The Sensitive Storm

Beneath the surface, a storm brews.

Category: Aspergers

Since My Last Post (in pictures)

lol

Things have been looking up. I’ve been looking up, too. For answers.

totes

I spent some time hanging out with Toto. Toto spent some time hanging out on me.

classroom

I was “hired” and “fired” from the school board. Again. There went that dream.

kb

I met Katie! She is a missionary in Spain. Funny. Ron went to Spain a few days after I met Katie. He was gone a few weeks. His family lives there.

map

That was really far. No me gusta.

tree

I drew this. I gave it to my grandma for her birthday. I’m not sure about all the colors but other people seem to like it.

fish

I caught this fish. And no, I’m not pregnant. That’s the wind in my shirt. Geesh.

dinner

A lovely lady named Margaret made us dinner. It was delicious. Also, I discovered this seasoning.

yummy

You need it in your life.

mj

I saw Jenn. I love this lady!

pic

I drew this. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done. This isn’t the finished photo. Lemme look for that…

pic

So odd. Reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright. Except, not.

feather

I found this feather at the beach. it’s 14″ long.

lantern

That same night ^ would’ve been my dad’s birthday. So, we lit this lantern and watched it disappear.

lamp

I think it was headed North.

yay

I discovered the first tomato on the plant I have grown from a seed. It’s in a bucket. So far it’s the only one.

plants

I took some close ups of a passion flower plant. With my iPhone. Thanks to this: http://www.olloclip.com

flounder

I caught this 20″ flounder! I used my Abu Garcia pole and a live shrimp. It measured 20″! I haven’t fished in a really long time but recently I found myself more attracted to the idea of it. I figure since I’m a pesky pescatarian I may as well not be one of those people that pretend death doesn’t exist, for the sake of food.

dog

I dog sat for Toto. The Toto loves me.

J

I had some quality Facetime with my favorite cousin, Jay.

wine

Marcia bought a bottle of the BEST WINE EVER for Girl’s Night! And I drank a glass. And it was good.

glass

Katie gave me that cool coaster. It’s from Morocco.

girls night

“The Girls”. (fun night!!)

night

This was another great night. Had dinner with my BFF who came to see me. She’s moving to California mid-October. ūüė¶

steph

We ate at the raw food restaurant in St. Augustine.

soup

I made this stew with garbanzo beans, tomatoes and kale. (and other things but mostly those 3 things)

tree

I started drawing this.

beach

And I saw the sunset at this beach. Beautiful. Big reason I love this state.

Oh! I updated my iPhone to iOS 7. Does anyone have an iPhone? How do you feel about the upgrade? I like it. I love that the lock screen changes color with whatever wallpaper image I use. I also like that I can get rid of a text with a finger swipe. Before the update my alerts would come up toward the top of the screen and hang out for longer than I wanted it to. Do know, however, if you have an older Mac you will have to upgrade to OS X Snow Leopard. I had to buy that bad boy for $20.00 but the shipping was free and it arrived in just a few days.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. There are other blogs in the work so stay tuned.

~ C

I’m Not Who I Was

*this is a long one, folks*

I’m not who I was 6 months ago. I’m better.

Things in my life are changing and have been changing. Of course change is the only thing we can rely on in this world but sometimes we don’t see the change until it catches up with us. I didn’t know it at the time but my life started taking a completely different turn when my step-father was diagnosed with cancer on Valentines Day, 2010. I was angry for an entire year until we heard the “it’s in remission”. I sort of went back to breathing after that but if you know me or have read any part of my blog you already know that things haven’t gone the way I expected them to for several years now.

I learned something about grief in the meantime:  People hurt other people when they are grieving.

When we are hurt we lash out. We hurt people that love us and we hurt our friends. We say hateful things. When we create new relationships it’s more out of desperation or fear or neediness than out of anything else.

