Doing What I Want Experiment: Week 1
Some reflections from the first week of my “What do I want?” experiment:
The first two nights I dreamt about making decisions. My brain is uber-serious about this experiment.
Side note: I’ve been having weird disturbing dreams all week. Not sure if that’s related to pushing myself out of my comfort zone with decision making or something else.
Decision making seems to be a multi-step process:
1. realize that a decision is required
2. sense my wants
3. align the wants with possible options for fulfilling them
4. choose among them based on convenience, preference, etc.
. . . okay, clearly more work is needed on the “just feel it” part of decision making
I made two big decisions:
The first was emotionally hard. I was proud of myself because I overrode my instinct to make the other person happy. It took a lot of effort but I felt accomplished when I decided to do what would be best and healthiest for me.
The second was a situation where I would normally have defaulted to making plans based on what the other person was doing, but I overrode that and thought about what I really wanted. The end result is I’m going to be doing something in the fall that I find a little scary but exciting.
I tried setting a 30-second time limit on minor decisions. Meh. I need a better strategy for minor decisions.
When a decision feels frightening, it might be because I don’t have enough information so I should ask for more details.
Funniest moment: The Scientist was rearranging the couch/hassock for TV watching and asked where I like to sit. I replied “however you like it is fine—no, no, wait, wait, in the hole” which he magically understood as “I like to sink into the crack between the cushions so put the hassock where I can do that and still put my feet up comfortably.” The magic of being married forever. Also, look at how I caught myself defaulting to his preference and changed strategies – yay!
Key realization: I’m an adult. I can decide how to use my time. If I’m bored, I can actively choose to do something else. This probably sounds stupid but I’m throwing it out there because it was a revelation to me.
Where Can I Find You All?
Recently, I’ve discovered a few of your blogs accidentally and then wondered what else am I missing? If you’re blogging or have a Tumblr you want to share, drop a note in the comments. That way we can all check it out and not be missing out on your awesomeness.
I’ll be posting parts of the self-employment series once a week for three more weeks, but I haven’t settled on a specific day. I was planning to post every Wednesday, but I have something that I might post this Wednesday instead, but I also might post it on Friday, depending on which day I feel up to replying to which kinds of comments . . . so if you’re waiting for the next part in the series, it will definitely go up sometime this week.
“I Think I Might Be Autistic” is finally out for Kindle, Nook, and iPad. A print version is on the way and should be available in a couple of weeks. When I have print copies in my hands, I’m going to be looking for a few people who are willing to write reviews (yes, shameless promotion) so if you’d like to do that, let me know and I’ll get a copy to you.
More importantly! There’s going to be a giveaway in September. I have enough book sales to fund a weighted blanket giveaway but I want to wait until the summer holidays are over. So look for that early next month.
66 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings (8/5)”
I blog at
healthcareheather.wordpress.com (erratically, about medicine / healthcare)
I tubml at
heathercfs.tumblr.com (all of my geeky thrills – Doctor Who, Welcome to Night Vale, all things Wil Wheaton, Glee)
I tweet @heatherslutzky (half geek, half healthcare)
I started a blog at ischemgeek.wordpress.com mainly to try to curb my tendency to post replies longer than the OP a bit. Need to get into the habit of writing a reply post instead of a reply when I realize it’s getting really really really really long, though.
Also: I relate to that key realization. I had a similar one a while back: I am allowed to have preferences and dislikes. Long story why I needed that realization, but it was a major revelation for me and has led to me being less uneasy about expressing stuff like, “Please don’t touch or tap my computer screen because your nails might scratch it. Just point instead.”
Oh, shoot, I meant this post to be its own reply, sorry!
Oh, I see some familiar subjects on your blog! 🙂
It’s kind of odd to realize at such a late stage that you’re a person and can make your own choices, isn’t it? I mean, on one level, I clearly know this. But on another, I approach certain things very passively, as if I have no other choice. I still haven’t quite processed it exactly but this feels like a start at least.
I followed you on Tumblr. Night Vale is suddenly everywhere! I need to check it out. My Tumblr dash would certainly make more sense if I did. 😉
I find it totally charming but it is absurd and filled with non-sequiters (sp??). It makes my husbands eyebrows furrow so much they nearly trade places. Meanwhile, I’m giggling like a lunatic.
Now I’m really intrigued. I’ve subscribed and downloaded episode one. Maybe I’ll start listening later this afternoon when I’m doing busywork at the computer.
