The A-Word Too

CFNM mansion on Sunday. That’s Nellie and Petroc with me.

My head is hurting while I try to write this. I read Spitfire’s take on her autism over on her blog earlier today. Yes, I truly believe she has autism and struggled with it on a daily basis, and fights to stay “normal,” whatever “normal” actually is.

I’m different. She grew up male. She grew up with male pressures and male demands made of her. She was different, and she knew it, because she had more markers that labelled her as “not quite right” and was able to get help.

I was tested as a preschooler and had a genius level IQ close to, if not at Mensa level, so I was placed in an immersion class. Apparently, by the time I was 7, I could speak three languages thoroughly, and at least three others partially, and had some of the family’s Gaelic down pat. My mother’s father’s paternal line comes from Scotland. Her father’s maternal line from Europe, and there’s apparently a genetic disease from there that I have, but that’s besides the point.

I had my shy moments as a child. Unlike the other girls who wanted to chatter and play dollies and house, I was on the swing set and jungle gyms or chasing the boys. While they played make-believe and dress-up and mommies, I was Princess Leia, or Scarlet, or Jinx, Teela, or Aleeta One, the token girl of the boy cartoons. I was physical. I ran. I jumped. I tumbled. I flipped. I was in gymnastics, but not martial arts because martial arts was bad, at least according to my mother.

I was also a wanderer and had a several mile roam when I was 5, that none of my friends had. I was smart enough not to wander to the river, but I regularly crossed active railroad tracks and busy streets. The park I played at was a mile away. As an older child, many provinces away, I had an 11km one way trip via bus and walking to get to school, and that was with the city bus, not school bus. This was during the time of Clifford Olson and kids were being killed blocks from their homes. Children that wander are very often autistic, especially when they had no sense of danger. I didn’t have any until I was hit by a car on bike.

I wanted to please adults, and that also left me vulnerable to exploitation, and I was exploited, as a child, as a teen, as a young adult, and even now as an adult. I’m uneasy if people around me are “upset.”

I was “hyperactive” at school. I “daydreamed” a lot. My marks in school were never genius level, but average with okay teachers, above average with good teachers, and the couple of teachers that destroyed any desire I had to learn? I was their bane as a student.

Essentially, the class had to stay together as a group and I got bored.

By 9, I could read hieroglyphics and wanted to be an archeologist. Now? I can’t read anything ancient Egyptian. Why? Because I was interested in the subject and did everything I could to read every single book in the school library, then city library, then local university library, that I could on the subject.

I still devour subjects I find an interest in.

Of course, all this documentation is gone now. My *cough* loving mother had kept all of it and when the building her flat was in had a fire, she lost everything. Or so she told me.

At 12, I had facts and figures memorized. I was able to recite things about her religious fanaticism by rote and more. A year before, I had lost some of my vision and needed glasses, and that’s a whole other story of abuse. Then, the day happened….

I watched kids go on the slide at school the first day back from winter break. They would slide down, hit a patch of ice at the bottom, and bounce back up. I remember watching several kids do that. Then I tried.

What I didn’t figure on was the additional gravity weights I had grown in the year since I started menstruating and how they affected my sense of balance. Or how, when I hit the ice patch, I was no longer even a 90lbs kid, but 130lbs of beginning womanhood and that my centre of gravity was not where it had been even a month earlier.

I woke up face down on a frozen cedar log. My glasses were shattered. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a huge cut through my eyebrow. It took the office staff at the school to sit me down and apply an icepack to get me to realize that I didn’t just smash my glasses. I sat there, waiting for an hour, on a chair. I should have been ambulanced to the hospital, or driven by a staffer and met by my mother.

I had a “mild” concussion, if by “mild” you mean that I forgot facts and figures, lost languages, lost my ability to filter my emotions and more. Nor was that the first head injury I got, nor the last one. The first one I remember, sorta, was getting the side of a shovel into the right side of my face. I now realize one of the reasons why people never liked me was that I was never able to smile like I should have been able to. The proof of that injury is that that side of my face doesn’t move like the other side and all the teeth came in with fractures that were dismissed as cavities. How can a tooth less than a month old have a giant cavity in it unless it was damaged while it was growing?

Anyway, the mild concussion meant that my math skills stopped. I couldn’t math more than what I had learned. I couldn’t grok math anymore. I couldn’t learn languages either, and I tried. I didn’t get it. I could see the numbers from dates that my mother had me remember by rote as a small child, but on that day when I was 12, I couldn’t do it anymore. My schooling really, truly, suffered, but because I wasn’t “retarded,” the schools didn’t care about me. I graduated, on time, with one credit to spare, after taking several classes multiple times. I still don’t know how I did grade 12 chemistry when I had barely grade 9 math.

I have a small bit of synesthesia too, but it’s “normal” to me. Just like the tinnitus I have is “normal” for me. If I was an adult woman who developed it from nowhere, it would have driven me crazy. I have blue field entopic phenomenon, except I don’t need a blue field to see it. I also have a “supertaster” tongue that could have been trained to taste all sorts of flavours.

So I do get overwhelmed with sensations. I stim, but my stims are considered “normal” and socially acceptable. Autistics use stims to calm themselves down and relieve anxiety. I knit, crochet, cross stitch, and draw. All of those are considered socially acceptable stims. I also have a ton of stuffed animals specifically because I can pick one up and pet it because the landlord doesn’t allow us to have anything bigger than a hamster. I even sleep between two sets of faux fur sheets because I can’t stand anything less than 400 count cotton sheets, and even then, if the mattress underneath feels rough, I can’t sleep. The faux fur masks that, and I sleep warm.

