As yet untitled…

Well then…. it’s been a while, hasn’t it :o.

Sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t feel the need to write, I have nothing pressing on my mind that I feel I can put words to, or I notice nothing particularly different in my life worth noting. So I carry on without writing, feeling like the time to write has probably passed.

I don’t know about everybody but new situations make me stressed. Change is usually really hard for me, it can make me anxious. I’m sure for everyone that is also true. For example my parents’ kitchen has recently been completely re-done for the first time since we were little (it looks lovely, before anyone can think otherwise). I now do not know where anything in my kitchen is and I kinda loath it. I miss the old kitchen where everything seemed to be in the right place.

Another example is the fact that I have a job for the summer in Blackpool. It’s a job I’ve been trying to get for years and it’s brilliant. I’m learning new things, it’s great experience and I really really enjoy it. But the learning curve is steep, everyone I work with is lovely, however they’re new people and for me it’s just taking me a while to feel settled in.

Normally I’d just be beating myself up about it (and if I’m honest I have been for a while). You see, half the time I forget I’m autistic. It’s an odd thing to say but it’s almost like I feel separate from it. It’s only when I feel myself struggling at things that seem to be so much easier to others that I think about it. I am someone who struggles with change.

  • Change in routine
  • Change in location (I’ve been renting whilst I’ve been working, which has been weird)
  • Change in temperature
  • Changes in smells. (If you smell, I know about it. Trust me ūüėõ )
  • Changes in volume
  • Changes in a room
  • Shit, changes in people’s hairstyle (I will always pick up on a haircut, I’m like a bloodhound for them.)
  • Changes in people’s attitude towards me.
  • I can hear a knat fart at 1000 paces. But not when someone is shouting my name, tell me why?

I pick up on it. Sometimes I deal, like you do and sometimes it takes a long time for me to settle afterwards. This heat is killing me off, I might drown in my own sweat before too long.

So like, this job is an AMAZING OPPORTUNITY, I’m loving it. I love the fact that I’m meeting new people and it’s very cool what we have to do. But it’s absolutely knackering me out trying to remember new things, dealing with new staff members arriving and others leaving and all that.

Eventually I had a word with my manager, feeling like it would be showing that I’m a failure.

The background to this is that I don’t usually have much of an issue telling people about aspects of myself. After being outed as gay in highschool I’ve always figured I should tell people things to get it out of the way. If they didn’t like me for it then they can swiftly disappear, it’s less harmful that way.

I’m also someone who found out I had dyslexia and dyspraxia in college. So when starting my uni course I was asked if I needed much help and honestly, truly I didn’t really. I mean, yes my maths is shyte and yes, no one can read my handwriting so I did need to do exams on a computer. But none of that has impacted how I work, I’ve never felt I was particularly far behind. During my masters year I found out I was also autistic and truthfully, I’ve never felt like the way I worked was much different to other people. Except for at a bar. Where it’s load, chaotic and people are shouting.

Which unfortunately occurs occasionally within this role. It’s something I hadn’t even thought about, having just thought the added pressures within a bar environment were causing me to feel panicked.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I’m going to run away from. But it also makes me quite sad having to put my hand up and say “these situations make me feel awkward”. Because no one likes to show that they’re weak, do they.

Which lead to be quietly crying in front of my line manager (standard Becki…. standard) whilst feeling pretty much like dirt.

However,  what she said to me and a conversation I had earlier in that day got me thinking.

She said everyone finds their niche. Everyone finds the thing that they’re specifically good at. Now at the moment I don’t particularly know what that is, but I bet you anything by the time September swings around I’d be able to tell you on the drop. I do already know what I feel more comfortable with. This job is one that’s had more responsibility than any other job I’ve had, I’ve been stressing about that too much and worrying too much about being weird.

But like, my name is Becki and I like singing songs when I’m happy; calling people nicknames if I like them and making people laugh.It makes me feel closer to people because that’s stuff other people like to do. I’d hope that no one in work would object to that.

The other conversation I had that day reminded me of what someone a while back said, when I was first told about the Aspergers’. I was told it was quite impressive that I’d gone for a job that was so social as it’s that aspect I have problems with. I don’t consciously think of that but I do know that for others with similar issues working can be hard as it can break their routine or it’s just too much. I know that often people might be unable to cope with higher education, whereas I am someone who did well there (got drunk there, and made lots of friends there ‚̧ ).

I was reminded that I should really be proud of the fact I’ve achieved so much and that I’ve kept on going to get to where I am now. (cheers for that ūüôā )

 

Thing is, as I say I don’t normally think of it at all. When I found out about it I guess I wanted to sort of play it down. Yeah I had it but it’s not that bad. Like yeah but I can talk to you so I’m mostly normal, that terrible word crops up in my mind often.

So I suppose it’d be around the time to fess up and say really, honestly. Some things that I’m doing are really really hard and honestly, I don’t know if I cope with them differently to other people, if I have tactics or if I just have to wait it out. I got asked if I needed any help and I’m like…. who knows, which I realise isn’t helpful.

And I realise I’m probably absolutely nowhere near being remotely comfortable that I have a brain that’s different from others. That will be both intriguing me and infuriating me for years to come.

But I’m growing and I’m changing, and the entire point of this post is the fact that, so are you…. if anyone can read this and feel something similar then I guess you’ve just got to think…. If I can manage to get to a point where I’m doing a job that I’ve been trying to get to for years. Even if it is hard. Then you can do whatever you would like to do too. Please try ūüôā

 

 

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A Case of Consolidation

If you ever decide to look up the definition of consolidation you are hit (in Google) with two options: ¬†“the action or process of making something stronger or more solid”; “the action or process of combining a number of things into a single more effective or coherent whole.”

