On Memory

If you’ve read my myriad entries on my personal history, you might rightly conclude that I’m a bit, nay a lot self obsessed. I’ve written several thousand words on my history and I’m trying to rewrite those into a larger epic. I’ve got so many more stories I have yet to get written down. Why? I’m fully aware many of these stories aren’t the most interesting. Why do I care?

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Some entries on this blog come about because they’re subjects that I can’t help but notice in my daily life. Eye contact, meltdowns, etc. These are things I actively notice. Other subjects happen because in my talking with my peers as I’ve happily been doing on twitter. This topic was one of those.

I’ve written before about overstimulation but I overlooked counterstimulation aside from a brief sentence. I’m not quite sure that was the right thing to do. To a great degree counterstimulation is our finest coping mechanism and one of our most known traits. Manifesting as echolalia, flapping hands, or any number of repetitive behaviors, counterstimulation, or “stimming” as we call it, is one of our most distancing acts but one of our most vital things.

The first thing I need to make clear is this: There is no standard behavior for stimming. Some of us flap our hands. Some sing. Some do various things at various times depending on the stimuli. I certainly do. What we have in common with the activity is we use it to reduce block out the constant overwhelming stimuli in the world.

I have several key behaviors. Listening to music with ear buds in is an important one. It reduces my awareness of the chaotic noise around me. I like to twirl things. This might look weird but bear with me as it’s a nice, regular, repeating motion. Drumming my tongue against my teeth is a great one when in a high stress, inescapable situation. Can’t go wrong with good old counting either.

Then there are the ones you wouldn’t expect. Playing Tetris and Pinball on my Wii achieve the same effect. Playing those simple, goal based games puts me in a place where my mind is clear and all is peaceful. I find digging through old newspapers to be one of the most relaxing ones I know. Growing up, as noted in that entry, riding my bike was an unlikely one but I swear, when I got out and allowed myself the simple rhythm of it, nothing else was nearly as good. That’s how I, despite suffering from heat stroke easily, got through it.

The truth is, we do find great comfort in our minds. I don’t know but I suspect many of us meditate frequently as I do. Community depicts this rather well with Abed and the “dreamatorium.” Stimming is our outward manifestation of our journey into the safer, quieter places in our mind. We can’t live there but sometimes we HAVE to visit there. It’s a complicated thing but we need it.

Riding Out the Storms

There’s a genre of online game I’m quite fond of. In these games, you fire a projectile out, trying to hit the right speed and angle. As the projectile lands, various items can cause it to bounce or jump up and go even farther. It’s a simple genre of game but extremely enjoyable.

That’s been the last few weeks.

It started with an ice storm on February 15th. Living in a bowl as I have been for the last year, it’s almost impossible to get out.. Amanda stayed put though I was able to escape to work. That night, the ice refroze into a slick runway. Getting home might’ve entailed prayer. The next day, Amanda and I made a nearly lethal attempt to get out. Not fun. The next day we did escape. Not an experience I wanted to repeat. We would even stay in a hotel to dodge an ice storm later that week.

On 2/22, we dodged nothing. We were hit with a powerhouse ice and snow storm that blasted us lightly but enough to require a hotel. Amanda and I took up residence at the Holiday Inn Presidential Hotel a few blocks from our workplace. The next day, we got bombarded with a day long powerhouse snow/ice storm that once again kept us in the hotel. I was able to get home the next day but surely our troubles were over.

So then the next week we got a true worldbeater. Several inches of snow and ice! And it started while I was en route to get to Amanda. Took several days for LR to recover. The streets were incredibly slick and wet. We wound up crashing in our new house outside which I fell and hurt my back.

Oh yeah, we started moving loosely on March 2nd and intensely the next week. Everything we own must be out of our old house into our new by 4/1. I spent all day Tuesday moving with my dad, getting the vast majority of my furniture out. A dense sofa/recliner, two beds, an actual recliner, a coffee table, a chest of drawers, a dining room table. None of which helped my back.

Oh and I was sick the same day. Terribly sick. Flulike even.

I could keep going.  My point is clear: to be me is not to know peace. I have several books I’m dying to read. Can’t find five minutes to read them.  I have DVDs piling up. Haven’t been to the theater in 2 months, though it was for Paddington and that mattered to me. I’m exhausted.

So, how on Earth do I get through it? :laughs: Hell if I know.

Oh this isn’t an entry on coping techniques. I’m the last person on Earth to give that advice. I collapse easily. If I can I run like a coward. This is a profound problem I suffer from and I’m NOT proud. Seriously, I have no credibility here.

But he’s the problem: there are plenty of crises I don’t get to avoid. All of the ones listed above? Unavoidable. I have to face them. You can’t dodge an ice storm and we HAD to move. HFA doesn’t stop life. I have made the risky choice to live an adult life and so I have to live it. I just hate how hard it is.

So what do I do? Well, to be blunt I just fight on anyway. During the ice storms I did everything I could to live on some kind of routine. I’m hauling everything over I can. I’m facing all of these head on.

I do my very best to find moments where I can indulge. They’re brief usually but I force them in. I’ve kept up with my comics of course. I’ve caught tv here and there. I did read the new Calvin and Hobbes retrospective which may lead to the next entry.  The occasional meal out is nice.

Most importantly, of course I lean into Amanda during all of this. She is as always there for me through the turbulence. She is a calming influence on me when I would happily explode. I can’t stress enough the good that winds up doing for my soul.

And yes, I have had breaks. Of course I have. There have been meltdowns as there will be. Less actually than I’ve expected. But I’ve definitely had a trigger moment or two. And I just deal with those. My meltdowns are their own bumps in the road.

It will end ultimately. This I tell myself continually. It will have to end. In time all will be quiet and good. But it will take time.

A Flickering Life: The Movie: A Thought Experiment

I live my life in the context of the media I watch. I am a shameless, tireless consumer of media. I read constantly. I watch films constantly. I have TV on all the time. I talk in dialogue. This is my world.

How, in that light, can I not ponder what a film based on my writing would look like? It’s only natural if you’re fascinated by the media to ponder how the media would frame your own story. What liberties would be taken to get the dramatic truth captured? Well, let me be egotistical and pretend I had the ability to do so. This is how I would do it.

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Odds and Ends 3/2/15

Just a few quick updates. Not enough for full posts.

  • First off, I am proud to have been a part of Autism Unveiled. I contributed an essay to the site which was published on Saturday. It’s not much new for regular readers but I’m really pleased with it.
  • State of my life: I’m moving during March. Third year in a row. Hopefully the LAST time. I’m utterly exhausted but oh well. Going to keep fighting onward! I stayed in hotels twice in the last few weeks due to snow. My life has been, um, crazy to say the least.
  • Here’s the state of the book: I’m 5K words in and just finishing the Houston section. That’s about 5 times the entry on the blog. That’s about what I’m aiming for. To be clear, I’m not even looking at any of my past entries as I write.
  • There is a fiction project I’ve worked on coming later this season. When? Well you’ll see.
  • I have several entries in the works. Joy of the book is I keep turning over new ideas. I’m trying to filter any good ones to the site because this remains my passion