Trigger warning- mentions of trauma, PTSD, Autism, nervous breakdown.
Daily writing? That is a much debated topic in the writing community. I don't have a firm daily writing practice. Of course that is now and I have had the experience of writing every day in the past.
My writing process? Do I have a writing process lol? In my case, my writing process is very much affected by mental health and disability issues that I live with. I've outlined my thoughts for a likely series, but I have no idea how long it'll actually take me to write all the pieces or how many posts I will manage.
I will try to make sure I post a list of particularly sensitive subjects before each of the posts. I have lived a life full of serious traumas that have most definitely impacted my writing. Those traumas have led me to a diagnosis of PTSD and that will certainly include some trigger warnings. I am also on the autism spectrum and the journey to diagnosis has been a hard one.
I’m not writing this as an invitation for people to question or debate my history. Does that sound hostile? I’m not sorry if that’s how someone takes it- 43 years into a life full of abuse, tragedy, and oppression has left me with quite an attitude.
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Wonderful picture, but I left for church pondering inspiration. That's when this started- I won't be sure of any labels until I'm done :D
“Revelation isn't sealed.”
Birth: “It's a girl!”
“Joseph Christopher won't work.”
1st grade: “Joelle is too pretty a name to shorten.”
Pregnancy: “I know I'm having a boy.”
July 4, age 15: “Mom, I'm questioning my gender.”
My age 40: “I'm non-binary, agender.”
What does it mean for me in partnered sexuality when most sexual orientations are focused on gender I don't feel?
I'm queer, that word that my tongue stumbled over when called on to identify myself.
Can I reclaim this wandering into hotness? Would it be as easy as jumping into talk about genitals? My mind cries for newness, something other than penis-in-vagina intercourse.
How was I, the Autistic introvert, talked into speed dating? At least, polyamorous people are welcome at this one.
“Hello, I'm Joey.”
The person stared at me open-mouthed, not introducing themselves.
“I'm not usually good at mixers, but I figured two minutes would help me control talking about my special interests. I'm Autistic.”
The bell rang; the person on the other side of the table changed.
“Hi. I'm Joey.”
“Joey?” the person echoed.
“Are you a lesbian?” Their nose wrinkled.
“Are you a bigot?” I replied.
“Of course not,” they protested.
“Your body language seems to disagree.”
Thankfully, the bell rang and people changed seats again.
“Hi, I'm Joey. My pronouns are he, she, or they.”
“Hi, Joey. I'm Pair. My pronouns are they, them. Might I ask, you appear flustered. Are you neurodivergent somehow?”
My shoulders relaxed. “Yes, I'm Autistic.”
Pair nodded. “Dyspraxia and Sensory Integration. Don't like that last word.”
“Would you like to skip out to a setting more comfortable for you?”
“Yes, please. I'd like that very much.”
Pair got up from the table and came around to me; the organizer rushed over, her cheeks flushed redder than her poorly-applied blush. “Joey and I are done here. No need to issue refunds.”
“But-but!” the organizer lady puffed.
“We're removing an equal number of folx from the gathering.” Pair walked to the place we piled our belongings; I followed just a step behind. They grabbed a denim bag covered in patches like They/Them and No TERFS/SWERFS and Queer. “Where would be somewhere you'd feel comfortable?”
“The library, but would you mind switching to writing so I can wear my headphones? They have those noisy lights that send me into sensory overload.”
“Me too.” They waited as I grabbed my bag. “You have your headphones with you?”
“Definitely. One partner said not to wear them and the other did.” I shrugged. “Not that I need to wear them with either of my partners.”
With borrowed netbooks in front of us, we sat side by side in one of the new booths at the library.
Pair typed, “This is much better. Mind I ask what's in your headphones? I'm listening to Holly Near.”
I typed, “I have the mixture of songs my daughter and I have placed on this MP3 player. Right now, it's Korn, Thoughtless.” I pursed my lips. “I just wrote about 'conversation as sex' for Masturbation Monday.”
“And that causes your current expression?”
Using my thumb and forefinger like a 'modified C hand' in ASL, I pulled the corners of my mouth up and down as my thoughts tried to catch up to their question. “I wanted something new, something different.”
“From what you've done? Or from what others are used to experiencing?”
I released my lips to just trace them with my index fingers, as if planning to sign “Talk-with.”
Without another comment from me, they typed, “This is our first time together; does that make it different from that other time?”
A small smile found its way onto my lips, changing their feel under my fingertips. I sipped from the new bottle that securely held my metal straw in place for me. Yum! Guava, mango, passion fruit juice! I placed my fingers back on the home row and typed. “I think my mind is clasping at minutiae. What I find sexy isn't necessarily what others do.”
“May I please touch your hand?”
I nodded before typing, “Yes.”
Their fingers moved under my palm as their thumb slid up and down the top of my hand.
As they continued to touch my right hand, I slowly typed with my left hand, “Good.” My toes curled in my shoes. When they released my hand, I typed, “Very good.” I sipped my juice and pondered our next date.
When I sat down to write this, I realized that probably one of the first steps I made in the journey to drop my extremely well built “masks” to make me seem neurotypical was starting the story “Typing My Love.” Really fleshing out Happy, my first self-consciously Autism Spectrum character, I had to question ways in which I was like and not like stereotypes and actual parts of the diagnosis of the Autism Spectrum; after all, I'm not a “perfect stereotype” and I didn't want to make Happy one either.