I might be wrong, but for some reason I feel like this can be a concept applied to people just as easily as objects. I know that I sit here today far more effectively put together than I did, say, a year ago. I also know that maybe in another years time I will feel far more put together than I do now. We are constantly moving, changing, adapting.

You could say one year ago I was in exactly the same place. I still have the same seasonal job, many of the volunteers from last year are back (thankfully… I’d have been sad if they’d changed). I still live with my parents, in the same bedroom I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I like my tea the same, still prefer mayonnaise to ketchup. But many who know me well might remember how unwell I was around this time last year.

I’d like to thank those people who helped me and stuck around through that time. I hope you know who you are :).

For those of you who don’t know, I had a pretty bad bout of depression last year. I didn’t know how to drag myself out of the hole I felt myself dig. Angry at myself for feeling like that when I knew logically I shouldn’t I began to self destruct and if it wasn’t for the kindness of my family and friends I’m unsure if I’d be writing this now. I certainly wouldn’t be as well as I am.

I had felt like writing something for the past few days but after the death of Chester Bennington I decided today was the day.

I’ve never been huge on Lincoln Park. That was something my brother was in to. Although I know I have many friends who’s teenage years were interwoven with them. I know their main songs…. I didn’t live¬†completely¬†in the dark. So the death of their front man and the impact their music has had on me isn’t what effects me the most from this news. It’s the fact that he was 41 and it was¬†suicide.

I’m sure many would agree with me that when suicide is mentioned you kind of retreat back on yourself. It’s scary. It’s sad. But most importantly it’s not really talked about until it’s something that happened. Then most people talk about their regret and/or the fact they wish that others would have spoken to them.

Now, I cannot talk for Chester Bennington. I won’t.

I also can’t talk for anyone else except for myself. SO I will.

There have been times in my life I have felt like I didn’t want to be here anymore. I have felt like people I knew were better off without me and that if I had gone it would be far too soon. I have felt worthless, like scum of the Earth. There have been times I’ve thought about jumping: from bridges; in front of cars; or trains; or anything really.

That does¬†not¬†however mean that I feel like that¬†now.¬†Right now I feel pretty alright really… I mean I have a cup of tea so I’m good.

It also doesn’t mean I know categorically what it is like to make plans about how to go about anything. Nor does it mean that I know what anyone else is thinking or feeling (I’m actually pretty shitty at that if I’m honest.).

I just wanted to share it I guess. Because I feel like feeling the way I have felt before (and no doubt will feel again, at some point) is something that I reckon often gets swept under the rug or people are made to feel ashamed of it when they shouldn’t.

I’m really lucky, I have a pretty good support system of friends and family. Last year the amount of people checking in on me because they worked out something was wrong shocked me. Whether it be co-workers who just asked if I was alright, to friends demanding I come visit them, or a lovely card to say I was thought of people gathered around me. From feeling like I shouldn’t tell people I felt bad to being told that I should text whenever I did, it all helped.

I eventually decided to ask the Dr’s to be prescribed medication and it’s helped. I’m really glad about that, but the more I spoke to people the more I realised I actually knew far more people on similar medication than I first thought.

It just makes me wonder why we never talk about it?

So yeah, I guess here’s why I started off with consolidation…

My name is Becki: I’m 25 and still living in my parents’ house; I still have the same job as last year; I still prefer meyo to ketchup; I’m still gonna fight you for the fact ketchup is rank;¬†however….I am no longer someone who feels like I shouldn’t be here (at the moment); I am someone who has survived beating myself up and will continue to do so; I am also someone who tried meso soup for the first time and¬†enjoyed it.

See, still growing ūüôā

I hope this was helpful. Won’t lie… feel like I totally lost the plot a bit towards the end

xx

Let The Dust Settle

Hi *awkwardly waves*,

So a lot can happen in a year can’t it? ¬†Apparently you can:

  • Finish a three month internship at Chester Zoo
  • Go back to work in a pub
  • Leave said pub to work at a wildfowl centre as a Canoe Safari operator
  • Realise that you’re pretty good at your new job and not actually feel like you’re being big headed. I’m good with kids
  • Lose a close friend
  • Gain a girlfriend
  • Gallivant around the country with said girlfriend for a few months
  • Break up with said girlfriend
  • Visit friends in : Brighton; Pembroke; Matlock and Chester based on new found self confidence of driving new car.
  • Find literally zero people interested in buying old car and having to face the fact she’s gonna end up in the scrap yard.
  • Do nothing about getting rid of said old car based on mild heartbreak of her being worth 0 pounds.
  • Get invited to be an Elf for Christmas at said wildfowl place in the weekends in December (this is both mortifying and awesome, I hope I’m good at it).
  • Start as an Elf for Christmas and realise the only thing I should be worried about is falling off the boat. Children pppfffft, I’m a 5, 11″ elf. You don’t see that every day.
  • Become unemployed, again, even if it may be a short time.

I feel like in many ways my life has changed quite a bit since I became disillusioned with this. But at the same time I feel exactly the same…


SO, I started writing this about three weeks ago, fell asleep and then have been procrastinating my life away by writing a short story.

I’m now sat in my living room that appears to be the same temperature as the surface of the sun due to my mother’s incessant need to feel the heat. It’s 11.53 am on a Thursday and I feel like my face is melting. I’ve also left my hair from being cut by the hairdresser too long and now have a rogue curl springing to life from the back of my head. Help me, life is hard.