Uh oh, now I’m sitting at my desk laughing hysterically and my husband is looking at me like I’ve gone around the bend. Why did I not start listening to this sooner?!
but the binge is soooooo rewarding. (mine took about a week, but I have a kid who INSISTS on eating and stuff)
I have no such impediments! Wheeee!
Have you gotten all the way through yet?
I’m listening to Street Cleaning Day right now and dying a little. I’m torn between wanting to mainline the whole series and wanting to go slow so I don’t run out of episodes. Classic fandom dilemma.
Fun update. I think the hardest part of decision making is there in the first steps you laid out: realising a decision requiring my input is “out there” and that I need to figure out where I stand on it. I usually appreciate that I can strip through any decision making model or business process really quickly to weed out the items that are in or out of scope and feel like that allows me to really qiuckly zero in on what needs to be done – the decision. I’m amused that when I’m the client for the decision, it’s not so easy.
You asked about blogs, I think through the course of these comments you’ve already seen my two: Prince Street (princestreet.wordpress.com) for all model railroad and transit geek goodness and the newer The Rest (chrismears.wordpress.com) which will be a landing pad for all the good that doesn’t fit into Prince Street. Currently The Rest is home to the stop sign photos.
I’ll have to check out the new book. Thanks for pointing that out.
I like thinking about decision making in terms of myself as the client. That makes a lot of sense, for some reason. Maybe because it makes me sound like an important part of the decision?
Yep, I know about both of your blogs. Hopefully others will make their way over and check them. 🙂
I love your trains. I did N scale growing up. They disappeared in a move at one point.
Hi Julia. Thanks for subscribing to Prince Street. I’m flattered. A fellow N scaler too.
That quiltwork on your blog is fantastic. Cool!
we all have our “little” obsessions!
Yes, stunning quilts!
I started a blog at invisibleautistic.wordpress.com to talk about being a self-diagnosed autistic in an NT world and motivate myself to get out of my comfort zone socially
Also have a twitter: twitter.com/invisautistic (a play on Invisalign…which amused me.. >_>) – it details personal thoughts and may be topics for future blog posts!
It’s not mine, but I thought this blog was worth mentioning: http://aspieandnt.com/
Looking forward to “I Think I Might be Autistic”!
Thanks for the additional rec. I’ve been enjoying your blog since I discovered it recently, especially the social skills postings.
My twitter feed is a disaster (why am I following 200 people?) so I’ve given up on following people or reading there. I should clean it up so I’m only following the people I actually want to read. *adds to list*
Neat blog. I really like it’s appearance and a nice read. Great work!
I’m a recent self-discovered aspie, and I’ve just started blogging about my experiences as a 2e person (giftedness and Asperger’s) at giftednessuncovered.wordpress.com. I love reading other aspie blogs, so I’ll be checking back on this comment tread for sure.
Howdy! Your blog title made me smile. I carry the 2e label too (got the gifted part in 5th grade, the DD part much later) so I’ll be reading along with interest to see what you have to say about it.
I love the picture of the beautiful book spines on your blog, Goele.
I liked the Key bullet point. My biggest realization this past year is that I can say “No”. I don’t have to be sucked into saying sure. My husband has been very valuable in helping me to say no. He has been my external brain and reminds me. “Don’t Volunteer” for anything else. This week I had my work review and started to say yes to new challenges. Then I was able to back peddle to say NO, I really am flattered they asked me to do “x”, but that I need to maintain a better balance with work and everyone will be much happier if I stick to what I am doing current (which is very fulfilling on it’s own).
I am happy to share my blogs. I have been posting for 2 years this summer! I find the writing helps to keep me even keeled and let’s my brain noodle during the day as opposed to obsessing at night or having bad dreams. Writing and note-taking helps me to not internalize what’s going on in my head.
http://moderndayfitandfood.com this is my every day brain dump.
http://moderndaydesigns.wordpress.com this is for my artwork.
I hadn’t thought about it but learning to say no is so intertwined with figuring out what I want. I default to yes way too easily. I like your description of your husband as your external brain.
Your quilts are gorgeous! Do you like your GoPro camera? My husband has been eyeing one for a while now but I have no idea what he’d do with. Certainly not scuba diving. 😉
I/we love the gopro. My eldest is very gifted with his film work. He’s used it for skiing and other out door activities. etc. We’ve put it on the car. Even on the dogs. As i figure out the iMovie thing, you will hopefully see some flicks with dog eyed views. The video is better than the still shots. We used a red filter for under water footage. single still shots can be grainy since it is a fixed focal length lens. The time lapse film is better.
