from him in weird places that I won’t list because I don’t want him finding them. My attitude is “Make it last”. His attitude is “SEIZE THE DAY!” and before I know it, all of my dang ice cream has been eaten. ~Damon: That ice cream was a month old!
  5. Sending dank memes to each other. Usually involving just one of us laughing hysterically while the other sits there with a blank expression.
  6. Me picking what we watch on Hulu because I don’t like what he picks, and he can tolerate just about anything that I feel like watching. We do have a few go-to favorites now: House, Last Man on Earth, and Community.
  7. Calling dibs on who buckles which unruly child into their car seat.
  8. Vaginas make weird noises during sex. The first time that it happened, I cried from embarrassment. Now, I’m all “Focus, bruh!”  
  9. Not feeling like a bore for not turning the bedroom into a kama sutra show. You don’t need to do the upside down doggy whistle chandelier (I seriously just made this up. Please don’t Google this) to have a good time. If it works, it works!
  10. Not comparing the quantity of sex. “Regular” is a very relative term. Some people find time to jive twice a day. Other people do it once a month. Your marriage is not doomed if you are not smashing three times a week like clockwork. 
  11. Having him talk to me while I shower. He doesn’t stand there ogling. It’s more like “Will you close the curtain, please?! You’re getting water all over the floor!”
  12. Farting during arguments and not even flinching anymore. My butthole will not challenge my stance! We will finish this in spite of my flatulence!!! (Damon changed it from “your” to “my”….YOU’RE A BRAT! WE BOTH DO THIS!)
  13. Instead of getting mad at him for asking if we can sell our children to pay tuition, I agree with exasperation
  14. Dropping 90% of wardrobe expectations for dates. There is a direct correlation between how long I spend getting ready and how angry I am with the world.
  15. I used to set these hella high expectations for dates. Sometimes, eating cheese in the parking lot in our pajamas is pretty great.
  16. Not yelling at him for leaving his socks on the floor anymore because I do it too now and IDGAF.
  17. Household chores only cause 39% of arguments now instead of 67%
  18. He still thinks that I’m hot….even though he’s seen, heard, and smelled ALL that I’m capable of producing
  19. Right backa’cha, dude!
  20. Discussing aliens, marine animals, and riddles in the shower instead of doing the sailor’s handstand or the mermaid twist or the Free Willy..or whatever the heck reckless physically irresponsible sex position people perform in the shower. Shower sex is kinda overrated if you ask me…Shampoo in eyes, someone isn’t getting the hot water, someone slips and falls…I would rather stick my tablet in a plastic bag and watch Shark Tank. Alone.
  21. Being cool with me and loving me even though I’m really REEEEEAAAALLYY annoying/bossy/whiney about 49% of the time that I’m awake.
  22. He’s about 23% of the time, so I guess it’s okay.
  23. Apparently, I fart in my sleep….

Happy Valentine’s Day, Damon! ❤

You know you’re comfortable in your relationship when…

Pushing through the sting-y burn-y

This is not a post about vaginas.

Unlike…a third of my other posts. Yes, I am cordially inviting you to read about my vagina.

PENIS!

It’s been a long day.

I walked three miles to campus through the snow. I put on six layers on my torso and three on my inferior appendages. Yes, I’m taking anatomy this semester. I made it to class with a minute to spare, stripping off my layers.

You know that sting behind your eyes when you wake up early? And it burns to close your eyes? Story of my life, bruh. As much as we try to be comfortable and cozy, life has a tricky way of infiltrating your system. The second I walk in the door, Ty freaks out and has an existential crisis, realizing how empty and dreary his life is without my boobs..

He’s currently pinching the crap outta my boobs right now as he suckles. We’ve officially reached the age of “twerking”, where the baby decides that they want to latch and put on a show. Ohmygosh..I thought that was banana in his hair. Nope! It’s snot. Dearheavenhelpmeplease. No, I didn’t taste it. Gross. THIS IS MY LIFE, PEOPLE!

Damon and I feel like we’re being torn in different directions all of the time. Want a conundrum? I’ll give you a brain-teaser called “What I Do Every Damn Day”. Please solve it. No, really. Shoot me an email with your findings.

Which items should you do first? Arrange in order of priority from 1-5

  1. Baby is screaming his friggin head off. He hasn’t seen his mom all day and feels like life itself is simply not worth living without a boob in his mouth. Also, he’s decided that naps are beneath him and refuses to take them for the sake of his dignity.
  2. Husband needs to do his homework because he’s been stuck with unsupportive children, and babies hate your goals and dreams of aspiring to something more than a broke college student.
  3. Baby has crapped his diaper
  4. You need to pee
  5. Toddler has decided that she needs to pee as well and can’t reach the dang sink to wash her hands by herself yet
  6. You haven’t eaten all day
  7. Husband hasn’t eaten all day
  8. You have homework and studying to do because you decided that take 14 credit hours was a rad idea
  9. Laundry is scattered all over the house
  10. Oh, and your kitchen is a disaster
  11. Haha…just kidding. Your whole HOUSE is a disaster!!

