So many feelings

Just don’t ask me to be able to name them. Context. Tonight I made a post explaining that I was curious about other people’s experiences with autism diagnosis. I posted in the reddit aspie girls area because women have unique experiences. I explained why I was asking, and then was promptly banned from the group for violating a policy I didn’t know about.

But here’s the thing. I’m a fucking autistic woman! I was honest (normally a benefit of talking to other autistic people is the lack of bullshit) and rather than having a conversation, I was shut down. And I made it really clear that the purpose was to properly represent our various experiences for people to learn from because I don’t want to rely on my own.

The thing is, when I saw that, all I felt was, you’re not good enough. Not autistic enough. not even doing this damn autism thing right. Sure as fuck can’t ask questions about experiences. I’m angry, and on the verge of tears, and who knows what else. Now I want absolutely nothing to do with the fucking autistic community. Seriously, what the fuck?

I know my reactions are me, but they just fucked me up pretty bad. This is going to make researching and writing the book that much harder because now all I can think about is this flat out rejection when I should be enjoying the writing of my book. Now it’s tainted and I still have to find a way to write it.

There were so many better ways to handle this, like asking me a fucking question for one. I hate people sometimes. I’ll just stay in my little corner for a while because I really don’t have it in me to reach out to anyone again.

Understanding my asexuality and demisexuality

I’m currently finishing a book with a main character who is demisexual, which is part of the asexual spectrum. This is a recent exploration for me, though I vaguely recall exploring it many years ago as well. My struggle has been somewhat unique and complicated by a few factors.

  1. Been in a relationship for 20 years next month. I have no idea what attractions I would feel if I were single and can’t remember enough details from that long ago to have a clear perspective. Until tonight.
  2. Autism makes me touch averse as well as challenged with categories that aren’t discrete. The definition of asexual and demisexual are not concrete to me (or many people) so it only partially clicked for me.
  3. My relationship is complicated by chronic illness and a child. We don’t have a ‘normal’ sex life, and my touch aversion, while not strong, is enough that I’m not physically affectionate except with my daughter (which is something I’m still working to understand and is a whole post in itself.)

Tonight, something changed as I thought about the physical relationships I’ve had. This is a short period of time in my life, roughly a year and a half, and like I said, 20 years ago. But, I tried to remember each of them in relation to who initiated what. I saw a pattern based on two categories of people.

  1. Those I didn’t know well. These would be people I met at a bar (before I was 21, ironically enough), or met elsewhere but didn’t know well at all. Without exception, these were not people I had sex with, even if we spent a lot of time kissing. I thought maybe it was lack of experience and confidence, but I genuinely can’t remember wanting to having sex.
  2. Those I had a connection of some kind with. These are the only people I initiated with at all (though I’m really not an initiator, so this is stretching the definition honestly. Pretty sure this is the autism and not reading people well.) Anyway… even in these situations I couldn’t say I experienced sexual attraction because I genuinely can’t make sense out of what that is. I think what people describe as sexual attraction doesn’t apply to me. Care to guess why? Yep, autism.

Asexuality is not defined by the act of sex, or even a desire for sex. However, I think that in my case, that’s what I have to go on. I only wanted things to progress with a few key people in my life. Not saying I was coerced (though there were sketchy situations), but I just went along with it because it was easier than stopping it for no real reason.

I’ve decided I can’t use anyone else’s definitions of my sexuality because my brain doesn’t work that way. Going with my own definitions, I feel a lot more comfortable with the term demisexual and asexual now and feel they both apply to me. Sex is fun, but sex is also complicated in my brain and body. So as I prepare to release this book into the world, I’m trying to reflect a part of my experience through Ash without all of the pieces (like autism and touch aversion). I hope it results in a different type of representation that a lot of people can relate to and understand.

Healing body pain

Disclaimer: this is not a statement of all pains or anything else. This is simply me stream of consciousness writing and trying one possibility for something going on in my body.

I just read an email from the wonderful Glenyce Hughes. She talked about healing arthritis in her knees by talking to her body. She realized the pain started after a situation that she didn’t acknowledge hurt her emotionally. She stuffed it, and once acknowledging that the pain eased. That made me wonder about one pain in particular, so I’m going to play with it.