Hubby is definitely my External Brain. We have learned (read continue to learn) to embrace it instead of getting wiggy at each other. When we do social or group stuff he now reminds me to do the simplest things like “go rest now”. Did you take time for yourself? And this week, remember, we are going to start back at the gym. what time will you be going?”
He has really helped me with the power to say No. I know I have said yes for years, because of the desire to just be “fixed” and to “fit in”. No is a wonderful word for me now. I don’t have the anxiety (read less not none) that I used to when I say no.
I’ll pass along your review on the camera. I swear we’ve had to stand in front of the demo reel so many times in Target I have it memorized.
My husband has been good at doing things like that too. Even before we knew about ASD, he would tell me to go take some alone time when we had company for a weekend or were staying with family. Now he’s even more conscious of reminding me about stuff like that. I like how positively you’ve framed the way your husband helps you out. I’ve gone back and forth on being grateful for those reminders and feeling bad that he has to offer them. Actually, there’s a post coming up on this topic soon.
I can most definitely relate, most of my life I have been a yes person, doing what I think would make others happy, usually at my own expense. However, in recent years I have been trying very hard to change that and be the person I’ve always been on the inside. It takes guts that’s for sure, and I admire you for taking control back. You’re worth the effort, every last bit of it 🙂
Thank you! What a lovely thing to say. I’m glad you’re making that change as well. It feels really good to be taking control in a positive way (versus the very unhealthy controlling tendencies I’ve had in the past).
The more you do it the easier it becomes. I say this, however I still have a knee-jerk reaction to not speaking my mind when I know I should, or taking the initiative when I want to do something just for me. So I make myself do stuff, don’t give myself the option to back out, because I know that I would regret it if I didn’t. Just can’t live through regret anymore, it’s exhausting…
I think it’s great that you’ve set yourself new challenges to look forward to. Life is for living right?
I’m already finding the decision making a bit easier with practice. It’s good hear that it will continue to get easier. Hopefully normalizing it will cut down on all the weird dreams.
Ah… the weird dreams… rather you process difficult things in your dream-state than your normal waking reality. You are much safer when sleeping, and quite often I think dreams give you the opportunity to put things to the test, so that when you wake at least on some level you feel more free and able to deal with day to day life. But the dreams will change as you continue to process things.
I’m a very active dream processor. 🙂 I’m sure it will settle down as I get used to this new idea.
🙂 well I hope you have better sleep and entertaining dreams from now on.
Maria – you are also that person on the inside!!
I thought saying yes to people reduced their stress and interaction friction. since diagnosis, I realize the interaction won’t necessarily change, but my stress from saying no and being sure to take care of me has greatly reduced!!!
live the dream.
You mean I’m the ‘yes’ person on the inside? Sorry I’m confused…
Glad the decision making is still progressing and thanks for the update. Yeay! on the book sales how exciting that it will be in print!
I have been thinking many times about writing about my experience of being autistic, especially as there don’t seem to be so many people writing from an English person’s perspective and it is very different for us here than in the States I think. But so far I haven’t done it. However, I am also an artist and I do have a blog about my art which has a couple of autism related posts on it, so maybe that counts? My blog is at http://susankruse.blogspot.co.uk/
Now I’m off to read everyone elses 🙂
Cool blog. I liked the ice and frost inspired work.
Thanks! 🙂 Your Go Transit blog is epic!!
I love this comment. “…epic” It always was to me and now I can’t remember ever feeling so, cool!
Oh, your art is wonderful! I especially like the ink spatter pieces. Is there a post that describes the technique used for the ice pieces?
I highly encourage writing about your experience. I’ve been finding it very therapeutic. Eventually I want to put some of the blog posts (in expanded format) together into another, longer, more general book. It’s proving to be a challenge getting started though. 😉
How can we help to get you started? 🙂 I’d like to read that book!
Oh, I missed this! Thank you for the encouragement. I have no idea what will get me started but it will definitely happen soonish because it’s haunting me. 🙂
I’m glad you like my work, it has been lovely to share it here. The ice paintings are done when the temperature is between -5 to -8 degrees centigrade (usually this is at about 4am here in the English Midlands and only for about 4 to 7 days in a whole year). I put ink onto the paper and wait for the ice to form. The ice crystals move the wet ink into patterns that remain once the ink is dry. I do the same with rain, letting it rain onto paper which has wet ink on it. The rain pushes the ink and makes patterns and splatters.