But the real question is, what is it really that I want to say in this?

I could tell you in irritatingly intimate detail the exploits of the past year. But I think you’d agree in the fact that no one’s life (especially my own) is that interesting. I could tell you about work and the fact that I’ve come to believe that my niche might well be the quiet harassment of small children. I’ve been told I’d be good as a primary school teacher (by the majority of the adult population who’ve seen me in work). I’m not really shocked by this but I’m still trepidatious. My fear being that either I would scar the brains of a small child so viciously that they never got over it. Or, more scary still, the amount of crap that you have to go through as a teacher; both in and out of the class room, would be enough to put me off after a small while. Could I survive it? Is it a viable career choice? Why am I still asking myself these questions?

How about have I learnt anything in the past few months? The truthful answer…. yes. The in-depth answer however takes a lot of thinking about and pondering. I feel like I have learnt a lot, both in myself and other people I guess.

I’ve learnt that I can become totally dispondant with people, the occurrences of this year with both brexit and the American election ¬†has somewhat dissapointed me. It’s saddened me that these things have happened. However that’s probably a slightly less insightful thing than you want to hear. I’ve learnt really that I can stand up for myself, with people; for example, customers who simply aren’t listening. In the job that I do if things go wrong they can happen quickly, I’ve found that depending on the tone of voice you use you will be heard. I’ve never had that before. But I’ve also seen complete idioticy and wondered how people can manage to survive on a day-to-day basis based on their actions whilst in open water. (Most people however are fine and I enjoy my job and the fact that many people enjoy visiting us. Sadly, however it’s usually the people being daft that you remember).

I’ve also learnt that I can survive a bit of a trauma. As I pointed out I managed to lose a close friend earlier in the year. She’s not dead, thank god. But we’re not talking and I’m unsure if we will again, things will certainly never be the same. It was something a bit unexpected. In that I ended up behaving in ways that I’m truly ashamed of for the fear of losing her. However in doing so I simply pushed her away more. I can’t take things back, I can simply say sorry and hope to move on/ learn from it. I think/ hope I have. But who knows, all I know is I don’t wish to be in the same cycle of behaviours again.¬†But¬†the main thing is that I survived, dusted myself off as best I could and moved on. I’m ALIVE.

Which for a small section of my life was something I wasn’t too certain about.

I’ve also learnt that if you squint slightly I could be considered “attractive”. To the very niche section of society that find flappy, gangly, awkward glasses wearing scruffbags a turn on. Although things didn’t turn out the way either of us might have wished I know that I’ve at least made a friend I can count on if I need. That’s the best way for it to end I think.

Other than that. Well…. lord knows what I’m going to be doing in a years time. No doubt¬†still living in my parents’ house. But hey I mean, this new and improved Becki has slightly more self-confidence than before. So maybe I dunno, I could rock it out and pretend its far cooler than it is.

Or maybe by some minor miracle I might have found the money to be renting. Either way the point is: when this year started I had no idea what would have happened over the past 12 months. You can never guess. It’s something that I usually have a huge problem with; having no control over everything. In some ways this year has been awesome, I’ve met new people, made new friends and managed to find something that’s helped me to believe in myself again. But it’s also been pretty shitty. You just have to take the rough with the smooth.

That’s all I’ve got for being “insightful”. I’m probably going to end up watching¬†Love Actually¬†with my father now. It’s a rave in this house.

 

 

The Ox, The Bison, The Pony And the Pansy

So, I am determined to write about the internship I’m undertaking (hence the title).

However today on the duel carriageway between my house and Wrexham one of my windscreen wipers gave up on life in the middle of the piss down rain and after taking my ¬†minibeast of a car to the garage the bloke there tells me that she may be too much of an antique to find the part that will fix it. So despite knowing this is something small and no doubt fixable eventually, Francar’s been potentially given a death sentence because she (somehow) got to 70 during the rain. So I’m sad and stressy ‘cos I love that car, she’s a trooper and if she’s been given the death knell because of it I’ll be so sad.

Anyway…. this is the entirely fictitious, marginally based on true events story of how a clumsy ox met a bison, a pony and a pansy. Prior warning, it’ll probably be crap. But it’s amusing me so…there we go.

Once upon a time (well, about two months ago), an oafish ox wandered into the¬†¬†bat house at Chester Zoo, she’d been invited a few months prior to help with the upkeep of some of the zoo animals but had no real intuition as to what it was she was doing there. On her first day she met a¬†boisterous¬†bison who’d accepted her invitation earlier on that month. The ox saw how she appeared to know how to be helpful to those around her, flitting between people with what outwardly seemed like practised ease and she wondered how she would ever seem to be so useful when every time she took a step she appeared to knock things over.

On the second day she met a prancing pony. The pony ran circles around the ox nimbly dodging this way and that. She could get from one place to another far quicker than the ox could ever imagine. Had there been something chasing them it was obvious which one would be caught, the ox considered this glumly wondering why it was that she had been asked to come to the zoo. When it seemed so obvious to her that she was the one who was the worst fit there.

A few weeks later she met a pregnant pansy with long golden hair. As many know pansy’s are jovial creatures that like to have a laugh and this pansy was no exception. She was the life and soul of the party.

“So the bison is helpful, the pony is nimble and the pansy is encouraging…. then what is my quality? Why was I invited here? All I seem to do is get in the way, step in things or knock them over, surely there was a mistake and I’ve been wasting their time so far?” The ox mused.

Then one day there was a tree in the way of their path.

“That sure is a nice looking tree, that could be useful later. Why don’t we take it with us?” The pony exclaimed.

