Sunday, January 31, 2016

No Agenda

Things have been going much better for me at work lately. For a long time, I was scared to be my real self at work, and I kept to myself a lot and didn't talk to people as much. Now, I don't know exactly how it happened or what triggered it, but I just feel so much more comfortable and I actually feel close to everyone. I've made it a serious goal to get closer to my coworkers. It's not a general goal to talk more or be more social or anything - I mean that I want to make deeper connections with people and really nurture those relationships. I want to be able to think of each other as friends, not just coworkers. I think I'm doing a good job so far. We've talked a lot more recently, and I do feel close with a few people.

I think I've gotten much better at reading people and knowing who I can and can't trust. When I think back to college, grad school, and certain friends who always pressured me, I can see what the problem is - they all had an agenda. They all had things that they wanted people to do and to be. For example, if one of these agenda people thinks that it's good to get out there and meet lots of people and participate in lots of activities, they'll act like a good friend when you express interest in doing those things. They'll be happy for you every time you mention that you've done something that falls into this category of what they think people should be doing. But the minute you say, "I don't want to meet new people or go out and do anything, I just want to stay home and be by myself," they stop being a nice friend and stop accepting you. If you say, "I had a GREAT weekend staying home by myself!" they will never, ever be happy for you the way they would if you said you went out and did stuff, even if you personally are much happier spending the weekend by yourself. If you say, "This event wasn't really for me - it was too loud and crowded and I got stuck talking to people I didn't know, when I would have preferred to just stick with my close friends," the person will pressure you to like the event rather than accept your answer. These people are hard to spot right away because if you happen to be doing what they think you should be doing, they can act like your best friend in the world, and by the time they see the parts of you that they don't approve of, you already feel like you're friends with them and don't want to break it off, even if they are clearly never going to accept you doing what makes you happy.

Having had so many "friends" with agendas, having lived at a school for 4 years where absolutely every single student was like this, I went through a phase of misjudging people, thinking that anyone who was really into something must push that agenda onto other people. For a while, I went through that phase at work too. I felt like I didn't belong and didn't share interests with anyone else. Everyone else was doing all this overtime and when they didn't stay late it was because they had family obligations or they were doing some other kind of work like helping a sibling build a deck on their house. I felt like I was the only person who didn't have work ethic, who just did the bare minimum and did absolutely zero work outside of my job. I thought I didn't fit in.

I have a couple of coworkers whom I've always talked to, who have always asked me what I was doing over the weekend. When I told them that I was doing something fun, they always were happy for me and said they hoped I had a good time. I remember when I was having my Welcome to my Apartment party two years ago, my boss was really happy for me and asked me how it went afterwards. For a past few years, I've been pretty reserved at work, only talking if people asked me personal questions first. And in that time, I've done a lot of listening. Listening to other people's conversations with each other. And that's when I realized the difference between the people I work with and the people I went to college with. People who are actually nice don't have an agenda. People who are actually nice are happy for you when you have a good weekend and feel bad for you when you have a bad weekend, regardless of what actually constitutes a good or bad weekend for you. I've listened to my coworkers talk to so many different people, and they validate everyone equally. Whether you're saying "Yay I worked lots of extra hours and got a huge paycheck!" or "Yay I'm having a party this weekend!" the people who really care validate BOTH of those things because they both make the other person happy. Maybe I don't do the things on the weekends that most of my coworkers do, but it doesn't matter. I know from my interactions with people that I do fit in. I really do. I'm with validating people.

This past Friday, my friend's mother passed away. I got the call during work. I told my boss about it because I knew that the funeral would be the following week, and she was prepared to let me go home right then. Seriously! She said, "You need to be with your friend," and was willing to let me leave work. I had already asked my friend and she said that she didn't want me to come over, but I appreciated it so much that my boss was willing to let me leave. When I go into work tomorrow, I'm going to thank my boss for being so nice about it. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Misophonia

You are NOT my neurotypical ally if you don't take misophonia seriously. 

REAL Support

[Content: Suicidal thoughts]

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon a Facebook support group page for people who are having or have had suicidal thoughts. (I wish I could link to the page, but it was a long time ago and the things I'll have to filter through in order to find it again will make me feel really bad). I was feeling fine at the time - this page just popped up in my newsfeed somehow, so I automatically clicked it open. This was a group that truly, sincerely, had the intention of helping and supporting people...

But I could honestly say that 85% of the "positive" posts on the page made me feel worse. And that's only the main posts. Once I got into the "positive" comments, it was more like 99.5% of the posts made me feel worse.

And I read this page when I wasn't feeling bad to begin with. If I had read this page during a really bad time, if I had actually gone to the page to get help, I would have felt exponentially worse.

I don't want to eliminate all pages like this because I think that some people to do benefit from them, and I wouldn't want to take away resources that help people. But we need alternative resources. We need resources for people like me who just aren't into all this positivity. Something NEEDS to be done.

And that's what my book is all about. I want to put that kind of support in the world that I was never able to find.

I'm Not Selling Lemonade

I don't make lemonade. I'm not running a lemonade stand here. If you want lemonade, I suggest you go elsewhere.

I do not make lemonade when life gives me lemons, nor is that something I want to promote or teach to other people. If you personally want to learn how to learn how to make lemonade out of life's lemons, I'm confident that you'll find plenty of books or blog posts on that, written by people other than me.

When I think of the lemons that I'm fighting right now, I don't picture an individual person standing there throwing lemons at me. I don't picture a whole gang of people throwing lemons at me. And I don't picture lemons just falling out of the sky. (Kids: adults like to tell you that lemons are falling from the sky when the adults themselves are throwing the lemons at you. Don't believe their lies). What I do picture is a machine that keeps throwing lemons at people no matter how much they tell it to stop or try to get out of its throwing range. And I'm ready to break that machine.

