Archive | February 2014

The Internship

The seven weeks passed by quickly. Seventy hours gone, in a flash. It’s been a rewarding experience. I’ve been able to apply some of my recently acquired accounting skills and I’ve learned a bit about what it’s like to work in a professional atmosphere within the field of finance.

 

My first few weeks were spent organizing binders of plant assets bought in the last few years and filing. There was a lot of filing and organizing; two things that I happen to be very good at. My supervisor liked my work and how quickly I was getting things done. He then had me take the information from the binders that I created to make charts calculating the depreciation of the company’s plant assets bought in each year. It started out simple, like the source documents that I was using, and then we tweaked the charts to include everything that was needed for the company’s records. After these charts were complete, I started adding the information to another chart and adjusting it. On the last day of my internship, I was included in the lunch meeting of the Accounting and Billing staff. They included a bit of my work in the meeting, and said that I had done a very good job. They also said that they would miss me, and if a position opened up, I would be at the top of their list.

 

Depending on your knowledge of accounting, you may or may not know what exactly it is that I did. But the point is that I went into a workplace and I excelled. My co-workers liked me and appreciated the work that I did. For that, I’m very happy. It’s always nerve-wracking to walk into something that you know little about. I wasn’t sure what they would expect of me. I wasn’t sure how much of what I had learned would be applied. I wasn’t sure that I had learned everything that they might want me to do. But I did it! And it’s a relief to know that I exceeded their expectations. It was a good experience, but I have more to learn and another internship to do.

 

Surprisingly, at the end of the day, I was asked to come back in Monday morning. They are offering me a part time job in their billing department, and want to discuss the details with me. I’m very excited. I can’t wait to learn what they have for me to do.

 

It’s exciting to do something that could be scary and do well in spite of your fears. Just remember: if I can do it, so can you!

 

 

Ecstatic,

Allie.

Overly Honest

People on the spectrum tend to be overly honest. This honesty can range from “Mommy, why is that man so big?” in the grocery store as a child to “Your stupidity annoys me.” as a teenager or adult. I still have a bit of an issue with this. I will over-do the honesty in a conversation or I will give information that isn’t necessarily wanted.

 

 

I wait at a bus stop to go to my internship. Sometimes, I run into people I know and have a nice conversation with them. Sometimes, I encounter a bit of unwanted attention from persons of the opposite sex. It’s obnoxious and entertaining at the same time. I do my best to brush them off in a polite way. The different methods of their trying to talk me into, sometimes base, things are funny. Often, the way that they talk to me is disrespectful. And occasionally, these people will not take the hint. I’m not interested in you. I have a boyfriend. Nope. The only people that I allow to call me “Baby” are my dad and my boyfriend. Since when is the fact that I have a boyfriend an invalid reason to stop trying to talk to me? Apparently, it means nothing unless he’s physically there. The point of telling you this is that it is something I’m overly honest about.

 

 

The poor Medic has heard about these encounters a little too often. I tell him pretty much everything, especially memorable things. And I realize that my boyfriend doesn’t want to hear that other guys are hitting on me. Wow. It took me long enough to get it. He’s all the way in Texas. He can’t do anything, and that frustrates him. He hates it. He despises those men. And I hate upsetting him.

 

So, why do I keep doing it? I don’t know.

 

Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m hiding something when I don’t tell him. Maybe it’s because he’s the person that I talk to about everything. Maybe it’s because I can’t hold it in and I just need to say something about it to someone. Maybe I just want to laugh at them with someone so that I’m not upset about it. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I don’t know why.

 

 

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to not tell The Medic about these encounters. I’m going to write about them in a notebook, and then I’m going to throw the paper away. This, I hope, will get the need to say something about it out of my system. And I’m going to watch myself in other areas for being overly honest. Let’s see how much I can grow in this little area.

 

Honestly,

Allie.

This entry was posted on February 28, 2014. 1 Comment

Self-Diagnosis

While some are diagnosed at a young age and some at an old age, some don’t have the availability of being professionally diagnosed. Does this make their position on the autism spectrum invalid?

