I told myself I’d get back to blogging the Monday after I moved into my new apartment. I figured a week to recover from moving, ten days to get over the jet lag and fatigue from my trip–that sounded like more than enough recovery time.
Six days past my imagined deadline, I’m finally opening up a new doc. Six days of staring at a blank page in my head (because I refuse to stare at an actual blank page). Six days of idea fragments running amok, refusing to settle. Unchecked, that could go on indefinitely, so I’m gonna do what Gertrude Stein advised:
“The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.”
Here I am. Resuming. Filling up the page with words.
I’d like to say this is going to be a post about something but mostly it’s just me looking for a way back in, decompressing.
My executive function has been on the fritz for weeks. Wonky EF makes it hard to write because it messes with my organization and regulation–two things that are pretty fundamental to producing coherent writing.
I’ll spare you the gory details. No one wants to read about a writer moaning about not writing, yes? Yes.
After much backspacing in search of a theme, I think what I need to do before I can begin writing again is to clear my cache. So in no particular order, some of what’s rattling around inside my head this past week:
Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury. I’ve been lenient with myself these past few weeks. In the past, I’d considered “going easy on myself” an indulgence. That was a mistake. It led to a lot of unnecessary emotional and mental angst, sometimes even to physical illness, much of which could have been avoided if I’d been paying more attention to what my body needed and giving less weight to how I thought things should be. This deserves its own post.
I’m getting better at being okay with things. There have been a lot of events recently that I’ve had little control over. I’m learning how to struggle less with that lack of control, how to just be with it and how that can be okay.
The Scientist and I have come a long way in one year. We’re both better at understanding my autistic nature, at knowing when to push and when to give way. He does a lot of seemingly-little-but-actually-big-for-me things. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life.
When I don’t exercise for a stretch of time, I forget how exercise stabilizes my moods. It’s only when I get back into my routine that I remember how much better I feel on the days that I exercise in the morning.
Somehow, even when we’re undiagnosed, we recognize each other. For years I wondered why I always felt a particular kinship with my nephew who is physically and developmentally disabled. Now I know. We have something very fundamental in common.
I can be mindful, but it won’t always work. Sometimes my discomfort rises to a detectable level and sometimes I can only spot it in retrospect.
Mindfulness works when I’m being hit with a sensory 2×4: On the fourth day of our trip, we went on a family picnic. We’d been with people 24/7 for four days and when we arrived at the picnic site, I suddenly felt an intense wave of toomuchtoomuchtoomuch. Recognizing that I was getting overloaded, I told The Scientist I needed to go for a walk. We spent about an hour walking around the park, just the two of us, and when we returned to the family gathering, I felt ready to enjoy the rest of the day (and did). Disaster avoided!
Not so much when sensory ninjas attack : On the flip side, one day soon after moving, I experienced a series of minor discomforts. They accumulated slowly, stealthily, until at dinner I had what The Scientist later characterized as a kind of meltdown. It took both of us until the next day to sort out what had happened and why. In the interim, we both felt that icky sort of remorse that makes you wish life had an “undo” button.
I need to rediscover how to make myself vulnerable enough to write. Some parts of me have closed down over the past few weeks; I need to tease them back open again. The closing down is a defense mechanism, the emotional armor that allows me to get through challenging situations. It’s kind of like living with the rest of the world on mute. If I don’t intentionally shed that armor, I can get comfortable in it.
Change is hard but I’m getting better at it. Better self-care + being mindful + learning to be okay with things = less stress when things change. I still feel disoriented by change. I still perseverate on pros and cons, what’s good and bad, and better and worse. I still find change exhausting. But I’m learning to like it too, to lean into the adventure and newness and discovery and give myself over to the process without needing to know and control everything. Which isn’t the same as not needing to know or control anything. Not the same at all.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what comes next here. We have two more weeks of survey questions. After that, I’m not sure what happens on Tuesdays. I think I’ve covered most of the tests but I could be wrong.
There has been so much good stuff happening in the comments. A reader and frequent commenter has developed and released a cool “to do” list website for folks on the spectrum and others who need some extra help with executive function. Look for a detailed review in my next regular post.
It makes me so happy when someone asks for help or mentions in a comment that they’re struggling and other people leave them some encouraging words. Y’all are awesome.
Also, the developer of the RAADS-R read our comments on the Take-a-Test-Tuesday post and left some comments of her own. How cool is that?
I have lots and lots of ideas for posts. I’ve been thinking for a while now about doing a series on being self-employed/freelancing. Is that something anyone is interested in? It’s a topic I have a lot of knowledge about and one that I think is applicable for aspies because we tend to prefer doing things our own way, often alone. Yeah? No?
I’ve also been toying with a novel that I started writing years ago because I miss writing fiction. Not sure if that will impact my posting frequency. I need to find my writing rhythm again. At least I’ve finally stepped back out on the dance floor.