How Do You Talk to The Mob?

I’ve been watching Douglas, no not watching, studying Douglas by Hannah Gadsby.

If you’ve read this blog you know that I am a fan of the comedian Hannah Gadsby.

Fan is not even a really good word. She is totally my hero, and my face of representation in media. Seriously, add long hair, a bit more femininity, some pansexual man loving, and that is me. Autistic, writer, woman, advocate; lover of puns, meta jokes, and art history.

The one thing I don’t really have of Hannah’s is her courage.

She’s so damn brave.

Because she takes all of that Autistic writer, advocate, and lover of puns, meta jokes, and art history, and performs. Performs globally. And opens herself up to the mob. How does she do it? How does she talk so directly to the mob?

Not like “the Sopranos” mob, or mafia, but like, the literal, mob- in its most classic definition. The majority. Or you know… people…. Today they are most represented by the angry internet bees and trolls that release their rage through keyboard mania and vitriol, screaming into what they see as the void, but in actuality, is a lot of impressionable people. And I’m not just talking about the people that disagree with me. There are people that agree with me, with my exact opinions and politics, that I don’t like to listen to either, because they give me conflict anxiety with their passion fueled, tone deaf, tirades.

I don’t like conflict. I also don’t like letting people be wrong. I’ve talked about this before.

So, anyway, when I was on Youtube a while back, and I was watching an old Hannah Gadsby routine, and I commented, “She’s my hero.”

Cause you know it’s true. And in case she ever watches her old youtube videos, I wanted her to know. I want everyone who also sees her as a hero to know that I am with them. That they are not alone.

And then, like months later, some man was like, “You’re gonna have to get a new hero. She’s not funny.”

And I had a puffer fish moment. If you’ve seen Douglas or have any autistic or sensitive qualities you will understand that. It was impotent rage.

I wasted a full day trying to draft a response. Finally, I just went with the truth and said, “That’s a really weird comment. She’s my hero. Why do you have a say in my hero, stranger?”

And you wonder why I took a full day for that? Because I will bend over backwards trying to understand the perspective of the other person in a conflict. And I was trying to think of what she had done that I shouldn’t admire her for. And then I remembered. That is just some dude on the internet who is smarting from being the butt of a joke. Yeah, no one likes being the butt of a joke, and I can understand that. But Hannah never makes a joke without some truth in it. So, like she says, she’s punching up. Some people just won’t invest their hurt feeling into growth…

So they just point and yell, “Not funny!”

(Yes, that was a reference to John Mulaney, another funny fucker.)

But of course, bending over backwards to understand that man, pointing at Hannah Gadsby, and because of my comment, also pointing at me by association, and triggering my conflict anxiety— I tried to put myself in his shoes and see if there was any comedy or comedian that smarted my feelings but maybe had some truth in it?

The only one I could think of… might be Dave Chapelle? Because he has offended me before. I’ve frowned at a Netflix special and muttered, “I don’t like that.” But he has never stopped being both funny and smart as hell. I can grow from that. I can take myself less seriously.

Like his bit on the the “Alphabet People” which of course meant, LGBT. On the face of it, it was offensive to be called an alphabet person. But the bit was insightful and hilarious.

I’ve digressed a bit, but my original question is, how do you deal with the mob? So quick to “cancel,” to “puffer fish,” if you will. So full of impotent rage? How do you perform for that without having a nervous breakdown? Because I want to do something on youtube or maybe write another play… I want to do something important and thought provoking, but I don’t want to deal with… all… that…

Dave Chapelle technically did have a nervous breakdown. Do you remember that? At the height of his fame, he quit, went to Africa, and smoked a lot more weed. Pretty sure he is smoking weed in most of his specials lately. Which I think… is actually fucking brilliant. I used to use benzos for this purpose (klonopin or xanax)… But after this most recent bipolar episode, I might have to add something less mood altering. Amaretto sours? Maybe weed? Some gaba-inducing supplement? There is always a line at our local weed dispensary and lines/unknown protocol gives me anxiety. So I, ironically, have been too anxious to visit this location to get weed for my anxiety. I think that means that only one of those Dave Chapelle breakdown options will work for me. And what country of origin would I be able to disappear to… because Germany isn’t really known for its warmth?… Joke. I’m sure modern day Germany is absolutely warm and fuzzy, despite its Nazi past. America can’t judge anyone on its Nazi population anyway.

Hannah Gadsby says she inoculates herself by snacking on the hate. And while that is funny, I am not sure that will work for me. But then again… it might be another way that I am like my hero, Hannah. Because the first conflict about an issue that I am apprehensive about it always the worst, I have a meltdown and I deal. And then the next, is not so bad. So maybe that is just a bad vaccine reaction that I have to deal with.

I think, I just have to be brave.

But maybe I’ll brave the line at the dispensary first.