You know what? Let me stop right there and get real for a second. I’m going to change the “we” to “I”. Here goes…

What I noticed about myself over the past two years is I’ve reached out to people just to feel connected. I didn’t think about them and I couldn’t have before now. It was extremely difficult for me to deal with the loss of the man who raised me while feeling (mostly) alone in a city with a few acquaintances and no family. I was so confused, lost and hurt. I was in pain. I’d never experienced such grief. I didn’t even know I was grieving! Three months after my father died I went to a therapist to try and figure out what I was still so upset. ¬†Sure I’ve lost friends and family along the way but this one blew all of them out of the water – as far as emotional impact.

I didn’t know what I was doing but at the very minimum I was “surviving”. I hear that a lot, don’t you? Ask people how they are and they say “I’m surviving”. Really? Damn. To me that’s a scream for help. When I’ve said “I’m surviving” over the past year what I really meant was…I’m trying to find reasons to stay alive. I was walking around in a state of unrest. I had nothing to rely on but myself and my faith that my friends would help me get through it. I was living in a void. I was looking outside myself for answers. Also, I wasn’t looking to God.

About “Surviving”…

I think we are all just “surviving” in a way. We are so burdened by fiances and making ends meet that we don’t think of anything else. There isn’t much room for self-actualization, mindfulness or God (or others) when we are worried about where our food will come from or if we will have a place to live. I’ve been clinging to those fears for a couple years now and only now am I able to see where it got me.

Here’s the other thing…

My life doesn’t fit into a nicely packaged 9 – 5. It never has and I’ve accepted it never will. I have a rich background of experience but if you were to view my resume you’d see I am never anywhere very long. My aunt says I was born in the wrong era. My friends call me “crazy” or “hippy” or some like to think I’m scattered and confused. My nickname at the last job I had was “gyps”…I was told that meant “gypsy” and “hippy” rolled into one. When I talk to my grandma she says things like “what kind of crazy thing are you doing now”, with a chuckle in her voice. She told me once that she’d always wanted to be a gypsy. If you knew my grandmother this might blow your mind a little bit. It does mine. But I see that she loves my free spirit and enjoys hearing my stories. I drove to Washington DC and then to New York once. Alone. I called my grandma from Time Square and I could just hear the glee in her voice when I told her where I was.

NYC

My sister once said to me that she used to envy the freedom I have to come and go as I please but in the same breath she said maybe she’s glad she isn’t like me. My mom says she prays for me. My aunt thinks I’m crazy. (She worked at the police department for 25 years then retired, just like my father who worked at the fire department for 28 years then retired). Of course THEY think I’m crazy.

But…

Not fitting into a box hasn’t been easy.

Being single at my age hasn’t been easy.

Having dreams that don’t include a typical work schedule hasn’t been easy.

Not having a child at my age hasn’t been easy.

And I mean “hasn’t been easy” because I haven’t ever fit into the mold you created for me. The one you continue to create for yourself by doing the things you are doing. Grasping.

And, since when has following your heart been easy? Are you following your heart? I’m trying. I’ve been trying all this time but life got in the way. And now that I’ve removed the noise I can finally hear what it’s saying.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I should’ve been a missionary. Before I left the church I grew up in (around age 24) I was interviewing for an open spot in Bangladesh. We were going to build fisheries that would give the community jobs and food. I was going to be an assistant to the director. But, I didn’t go because all at once I became overwhelmed with life’s challenges and choices so I stayed here. Not to mention every person I spoke to said I shouldn’t go.

After many years of seeking out which faith felt right to me I finally settled on a personal, spiritual path with God. It didn’t really revolve around a certain church or fellowship. I suppose if I had to say I feel my faith is somewhere close to the Unity church and Buddhism. Upon graduating from college I decided my “mission” work could come in the form of the Peace Corp. My dad said “no, get a job”. So, I got a job. And I was miserable. And I’ve been mostly miserable every since.

The moral of the story is, make your own decisions and THEN tell people what you’re doing. Speak to one or two friends or family members that will give you honest, unbiased feedback and go from there. But for everyone’s sake…STOP listening to everyone else! People have their own paths to walk and they will IMPOSE THEIRS ON YOU. So, unless you want to start over again when you’re 50 you should consider the dreams you had when you were young. What’s in your heart?

Also, be honest with yourself.