So her and the bison came up to the tree, they huffed and they puffed. But they could not move it. The pansy came to help, offering them direction and advice but still the tree would not move.

(*interruption* it must be noted that pregnant pansy’s must NEVER lift and/or climb trees, if you observe this behaviour you are advised to tell them to stop this behaviour immediately and hand them a cuppa and a chair to sit on*).¬†

Meanwhile, in the background the ox tilted her head in thought. “I’m scared of helping in case someone gets hurt because of me.” She mused hanging back from the group….. Until a red faced pony pushed her forward.

“Come on, you’re an ox…. it’s time to show us your strength!”

So she gritted her teeth and she scrunched up her eyes and with a mighty big shove and lots of surprise, the rather large tree that seemed entirely too big appeared to move in front of their very eyes. She tugged it and pulled it until it toed and froed and landed in a heap in the perfect pose, in the hyrax tank. Because that’s where it goes.

And so it began that whenever there was something large and rather¬†unsettling¬†the ox would find her strength and lift it. So she was not small, and she was not nimble. She was slow and steady and clumsy as well but she was strong and tried hard and that’s all that mattered.

————————————————————-

So, granted that’s a terrible story but it is how I’ve felt whilst at the zoo. I’m coming to the end of my time here, and yes I still can feel entirely useless. However it would seem that my one positive quality is the fact I can lift stuff, sometimes, when I’m not being a wuss.

For example I helped to move four trees the other day! I feel like that’s well impressive, and if I wasn’t useful with that then I wouldn’t be asked to help would I? So all right, coordination wise I’m a walking catastrophe but I feel a bit like…. why would I let that stop me from doing something? Yeah I’m going to whinge about being really clumsy. Because it is actually really really annoying. But I wouldn’t let it stop me from trying to do something, why would you do that? I’ll still canoe when I’m at Martin Mere and I’ll still complete this internship at the zoo, I’ll still drive (when my car isn’t broken) and do everything else I’d want to do. I might not learn how to do something first time, for example my one… exceedingly embarrassing venture into the world of whatever the hell “body combat” is supposed to be, but I’ll learn it… in my own way and in my own time. That’s all that really matters.

So yeah, I’m a bit of an ox. It just took a Pansy, a Pony and a Bison for me to work that out ūüôā

(I hope those of whom who have been referred to within this fictitious piece ¬†are not raging with fury, if so….soz).

 

+/-

It’s amazing how people can know you for a long while and never really know how you really feel. I know a reasonable amount of people who would suggest that I was chatty or friendly when really I spend most of my life just assuming that everyone hates me. I don’t really know how people work, I tend to take what they say on face value or agree with whatever the person I’m talking to is saying due to never really knowing what my actual opinion is. Politics, science, fall-outs in friendships I can’t really read between the lines or work it out in all honesty. So I just follow the general consensus and hope I don’t say something stupid. Or do something stupid. If I was honest though, if anyone ever spent the time to actually note my behaviour that’d probably spot it straight away.

Thing is, no one actually notices.

For example its very easy to pretend you’re happy to people. It’s so easy to suggest that you’re fine to someone, most of the time they wouldn’t notice the smile leave your eyes unless you were stood there crying. I’ve never really understood that. I had always just assumed that everybody else could see how people feel and I just managed to be a little bit oblivious. Unless its painfully obvious I wouldn’t notice if someone’s happy about something, or disappointed…. I find disappointment hard.

So because I never really worked out other people I have therefore only ever been left to try to see the world from the point of view of myself. The error in this, noticeably, would be that really, honestly, truly, I more than likely see the world wrong. I see it from the viewpoint of someone with a) a narrow viewpoint b) the mind of someone with learning difficulties, ergo I’m¬†unable to generalise what I see anyway and c) very variable moods.

However despite this a flounder around attempting to understand myself and others with my own personal dialogue in my head running me round and round in circles as I try to find my way. If I get stuck on something, with something or someone then I panic, over analyse everything and more than likely say or do something that is usually inappropriate, if it makes someone laugh then that’s okay. If not then I’m more than likely going to feel rejected and try to analyse what I did wrong and then it haunts me for weeks or days.

So yeah… people don’t notice things, and I don’t really understand that, but I also notice nothing anyway so how’s it a problem?

It’s a problem because I feel as if I can never really make a connection with people. I end up getting in arguments or upsetting people but I can never really understand their point of view properly, or I just feel like I’m right all the time. I’m not right, usually I’m wrong… let’s face it, I’m not a particularly nice person so really I should blame myself. But I never do.

Sometimes I wish people would just notice how lost I feel, or how it’d just be nice to have a hug off someone… I’m never going to ask for a hug off people because then really they would only be hugging you because you ask for it. Not because they actually wanted to. I wish that there was someone I could talk to about stuff. Because half the time I’m paranoid that I’m over-sensitive and the other half I’m paranoid that I’m self obsessed. But the truth is probably that I’m both.

A lot of the time I don’t feel like I’m right or worth being around, I certainly probably shouldn’t have children. I’d either be a terrible mother or they’d inadvertently end up feeling as broken as I do.

I don’t really know how to end this post so I’m just dropping this here, right now

Flatlining

Hey,

So I would say that the past three weeks have been very hard for me personally, coming into a team that already seem to know each other and are already sure of what it is that they are doing. I’ve found it hard to feel like I fit in and I’m not really too sure that I do. Maybe it’s my insecurities flaring up because I feel obviously different to everybody here and it’s just making me feel self conscious and a hindrance to that team. I find it strange, I suppose I was lucky with my job in ‘Spoons, I came in when the pub opened so was a starting member. I’ve never had to walk into a pre-existing group before and I’m finding it very hard.