Instagram, Family, and Special Interest Paintings

I have been staying up WAY too late these nights. Mostly because of my darling son, but also because of my new social media love- instagram. Oh man, is it addicting! But honestly, one of the biggest things that I am really grateful for when it comes to instagram, has very little to do with pretty pictures. Ok, well actually it has a little something to do with it and I will get back to that.

Mostly, I am grateful that it has allowed me to reconnect with my aunt.

This is my Aunt Mary Anne…

Mary Anne or Mae West?

She did this Mae West Tribute show for a long time, and then did some vintage music shows for assisted living facilities where they would appreciate it the most. Which means that she was caring about these older people before they were in danger. Which to me, shows that she was ahead of an all different curve, you know basic humanity and compassion.

She is my father’s sister and the very same aunt I told you about at the beginning of quarantine when I was worried about who I was gonna lose to this sickness. In that post, I also told you about the grandmother that I did lose, shortly after I wrote that, actually. Which meant that when I saw my aunt posting her work outs on instagram it was like I had to see her. I didn’t want to miss my chance with her, like I did with my grandmother. In fact, there is this strange connection that whenever I see her picture, I think “grandma.” Not because she is old enough to be my grandmother, no. It’s just this impetus. It’s like the word “grandma” has become “don’t wait.” Don’t lose her too.

Now, I am not saying my Aunt is going anywhere. She’s incredibly healthy. She does these stair climbing marathons and is doing a virtual one to raise money for Leukemia, her team is called Stair Down Cancer. (Love a good pun.) I just really don’t want to waste anymore time with her.

And seeing her virtually is good enough during this crisis, like I said, despite being ridiculously healthy, she is older than my father. And my uncle, the writer, has MS, and is a quadriplegic. He also has a great blog about their adventures in a handicap accessible RV from a wheelchair perspective, called Wheelie Out There. I think that pun alone shows you how great he is. (Seriously, love a good pun.) But it also shows you that I want them to be safe in this uncertain time.

Picture courtesy of his blog, Wheelie Out There.

Sidenote- When I first met my Uncle John I believe he had a cane. Then a walker. Then a motorized scooter, and now a wheelchair. The interesting thing about that, is that none of my memories of his mobility aides are bad ones. Sure, I didn’t want that for him. But his presence has never been a sad or tragic one. When it was the walker, I remember him showing me the “grassy knoll” in Dallas as we looked over the fence where a “second shooter” might have been. When it was the motorized scooter, I remember him nearly plowing into a hissing goose outside his apartment, a war whoop of glee on the air. What I am saying is, despite his difficulties, which are enough to destroy most people, he has a tremendous spirit. He also skydives. So there’s that.

We’ve made plans to get together once they swing through my little town. And I’m pretty happy about it. Honestly, I’m just hoping I won’t burst into tears when I see them. Undiagnosed autism and other mental health issues can be so isolating. The best thing about getting diagnosed (and the proper medicine) has honestly been “coming out.” It allows you to get over yourself a bit and go after what matters to you. My family will always matter most to me. So it’s like a starting pistol has gone off, and I want to go see everyone. Too bad it happened during a quarantine. Nonetheless, I’m pretty pumped.

I’m also pumped about an idea my aunt gave me over instagram. I was posting some of my old paintings which included this teacup painting I did for an antique shop.

And she suggested that I create painting of rare teacups for collectors. And while I am not sure that I want to necessarily go the teacup route, because rare teacups are usually quite intricate, and would not really be my.. ahem…cup of tea, per se, I really loved the idea of painting a piece that a person might collect. Because you will often find that autistic people are collectors. This also made me think of the other unique special interests that people on the spectrum have. I think sometime in the future I would like to do a series based on such an idea, highlighting those special interests and elevating them into art.

Do you have a special interest that you would like a painting of?

But maybe, more than that, do you want to see your family more? It’s hard living with mental health issues, like I said before. And hopefully, once all this is done, and it’s safe to be with each other once again, maybe it doesn’t have to be so isolating.

Maybe it’s not too late.


The painting is by Salvador Dali. It’s inspired by Mae West, the real life actress my Aunt has made a career out of impersonating.

Finding Kyle and My influences

I have discovered another contemporary artist that I am just in love with. I am slightly embarrassed to say that it was while I was watching decorating shows on hulu at midnight. The show “Good Bones” reminds me so much of my mother and I as a team. Now, my mother and I did theatrical productions, not renovate houses, but it’s the same kind of energy.

Anyway, Kyle Ragsdale made an appearance when the mother-daughter duo were looking for some original art and came to visit his studio, and uh- I reversed the video THREE TIMES trying to catch not only his full name, but all the art in his studio. I wanted to see IT ALL.

But all they said was “Kyle” and I was like, do I just plug into Google “Kyle + Beautiful Art + Indianapolis”? But apparently, yeah, that was all I had to do, because I found him.

