stumbling blocks


I knew this would happen.

My mother-in-law came to visit in November.  Then Christmas happened a month later.  My fledgling blog falls to the wayside.

I have a serious problem with purposefully developing new habits.  It’s not that I don’t want to – in fact, I know I have to – but it is very hard to remain focused and carve out that precious time away from whatever it is that I already do in my daily routine.  Even if it’s a daily dose of absolutely nothing.

Actually, especially if it takes away from my nothing time.  I like doing nothing.. I can do nothing for hours and hours.. *ahem*  It’s a skill.

Routines get thrown off, and it takes me a long time to recover, especially as I feel like I have to come back even better in order to make back lost time.  Don’t think about it too hard, it doesn’t make sense.  I’m not even sure I know what it means, other than leaving me stalemated until I can rebuild some momentum.

I know that the goal I set to myself, other than to post regularly, was to always post with pictures.  With that in mind, and knowing that I had very little time to myself between sick baby, getting work done for the new season of selling, recovering from the holidays, etc etc.. it was never going to happen.  I could spend hours looking for the right picture – or at least the duration of a precious nap-time when I’ve got both hands free to type!

Sometimes it’s more important to get something done at all, than to wait until we have the time to do it perfectly.  And it’s hard not to do it perfectly (or rather, up to my own standards, which probably don’t look perfect to anyone else).  But here I am.. back at the keys.  No picture this time.. and that’s ok.

If you’re reading this, ask yourself what you’ve put aside doing because you didn’t have time, or it wasn’t perfect, or you’re missing just one little thing.. whatever the reason.  See what you can do now, and get started on what you can!  The rest will follow.

the lesson of the fuzzy pj’s

Being a parent can be many things… Heart-wrenching, painful, terrifying, exhausting. It can be beautiful and awe-inspiring too.

Sometimes it’s just downright confusing.

My daughter is currently in love with a pair of fuzzy, full length footie jammies from Carter’s. Her infant sister has similar pajamas, and she loves the idea of matching and being babied. Who can blame her? I held onto my footie pajamas as long as I could – I’d buy more if I could get them in my size!

The lovableness of fuzzy footie pj’s don’t confuse me… It’s the warmth that did me in.

I did the usual bedtime routine. Kid bathed, pajamas on, stuffed dog close at hand and lullabies playing nearby (she’s had the same cd playing since she was a baby, apparently it doesn’t get old).

And then I tuck her in, only to have her blanket get immediately kicked off.

“Mom.. do I not look warm?”

Being the decent human being that I am, I’m happy that my daughter isn’t cold, and I tell her so. Question answered, I proceed to re-apply the blanket (a heavy sleeping bag) – which promptly gets tossed to the floor.

“MOM! Look at my pajamas! I don’t need a blanket!” She gestures the length of her prone, six year old body, footies and all. I stare at her blankly.

What do pajamas have to do with.. Oooh.

Like many people on the autistic spectrum, I enjoy – need even – a certain degree of weight on top of me to be comfortable. I regularly sleep with a minimum of one feather duvet and one ancient comforter (pilled enough to create a texture I enjoy). I have been known to go up as far as five comforters/duvets at a time, creating a nest or swaddling myself up like a baby (there’s a trick to doing it yourself, I mastered it as a kid). Warmth is really not an issue. Apparently, for her, that’s the only issue. Blankets are for warmth, not comfort.

I gritted my teeth, and let my kid go to off to dreamland sans blanket.

It’s natural for us to assume that our perspective is the only one that matters. It’s hard to place importance on values and ideals that are alien to us, and yet in order to get along with other people we have to do our best to appreciate that what is right for us, isn’t necessarily right for them. It’s okay to be different – my daughter is not wrong in using blankets for warmth, but my using them for comfort is equally valid. As long as we respect our differences and try to understand that OUR way is not the ONLY way, we’ll be okay.