In boot camp 21 years ago I stress fractured my foot. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it was most likely caused by poorly fitting boots because they didn’t have wider boots in small sizes. By the time I was being discharged I noticed pain in my arch, but it wasn’t something they bothered to xray or anything. Fast forward a few years and I ended up with a bone growth in my arch which irritates the hell out of the big toe tendon. (Clearly, I am not a bio person.)

At this point, the only solutions I’ve found are to use KT type tape or use Correct Toes which helps stabilize my foot. But I haven’t been able to afford new Correct Toes in a while, nor the shoes that would work with them. However, things were reasonably ok until the past week or so when it’s been getting bad enough to affect my gait. As I read what Glenyce wrote I thought about the solar eclipse 2 weeks ago that was part of a 19 year cycle. So things that happened 19 years ago would be brought up again.

Guess what happened 19 years ago. I was a few months out from my discharge from the Marine Corps. My foot was beginning to make its pain known. And I was trying to heal from it all. Badly.

There are a lot of people who can’t begin to understand what there is to heal to begin with. Hell, a good part of me is unsure what there is to heal. But it keeps coming up in different ways, so I want to explore it.

Disappointment and betrayal are the first emotions that come to mind. I joined the Marine Corps for so many reasons. There were past life things I was resolving for one. It was a soul path to have this experience. But at the more human level, it was about belonging and being a part of something larger than myself. I needed to be a part of it.

I’d read books about the military since I was in middle school. That’s… not normal for a girl without strong military connections. The sense of family was what drew me there. So joining, I knew I was looking for something. I found it, to some extent, in boot camp. We didn’t have much time to talk and form friendships, but being surrounded by other people working toward the same goal, and lead by some of the most badass women, I enjoyed most of it. I felt like I belonged, even as I hid my sexuality (badly). But there were other lesbians too, so I wasn’t even alone in that.

Then I went to combat training, which sucked a lot more. But, it sucked infinitely more for a lot of other people (which is an understatement but I can’t and won’t get into it). It sucked for me because there were only 20 of us there, being an off cycle caused by recruiting duty. I didn’t have my people and I do wish I had. But, I met a good friend there so that was a plus. I discovered that I could find support anywhere, just not as much as I wanted.

Then I was off to Pensacola for my first school. It took a while to find my feet again. I was in a class with one person I knew, who was also at MCT (Marine combat training) but we were never all that close. Our personalities didn’t mesh well. I was pretty isolated for a month or so. I bought a guitar. Listened to a lot of music. Not unlike Cam in my book, A Marine Awakening.

Then I met the ex and was pulled into a group of people. Went to a few parties, it’s all pretty blurry. Then my best friend came along (hi Sarah) and things got even better. And then, like all things, I had to move to my next school. I left behind most of the people I enjoyed hanging out with, except my classmates (which includes the ex). That time was less fun. We were basically on our own, and I wasn’t feeling comfortable hanging out with all the guys. I’m not sure what happened, but things were definitely complicated.

The final step was heading to California for my first and last duty station. I arrived sometime in July I think. Probably late, because my wife and I had reconnected by then and our anniversary is August 15 (20 years next month). Anyway, that’s when I realized how much the ‘brotherhood’ of the Marine Corps was kept from me. I had nobody at first. Literally nobody. I was on the most isolated base, with zero classmates (for a while), and with no one else I knew because we were such a small base (when it came to females at least).

At some point I made friends, though I don’t know how. lol It’s kind of the story of my life. But I met Misty, who’s last name I can’t remember, who was in the room next to mine. She was bisexual and a volleyball player. And there was Frank, who called me mom and had my back all the time. He was at the end of the barracks and we hung out a ton. We’ve since reconnected on Facebook. I look forward to meeting his family when we can finally vacation in the northeast. And there was Chuck, my fierce gay friend who I must have met online? I truly can’t remember, I just know he was there to guide me through Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, having survived two investigations himself because the people turning him in were idiots.

The problem was that I had no one at work. I couldn’t trust the people I worked with because of DADT. I learned later that one of our staff sergeants was so homophobic he turned in his own brother. So it was right for me to be paranoid. But that meant the vast majority of my life was spent isolated and unsure how to find my way. And I never found it.