Folks. I am loving his work. But I also really enjoyed this moment on his website, where he listed his influences. This long list, with no explanation. And, sure, he listed artists like Gustav Klimt, Gary Hume, and Fiona Raye- but then he also added, golf, Scrabble, The Royal Tennenbaums, and Bjork. I LOVE that. Especially as an autistic person, who often relates and communicates to the rest of the world through references from movies and popular culture. (Think Abed from Community.)

So, I wanted to introduce you to Kyle, yes, but I also wanted to make a similar influences list, with no explanation either. Influences to my art, my writing, my life in general. So take it as you will… again, no particular order, other than my ADHD inattentive brain.

My Influences

  • Harry Potter
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Texture
  • John Singer Sargent
  • Tricia French
  • Lizzo
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • 1960’s pop art and fashion
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Paul McCartney
  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Edward Hopper
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Pattern
  • Hannah Gadsby
  • Radiolab
  • Ira Glass
  • Justice/Responsibility
  • David Bowie
  • Penelope
  • Lady Gaga
  • Neurodiversity
  • Westerns
  • Star Trek
  • Puns
  • Compassion
  • Zombie/apocalyptic novels
  • Disney films
  • Carl Jung
  • Ironic covers of popular songs
  • Mary Blair
  • Margaret Atwood
  • My family
  • Ted Kooser
  • Mary Oliver
  • William Carlos Willams
  • Dolly Parton
  • Christopher Moore
  • Marvel Comics
  • Adam Driver
  • Sandy Powell
  • Emily McDowell
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Nolan Brothers
  • Franz Marc
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Jess Franks
  • Michael Carson
  • Anna Bond
  • Typography
  • Hurst Castle
  • Queer Eye
  • Inclusivity
  • Laughter
  • Warmth

And maybe… you? The people that I want to help. Always. You probably influence me the most.

Sensory Issues = Short Temper

I was perusing facebook and I found a gem of an infographic from @mombrain.therapist. So of course I hopped on to instagram, followed her immediately, and found a bunch of other great infographic gems, one on pandemic parenting, another on comparing yourself to other moms, all cute and cartoony with really great information. You should go look. But this particular pic was it for me. It helped me so much.

Visual clutter, bad smells, and bright lights are my biggest hotpoints.

Now technically, I knew a lot of this information already as an autistic person. But for some reason I had not connected it to my patience as a parent (or as a wife really.)

I just knew it was why I was feeling so wrong and why I needed to hide in hyperfocus tv bingeing or some other kind of distraction. Which always makes me even more irritable because there is no progress or problem solving when you’re hiding out in hyperfocus mode. It’s like running in place.

I hate running in place. Treadmills? Don’t get me started. Like, I think Dickensian orphans would be horrified that people use treadmills for exercise now. What’s next? Voluntary debtor’s prison? … There might be a university and student loan comparison, there…. but offtopic.

So, how do I deal with this? I’ve tried the usual fixes. I did the candles, I did the audio book, I upped the ante to some of my favorite music, but with the inability to have my cleaning time without my family… not to mention all the walks that my buddy has me going on (And that whole gluten rash debacle) I’m just stuck. And I was really pissed about it.

Was… that’s the key word. Why am I no longer angry? Was it meditation? Therapy? Good old fashioned gratitude?

No!

I took a Klonopin!

I am not making fun of meditation, therapy, or good old fashioned gratitude, those are definitely a part of my bag of tricks. But the reality is, this isn’t just a foul mood. It’s not a lack of perspective. It’s a sensory reaction. It’s physical. And sometimes physical problems needs physical answers. So I took a klonopin with my daily cocktail. And it helped a lot.

Truly, if I could add klonopin to my daily meds, I would. But I don’t want to develop any kind of resistance to it, because it can be a lifesaver when you are dealing with something just that much extra. Like a global pandemic, near house fire (oh yeah, that happened. I’ll tell you more later) and so much visual clutter that I’m tripping over it.

This is a sidenote, but to explain just how insane my environment is right now… My son… has decided to collect all the floor vents in one place, leaving these rabbit-warren-like holes in my hardwood floor, that I’m pretty sure he’s thrown some toys down. I definitely stepped in one. And for some reason… he pushed my chair into one so that it looked like a sinkhole had developed in my dining room? I am not kidding. I almost wish I had taken a picture but it was just too much.

And in a wonderland like twist, last night while we were sleeping, he woke up and found my cache of slinkies that I bought for him. So there are dozens of slinkies hidden amongst the laundry and clutter. And every once in a while, one will just spring out at you.

I also had started a few projects that I didn’t finish, my fault there, so there are bins of my books and storage and one of my statue models from art school just hanging out in the living room. But really… my kid has been loving that, so I’m not as angry on that one.

I won’t mention how he keeps fondling the butt on this statue. I think it’s the texture… yeah… we will go with that.
The infamous wedding typewriter. Bubba has been loving that too.

So, yeah.