I also feel like I’m over-thinking everything and it’s tiring me out, that along with walking 10 miles on average a day is leaving me like zombiefied. I can only imagine what I must look like to people.

SO I suppose this is a bit of a learning curve for me, not in the sense of its all about the animals but about myself as well. I’ve always thought I could get on with most people and I was fairly level headed, but really I don’t feel like I understand people any more and I certainly don’t feel like I understand who I am myself any more. I feel overwhelmed by the newness of everything, I’m no longer in a learning environment and I’m finding that what I learnt in university is harder to put into practice than I imagined. I’m a bit concerned that if you measured me up against the next person that there would be obvious differences in my abilities and that I’d certainly not be the one to be chosen.

I feel fairly certain that in these three weeks I’ve learnt more about what I fear are my shortcomings than any time I have spent in academia. Like, for example, I have always been someone who would be classed as¬†sensitive¬†I’m sure anyone who had met me whilst I was growing up would probably vouch for that. I’m never going to pretend I’m not, I’d have no leg to stand on. But I feel like I’m finding it too hard to control my emotions at the moment and like any small thing could set me off. But I can’t tell you why. I’ve noticed that I don’t like my hands getting dirty, which I’m finding slightly hilarious considering I’m interning in zoo keeping and for three months may or may not be covered in bat piss at any given time. But I simply can’t stand the feeling of having things on my hands, I don’t like gloves and these medical gloves I’ve had to be using are starting to freak me out and make me feel uncomfortable. I roll my sleeves up on almost every long sleeved clothing I possess, rain or shine. I don’t like the feeling of sleeves on my wrists.

Not that exciting but I know my mum’s always got annoyed at me for rolling my sleeves up. Well, there’s your answer :p

There’s also changes in temperature that range from the cold outside to the warmth of the temperature controlled environments some of the animals need to be housed in. It feels like a lot each day that you have to get used to and put up with. I’d never really thought before that I had a problem with body temperature, I just don’t like it when the sun’s in my eyes. But really… these kind of things sort of stress me out.

Sometimes when I feel like I don’t know any body or whether it’s okay to just be me and talk about things that I would find interesting I either go silent or I get too loud. I feel like I spend a lot of my time being too loud and people have to keep telling me to be quieter, it’s starting to make me wonder about the impression I’m giving people. Like are they going to think that I’m not serious, or I’m strange or something. I feel like a lot of my energy is going into toning myself down because my natural response of freaking out is making me seem strange to people who seem far more put together than I am. Like right now, I just feel like a mess. I still don’t know really what I’m doing or where I’m going. I just know I get in for eight o clock, that’s it.

I worked out recently though that I find it really difficult to see other’s point of view, so like as much as I try to see what people might be thinking or feeling I can only do it from assumptions that I make. I know now that they’re most likely going to be wrong so, I don’t really know what I’m meant to do with that information now. I just hope I’m not messing up too much to be deemed unteachable by these guys.

Finally I’ve noticed that I can find it hard to follow instructions, I’m either too literal with everything or I don’t have the ability to imagine what something… an enclosure for example, might look like when it’s being explained to me. It feels like these things are supposed to be simple and anyone could do that. But apparently I’m the exception to this rule, so although something might be right in my face I really truly might not understand what someone is trying to tell me. I know its frustrating, I find it frustrating also, however sadly showing me that you’re frustrated with my lack of understanding will only make me feel worse about myself and I will still fail to understand your instructions. I’m sorry, I’m trying. I’m just finding it hard.

The reason this is called flat lining is due to how I feel at the moment, I’ve never felt more clumsy, less spatially aware, or really truly more¬†different¬†than ever before. In this I really feel like my flaws are highlighted and I’m struggling. I don’t know what to do or how to cope but three weeks in and I feel like I’m failing

sorry

So, what is it you ACTUALLY do again?

I’m 23 going on 24, which means (sadly) I’m at the age where the majority of my friends and colleagues are either starting their careers. Have started their careers. Or (and most alarmingly) have been in their careers for a while and are now in houses considering their next moves (of baby producing).

I know I’ve touched on this recently but at the moment I feel quite a way behind people of a similar age. I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going or even, if I’m honest with myself what it is that I want to be doing. That’s what’s worrying me.

I don’t know what it is that I want to do as a job, I don’t really know what I’m good at or really what I would hate to be doing. I know I enjoy writing and being around people. But honestly that is it.

I started a three month internship with Chester Zoo on Monday, so far it’s been good and I would recommend it to people who would like to have a better foundation for starting a career within a zoo. However, I don’t really think this is something I would want to be doing for the rest of my life if I’m honest. To me that’s really sad because although I’m gaining this experience and meeting new people and I’m in a great place. It also has had me feeling as if I’m wasting their time because I’m a bit different to them and because I’m only going to be there for 3 months would they really want me around. I feel a bit different from the people around me at the moment because I don’t know if the practical side to this internship is something I’m going to thrive on. So far I’m not sure it is.

So that leaves me with another job that would be a “I’ve tried it and it wasn’t right” option. There seems to be a few of them.

I know not everyone finds their niche and no one loves every single aspect of their jobs, but it’d be nice if I could at least¬†know¬†myself enough to have an¬†idea¬†of what I’m actually good at. Then at least there would be a ball park I could aim towards. I fear growing older and never having really achieved anything other than a mountain of student debt that was never fully paid off due to only ever having managed to acquire part-time minimum wage jobs. There’s nothing wrong with those jobs, it just leaves me with the feeling of having wasted my time and money going to uni when at the end of it you still aren’t able to find the jobs that you’d like.