Some people mistake me for being a good productive citizen, doing constructive things, and contributing to society. I'm not like that. I am destructive and I only ever want to have a destructive impact. But that lemon-throwing machine is too powerful and too complex for me to just smash with a baseball bat. It's so complex that I've had to build my own machine to dismantle it.

That's where my book comes in.

But the book isn't just one machine to dismantle another machine. My book is more of a toolbox with a set of instructions on how to destroy the machine. I'm picturing a person getting pelted with tons and tons of lemons that they don't want, and when the reach out for help, all they can find are lemonade recipes. And I picture myself handing them a screwdriver and telling them, "It's that screw, right at the bottom. That's what's holding the machine together. Go over there and unscrew it, jump out of the way, and watch that machine crumble to pieces before your eyes."

And let's be clear - this machine was not designed by some evil supervillain. Most of the machines that I'm teaching my readers to dismantle were built by people who may truly want what's best for them. But that doesn't matter. If you don't want those lemons being pelted at you, whether by your parents, your peers, or your society at large, come over sometime, I'll show you my toolbox, and I'll teach you how to break the machine.

Granted, breaking a lemon-throwing machine is not simple. It's taken a lot of studying how the machine works in order to figure out where its foundation is, to figure out which pieces will make the machine collapse when they're removed. I'm still not sure I got everything right in my book. But I am aiming to hand out screwdrivers to everyone and say, "It's that screw, right at the center of the foundation." My goal is to give you the tools to destroy whatever is causing you pain.

I'm not selling lemonade.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lately

I have not been feeling well enough to work on my editing in the past couple of weeks because I've been worried about things, but if I can get through this upcoming week, if we make it, I'll be ready to go again. I had hoped that my editing would be done by my birthday, but that's okay. I fine with whenever I feel well enough to do it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yes, You Are Dating ME!

Let's say that you and I are dating, and we went to a party a few nights ago that got really wild. You did lots of things at the party that you'd never want your family or anyone at your workplace to find out about. If you said to me, "Could you please not bring up the party around my parents?" I would definitely not bring it up. I would respect your privacy and not mention the party to anyone whom you asked me not to mention it to. Even if I had a personal story of my own experience at the party that didn't involve you, I understand that bringing up the party at all could raise the question of whether or not you were there. I would even be willing to lie on your behalf if it was really important to keep what happened at the party private. I would do this because what you did at the party is your personal experience, and unless you hurt someone else at the party, it's your choice to keep that experience private.

There are some things that you and I will experience together, like going to wild parties. There are other things that we experience separately. We each have experiences that are totally our own, that no one else has a say in whether or not we choose to share them. I happen to have a goal of being completely untamable and undoing all the effects of schooling and discipline on myself. If you were to ask me to not talk about my untamable goal around your parents, I would not honor this request. My untamable goal is my personal experience that has nothing to do with you. The only reason that I would respect your wishes regarding the wild party is that you don't want other people to know what YOU did at the party. If I had gone to a wild party without you and did lots of wild things on my own, I would most certainly share that with whoever I wanted. The only reason I would keep that private is to hide the fact that you were there too. Things like my untamable goals have absolutely nothing to do with you, and therefore, I will never pretend not to be that way for your family, friends, coworkers, or anyone that you know.

When I was a kid, I always found it insulting when my parents would be embarrassed by my behavior or act as if it reflected on them. I was an individual who could make my own choices, and it was not okay for my parents to act like they could do anything to stop me. Likewise, I'm not okay with the idea of someone I'm dating acting as if my behavior reflects on them. Even if I am your guest at a family or work function, I am an individual who can make my own choices, and acting as if my behavior reflects on you is problematic because it implies that you have some sort of control over me - that you can tame me.

But even if you don't think that you can control my behavior, there's this issue of protecting your image and not accepting who I am. If you want me to purposely lie or not mention things about myself in any of your social circles, you're basically trying to act like you're not the kind of person who would date someone like me. Well you know what? YOU ARE DATING ME. You are dating me, therefore you are the kind of person who dates wild untamable chicks who have no respect for rules or authority and are trying to give children the tools to tear down the system and do whatever the hell they want. You may not be like that yourself, but you are dating someone who is like that, and you can't deny that. You can't go around acting like you're dating a good productive member of society in order to get other people's approval. I am a package deal. I do not offer the option of only dating the part of me that you like. I will never, ever pretend to be something that I'm not so that you can pretend to be the kind of person who wouldn't date someone like me. If you want me to do that, I suggest you go find yourself a good girl and never darken my doorstep again.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

How to Trust a Baby Boomer

I know someone who's my parents' age, (part of the baby boomer generation), has a kid who's in his 20s with no job, no college, and no plan of action, and she seems to be not pushing him at all. She sometimes wishes that he would do something and expresses her concern, but she never pushes or forces him to do anything. This makes me trust her. The fact that she's not pushing her kid to function and is letting him live at home without doing anything makes me trust her and feel like I can share stuff with her.

As much as I hate baby boomers on the Internet, some of the boomers I encounter IRL are really nice, and sometimes I feel a real bond with them. I have always gotten along well with adults until the whole millennial criticism started. But I have to keep in mind that people my parents' age will often have kids my age, and I can tell if they're trustworthy based on how they treat their kids. Seriously. If I think they're pushing their kids to be non millennial and be all hardworking and unentitled and all that, then I wouldn't trust them. But when I hear that they're not doing that and that they're doing stuff for their kids in their 20s and even 30s, then I know I can trust them. That's how I determine whether I can trust a boomer.