For a long time I’ve been angry with myself for not living up to the standard I hold for myself. I was on the phone with one of my best friends the other day and I told her I don’t feel successful. She shocked me when she told me that I’m probably the only successful person she knows. She said – you are genuinely honest with yourself and others and she said I’m not afraid to take chances. You are the most “actualized” person I know, she said.

Is that my definition of success? What’s your definition of success? So many people that have 9 – 5 jobs they do because “it pays the bills” are unhappy. In turn they make everyone around them miserable. This does not make for a happy community.

And now, here’s something to think about.

Maslow

And now that chart in Arabic.

Arabic

Where are you on the list? Preferably the one in English please. I’ll be honest. For the past 6 months I’ve been worried about security. I’ve worried about food and my basic homeostasis (it doesn’t take much to knock a HSP off kilter). A few months ago I was even reading about how to survive while being homeless. I was considering living out of my car.

Here’s something else to think about. Who do you know that’s happy? WHY are they happy? I asked myself this question and I see it as either two things. One, they have meaningful work that they enjoy or two, they have children or a family that brings them complete happiness. Isn’t it silly that the people writing books and making the most money are the ones that are doing what they love and making a living (more than just a salary, but they are rich) by telling everyone else all they need to do is what they love?

Isn’t that ludicrous?

(I can’t believe I spelled ludicrous correctly on the first try (and second))

Okay but we are the ones buying books of people doing what they love and the only thing they are doing is telling us to do the same thing they are doing. We buy the books but they’ve been on the journeys. Why don’t WE go on the journeys? Why are we making decisions to be miserable? Why aren’t WE writing the books and sharing our experiences of growth and God and love and happiness with each other?

Listen. I’m pretty darn poor. When I was asking myself what I feel success is I had many thoughts swimming around in my head but mostly I realized that I could be more successful if I wanted to work harder. But guess what I realized?

I don’t want to work any harder. Well, I do want to work harder but not at what you think.

What I want to work harder at is capturing the essence of bliss and feeling it in my life. Applying that contentedness to my own energy and, in turn, sharing it with others so they too can be at peace.

Do you hear what I’m saying here? I’m saying I’m okay where I am and you should try to be. I will not subject myself to the torture that comes along with constantly trying to be more “successful”, which to most people only means making more money and getting a boat. Or whatever people want to acquire. Not that a boat wouldn’t be cool I’m just saying I am tired of being mad at myself. I’ve seen miserable wealthy people and I’ve seen miserable poor people. I’m tired of holding onto a standard of success that says I am only successful if I achieve a certain status. Well what about retirement? Well, what about it? Listen people. I’m a little bit worried about tomorrow but here’s the truth. Our lives don’t last. We all die and we don’t know when that will be. If I’m still working when I’m 65, that’s okay by me. It will keep me moving and increase my quality of life. I won’t feel like I’m unsuccessful because I’ll know I made the choice to be content where I am.

The personal success I’ve achieved comes from the inner work I’ve done and continue to do on a deeper soul level. Our society has failed its people when our self-esteem and well-being is tied to anything relating to money. Owning a home or a vehicle are examples but I see them as getting in the way of the real stuff. Acquiring “things” are just that. Things. I see people all around me who abuse their loved ones for the sake of things.Hugs

Resiliency

She sits him down in a stiff chair

Rubs his back and strokes his hair

Telling him its okay to cry

But he just sits and stares

The merciless moon outside

Has nothing now he’s come to realize

Only the desolation he feels

The cold distance inside

~Mumford and Sons Lyrics from Feel the Tide

I feel “off” today. I can’t determine whether it’s my energy or the energy of the people around me.

I had a really intense conversation/connection with a couple friends yesterday about the past year. They agreed 2012 was the worse year since the dawn of time. These two friends basically had the same experiences as I had with moving to a different state and coming back within 2 months. How odd. Does that happen often? This couple was promised some things by a long time friend and the things he spoke of fell through. They moved from Florida to New Jersey with the promise of a new start and ended up being sucked into a mess. Luckily they were in tune with the situation and even though they tried, you can’t make someone be something they aren’t…especially if they aren’t ready for it.