Any thoughts, people? Is there some formula where I can plug in these variables? Can someone calculate what the best course of action is here?!?!

I don’t have a clue.

The solution is usually taking care of bodily fluids first. Followed by nursing the baby and trying to do homework with him twerking on my lap. Husband goes and completes as much homework as the toddler will allow. Food can come later. Unless it’s toddler demanding oatmeal again. Don’t get me wrong. I love that she’s all about dat fiber. But when she doesn’t eat it all, it makes me mad. Anyhoo, husband is nice about making us both food. Something about eating food prepared by the man who loves you is endearing.

On the upside…I did get into the university that I’ve been wanting to attend since the start of college! Okay, maybe not the start. I didn’t know crap four years ago. I’ve transferred to a bunch of different schools each time that we’ve moved. Hopefully, I won’t have to transfer again. They have the anthropology program that I’ve been dying to get into.

Somehow, even though things suck a good portion of the time, they manage to work out. Things will look up. Things are going to be okay. Life comes in waves. Not tryna be all deep and garbage, but it’s true. And you can make all of the analogies in the world about it.

Things get better. Pushing through the sting-y burn-y has its upsides.

Damon and I communicate very differently than we did while dating. We’re a lot more honest than we used to be. We’re less likely to hide what we’re feeling for the sake of the other person. We’re a lot more likely to just come out and say “You’re being a dick today. Cut it out.” than to just retreat. We let the dumb things go too, although being with someone for long periods of time makes the dumb things much more noticeable. Push through it.

We’ll push through pregnancy, birthing babies, diapers, cranky spouses, studying till late at night, wading our way through our dang living room.

Somewhere it ends. Maybe. One day, my boobs will be sad balloons. I’ll have grey hairs, grumble a lot, and hate Democrats or teenagers. Actually, my generation will prolly be one of the first ones to have more tattoos than residents with children in the resting homes. Huh. Won’t that be a sight?

Oh! Oh! I have a slogan, people!

Make like a uterus and push through it!!!

Boom. XD

 

 

 

 

Pushing through the sting-y burn-y

Coming out as autistic

I’m having a hard time picking a song to listen to. There are no songs to describe how I’m feeling right now.

This past week, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, if you’re familiar with the changes made to the DSM V.

Relief at the diagnosis. It more or less explained the “why” to nearly everything in my life; why I’m always the last to get the joke, why I don’t look people in the eye, why I blurt out apparently inappropriate things, why I don’t understand people, why I was bullied in elementary school, why I sucked in P.E., why I can’t spend the night anywhere but home, why I have to brush my teeth after every meal, why I seemingly suck as a mom,etc. etc. etc.

I’m relieved. But I’m alone. I look up “Autism Support Groups” in Google. Site after site for those struggling to deal with their autistic children, autistic spouses, autistic parents. People struggling to deal with people like me. People needing to cope with people like me. People searching for a cure.

I hear “Your diagnosis doesn’t change anything.”

Except it changes everything.

Up until Wednesday evening, I thought that I was just an incompetent human being. I thought that I just sucked at interacting with people. I felt alone and had no cause. Instead, I discovered that I’m an incredibly adaptable person with a different brain.

It changes everything because my brain is physically different from other people’s. I’m not socially stupid. It’s that I’m socially colorblind. I don’t see the colors that other people do. I try picking up on patterns. I mimic. I act. Etc.

It’s lonely, but now I know why. I have two seemingly neurotypical children. I have a little girl who looks me in the eye and tells me that I’m sad. I have a little boy who stares and cuddles. They embody my very concept of adoration. I can only hope that I’m enough for them. Damon is much more emotionally aware an in-tune than I am. Hopefully, between the two of us, we can provide the balance for our children.

Boy, is it lonely. I have an answer to why I am this way, but now need to come to terms with it. I’m always going to be this way. Obviously, people can improve themselves. But is acting less autistic really an improvement? By whose standards? It sounds so weird to say.

I am autistic.

I don’t know how to feel about this. There aren’t instruction manuals for how to deal with this situation. I’m still the same person, but acutely aware of who I am. Aware that my brain will never change. I will never be like other people, other than faking it under the guise of normality. There are more groups for dealing with me than being like me. I now understand myself, but need to understand myself. What a conundrum

I am autistic.

And I don’t know how I feel about it. I saw a quote that summarized pretty well how I see things.

“I don’t experience autism mildly. You do.”-No idea. But it’s a good quote.

I’m on the same spectrum as people who need help going to the bathroom and wear adult diapers. I’m also on the same spectrum as kids who scream and meltdown in the grocery store. I’m on the same spectrum of people who are hardly noticed. A spectrum. One to ten? Or mild to severe? Like a disease?