The DADT policy set me up to fail. If I’d been allowed to be open, eventually I would have found my feet. I wouldn’t have been friends with everyone, but I would have made friends more quickly because I wouldn’t be hiding myself.

I’ve heard from other veterans that I was betrayed by the Marine Corps for having this held back from me. It’s still hard for me to use that word. And yet… something failed in this process. A combination of politics, bias, bigotry, and probably misogyny mixed with my introversion and, unknown at the time, autism. If the policy weren’t in place maybe I could have survived. If I’d had a mentor at work to guide me, maybe I could have succeeded. If one person in my work group had the balls to stand up to this SSgt and talk to me before it was almost too late, maybe things would have been different.

Even if the ending had been the same, that support would have made all the difference. I could have lasted a little longer, earned my VA benefits, and most importantly, my GI Bill, from day one. And I would have known that it wasn’t the whole group of guys who didn’t give a shit about me, just that SSgt. Handling betrayal from one guy is easy. One person can simply be an asshole with major issues. But a group of people? That’s harder.

I’m not even touching the emotions honestly. Just getting initial thoughts down. Maybe I’m not ready to face those emotions. I remember blogging about this last year, after reading Natalie Debrabandere’s Strong. It messed me up for a day or two. So maybe I’m not holding onto all that much anymore and need to simply acknowledge what happened.

My government and the Marine Corps made my life incredibly difficult because of other people’s stupid fucking bigotry. Ah, there we go. Anger. That’s one thing I can tap into easily. Because those same stupid bigots are still trying to make the lives of queer people miserable. And non-white people. And non-Christians.

I was idealistic when I joined. I thought people lived up to what they said they believed. I thought Marines would follow the core values. Would be good people who stood up and did what was right. But they aren’t. They are human beings. Some are amazing, and giving and put themselves on the line against the lowest of humanity. And some are the lowest of humanity using the military to advance their causes of white supremacy and misogyny. And the rest fall in the middle.

Why can’t we do better? I guess it is getting better. DADT is gone. Actively serving queer people are married, with kids, and their spouses don’t have to hide. No one has to hide their sexuality any more than in the civilian world. What I wouldn’t give to know what that was like. What would it have changed?

But that’s not what happened. The best parts of the Marine Corps were held just out of reach. Even now, I don’t know how a person will react, but I’ve taken to talking about DADT as much as I can. I even wrote a book (soon to be two) about it, because a lot of people don’t realize it was an issue. Or they don’t understand what it was like. That it made our military weaker by placing a barrier between members.

I need to get going and I’m still dancing around all this. I don’t know what isn’t resolved. Perhaps it is simply talking about it. Perhaps it is writing this next book, diving into the emotions and fears that I didn’t directly experience but are so close to reach. I guess I’ll end with this.

I was a Marine. I did the best I could given the situation. I didn’t fail. Someday I’ll believe that with my whole heart.

Lessons from reading and writing

Every day feels like a chance to learn just a little more about myself. Sometimes I’m realizing a new aspect from the autism perspective. Sometimes it’s the asexual spectrum. Sometimes it’s seeing myself as a business owner. Or an author. There’s always something.

Today, in the aftermath of the US women’s national team winning their 4th world cup, I indulged my curiosity and watched a lot of instagram posts from the gay players on the team. In one, Ashlyn and Ali are filming a video for a Brazillian show (I think) and watching them together, so gentle and affectionate after 9 years together, made me long for it. And yet, really thinking about it, the thought of that much touch was palpably uncomfortable.

How can I long for something that wouldn’t be comfortable for me? And I realized, everything I read, everything I write, to some extent it’s who I want to be. I don’t want to be touch averse. I don’t want to avoid intimacy. I want to experience sexual attraction. I want to be able to have sex with someone I just met. Sometimes I want to be ‘normal’. I know that’s not how life works. I’ve never been normal. I’ll never be normal. But I keep wanting things to be easier.

I should no better. I’m 40 years old. But still I fantasize about a simple life, without issues or complications. It’s a waste of energy, but it happens so often. So that’s where I’m at today, a little jealous of those who are neurotypical.

My first akashic reading

I was so lucky to get an akashic record reading from Erin, a local woman in the Denver metro area. We’re in a few groups together I think and I’m so lucky to have met her. I highly recommend her. She can do readings over skype, which is what I did due to logistics, so if this sounds at all interesting, reach out.