Uh… Now, I just found a melted green crayon in my fresh load of whites.

What was I saying about meditation again?

The Resident… Is Hot

To be fair I have been a fan of Matt Czuchry since his “Gilmore Girl” days when he played Logan Huntzberger.

So now that I can’t do anything that I had planned to do today (like I told Instagram, I’m having some bad allergies today. Which for some might just mean watery eyes, for me it means the skin around my joints gets horrible hives and my hands become very swollen and angry. I can only type right now because I took a double dose of Benedryl.)

Anyway, I’ve been in love with Matt Czurchy for more than a decade. First it was “Gilmore Girls,” then it was “The Good Wife,” and now “The Resident.”

I’ve been binge watching “The Resident” all day, and I have come to several conclusions. One, Matt Czuchry really understands the female gaze. He’s warm and confident. He’s got that “I’m here now and everything will be ok” look down pat.

Second, romance and sexuality are such interesting bedfellows. Technically, I would put my sexuality as Pansexual (I’ve been known to call it bisexual as well, but I get tired of the negativity around being bisexual. Probably why I often resort to the umbrella term “queer.”) I am also heteromantic. Which means that I am sexually attracted to all genders but I’m romantically attracted to the opposite gender. And for a lot of people in the LGBT community, this makes me an inauthentic queer. To that, I’d say the dogeared nude of Marilyn Monroe from my teen years strongly disagrees. That, and my internet history, but we won’t go into that right now. (Maybe later.)

I have considered myself heteromantic for a long time because all my favorite fictional love interests have been men, I also married a man, obviously. BUT I’ve been starting to question that… (the heteromantic part, not my husband. I love him more than anything.) I doubt the heteromantic part mostly because of the lack of strong female love stories out there. When there is a lesbian love story, it is often coupled with the pain of being an outcast or having to hide that love. Kind of puts a damper on happily ever after, don’t you think? And I could never really get into “the L Word” because there was so little loyalty on the show. I do not like betrayal. And “The L Word” was full of betrayal.

But this isn’t about that. It’s about “The Resident”. I totally suggest you start watching it. Not only does it have the wonderful Matt Czuchry, it also has great diversity. And when I say great diversity I mean that it’s not just tokenism diversity, there are legitimately well rounded characters from all backgrounds. Yes I know, the main character is blonde and blue eyed (and dreamy) but it still warms my heart to see more than just that demographic filled out.

And then one last thing that I think is so interesting. They have this unique first person kind of shooting style, where you are temporarily in the point of view of the patient. It’s very interesting, especially if you dig ASMR. And speaking of ASMR, they are also extremely attuned to the senses in their sound design as well. At one point, there was a scene where they were telling the family that a patient had died and all sound dropped out except the familiar tone of flatlined heart monitor. It was super effective and very well done. And surprisingly subtle?

Anyway, I’m watching it on Hulu, now. You should too.

Plans, Plans, Plans… Wait… crap…

So that was a reference to my Plans, Plans, Plans, Yeah! post where I talked about my exciting plans to start an ASMR channel and vlog. Mostly, it was about equipment and my background in photography.

And in my excitement, I forgot the golden rule… Ask the experts.

I mean, we tell autism parents that all the time. Ask Autistics, well, I have now “asked” the ASMRtists and I have more information to pass on to you. I put asked in quotes because what I really did was search for videos on their personal ASMR creation advice. Of which there are a few…

(I kind of wish I had “asked” before I bought some of my equipment, but I am still pretty happy with what I have. Even if I did get carried away… crap, don’t tell my husband I said that. CRAP, he reads these! … Anyway, I’ll get more into that in a minute.)

This is about the experts. So, let me start with my first ASMR love… Gibi ASMR. This video is from 2017, and I like that because it was after she had been filming for about a year, which means that she was still comparatively a beginner, but with legit advice. She’s also, just so smart and likable. So it’s nice to listen to as well.

Continue reading “Plans, Plans, Plans… Wait… crap…”

Dysfunction Breaking Playlist

If you have read my blog before, you might know that Executive Dysfunction is a huge problem for me. Some of it stems from stress, some of it is about my ADHD, then there’s depression, but mostly, it is triggered by environmental dysregulation.

OR MY HOUSE IS A MESS.

Now, a little clutter I can handle. But once things start to overlap, or perhaps, I can’t finish cleaning because the world is in a pandemic and my son and husband never leave, because I want them to stay safe, but I also kind of want them to lock themselves into a room so I clean the rest of the house to my specifications…

That seemed kind of specific didn’t it?

So, I have been having to learn how to deal with my Executive Dysfunction and environmental dysregulation- quarantine style. Which is apparently, a later adderall time and some very loud music.

The adderall thing has to do with timing. And the fact that my son will often have minor panic moments when I start to clean up his toys, because he had them “just so” even if it looks like madness to me. And then because he wants them back at “just so” he will take them away and throw them back all over the living room. He doesn’t mind them being cleaned up when he’s not looking, in fact he loves to take them all out again. Or just enjoy the empty space. He just can’t watch the sausage being made, essentially.