It’s like: you get a degree and look for anything applicable, but oh no… you haven’t got a first or 2.1, or an MSc. You go do a MSc, but oh no…. you haven’t got any applicable work experience. Or you haven’t got a PhD now. This leaves you in the awkward situation which I find myself in now.

For any scientific job I would like to look at I am under qualified to be considered.¬†However, for every other job I’ve looked at, I’m far too over qualified to be thought of. Because they assume you would leave straight away. So with this, what do I do?

I feel like this will probably end up being considered a whinge or a moan, but I’m in the position at the moment where when I’m busy with this internship it’s fine. I’m learning new things about the animals that are within my section and I’ve met some new people and I’m quite busy so my over-active hamster wheel can calm down. But then it gets to the night-time or a day like today where I’ve had the day off and I’m sat here in the flat that I’m renting. Which is freezing, clunky and quite isolating and I’m just sat thinking “what the hell are you doing Becki?” This is just more money that you don’t have.

A part of me wishes that in writing what I actually think and feel down this would lead to something, some sort of breakthrough where my life sorts itself out. But I’m also old enough to know that in reality that won’t ever happen. A friend of mine who is usually quite positive has hit a bit of a slump with things, I’d love to be able to help her, but I’m in a similar position trying to find a job. I don’t really know what I can do to help out when I’m not too sure what I can do to help myself… I’m really sorry, I’m sure you know who you are (Y)

So yeah, I guess I’m left feeling like for someone who’s supposed to be a relatively intelligent adult my life feels pretty empty. I know that I know quite a few people, but I’ll still come home each night and know that nobodies really going to feel the urge to text me to ask how I am, or what I’ve been up to. I realise this is nobodies responsibility, and I could just as easily be able to text them. But I guess it’s still a bit of a dull ache knowing something like that is quite unlikely. That it’s usually up to you giving up and reaching out to somebody that they’d agree to see you. That then makes me feel quite anxious because if you’re the one asking to meet up with your friends then they might feel like you’re bugging them so all it really does is make things worse I suppose. Stuff like that ends up going round and round my head, I start feeling like there’s not really much point in me being around because no one would really notice if I stopped contacting them enough to miss me if anything happened.

It’s funny to think about, like there are times where I could be in a room full of people all talking and I’d feel totally alone. That’d mostly be because I’ve tried to say something and everyone’s ignored me, but still it’s still what happens. Then you’d be in that room full of people and one of them could ask:

“So Becki, what is it that you¬†actually¬†do again. You’re not¬†still¬†in the pub are you?” And¬†technically at that I cannot say that I’ve left it, I cannot say I’ve found something that I’d like to stick at. All I can say is that I’m trying and feeling like I’m constantly failing. I hope that before I get old and die (or just, die) I find something that makes me feel less invisible. But right now I can’t say that. All I can say,really is:

“Yes I’m¬†still¬†in the pub, no it’s not the best fit for me but the staff are nice and I try at it. Maybe one day something will come up. At the moment I’m interning at Chester Zoo, hopefully that’ll help?”

Maybe it’ll shut them up, and by “them” I mean the voices in my head

I spy with my little eye….

So I was going to write about something, but then the dash on here has been updated or something and it’s slightly thrown me off… Does anyone else find this? Websites, or apps or just things, update and change and the differences seem huge and totally throw you for a few days?

Well I do. I feel like a warning on this would’ve been appreciated.

Anyway. I spy with my little eye, someone who appears to also be Aspergic….

Probably not something you might often think about, not something I often pick up on. But very occasionally I meet people, or see people on the telly and a little voice in my head thinks “hello” then I wonder if they are aware of things. Growing up in a household where my twin has obviously had certain issues it can occasionally seem obvious to me when someone else presents these symptoms. I don’t often find it so obvious with myself but with my brother and with certain people I’ve met in my life I’ll notice similarities and it gets me thinking.

For example, my parents enjoy watching Doc Martin (obviously I’m far too hipster to enjoy anything like that *snorts*) the title character appears to be quite socially withdrawn, finds it difficult to interact with others or connect with his wife and child and in many ways appears to have several of the aspects of aspergers syndrome. In many ways this can make him seem off-putting but yet he also manages to be quite endearing due to his uniqueness. He’s obviously someone who has achieved and continues to be well respected within the town that he resides.

Now obviously he’s not a real person, but if you take the time to do a swift google search you can find lists of people who have also had the disorder. It’s been speculated as to whether Alan Turing, the man who cracked the enigma code was aspie. Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton are also thought to have been on the spectrum. ¬†Paralympian Jessica Jane Applegate is known to have aspergers, she’s also won gold and broke the world record for the 200m freestyle event in swimming. Britain’s Got Talent runner up Susan Boyle is aspergic and also a Grammy award winning singer. Heather Kuzmich from Americas Next Top Model is also a known aspie.

So from one search on google I can flag up these people, not all of whom I’ve heard of, not all of whom I’m particularly interested in apart from the fact they all have aspergers in common. So what I guess I’m saying is that at some point growing up I’ve had role models. Either people that I knew or knew of who I thought have done quite well and could emulate.