Onto the important stuff, for me at least. I went into this not ever doing a reading like this. I know of the records, I know there are ways to access them, but never had luck myself.

I chose to start with the cause of so much financial struggle. When she answers it’s actual a channeling of Akashic record keepers so I’m glad I took notes and recorded it. It boiled down to me being too in my head. The struggle is entirely my own fault, getting in my own way. They talked about being ungrounded. While I’ve developed my higher chakras very well, I hadn’t developed my lower ones. They mentioned a chakra I never heard of called the Earth Star Chakra. It’s located about a foot below the feet. They led me through a guided meditation to create an anchor with it, grounding me into the earth instead of just to the surface of it.

I will write up the details later when I can transcribe, but it involves creating a loop around the solar plexus chakra, then take that bar down and around the next two chakras, and then down into the earth until hitting that earth star chakra. Then visualize the sides of the anchor coming out, keeping me firmly grounded deep into the earth. There were a few more details, but just doing that should be enough for a decent anchor honestly.

Talk about a powerful grounding process! I instantly felt better. Now, as soon as I catch myself worrying or stressing I focus on that anchor. It pulls me back and eases everything up immediately. I haven’t had time to spend on those lower chakras since, but it’s ok.

They also reiterated that I am taken care of. I’m not meant to struggle, so to have faith. I’ve heard this before. I’ve told myself this before, but there’s something about higher level beings saying it that makes it easier to believe. Which isn’t how faith is supposed to work, but whatever. 😀

Then, I had time left, and out of all the questions I could ask, I decided to ask about Susan. She’s been on my mind a lot as I write my novel, which I haven’t even discussed in my blog. Spoiler alert: Writing a novel. It’s 80% done. And I took inspiration from an alternate history of Susan and I. What if we had met in Pensacola and got together? And then she still died? That’s all in the back story. It got rather emotional in the writing process, but that’s to be read.

With Susan on my mind, and the constant reminder that thinking about her will make me tear up every time, I asked. Poorly. I couldn’t even form the question properly because it’s so hard for me to put words to. How does a person you knew for all of a month have such a long lasting impact? Now I know. And I had no clue until I asked.

I haven’t listened to the recording again, so some of this might not be exactly right, but I couldn’t take notes during this section as it was too intense. Even now, it’s very hard to control the emotions and I’ve worked through a lot of this since the reading last week.

I don’t know the time period, but the last lifetime Susan and I were together we had a beautiful family. But Susan died younger (again), leaving me to raise multiple (possibly 4, need to listen again) kids on my own. She was needed somewhere else for something super important and knew I would be ok. (This theme in my lives needs to be a whole separate blog post because, come the fuck on? Why do I do this to myself repeatedly?)

Her death broke my heart, though I did succeed in raising the kids to be awesome people. I don’t know more than that, on the kid front. That heartbreak carried into this life, and who knows what others. I didn’t ask. Maybe that’s one of those questions only linear brains ask because time isn’t real. In any case, this heartbreak is what I suspect causes me to grieve relationships more than I should, making me cry when I’m not all that sad.

It also keeps me from fully connecting, which is interesting. I mentioned just a bit of this to my wife and she says she doesn’t feel like I’m holding anything back. But I wonder how this will change once I’ve healed this? Because I do feel the difference in how deeply I can love and express that love to my daughter vs adults. I wonder if that’s part of it?

(Taking my 3rd break already during this post to regain my composure because writing and crying in a coffee shop is not fun.)

So, at this point in the reading Susan shows up and I’m totally gone now, crying harder than I have in memory. To help start the healing I’m going to call it a care bear stare, as she blasted me with whatever I needed for healing. Then we finished up, things felt a little better, but it was a lot to take in.

That was on Thursday. Friday I drove to northern Colorado for a sales consultation. On the way back I stopped at an open space because I knew I needed to work on this more with her and hoped being in nature would help. I only wish I can prepared better for it. More tissues. Shorts. Realizing 3.8 miles on uneven terrain in 90+ degree heat was beyond my comfort level. But, I did it anyway. At least I had plenty of water.