So if i take my adderall at a later time I can stay focused longer, especially after he goes to sleep for the night.

That’s part one. Changing my dose and activity schedule to when my son is asleep.

Now, two, there is a lot I have to do when my son is awake or I will wake him up. Like dishes. Something about that activity will wake him out of his light sleep, even with the fans and the white noise. So, dishes, have to be done during the day. They are also the hardest thing for me to start. I have written about this before. Basically, the dishes are one of the hardest things I do because of sensory issues.

And today, the usual was just not enough. Audiobooks, candles, my usual dish gloves. I just couldn’t handle it.

So I had to find a way to break myself out of it. That means I upped the intensity. Instead of my usual audiobook, I switched to music (more on that in a second.) Instead of candles, I sprayed the room with a favorite fragrance. And instead of my usual dish gloves, I used disposable nitrile gloves. (The industrial blue gloves that you are probably seeing a lot of these days. I know that people are buying them because they are sold out everywhere I usually get them.)

Anyway, it worked! Well, sort of. I got the first load done. Pretty much every dish in my home was dirty, so I have several more loads and handwashing to do, but with my handy dandy “Executive Dysfunction Breaking Playlist” I think I can do it!

Was that a good segue? It felt a little forced…

SO… The playlist! My taste in music is eclectic, it’s true. Everything from indie hipster to global to retro to classical. Basically, it has to evoke some kind of feeling in me. Usually, that’s my only requirement. But when it comes to breaking me out of dysfunction, it has to have a good beat or some kind of crescendo.

And these songs are in no particular order, in my usual fashion, because the actual curation of playlists is something I am still working on.

Continue reading “Dysfunction Breaking Playlist”

Plans, plans, plans! Yeah!

That post title was done to the tune of The Thompson Twins in case you were wondering.

(It was also done before my grandmother passed away and before my grief drove me to my easel. These particular plans I laid out are still on the drawing board, I just had an artist’s detour to deal with the unexpected pain of my grandmother’s death. Back to the original post.)

I am finally, FINALLY starting to feel better. (Technically, I am fully recovered now, but the healing part seems to be taking a little bit longer.) I tried to do a load of laundry- and got winded- so I have to find other ways to revel in my newfound almost health. Therefore, I have decided… to make plans.

I love making plans. When my executive dysfunction was at its worst, that was literally all I did, plans and pinterest. So, yes, planning is not usually the healthiest of progress, but it’s still a lot of fun.

My latest dream is two-fold- no- maybe three-fold. Actually probably four? ANYWAY, let me get to it.

With all the ASMR and youtube I have been consuming during my illness, I would love to get into some form of ASMR and Autism Vlogging. It encompasses so many of my loves- photography, film, lighting, art, ASMR, advocating, writing, and performing. It seems like a goldmine of fulfillment.

Which means that I am now in the best part of planning- RESEARCH! I love RESEARCH! It’s like hyperfocus-ADHD-candy- without the unnecessary sugar!

SO- if anyone out there, dear readers, has wanted to get into vlogging or making a youtube channel, I am doing some of the research for you.

Continue reading “Plans, plans, plans! Yeah!”

I Promised

I promised a pic of my painting, this is a work in progress. I decided on a subtle tribute to Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette. Like I told instagram, it’s pretty ironic that this is what I chose to paint considering that I don’t like sunflowers decoratively. Love the seeds for a snack, but that’s about it.

No, this was about her talk on Vincent Van Gogh, and one of my favorite lines to ever grace the stage. “Do you know why we have the sunflowers? It’s not because Vincent Van Gogh suffered. It’s because Vincent had a brother who loved him.”

So eventually… when I finish this painting, it will be called “Because he had a Brother who Loved him”

If you haven’t seen Nanette, it’s on Netflix. Watch it now.

ASMR fan moment

Okay, if you have already read my posts on ASMR you know that Gibi ASMR is one of my personal favorite ASMRtist. Like I’ve said before, it’s very clear how much she loves ASMR as well. Around the 19 minute mark of this ASMR video, you can really see her immersing herself in the sound. It made me so happy to not only listen, but to watch her listen. I heart her.

And here’s another from my new favorite Taylor ASMR. This is a haircut role play, which if you’ve read my blog, you know that I typically do not listen to… but she is so flipping charming and funny, with some really calming sounds… I just love it. I’ve listened to it several times.

My Un-Finished Zombie Novel

I was speaking with a fellow adult diagnosed autistic writer, in one of my many favorite online support groups, and I told him, “looking back at my unfinished novels, I think I made almost all of my main characters autistic, without even knowing it. I think I was always searching for answers or connections with someone like myself.”