As I’m writing this, I find another woman going through something similar and have been reading her post. “As a young girl, I was far more vulnerable to sexual abuse because I might have missed social warning signals. I was more likely to be abused by a parent, teacher or guardian because I was so damn irritating, and subsequently, as an adult, I am more likely to be a victim of domestic or partner abuse. “

I won’t go into everything I’ve gone through when it comes to sexual or partner abuse. I find it almost amusing that my children’s father is now accusing me of financial abuse when I’m the one who had all the risk associated with our finances. I think he’s getting off on playing the poor victim here. He can keep on doing that. I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing.

Anyway, in my 20s, I was trying to find a diagnosis for what was going on in my head. Not even the court ordered psychologist would confirm anything, except that I didn’t have what these lay people were trying to get me diagnosed with so they could use it as an excuse to have me go through psychiatric care to find more reasons to keep me behind closed doors.

It got to the point where I was withdrawing completely from anything social because I didn’t have the skills or ability to be social. I could do it at school because we were supposed to stay at our desks and do as we were told. Real life? I was lost. It was a sea of faces I couldn’t recognize, even if they were my friends. I was abandoned. I was alone. Perfect prey for predators. Worse still, people who I thought were my friends were using me for their gains, and one in particular was told to never bring me back to an event again even though I had been a member of that club less than a decade before. Oh sure, that club was happy to have my money, but not my presence.

I don’t know how I survived my late teens. Or my 20’s. I could have gone the route of drugs and alcohol, but I didn’t. By my 30’s, I had a “partner” who was supposed to protect me and more. He has since decided that I am the cause of all his problems and the solution is to go his own way and make my life as hard as possible. Except it’s not working.

About 5 years ago, I started to wonder if I had Autism. I had some of the signs and symptoms, but not all of them.

Then, in the last two years, I delved deeper. I’ve taken multiple online tests, including one that was far too many questions, and they all came up as “high functioning autism.”

Women have different signs and symptoms then men. Girls have different signs and symptoms than boys. Girls are trained from infancy to socialize and they learn to mask their symptoms and appear as normal as possible because it was more socially acceptable for a little boy to flap his hands and act out than a little girl. Give her her dolly, tell her to sit there, and she’ll pat and “play” with the doll instead of act out.

I was a thumb sucker. I sucked my thumb until an accident when I was 21 and I nearly lost it and lost the ability to hold a pencil and sign my name. It took me 3 years to relearn how to write and that’s cause I forced myself to learn. I don’t suck my thumb like I did, but I still have a need to suck things. I guess that’s why I like the crystal Spitfire sent me. I can suck on it for a moment and I’m suddenly calm.

Women my age are learning that they were left behind. That they could have been helped if someone had saw what they actually were and wanted to help them. Boys in my class were labelled with ADHD at the time. I was ignored. If I had been born with a stick shift and ball bearings, I am certain I would have gotten a diagnosis or three. Instead, I was born with a slit and was ignored as not needing anything.

I needed tutors. I needed someone that wasn’t my mother to say that they believed in me, because she never did. To her, I was a failure because I had not lived up to my genius IQ. She pointed to a Phil Donahue episode with genius kids who skipped one, two, or even three grades, and how that was supposed to have been me, but I failed her unrealistic expectations. I might have been able to do it if I had had my biological father in my life, or had not been removed from the family supports we had in the province of our birth when she decided to move us to the far corner of Canada.

What did I get instead? Beatings, harassment, groundings, and lost any ability to socialized because I was kept isolated. I wasn’t good enough. Even when I did bring home an A, because it wasn’t in an intellectual subject, it was ignore. A teacher told my mother when I was 6 to get me into art school and foster that talent. What was done instead was the exact opposite.

Now, as a 46 year old adult, I look back and I can see clearly signs that I had the female version of autism. That I was not nurtured, or had any interventions that could have helped me. Not even when I had my head injury. When I was growing up, you were expected to adapt to school, not the other way around. I was “mature” for my age at 12, but immature at 26.

If I was a child growing up in the school system now, I’d get some sort of diagnosis.

If I was a child growing up in the school system now, there’d be adaptive learning available for me.

Instead…

I’m left behind.

Spitfire says she thinks I’m her soulmate. I’ve had those exact words used against me by men who wanted to control me. “You’re my soulmate!” No, I’m able to mimic what you need from a lover. That’s also a female autistic trait.

Spitfire, I love you in my own way, but I’ve been too badly abused by men who have preyed upon me. I feel abandoned by you. I called you the word that scares me calling anyone who I love it, because to me, you did exactly what that word means to me – you abandoned me. You neglected me.

Yes, Spitfire, I know you’re back and I’m in your virtual arms as I write this, but that doesn’t change how I feel. Abandoned. Neglected. Alone.

I’m crying as I type this.

I am trying to keep things going for three kids who don’t appreciate what I’m trying to do or go through in order to keep a roof over their heads. I got yelled at by one for not doing something for another, when the other refused, and so I got something for me instead. I fixed the first issue and Spitfire is promising to make good about what I got for myself.

Now, my children’s father is playing games with his parenting time. The child that didn’t want to visit is staying longer than I consent to. The child that did, no longer wants to, and he’s forcing his will upon that one to visit with him. He can’t have it both ways.

I’m alone here. He has his family as support. I have nothing but what I’ve built since leaving him.

I find out that my coworkers think I’m slaking at work cause I’m not willing to break the rules of the road to be quicker at my deliveries. It’s not their insurance or driver’s license at stake. I’ll keep on doing my own thing.

#keepgoingdollie

cause dollie has no choice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s