Over the course of that time I was alone, completely, for all but the first 10 minutes. So I walked, and talked out loud, and cried, and laughed at the absurdity of my lives. I saw the parallels between that life and my life now with my wife. I tried to imagine what I felt in that prior life that I have no cognitive memory of and let the grief just happen, knowing she was there to fill me back up with love. I asked for the intensity to dial back when it got to be too much, then would dive back in when I felt I could handle it again. This repeated for about an hour and a half. I was cursing the damn sun and hill by the end, as I was getting a bit overheated, but I don’t regret the decision. I accomplished more healing in that time than I could have anywhere else.

I finally texted my wife the basic jist of it afterwards but still haven’t talked about it. She’s not doing well lately and I can’t do it without crying. And really, this is mine. This is my shit to heal so I’m better in this life and can go forward to the next clear. It’s very possible that next lifetime will be with Susan again, since my wife is probably going to take a break from the physical. In any case, our paths will continue to cross. Healing this will make all my future relationships better.

Now, the mystery is solved. Susan came into my life at a time when neither of us could be together, just long enough to set in motion this awareness ages later. So I’m not a complete and utter idiot, I just needed to heal a deep emotional wound from someone in my soul family. Being a human would be much easier if we just knew this shit instead of wondering for a decade or more.

Now, let’s play the synchronicity game.

  1. Songs. I always associated Pink’s Who Knew was always about Susan to me. Then, today I heard Mary Lambert’s When You Sleep and it almost destroyed me. Ok, that’s an exaggeration but seriously, this song is us. The bridge simply repeats “How did I miss you, when I didn’t know you?” It gave me chills, and lots of tears.
  2. I started reading Gift of Time by Robin Alexander. Two women are facing their traumatic past life together. It gets a lot more complicated than this, but of all the books, that’s the one I chose right before this reading and finished on Saturday.
  3. My book. In my book, the MC, Cam, loses her wife 5 years earlier and is taking a year to just heal and decide what to do as she turns 40. It’s a romance, so of course she meets someone which gives her the incentive to accelerate the healing process. She does this by purposely reliving the past, pain included, to face her fear of losing someone again. In the story she does that in the safety of her apartment. Since I don’t live alone I did it in wide open spaces but with no one around. But still, how is a story that came from a snippet of a dream turning into things I’m actively working on in my life? Easy, this is where I’m supposed to be, and my guides are badass and making sure I’m getting where I need to be.
  4. Oh, how did I find the Mary Lambert song is worth a separate bullet point. Yesterday, Melody asked to listen to Halsey like she always does in the car. Then, after our 5th or 6th time through My Ghost, she asked for She Keeps Me Warm. I don’t have it on my phone, so looked it up. It’s Mary Lambert and available on amazon music unlimited. So I downloaded all of her albums and just hit play on the most recent one. That lead to today’s discovery of When You Sleep. Who told Melody to request it, I wonder?

There are probably more that I can add when I remember them. Right now I’m just trying to control when this healing occurs. I’m finding times to purposely work on it, when I can safely process or experience it. And maybe, someday, I can think of her without crying.

So this is my life currently. I’m writing a book, making sense of my own past life stuff, with the current life stuff, while trying to also be an engaged mom and wife. All of which would be easy if I didn’t need to make money. Thank God for this new anchor.

For simplicity, I’ll link back to prior posts to fill in the backstory, though one is private. I doubt I could read it yet. But for public consumption:

I hope to have a post before long with resolution of healing. But who knows. Healing is a funny thing. For now I’m grateful to know what I want to heal.

I absolutely intend to do another reading, once I have the emotional energy to deal with more intensity.


Edited to add: I forgot about one thing I noticed during this process. No matter how intense the release of emotions was, I never actually felt it. I felt zero pain. It’s like watching someone scream on a video with the mute on. I knew they were screaming but never had the sensation of it. I knew my face showed my pain, but I didn’t experience the pain at all.

I just asked my friend Shamus about it, because I suspected this was not normal. (And all the normal people reading this just probably said, no shit that’s not normal. lol)

Here’s what he passed onto me from his guides.

“The answer I was just given was you’ve spent a life time blocking yourself off from emotion because it was easier. You can’t expect the walls to come down in a day. You’ve begun dismantling them but it will take time. Keep persevering. The image is more like ice thinning in the heat.”