For those that might not understand that, I wanted to share a few excerpts from my “unfinished zombie novel” that I have been writing through my unmedicated ADHD for a good ten years. Writing with ADHD is nearly impossible, FYI. Sure, you get some good spurts with hyperfocus but for the majority of the time you are fighting with yourself to get some legitimate work done. Not easy.

In this untitled work, a young woman who left town due to a trauma at a very young age, returns home just before the zombie apocalypse. I should mention that this is more of a zombie-fantasy novel, with some complex religious themes, because, you know, I don’t do anything simple or easy. The following is from a study I wrote to get a better idea of the character.

She was a rule follower, for sure. The sheep of sheep. Which made her perfect for church. Jesus was a shepherd, was he not? 

But the thing about sheep is they are often frightened. And so was she. Frightened. All the time. Of everything. But most of all, she was frightened by no rules at all. Not anarchy, not a complete lack of rules. No, she was afraid of not-knowing the rules. Not-knowing the right things to say. Not-knowing the right thing to do. Not-knowing what would spare her the stares of those that did know what to do. A room of people where everyone knows the rules but her, like a stage she had casually happened upon during opening night. 

Which is why she avoided the post office. There were just too many rules to follow. Too many rules to know, rigid rules that she would never-ever remember. Air holes, fragile and not fragile, freight versus priority, thirty two cent stamps and those that supposedly lasted forever—  and the lines. Oh, the lines. She never knew which line not to cross. So, she didn’t cross any. She hand delivered her letters instead. 

It’s why she skipped adolescence too. She looked at the beautiful girls that her brother dated, and they were all the same. They all understood something that she didn’t. They all had read the same rule book: on how to dress, how to speak, how to speak to boys, and how not to speak to other girls. Girls like her. They would never tell her how to be, what to do, what to say. She knew that the instant she became a teenager, it would be like walking into a room with no rules to guide her. The post office, all over again. 

So she skipped it. She turned twelve, ran away, and became a teenage mother. The one thing she knew she was not supposed to do.  She simply skipped over adolescence, like a crowd she wanted to avoid. Now… she was the oldest seventeen year old she knew.

Yeah…

That almost makes me emotional to read. It was practically a cry for help. I wrote this particular piece of writing probably six years ago? It shows you that even though I had no idea about my diagnosis, I was still autistic. And severely suffering from that lack of knowledge.

Here’s an interesting bit of dialogue that shows one of my favorite “stims”, the ocean. As a bit of background, my main character is talking to a young man who has also returned home from a failed escape. As to any quality of the writing, like I said, this book has been a ten year process. I’ve matured since some of theses original drafts.

“I wanted out of the Midwest. It’s just so flat,” he gestured at the dark horizon. “I wanted to see something else. So I thought…” 

“You thought, California.” 

“Yes, I thought California. I thought of the ocean. I mean, is there anything more different from the Midwest? But what’s funny is that the ocean is so flat. You wouldn’t think it, but once you get past the waves it’s nothing but flat water. In the right light the ocean looks just like a wheat field. It looks like nothing more than grass for miles. And so much horizon—it goes on and on.”

“Only a boy from the Midwest would think the ocean looks like a wheat field. Were you disappointed?” 

“A little. I left to find sunnier skies but the skies were no different in California, because California is just a place like any other. Just like here. Same sky. But I loved the sound of the ocean. It looked like grass, but the sound—the sound was something else. It was so loud and so visceral. It was biblical—like it was pulling me back into the sea…this… push-pull.. push-pull… push-pull.. It was so…so…”

“Wet,” she blushed.

He grinned. “Yes. It was wet.” 

And again later:

“My whole life I had always worn a tie and stiff, lace up shoes. I was eighteen, and I had never worn sandals. So the difference was liberating. I spent two weeks just listening to the sound of the ocean. This slap, slap, sure,” he clapped his hands together twice and slid them together slowly. “Slap, slap, sure. Sometimes I would fall asleep right there on the sand.” 

I also dealt with a sensory related, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria meltdown, long before I knew what it was. Again, remember that this is a zombie novel, so I am about to mention said monsters.

Her head was swimming. It was like the church bell had gone off, right beside her. And the wave of it was ringing through her whole body, making her dizzy. Like the first time she heard a church bell chime. Everything faded away, their laughter, her shame, muffled under the vibrations of something so large and resolute. 

She stumbled to the high windows, once so beautiful, now boarded up and hidden away. Through the cracks she could see the sun dropping below the bell tower. Already there were monsters careening across the square, looking for others. Already she could hear their moans, calling to the other people locked safely away, calling to her.       

She felt trapped.

And these are just a few of the examples. There are so, so many more. But I don’t want to dump my entire novel into a blog post. Need to finish it first! But honestly, now that I am properly medicated, that is a legitimate possibility for my future, for the first time. It’s not some far off goal, some “someday.”

And that is a wonderful feeling.