There is no way I can sleep without a blanket though, so naturally I tiptoed back into her room sometime after midnight to put the blanket back on. She kicked it off without waking sometime after I left, and we were both happy.

it’s ok to start at the beginning

Path upwards

Photo by PugnoM

In my fantasy world, this blog is taking place at the height of my personal success. I tell the world how I overcame all sorts of obstacles to be where I am. I might have several “how-to” tutorials and inspiring advice for younger people trying to break the mold. Maybe a few e-books and a shopping cart.

The reality is that we live in a world that has grown to expect end results with little more than a montage and a few self-help books.   We can walk into Walmart and come home with anything from laptops to bedding to furniture to food, without wondering how long it took to make or grow these things, and no thought towards craftmanship. Things aren’t made anymore – they just happen.

Upon starting this post, I realized I was fighting a sense of shame.  I hadn’t happened yet.  I am at the beginning, the unworthy state that the hero of the story (in this case, my story) is to begin with before a montage sweeps them up into victory in a crescendo of upbeat epic music.

There is no montage coming.  Only the work that I need to put into making my life the vision at the end of the montage in my head.  And that’s ok  (I’ve added upbeat epic mp3’s to my playlist to make me feel better).  We all begin somewhere.  Some people say that the important thing is to start.  I’m going to suggest to you that the important thing is to give yourself permission to start at the beginning.

I am not writing this blog from the end, or even the middle. I am starting from right where I’m standing, at the bottom, and you – and this blog – are going to help me be accountable (thanks for that, I know that’s a lot to ask).  I’ll struggle and fall down and stop for breath, and that’s ok.  I’ve given myself permission to do this.  There should never be any shame in being a beginner; everyone who has ever done anything worthwhile has had to start in order to finish, and they never had a montage either, no matter what the movies say.

Are you still struggling, or have you struggled, with the idea of starting something important to you?  Give yourself permission to start that thing you’ve been stalling on, and maybe share your story!

an introduction and a collection of labels

They’ll also help me run when the zombie apocalypse hits.

My mom gave me the quote “Buy new shoes, and step into the future.” I have no idea where she heard it, or if the words are her own.. it doesn’t matter. She told me that when she gets stuck, if she buys new shoes she can start to move forward again.

I hate shoe shopping.

Now that I am properly fitted with new footwear, however, I can start this blog. I’ve been a silent lurker on so many others, taking comfort, advice and entertainment without really giving anything back. I’ll let you, dear reader, be the judge of whether I have anything to offer you as I start this leg of my journey.

So, a bit about me and my labels:

I was diagnosed in 2010 with autism, at the age of 32. Not long after my GP started treating me for ADHD. Labels freshly pressed, I felt a sense of relief and new purpose – I am not “Crazy, Lazy or Stupid“. Like so many in the ASD community, I’ve always felt like I was born on the wrong planet – or in my case, a changeling, switched at birth and raised in a realm that I was never meant to exist in.

I’m also a Mom, of two wonderful girls – now six and 3 months. The six year old seems pretty neurotypical, time will tell for the little one.

I’m a geek, and an artist; I’m in the process of trying to make a career out of what I see as my passion and my strengths, rather than trying to fit myself into the molds that seem to fit so well for others. The standard molds seem to hurt when I try and squish into them, if I can find them at all! So I guess I’m an “Artrepreneur”! It’s estimated that unemployment/under-employment rates for people on the autistic spectrum are as high as 80-90%. I mean to challenge those odds.

Follow me on my journey to see how well I manage trying to create a career, raise healthy and happy kids, and maintain my sanity! Of course I am winging it right now, so feedback, tips and anecdotes are always welcome!

Hello world!

Blog started.. ok no, not really “started”.  More like, bookmarked and added to the to-do list!  This nifty little placeholder message will stay here a bit while I find a way to type up my scattered thoughts, find images, and post.. or in other words, until I figure out how to actually go about this whole “blogging” thing!

Hopefully soon because I’m tired of my internal monologue and would like to get it out of my system!