I was always different. When I was fourteen, my mom did research online and diagnosed me. Asperger Syndrome. I’ve never been to see a “professional”, so I guess that means that I’m not professionally diagnosed. I may or may not lose readers because of this fact. If you want to determine whether my words and experiences are true based on whether or not I’ve been professionally diagnosed, go ahead.
But before anyone passes judgment, consider this: I’m Caucasian and I always have been. Do I need a physician to tell me that I’m white? No. I already know without a doubt that I am. It’s as simple as that. I’m different and I always have been. As soon as my mom told me about Asperger Syndrome, I knew. As soon as I talked to people that had been diagnosed, I knew. We’ve experienced similar things, similar difficulties, and similar feelings. I know without a doubt that I have AS. Do I need a professional to tell me what I already know so that my words are valid as an aspie? No.

Those of you that have been reading my blog since the beginning know that I have AS. You’ve read the struggles, the pain, the joys, and the confusion that you or a loved one have experienced with AS, but they were my words and my experiences. I’ve not had the availability of a professional diagnosis. Money and distance have prevented one.

I do understand the suspicion of those that haven’t been professionally diagnosed. Not everyone is nice. Some people might desire to take advantage of unsuspecting aspies. But I’m surely not one of those people. If you’ve read much of my writing, you know that.

I hope that none of my readers will discount my blog after reading this. I also hope that you will give others that haven’t been able to get a diagnosis a chance. Don’t discount a person because of something that has been out of their reach.

Respectfully,
Allie.

This entry was posted on February 24, 2014. 2 Comments

Noises

I am an old lady. On the inside, I mean.

I’ve never been much for the partying scene, unlike the majority of my peers. I don’t make a habit of staying up all hours of the night. In fact, I prefer to go to bed before 10:30. I don’t like constant or loud noise. I don’t want to be around people all the time. (The Medic and my family don’t count as “people”. They’re special to me.) I like my quiet. I like my space. Falling asleep is difficult for me with noise and light.

It’s the roommates again. Let me tell you about what’s happening now. Since my last post about my living arrangements, “Controlled Change”, I’ve lost two roommates and gained one. The one gained was gained against the preference of those of us in the room. “The Original” (roommate that is) and I live together almost perfectly. She’s my “bestie” at Job Corps. Having been roommates since day 1, we have an equal understanding of what the other likes and doesn’t like. It’s the third roommate that gives us trouble. Just this last weekend is a prime example.

Friday night, I was up late on the phone with The Medic. “The Third” came back to the room, and played her music on her phone. She turned the TV on. Sometimes, it got hard to hear The Medic. I see this as something very rude. If you see someone is on the phone, you should be respectful. Later on, it seemed like the room was quieting down. She had turned the TV off, and The Medic and I were starting our drawn-out and sleepy goodbyes. Then The Third decided to turn the music on her phone on again and take a shower. She’s not a quiet person. In fact, I cannot even come close to understanding how she manages to make as much noise as she does just walking across the room. It baffles me. She does everything loud. End of that night, I was kept up until after midnight by The Third.

Saturday night, I may have decided to go to sleep a little after ten, but The Third kept me up past midnight again; watching TV and taking a shower at midnight.

Sunday night, I was alone in the room and I decided to go to bed a little before nine, seeing that I had not gotten much sleep. I had turned everything off and settled down. Then The Third came back and turned on lights and made a bunch of noise. It was kind of obvious that I was trying to go to sleep. Ok, it was really obvious. Then she turned the TV on.  And she kept moving about the room and making noise on top of the noise from the TV. For hours, I tried to block out the noise and light and fall asleep. Around eleven, I was finally drifting off to sleep and The Original got back from work. She jumped on my bed and woke me up, saying “I missed you.” This, while irritating me, was sweet. I didn’t mind it that much. But the combined noises of The Original and The Third kept me up until one in the morning.

Three nights in a row, The Third kept me up past midnight. I don’t sleep in late on the weekends. At Job Corps, we’re woken up at a certain time. We had Monday off, so I spent the day alone in my room, relaxing and watching TV. While waiting for the Medic that night, so that we could talk a little before he went to the field again, I had the TV on at a low volume. But The Third wanted to go to sleep. So I turned it down even more, to an almost inaudible level. She then proceeded to ask me to turn it off because it was ten thirty and she was “sleep deprived”. I told her that I was not going to turn it off because I was watching it. She then gave me a little attitude and stomped around the room slamming things before getting back in bed.