They cut their losses, turned around and headed back home. Time and money now spent. The trust of their family and friends knocked off balance. Uncertain about their future and out of their own place to live. It was good to feel someone truly understood where I was coming from but at the same time…it was draining for all 3 of us. Just talking about it drudged up the feelings that are still warmly simmering, just beneath¬†the surface.

I moved to South Carolina in January and back to Florida in February. After our talk I found myself feeling anxious and angry. Angry at myself for not paying attention to the signs. Angry for putting myself in that situation.

Am I glad it happened? No. Not at all. If it hadn’t of happened I’d still be saving up money to pay my car off. I’d still be working. I’d still be living with my mother, whom I know is lonely. I’d have Chewy snuggling with me every night and welcoming me when I come home. Oh no, I’m still a tad bit bitter.

Did I learn things about myself that will be helpful in the future? Sure. If I couldn’t learn things from bad experiences I’d probably hate life. Luckily I am hopeful and I somehow acquired this little thing along the way called “resiliency”.

Good things that have happened recently. I’ve had two interviews in two weeks. I try not to only think good thoughts about Chewy. I have a gracious roommate that keeps me smiling. I haven’t watched TV in 3 weeks and I have met a handful of new friends I never would’ve known anywhere else. I went to my first drum circle (and played the drums…for about 4 hours straight).

2013-02-24 20.46.09

Attended my first vegetarian potluck. Met new people. Rode my bike to the beach to see the full moon.

2013-02-26 20.15.25

Made my own juice for the first time, ever. Ingredients: 1/2 a cucumber. Handful of kale. Spinach. Piece of my aloe plant. A beet. Beets are my F A V O R I T E things to put in juice. Here’s how it turned out.

2013-02-26 19.27.26 

See what I did there?

Now I feel a tad bit better. I’m looking forward to making more bloody beet juice, attending RAM (Riverside Arts Market) this weekend, walking to the beach, going back to the local farmers market and getting some of that weird looking broccoli/cauliflower stuff ¬†and attending Art Walk next Wednesday and spending some more quality time with new friends.

Life’s okay sometimes.

Dreams

I miss my dog. I miss my dad.

This morning I woke up to a dream I was having of my father. I was a passenger in the camper he was driving. I was staring out of the front window, watching him drive and watching the road. It was in the evening. We had both decided, without really saying anything, that we just wanted to get a little bit farther before we stopped for the evening. My mind was trying to come up with details like where would we stay, what if we just stopped for a little while at a rest area to sleep and keep going, etc. but my being present wouldn’t allow it. I just kept pulling myself back to the inside of that camper. Watching my dad drive. He never looked back at me.

I expect people that haven’t been through the loss of a parent can’t really understand how it feels to have dreams like this. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to truly understand the depth of them had I not suffered this great loss.

When a dream like this occurs when someone this close to you dies, it stirs things. It doesn’t matter how zen you’ve become about it. Doesn’t matter how comfortable you are about the loss now or how you can finally talk about that person without getting tears in your eyes. It’s especially rough in the mornings because that’s one of the time’s I feel the most vulnerable and open.

I’m just saying it stirs things up. My family was a “camper family” as someone recently put it. We travelled all the time in our camper. After my father died and we were all going through old photos the photo that affected me the most was one my father took of our campsite when we were in Virginia. Everything looked so perfect and it was such a beautiful site. I knew he was proud of it. The only person in the photo was the one taking it, my dad. (I’ll scan it sometime once I can find it again in all of my scattered things)

My parents bought our first camper when I was around 12. Throughout the year we’d go on weekend trips to nearby state parks and during the summers we travelled to place like Niagara Falls (Canada side), Maine, Prince Edward Island (before they built the bridge and we had to drive our camper onto a ferry to get there), Arizona, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and everywhere in between.

182

(pic taken on the ferry)

I’d always be the one to help my dad set up the campsite. Come to think of it, where was my sister during those times? Huh. Anyhow, we’d work out the leveling of the camper. My mom and I have a very delicate inner equilibrium so it was always easy for us to tell if the camper was off. Once we’d finally figure that out I’d climb to the top of the camper and open the storage hatch to pull out what we needed. I’d help my dad put down the awning. We’d set up the chairs by the fire and pull the bicycles off the ladder behind the camper. After that we’d decide what we were going to do the rest of the day.