This is harder to write than I expected when I put this as a possible topic to prepare for July; maybe that's a hint about how I'm struggling to go about actually dropping the NT “mask.” Here I am, 40 years old, and I don't have a formal Autism Spectrum diagnosis; I have many other diagnoses that AFAB (assigned female at birth) people often get instead of Autism Spectrum; I've just started to read about Sensory Processing Disorder and finding myself in these books. Between my therapist and I, we're looking for what will help me (she's no more an Autism Spectrum expert than I am, which is most likely why this is working :D ). I think right now, I'm largely going through a lot of “Who am I underneath the masks?” I also think that the nervous breakdown that I started recovering from back in February forced down quite a few masks.
One thing I've learned is not to hide my tools. I love the word “tool” when used it this way; it's what my therapist repeatedly has used talking about the wonderful techniques and objects she's taught me or I've found and she's helped me to use even better. It's been a process though, a slow journey of finding what helps and affording to buy it. I already had a bunch of toys, but starting to look for specific things like fidget spinners. I have a multitude of things and now an indoor swing has slowed the progress way down. It's going to take saving up, deep cleaning a room, and probably other things that will mean I continue to sit in the patio swing at Meijer until summer's over.
One piece that has particularly caused me consternation is my brain patterns. Let me explain- reading descriptions of people stimming (self-stimulating) brought me the realization that the repetitive movements that are stimming, that are one of the hallmarks of “that person looks Autistic,” I put those in my brain patterns. If my stimming was in my brain patterns, my mother couldn't see to disapprove of how different I am/was. I'm still debating if my way of thinking so many things so continuously is actually a problem; I never have a “calm” mind, like so many yoga things teach, and I go to sleep, even with my “racing thoughts”- I used to think I just always had bipolar racing thoughts, but when I examined my childhood, I had to admit that my thoughts picked up speed before adult bipolar would have been diagnosed.
Happy that I mentioned in the first paragraph? Happy is bigender and has noun-self pronouns, joy/joys/joyself. I have worked on bring some random sounds and “words used out of regular context” into joys speech, especially when joy is “making mouth sounds,” rather than using written communication; being able to communicate more efficiently and comfortably in writing is one of the things Happy and I share. I recent story I wrote for the #MasturbationMonday blog hop had me making various vocalizations I do when I'm making mouth noises- like “di di di di di.” Yes, I counted how many “di”s I tend to make when I say that LOL.
I just don't know. In a few days from this writing, I will see my med manager. She couldn't see through my masks at all; she thought I appeared calm and collected. I wonder if she didn't realize that I knew a locked psych ward was nearby; my therapist certainly made that connection to my behavior with the med manager. As a final thought, returning to my age, I wonder- what of the neurodivergent person is left under so many years of masks to try to make me seem normal?
When I was planning for stuff before Nanowrimo, I noticed that November 1st falls on a Wednesday this year. Ha! So I went into "But I won't have a snippet to share without breaking Nanowrimo rules!" And then I remembered that Happy still hadn't shared pronouns. And this happened (Happy's comments are in italics)...
Okay, Happy. Thanks for waiting until I got somewhere I could put my AlphaSmart down. You're white then? Blond and blue eyed?
Full of privilege until someone sees my non-normative looks. Well?
Well what? You know exactly what this is about! You told me you're non-binary but you're not giving me your pronouns. Or if you could be my Autistic character.
You had to be a smartass. Care to answer either question?
Not so fast. Yes, I'm non-binary. My hippy parents suggested the name when it felt time to come out as non-binary when I left the commune they're still living on where gender and gender expression didn't matter. I was born with blond hair, but I've had neon blue hair for several years now. I'm tall and I've been told that I'm willowy. I tend to wear robes most often, leftover habit from my childhood.
Establishing your non-binary cred? Saying that you have a typical androgynous look, like Ruby Rose? Does ze, hir, hirs suit you?
Ugh! Hirs...suit! No, I'm not hairy. Sorry, lame word play. Do you suggest ze and its conjugations because you're most familiar with it and you're offline at the moment?
Possibly, although it was mostly my first suggestion. Are you parsing thoughts or do you really dislike ze?
Ze is interesting. Might we experiment with my pronouns though? What if I'm not actually settled on a pronoun that feels right?
We could do that. I have to wonder though- are you thinking to go on Tumblr pages of pronouns that make even me scratch my head?
What did you vent today about "keep it simple"?
I know. I know. However I'm also thinking as an author; I know times I've experimented with a neopronoun set, or planned to, that the experiment ended fast. I'm not sure how respectful that is of any non-binary person. And yes, my "is this too special snowflake?" is coming up. You have to admit that you and your fellow partners are all several steps away from the mainstream.
Ah, and there you are at considering which one of us is Autistic. All of us fit your precious Vala's "Not a poster child any movement would want." Like could I be Autistic and my pronoun pondering would be like your own gender quandary?
Of course you're right. For some reason Ziba keeps coming to mind as the possible Autistic, but then I struggle to figure out the intersections of being Muslim, bisexual, and Autistic.
And me wanting to experiment with neopronouns leads you to considering if that reflects poorly on the Autistic community? Think of the Facebook pages you follow though.
Do you like what I'm seeing of your first scene?
Ha, yeah. Here's hoping by the time this has gone live on your website, you'll have gotten at least that post written.
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