As my lawyer, my husband would like to mention that all writings original to this blog or novel excerpts, complete or otherwise, are copyright to Holly Beardsley, 2020.

So, uh, don’t steal my book.

ASMR & Autism Part 2

So, it’s been a little while since I first wrote my piece on ASMR and Autism, most of that has stayed the same, but upon further immersion, I have a few more thoughts that I would like to share.

Misophonia can occasionally make ASMR a real crapshoot. I will be enjoying a particular video of sounds and then someone has a more explosive “P” sound in the microphone and it’s like a small landmine going off. And the “wet whispering” that some people love, makes me want to physically cringe.

I am not trying to insult any ASMR creator that uses those triggers. It’s just my experience as an Autistic person with ADHD and OCD who partakes heavily in ASMR to mitigate some anxiety and focus issues.

For a moment, I thought about making some reviews for people that both love ASMR and suffer from misophonia, but I imagined that misophonia can be triggered by many different things. And after doing more research on other’s experience with misohponia, I was right.

Read this quote from Neurology Times:

A number of sounds can elicit the agitation characteristic of misophonia. Chewing noises are probably the most common trigger, but other sounds such as slurping, crunching, mouth noises, tongue clicking, sniffling, tapping, joint cracking, nail clipping, and the infamous nails on the chalkboard are all auditory stimuli that incite misophonia.

Most of the sounds that trigger misophonia are produced by the human body, but some misophonics become annoyed by the sounds of inanimate objects, such as clicking of a remote control or the whirring of a motor, although the degree of irritation is not usually as severe. Interestingly, people who suffer from misophonia do not experience irritation when they produce the same exact noises themselves.

Now, for myself, I can agree with chewing, crunching, wet mouth noises, nails on a chalkboard, also fork on a plate (not listed here), and the whirring of a motor. The whirring of a motor is actually probably my WORST misophonia trigger, so it’s funny that they say the irritation is not as severe. Look at me! Bucking statistics everywhere I go!

BUT on the more positive side, I think I have narrowed down my most beloved relaxation triggers. Here’s the list:

  • Still love finger fluttering, super consistent and beautiful
  • scratching your nails across almost any surface (not chalkboard, obvs.)
  • brushing, with soft brushes on a microphone, or brushes in hair (If it’s a wig though, it has to be good quality. You can hear a bad synthetic wig, I know that sounds snooty but it’s true. It’s something about the netting structure, has to be soft lace, not acrylic that will catch on a brush.)
  • Painting! Oh my goodness, painting is my new fave! More on that in a minute.
  • Big fluffy micorphone windsocks. Ohhhhhh… they are the best.
  • Personal attention and affirmation. It’s just good for the soul.
  • Reiki is still a big favorite. Although I prefer kind of the “modified” reiki that most ASMR creators use, and call it “toxic energy pulling” or something like that. If I am gonna have full blown reiki, I want it to be in person. For some reason it feels like acupuncture by proxy to have a reiki session over the internet. So you, know, without the proper “punch” essentially.
  • ACTUAL hair cuts or hair dressing. Not role play. I will get into that in a minute, too.
  • Make up “on you and me.” Informative and relaxing.

I think that is a pretty comprehensive list. Of course, I am open to new triggers and mediation sounds. I’m really starting to enjoy the creators who put a low level of rain or some other traditional nature sound under their ASMR. It adds a level of consistent sound that is very soothing.

Here’s the misophonia triggers. Again, I am not trying to insult or rag on any ASMR creator or enthusiast who loves these sounds, I am just trying to warn other misophonics who need to know before exploring ASMR.

  • As I said in my last piece, chewing. There is a whole sub-category of the ASMR genre that is just chewing and lip smacking. Shudder.
  • Crinkling sounds. For me, crinkling is just too loud and inconsistent. I don’t know that it triggers my misophonia, but it’s not relaxing either.
  • Overly wet whispering and breathy speaking voice. Not only does this occasionally feel a little too phone-sex-operator for me (no judgement, for real) but this majorly triggers my misophonia.
  • Inconsistent repetition. This is actually more of an OCD thing than a purely Misophonia thing, but if you are gonna repeat words, they need to be consistent or have an appropriate rhythm and crescendo. Otherwise you’re just tweaking out your listeners who deal with this kind of verbal inconsistencies all day, every day.

So with all that being said, I’d like to go back to the positive part of this post. And that is I have found some new favorite ASMRtists to share. First up is Caroline ASMR.

Caroline ASMR

Caroline doesn’t really need my help in telling you that she’s a great channel to listen to. She’s highly sucessful in subscribers and views on youtube. You can also find her on the Zee’s app, which I really enjoy as a more comment friendly place to get my ASMR. (Zee’s was also produced by my original fave Gibi ASMR. So I legit use this platform out of loyalty as well, just being honest.)