Growing up gay I think I must’ve googled or looked up to many different queer woman over my time. I’ve spent a while getting fixated on one person before moving off to another person. I would imagine how they’d managed to get over whatever hurdles they encountered and would wonder how on earth I would get over mine (coming out for me was quite a hard thing, but it happened and I’m alive so it’s all good). In some way this helped me, knowing that there were people out there who were similar to me and had gone through similar experiences and could give some sort of advice on things that I might encounter or whatever. LGBT representation in the media is getting better slowly and I’m certain that will have a positive effect on young people, in the years since I originally came out things have been noticeably better and I’m glad for it (although this might just be me getting more fabulous as I age, like a nice wine… who knows).

I’d like to believe that kids who grew up knowing they had aspergers had someone else they could look up to in a similar way and I’m not too certain that they do. Although I have found these people online I’m unsure as to if others would consider doing that or whether they would feel like there’s anyone that they’d be particularly connected to or something. That makes me quite sad, like, although obviously there aren’t an enormous amount of people effected by this proportionally within the population. Surely there are more people with the disorder than we think.

In suppose my point being here would be that I hope in the future there would be more support available for those with the disorder. For example, it has only come to my attention that I would be aspie in the last year due to a friend of mine who works with aspie students. However, I’m 23 and have gone through the schooling system with an aspergic twin brother. Surely at some point I should’ve been flagged up as a possible risk? I would assume that kids would get tested for autism at some point in school but they aren’t, I also only found out that I had dyslexia and dyspraxia at 18. I find that quite shocking that these learning impairments hadn’t been noticed. I’ve also found that although I realise as a student I have been entitled to extra time in exams and things but the emotional side of discovering unknown disabilities was never really discussed and i ¬†was left feeling a bit broken apart after that with no sort of sense of who I really was after that, like I didn’t know myself properly nor what I was capable of.

So I dunno, I guess I just hope in the future there’d be more available for younger people so they know they’re not alone in this and they’re not just going to be left feeling like that. Because it isn’t nice and no one deserves that really.

Gosh how preachy….. I’ll have to not do that next time

Pick me, choose me, want me ?

Do you ever feel like you’re developmentally behind people? Like there’s some secret that other people know about that allows them to appear to function better than you most of the time? I do… I look around at all these people that appear to have things relatively well held together and wonder how? How on Earth is it that people can do an array of amazing things (that I could only dream of) and not manage to completely fuck it up (like I would).

I’m 23, right, so I know that I’m not¬†really¬†supposed to have everything together… but saying that I would hope that I felt like less of a mess. I don’t really know which direction I’m supposed to be going in at the moment and it’s really worrying me.

I finished my MSc course last week and I know that I have a 3 month intern ship at a local zoo that’s arranged until December, initially this was so that I could gain the experience I would’ve needed in order to become a zoo keeper. Only now, I’m not really sure that would be what I wanted to achieve. I’d applied for it before I commenced my Masters and now it feels a bit like this is going to be a time-keeping exercise to attempt to gain the experience that I would potentially need in the future.

I know it’s also easy to see what I’ve achieved. I have a Bachelors degree and now (if I haven’t tragically failed by giving in a thesis that is so horrifying it burns the retinas clean off my project manager), have completed a Masters course. That’s doing pretty well, I’ve also managed to hold down the same job of working in a busy Witherspoon’s for longer than a year. You know, I could’ve been sacked within seconds (I still don’t really understand why my kitchen manager thought the interview went well, I spent most of it trying to get her to laugh cos I was shitting myself).

But there’s still a part of me who feels left behind, both socially and within whatever definition my career’s supposed to fit in. I can speak to many of my friends and peers from my Uni class of 2015. Many of them have moved on to study an MSc such as myself, some of them went on to study PhD’s. Some of them have jobs in the field, for example Kefalonia (sorry to Jess for being the example),others are working within an ecology project in London. I have friends currently studying Veterinary medicine, others who have graduated this year from Veterinary medicine and are now in Australia for work experience. Some people left the field completely and have found their footing elsewhere. I’m proud of my friends for achieving so many things, it’s amazing that I know so many talented people.

However there’s no denying that I wish I knew what was next for me, that I could share in the knowledge that I had enough experience to gain a job in the field that I wish to be involved in. But I can’t really, which leaves me in the present moment feeling rather direction less. ¬†I’ve also had quite a few people telling me I should try my hand at teaching….

My main fear with that would be going back into university¬†yet again¬†for an aim that I may be horrific at. I fear not having the patience for children and eventually screaming at one who was particularly “difficult” (read: a little shit), I wouldn’t want to lose my cool over something. Having said that I also fear being harassed by children, as some people know, I was outed in my final year of high school as gay and had a bit of a hard time after that. Although it’s been a long time since this happened I can’t really imagine working within a secondary school without being taunted by the young reprobates that occupy classrooms. Despite knowing that being bothered by a child is probably a silly thing to feel, my fear is certain wounds simply aren’t healed enough to put myself through that.

Although I won’t lie….. I’d probably be all right at teaching

So all of this really just leaves me confused, as I see people that I’ve known for a long time start what I imagine will be long and varied careers whilst I feel like I’m in need of starting my own but I’m floundering at where I even begin looking. Where I come from the majority of jobs in the area are for factory work, drivers or in the catering industry. The best option there is to stay put really.

I suppose I feel a bit behind in my love life also, recently I look around and many people that I know are coupled up, some with children, some in long-term relationships. Some are even getting married and moving to Canada (you know who you are). It makes me feel a bit behind in that respect also if I tell the truth. I mean gosh, update on life my brother’s bagged himself a girlfriend! It’s lovely but strange at the same time. I thought one of the main points in being a socially driven species was to be around people, hopefully of your own age, but a lot of the time I find myself alone and wondering what to do about it.