But it’s not. There’s no cure. It’s not a disease. It’s a personality. It’s a literal shape of mind. It’s a state of being. We are aliens dropped into the middle of a world that wasn’t built for us. Interacting with beings who don’t think like us.

This is why I miss the things that you see so easily. This is why I’m the last to laugh at the joke. It’s why I don’t think that some jokes are funny. It’s why my voice is monotone. It’s why I twist my hair when I’m freaking out. It’s why I curl up into a ball and shut down when my children are screaming. It’s why I can’t wear clothes that are tight in the armpit or 3/4 length sleeves under long sleeves. It’s why I hate hate HATE job interviews because they make me have to engage every ounce of my brain to appear normal. It’s why I’m afraid of the stove. It’s why I have a small voice that tells me when to blink and look away and tilt my head in every social situation. It’s why I don’t understand the emotional undertones in movies. It’s why I get super antsy and uncomfortable when people are crying or otherwise feeling strong emotions. It’s why I can’t listen to music in the car and talk to someone at the same time.

It’s why I didn’t understand the expression “barking up the wrong tree” until I was 17.

It all makes sense now.

I’m still partially in denial. This is what’s been different about me. This is why.

Stigmas cling to autism like burrs. Anti-vaxxers use us as an excuse to not vaccinate their children. Parents weep when their child is diagnosed. Families gather round to support the parent who has brought this “broken” child into the world. People want to cure it. They want us to be like them.

I am not broken. I am not retarded. I am not a special snowflake. I experience the world differently. I experience the world vividly.

I didn’t discover this aspect of my identity until I was 22. I didn’t know that this was part of me. I didn’t know that this was why. This is my way of coming out. This is my way of saying, “I’m different from you. I’m tired of trying to be like you.”

I’m tired of pretending to be neurotypical. I’m tired of pretending that my brain works the same way. It will never work the same way. I will never see the same social hues that you do. I will never understand the world the same way that you do.

But you will never understand it the way that I do.

I’m lonely. I’m different, not inferior.

I’m a mom. I’m a student. I’m a wife.

I’m autistic.

 

 

 

 

Coming out as autistic

Sickly children and falling in love

Kids ruin everything.

Maybe not everything…but they wreck your marriage!

My two smalls have been taking turns getting sick. Haven was a fountain of liquids out each end for a week. Ty got RSV, followed by Haven getting sick as well.

I’m pretty sure it’s been planned for months now. They rise early, crawling over my husband and I in our dead slumber, plotting skipped naps and infectious illnesses. They probably go drink out of the toilet too, just to be sure that they contract something!

You think I exaggerate? Nay. I’m blowing my nose loudly in the quietest part of the science building that I could find. I wandered around campus for a good forty minutes to find it. I packed an entire box of tissues in my backpack.

Kids suck. They’re really cute though, and you deceive yourself into believing that they’ll fill some existential void within yourself. Really, they just create a new one.

BUT I DIGRESS! Damon and I had been living like roommates for the last month. Sick kids are the neediest creatures on Earth. One day, you THINK that they’ll start exploring their independence. Maybe today, you’ll get the dishes done. Wouldn’t that be rad? Ooh! Ooh! Maybe the clothes will get put away that have been sitting on the floor of the bedroom for weeks. Maybe you’ll even sneak in some sex…dare to dream.

I felt like I was losing my friggin husband. Between our sickly babies, my sickness, and alllllllll the things that needed done, he was tired. I was tired. We couldn’t ever spend time alone even just talking. Haven is going through an exciting new toddler phase called “DON’T TALK TO MY DADDY OR LOOK AT HIM! HE’S MINE!!!!” Friggin territorial little princess. She freaked out when Damon tried talking to me in the shower. I don’t know why they always pick these moments to dogpile us, but they do.

I had enough.

I headed out to work, after saying some very unkind things to my poor husband. After a good shift, I returned home and said a prayer in the car. I prayed to be in love with Damon again. I said “Look, I’m spent. But if I put forth some effort, will you fill in the gaps? Please? I want to fall crazy in love with him again.”

I walked in the door of my house. To my utter shock, Ty did not immediately crawl over like I was rescuing him from a prison camp. He was actually chipper! The living room was vacuumed…thank goodness. Haven was plopped on Damon’s lap as he read her Dr. Seuss. It was adorable.

And we made out in the kitchen. We haven’t made out in….okay this is embarrassing…forget that timeline. But it was good. Really good. Ty ended up climbing up between us, gripping my pants, wailing for attention. Babies can smell romance from another room. We made out on the couch too, with Haven jumping up on Damon’s back. But it happened.

Somehow, that did it. It worked. It’s only Day #2 of this newfound happiness and loveliness. I’m going to try not to let it burn out for awhile.

 

 

 

Sickly children and falling in love