My father and I were the ones that went on most of the nature hikes. My mother and sister would usually stay near the camper. He’d always grab his 35mm and I’d grab my pink Kodak. Sometimes we’d ride our bikes and sometimes we’d walk. I remember always looking for bighorn sheep because that’s what he wanted to take pictures of more than anything. He finally did, p.s.

I’m rambling now.

My point in mentioning the camping stuff is well, my dream. In my dream my dad and I were riding off into the darkness together. A comfortable darkness. What’s it mean? Where was he taking me? Was he taking me somewhere? If so, where? Where were we headed? What was he trying to say?

I have to tell you that the idea of me driving away in a camper isn’t a new idea to me. I’ve actually thought about it a lot lately since I feel a bit like a vagabond lately. I’ve spoken about it to my roommate who calls me hippy and asks me why I am always want to run away. At a birthday party the other night we talked about it with a group of people. Someone decided it sounded like a gypsy thing to do and then we all came up with “gypsy” jobs and names for each other. Apparently the name Carmen already sounds like a good psychic name because that was mine. So we had a psychic, a male dancer that always carried a single stem rose in his mouth, a flamenco dancer, someone that makes beer (in a separate camper) and a mime. Because, in our 20th century minds, that’s what gypsies do.

All I’m saying is I wouldn’t mind driving off into the darkness with my dad sometime. I mean, I’d have to leave some things behind but I’d see them all again eventually. I hope Chewy can come.

216

High Sensitivity vs Aspergers Syndrome

Well, what’s the difference?

I really don’t know. I’m asking.

Here’s an email I received from a close friend today that prompted the questions.

“I hope you don’t take what im about to tell you the wrong way but have you realized that sometimes you have moments of somebody with Aspergers? Where your words are hurtful but you didn’t mean it to be and for others that don’t know u really well might think that you have no empathy for how others might feel with your hard words…”

I had a therapist {and a handful of friends} tell me she thinks I am on the spectrum. What’s the “spectrum” you ask? Well, it isn’t Skittles. It’s not the rainbow of flavors. It isn’t a spectrum of color. It isn’t a Florence and The Machine Song. It’s an autism spectrum. Now, I know there are a lot of people out there that are more knowledgeable about the subject than I am but well, this is my blog and…I do what I want! ¬†Here’s this thing I was asked to take a couple years ago.

Aspie

168/200? I’ve often wondered how much this effects my life. One question the therapist asked me sticks out in my mind. She asked if I have always felt behind. She went on to explain that as an adult have I noticed everyone around me developing at a seemingly normal pace and did I find myself feeling behind or that I couldn’t catch up or do the things others do. This relates in many areas including moving out of my parents house, having sex, developing relationships, and more.

I am a late bloomer. And I mean, if I plant something this spring it will blossom in a few years. When all of my friends were having sex {at 18} my “boyfriend” was breaking up with me because I wouldn’t kiss him. Noises, weird social things, people, distractions, feeling easily overwhelmed, food allergies, anxiety, having Tourette’s {way worse when I was younger but I still have tics that are made worse with caffeine & sugar intake}, sleep issues, coming across as rude or hurtful {that’s what they tell me}, clumsiness, issues with people touching me, rituals I do, visual preference, high intelligence *wink wink* my intense obsession with astrology and numbers and the way I am proud of myself for remembering to say “thank you for sharing that” or “hi, how are you” when I place a phone call {which I usually refrain from doing} instead of just ¬†jumping into the reason I called. {Aint nobody got time for small talk}

I could sit and list all the things that could possibly give me a diagnosis of Aspergers but my intention isn’t to convince you {or myself} I have it or not. I really want to create a dialogue that discusses fundamental differences between the trait of high sensitivity vs autism. Has anyone done any research on the topic or have any ¬†personal experiences they can share that will possibly help shed light on what I’m asking? Do any of you who identify as sensitive also have a diagnosis of Autism?