I could make excuses and suggest that the area that I live in is rural enough for it to be hard for me to construct reliable relationships and that close friendships would always be hard to come by. I could suggest all manner of reasons as to why I, despite knowing a fairly large amount of people both within my local area and beyond (thanks to uni) still manage to feel pretty lonely. But I think really a lot of it is on me. Either I’m not friendly enough, don’t really know who to reach out to enough or maybe I just didn’t manage to fly the nest at the right time (sorry for continuously returning, I’m just pretty much broke). The end result is pretty much; people seem to be able to create a circle of friends around them that they know they can talk to about things that trouble them… but I don’t really have that. I talk to Bernard about stuff that bothers me, but it’s unfair to ask one person to help you so I’m stuck feeling like I’m behind people socially as well as generally.

I know not much of this is really about aspergers, I think it’s just who I am as a person. But yeah… I dunno. I doubt I’m the only person in the world who feels like this but today things just seem pretty bleak if I’m honest.

Making headspace

So its been a while….

Usually I’d be apologising profusely hoping for an acknowledgement that I’m still an alright person from somebody. However today I’ve decided to accept the fact that I’ve needed the time to fall apart and wonder how I was going to put myself back together.

But yeah anyway, headspace?

If I’d been asked what mindfulness was two years ago I’d have been blifully unaware of its existence as I was busy listening to the constant whirring of the background chatter of my mind as it slowly and efficiency found new ways to tear itself apart. In many ways I don’t in any way believe that I would have been able to accept that occasionally sitting and allowing the voices to calm down is actually quite good for you.

Fast forward slightly to this time lastyear, ¬†my grandad had just died and I was left dealing with a reality I didn’t know how to accept. A friend (anyone remember Bernard?) of mine had been telling me about Buddhism and the benefits of taking some time to meditate. She’d been to a festival up in the lake district that had been giving teachings and meditations, some of which were on death. It seemed a surprising coincidence. She suggested trying some of the practises out for myself, it might help me out? What did I have to lose?

I was still sceptical, ¬†I mean it seemed so hippy and we’ll, I’m a scientist,¬†what would people think?

I don’t know why I considered that, that’s a tad too invested a friend who’s going to give judgement on that, but hey, no one is more judgemental than yourself usually.

What does this have to do with aspergers? Admittedly not a huge amount if you think about initially, however if you really think about it you can see how meditation cn be really quite helpful (when you remember to commit to it). For a long time I’ve been plagued by obsessive negative ¬†thoughts that run in circles. They vary from “you’re worthless” to “you’re stupid, special” and occasionally I can spend days were the main thought repeating over and over in my head is “things would be better for everyone if you were not here”. It’s very easy, I’m sure for someone who does not experience a barrage similar to that to suggest that you merely ” don’t think stuff like that”, however from experience that can seem entirely impossible especially when you’re in the midst of it.

You might question if that’s aspergers or depression? In many ways I don’t know, it can be shown that those with aspergers syndrome experience a higher incidence of depression than our neurotypical counterparts. We are also more likely to encounter obsessive routes of thinking. My brother, for example was very quiet when we were little but once he found his voice he would be asking questions non-stop throughout the day with little consideration to its suitability to the situation we were in. He was interested in space, star wars, tanks and history and would aborb all knowledge of these things as possible.

I on the ¬†other hand, for whatever reason learnt to obsess over self criticism. I still do it, its hard to control. The past two weeks I’ve been bad for it. Hence the radio silence.

Which brings us back to headspace, or mindfulness, or whatever else you would like to consider it.

I’ve recently started the process of moving back home from Belfast (I’ve not managed to change my Facebook location, in the desperate need to cling to what little independence I have left…. It’s only a matter of time, we know how accurate Facebook is mine also suggests I’m married to one of my best friends). Whilst in Belfast I came across the manjushri centre, in that Bernard heavily suggested I go, but yeah… I’m the one that physically found it. After awkwardly popping my head round the corner to look up the stairs I come face to face with the nun that runs that centre, Chitta. Who explained they were currently on a weekend retreat, I then explained I had no idea what one of them is (I still don’t, sorry guys) but decided I’d go back when meditation classes were on to see how they went.

Which lead to me sat in an unfamiliar hall like space in the centre with Tammy, one of my Uni friends stifling giggles as we suggested “finding nirvana”. Although it seemed silly at the time slowly I kind of got the hang of it and started to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe I could stick at it.

Finally, we get to now. I recently got asked by Bernard if I fancied joining her for a couple of days at the same festival she went to last year (only, you know, this year) which I agreed to. For some reason I hadn’t expected so many people to be there, despite my presence being there during the quieter week. I’d (obviously) never been in a Buddhist temple before, I kind of wish I could sit in it alone for ten minutes or so. There’s a lot if things to look at, far more colourful than churches. But because of that you can’t take all the little things in when you want to see them. That’s how I felt. Sitting and (attempting) meditating with so many people you kind of realise how no one is really truly silent so whatever you manage is alright, even if you don’t quite get it because no one really does.

I suppose what this potentially tedious story has been about is the fact that I might have found something that kind of helps, if you’re spending that time following your breathing or simply trying not to be loud then you aren’t focussing on all of the flaws you think you have. For me that’s alright.

I don’t think I’ll be saying much else on this unless I get particularly overexcited, but yeah there’s a free ten day headspace website. Google it, it took me a while to consider it but it can help if you let it.

I’ve had to do this on a tablet as my computers unwell and getting fixed (which is awful timing with my thesis) so I’ll apologise as no doubt there’s going to be spelling mistakes I’ve missed here.

Take care xx