So I have that to look forward to? Do I have to? Shit, now I wonder if that’s why I shut down so young! If I came in with this heartbreak, and then the world kept stomping on my heart, coupled with an autistic brain, that could easily overwhelm a child. And now my whole life looks completely different. Wow… I could be wrong, but it’s a new possibility I never imagined. Another layer of the onion.

It makes sense finally

I have felt more comfortable in the straight world my whole life and I never knew why. While some can be chalked up to the fear of judgement for being more blatantly queer (even though I am blatantly butch), it didn’t explain everything. Just now it all came together and I am relieved.

I suck at reading social cues. It’s the most obvious way that I land on the Autism spectrum. The relevance to this issue is I don’t know when people are being friendly vs hitting on me. When is flirting friendly and when is it trying to move forward? In the straight world it’s irrelevant. It’s all business so to speak. But in the queer world? I have no clue.

It really made sense when I noticed little to no anxiety around gay men. It’s only around queer women. There is some around other butches when I am in the straight world (still working on the fear of judgment obviously). But this makes a ton of sense now.

I have never been one to go out and socialize. Introversion plus autism and no real interest in party substances doesn’t lend itself to parties, bars or clubs. And since I have been in a committed relationship since I was 21 there wasn’t need to explore this.

In the last week I went to a Masculine of Center meetup and a queer toastmasters group. This is more community than I have had in decades probably. And I had far less anxiety than I expected. I am making progress in this area. Hopefully this realization will allow even greater comfort levels with my community.

Thoughts on Autism

My cousin, who’s oldest child is autistic (and whom she shared her first conversation with last week!) posted an interesting quote on her facebook wall. I’d like to share what I wrote so I can remember that I said it as well.

Before you post another article on Autism…

“I want to encourage you to consider how it feels for an autistic person to hear incessant, gruesome, emotionally charged descriptions of autism by non-autistic individuals who regard autism as an unmitigated tragedy, is completely unacceptable; descriptions that insist that an autistic person’s experience of the world is a consequence of poisoning, & whose cognitive & behavioral peculiarities are worthy of total eradication. I hope that you will consider that when you make PUBLIC STATEMENTS ABOUT AUTISM you are presuming to speak about an entire class of people who are autistic for life, not simply the subset of parents and minor children with whom you’ve become acquainted over the past couple of years. For every parent eager to ‘recover’ their child and ‘lose the diagnosis,’ there are autistic citizens who will always have the diagnosis and will always wear the label; and who are affected by the manner in which that label is bandied about by those who hate what it represents to them. People too often talk about ‘autism’ as if it is separate from autistic people. It is not. And those autistic people and their families-autistic children, the autistic-spectrum adults whose very existence you have questioned, and families like mine-will still be around, still dealing with the stigma of ‘contamination’ that you have helped to promulgate…” Kathleen Seidel

It’s so tricky, with any medical issue actually. Lots of people think that diseases bring only bad things. But that isn’t true of any of them. Autism is particularly tricky because we still understand so little about it, and in our extroverted style society it’s particularly hard for groups of people to understand. They have a hard enough time understanding how introversion is a positive. To take that farther to the communication and engagement challenges of autism makes their head explode.

The book I’m reading right now, The Autism Revolution, stresses the idea that while there are people who did find a series of things to change in the person’s body and environment and were ‘cured’, every person is different. For some they still won’t be talking, but maybe the other health challenges that seem to go hand in hand, like diarrhea and lots of infections, can be lessened. That improves quality of life for everyone involved.

Personally, in case it isn’t clear, my interest is in improving quality of life so the person thrives however they can. If that’s going from non-verbal with lots of health issues to verbal and normal health levels (whatever normal means), great. If that’s going from non-verbal with lots of health issues to non-verbal with fewer health issues, that’s great too. Ultimately, humans have many relationships with beings who can’t communicate through talking. We even have relationships with beings and even inanimate objects that don’t engage well! If we can release the expectations we have for people and allow them to be whoever they are we might find it’s easier to cope with.

If you aren’t personally affected by autism, your job is to remember compassion. Even if you know a lot about autism, you don’t know their situation. You don’t know the person affected. Be kind and supportive. You might just make their day.

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