BUT MY FAVORITE are her brain massage videos. They really helped me through my COVID-19 headaches. Which were the worst headaches I had ever had in my thirty odd years of life. No contest. She’s also got some adorable merch that I plan on splurging on when I am no longer in trouble from my last shopping splurge. (My husband is thrifty, I am impulsive. Together, we try not to have too many financial arguments.)

Here’s one video that helped me especially, it’s also good for focus:

Perfect headache cure.

Next up is a seriously under-appreciated young ASMRtist-

Taylor ASMR

Not to be confused with Taylor Darling of Darling ASMR. Taylor is someone I discovered when I was trying to find more painting asmr. She started with some very Bob Ross style painting ASMR videos and evolved to more of her own style. Does a lot of Palette knife painting, which I LOVE. I seriously love a good palette knife painting. (A good palette knife sound too.)

She is so flipping adorable. I almost can’t handle how cute and sincere she is. She also is a budding talent in both art and ASMR. She’s really triggered that loyal want to protect feeling from me. Which, honestly, is a sign that I am very moved by your work and want to support it. Not that I am like a creepy stalker or something. It’s nerd loyalty. If you are a nerd, you know what I am talking about. If you aren’t, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of comic-con. That’s loyalty, my friends.

Anyway, she’s really good at what she does, is super honest and funny, and is getting continually better and better. In a short time that I have been watching her channel, I’ve gone from charmed to super fan. (I also lived in Georgia for a short time, originally from Texas, so her accent is just like coming home sometimes.) From what I can see, she’s very authentic and should be on your watchlist. No matter what taste in ASMR you have.

Here’s one of her painting videos from about two years ago that just charmed the heck out of me:

She’s so cute. I seriously cannot handle how cute she is.

I’m on a very secret mission to try and get her to photograph her paintings and sell them on platforms like Society 6 or even Teespring. This secret mission usually involves me yelling at my computer screen, “Monetize your art! You deserve more money for all the good you are putting into the world!”

This is how most of my secret missions go. I know. I’m not a very persuasive person, not yet at least. My biggest compliment I can give to Taylor is that when I think about my ambitions to create my own ASMR channel and Autistic Vlog, I would study her for her effervescent quality. She’s that good.

So yes, look up these pre-approved ASMR creators but listen with caution! Misophonia is hard but it shouldn’t keep us from the things we enjoy!


OH! I forgot to mention why I only watch real haircutting ASMR instead of role play. Ok. It’s one of those trauma- RSD related issues. I am a big believer in getting your hair done in a salon. My sister is an Aveda trained master of hair and if I could only use her services, I would- although she does tell me what I want instead of asking me, but that’s older sisters.

You see, I tend to make hair stylists angry. I have A LOT of hair.

Let me show you a recent example of the size and thickness of my hair:

Fluorescent lighting is doing nothing for my almost middle aged face but you can see just how much hair I have. It goes on beyond the camera’s lens too. You can almost hear the sigh in my eyes. SO. Much. Hair…

I’ve tried to cut it all off, but then I end up looking like this squat mushroom type character. Very Mario Brothers, circa 1990’s. Oh, and by the way, my hair is not “teased” in that picture. It just hasn’t been brushed down. Eat your heart out, Dolly.

So, like I said, if I go to get my hair cut or colored, especially colored, hairdressers get VERY ANNOYED with my existence. This has always messed with my Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria qualities.

An example… One time I was getting my hair colored professionally, and the young girl complained, LITERALLY, THE WHOLE TIME. In trying to pacify her, I said, “I know that I have a lot of hair, I tip accordingly.” And she angrily huffed, “I would hope so.”

That was the last time I got my hair professionally colored by anyone other than my sister. I would rather make mistakes at home than be berated by a, well, I thought of a lot of unkind words here, but, by a young lady who apparently doesn’t like her own job. (I also paid WELL over a hundred dollars for that cut and color with a huge tip. Just to be traumatized for a decent job. It was not worth the tip I gave in compensation for EXISTING.)

SO, I don’t like haircut role play ASMR anymore because they bring up a lot of trauma memories. This is not uncommon for people who are either on the spectrum or deal with ADHD, or people like me, who are both. BUT I still really like the sound of scissors, and have had very relaxing haircuts in the past.

I have an ambition to one day create a relaxing haircut role play ASMR for people like me. But that’s way down the line. In reality, I think it would be better to just bring in my sister and record my own haircut. My brother in law is a professional in the film industry too. I KNOW! I keep trying to tell them they would be so good at ASMR. Maybe one day, they’ll listen and we’ll all benefit.

Again, my sister is also just very good. Even when she did that horrible highlighting cap on me when we were kids, I have less bad memories from that catastrophe than I do from strangers. And she was an untrained, bossy, sixteen year old girl. She also cut my face once, when she was about thirteen and using sewing scissors to frame the hair around my face. STILL prefer the face cutting to being judged for having too much hair. SO yeah, RSD is insane and thirteen year old beauticians probably need a little more practice. That’s why they have little sisters.