After months of being semi-inconsiderate and three nights of being completely inconsiderate, she just expects me to bend to her will? I think not. It’s exhausting to keep my cool when I’m stressed out by normal things, and then I have to deal with more stress that I’m forced to live with. I’m relieved that she plans on moving to a different room. I have no issues with her as a person, but I don’t like living with her. Heck, I don’t know enough about her to find issues with her as a person. The noise she made may have even been bearable had she actually put any effort into living peacefully in the room and adjusting to our schedules. We did our best to adjust to hers. She just acted like she lived alone in the room, and that bothered us.

The Third is not the only frustrating source of noise in my life right now. The girls in the neighboring room have noisy habits too. One of the ladies at my internship has an Asian accent and a lisp. The whistling noise that she makes when she talks gives me a headache. These things would irritate a NT person to no end. Having AS kind of amplifies it. And with my sensitive hearing, I notice a lot, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by loud and overlapping noises. But I do not throw a fit. I do not go off on people. I am quiet and patient.

And I’m tired of being quiet and patient…

But I go on being quiet and patient because I need to. I’m building ‘character’. It shows how far I’ve come from the little girl throwing a fit in the middle of the store because all the noises and lights were hurting my head. It’s a big difference. Yes, it made me angry with a passion. My head hurt and I just wanted the noise to stop. The difference between me then and me now is that I handle noisy situations differently. I handle it in a more mature way.

“Would you please turn your music down? I’m trying to talk to my grandma and it’s getting hard to hear her.” If that doesn’t work, walk away and find a quieter place. If the bundle of impatience that is Allie can do it, anyone can. It’s a work in progress, but there has been progress. And through the frustration, that progress feels good.

Calming Down,

Allie

This entry was posted on February 19, 2014. 2 Comments

The Aspie Behind The Mask

In talking to those with HFA and AS, I’ve found that a large number of them, since learning to put on the “socially acceptable” mask to hinder their being ostracized, find it difficult to remove that mask and show the true self to others.

Growing up, we’re told that “honesty is the best policy”. Aspies are naturally honest, to an extreme. We’re supposed to be honest with our parents, teachers, friends, etc. We aren’t told, however, that if our “honesty” is even slightly offensive, then we should either not express it, “sugar coat” it, or tell a “white lie”. The extreme honesty of someone with a high functioning form of autism often earns them the distasteful comments of the person that is offended, as well as others around them.

As children, we’re told to stop doing our quirky little things and act normal. We’re ridiculed for things that we just do. Sometimes, these quirky little things are the things that calm us down when we are stressed out in overwhelming social situations. Suppressing this often bottles up the frustration and confusion.

Rejected, ridiculed, taunted, bullied, and shamed into putting this mask on, we wear it because we don’t want to die. The fear of taking this mask off can be more intense than words can describe. It is truly frightening. We fear removing the mask out of our intense fear of rejection.  Even some of the people closest to us haven’t really seen us, the Aspie or HFA us. The questions come a mile a minute.

“Will this person still stick around if they see how weird I really am?”

“Will this be a repeat of what happened last time? I was really hurt by it.”

“What if…..?”

“How will I…..?”

“What will I do…..?”

Fill in the blanks with your own personal horrors.

I’ve gotten to a point in my life and my journey with Asperger Syndrome where I don’t wear a mask so much. I’ve found a balance. I behave in an “appropriate” way when at school, at work, and around people I don’t know. I am absolutely myself with all the crazy and weird when I’m with my family and friends.

Yes, I’ve lost friends here and there because I was too weird or because I didn’t open up enough. They didn’t like my honesty, I didn’t do the things that they wanted me to because I wasn’t interested, or I unknowingly offended them.

Yes, I probably cried about it then, but I’m not apologizing now. I can’t get back the friends that I lost, and I don’t need to. Someone that cannot accept me as I am, as Allie the Aspie, shouldn’t expect to be a big part of my life. In fact, my friends really do appreciate that I’m going to “give it to them straight”. And they like my quirks.

And one thing that most people with high functioning forms of autism don’t understand is that NT people are more like us than they know. They wear masks. They have quirks. They fear rejection .

My advice: if someone is important enough to you to start asking the questions about “what if I show my Aspie side to them?” Show them, even if it’s just a little bit at a time. Not everyone is the bully from when you were in school or the nasty co-worker that seemed to have it out for you. More people will understand if you talk to them about it. And if someone isn’t understanding and hurts you, they’re not worth your tears. If someone sticks around, take the friendship and run with it.

Absolutely Aspie,

Allie.

This entry was posted on February 7, 2014. 6 Comments