I like the unexpectedness of working with natural processes.
Very cool! Thank you for the explanation. I’m fascinated by process and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how you got such natural patterns.
A quick decision tool I have used: Toss a coin then choose how you wish it would have landed.
Oh, that’s an interesting strategy. So you’re saying that I really do have a definite preference between Italian sub or meatball sub and if the coin toss comes up “wrong”, I’ll be disappointed, right?
That works on most things. If I truly don’t care, it doesn’t matter how the coin lands.
Oooooh, congratulations on having your book out on all three e-readers! Would love to help spread the word if you want to send me a paper copy once those arrive, paper books are my main special interest (always have been), hint hint. 😉
The giveaway sounds like a nice idea too, I’m curious how you’re going to set it up but won’t be participating because sending a weighted blanket halfway across the world… not fun. 😛
My blog is at http://autisticook.wordpress.com, I chose the name because I like to cook and I like the sound of the word kooky. And the autistic part sort of fits. I mostly write about autism stuff right now because I’m trying to make sense of things. I might start writing some more general stuff later.
http://autistification.wordpress.com is another blog that might be worth a mention, although it’s not mine. Not that many articles yet but seems promising enough to follow!
Thank you! I will definitely send you a print copy when I get them. Thank you for offering.
I’ve been enjoying your blog so much. Am I repeating myself? 😀 I’ll check out your rec as well. There can never be too many ASD blogs on my reading list.
I like your blog, came across it some days ago, can’t think how, now. Still nice blog! 🙂
Thank you so much! I really enjoy hearing that! 🙂
Great experiment – I’m finding this really useful. Setting a 30-second limit on minor decisions sounds like a fantastic idea. In fact, I think I might copy this experiment at some point in the near future. 🙂
My WordPress blog is feministaspie.wordpress.com where you can find posts on, believe it or not, feminism and autism.
My Tumblr is theoncomingstormer.tumblr.com (recently changed from supermassivesouffle) and that’s a lot more fandom-y, particularly Muse, Doctor Who and Bastille (I seem to have developed a power-trio of special interests, two of which are bands but they’re coexisting happily) but there’s social-justice-type reblogs too, and the occasional autism/neurodiversity/ableism rant. Just please remember that I have real life friends on Tumblr and they don’t know FeministAspie is a thing!!
I’m also on Pinterest at pinterest.com/panicstation where I have boards for similar topics. 🙂
Glad you’re finding it useful. It’s challenging but feels really productive so far. I’m not thrilled with the 30-second rule outcome but maybe I need to keep at it.
Your Tumblr layout! I’m not even a DW fan and I love it. 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
I like this 30 second rule too. It should do wonders, in application, for saving me for that analysis-paralysis paradigm I so enjoy immersing myself in. It’s kind of exciting to think about the decisions I could make on the fly just to see where they’ll take me.
Now I’m off to go check out these new, to me, blogs. I’ve really enjoyed checking everyone’s out today and am amazed at how many new things I’ve been exposed to. Thanks everyone for sharing your work and interests.
By the way, I love all the Doctor Who stuff that’s been appearing in a couple of these coments. I quite liked “supermassivesouffle” if only for the great DW reference that I hope is intended. We never did find out where the milk and eggs came from.
Thanks! The soufflé reference was definitely intended! 😀 “Supermassive” was from the Muse song “Supermassive Black Hole”.
The whole Bastille thing only kicked off fairly about a month or so ago (goodness knows how my brain works at arbitrarily “picking up” fandoms) so I was at a point where I had to change my Tumblr set-up to ensure good representation of this shiny new fandom obsession whilst maintaining good representation of the the two existing fandom obsessions. Under the world’s new habit of naming every fandom ever, Bastille fans turned out to be “Stormers” so I ended up going with “theoncomingstormer” as a URL because Doctor Who does tend to take up most of my Tumblr and I could represent another fandom with literally the addition of two letters. Then I got a Muse-y avatar and background wallpaper, the aforementioned TARDIS theme and Bastille lyrics as the title-thing, aptly “Obsession, it eats me whole” from “Poet”.
I can get quite meticulous about the fandoms. 😛
*That should say “fairly recently”, sorry.
Thanks for the back-story on the handle. Very cool indeed. I’m going to try really hard and not tangent off into a Doctor Who heavy reply but I was thinking of the episode Asylum of the Daleks when I was read the name. I really enjoyed the episode and count it among my favourite Doctor Who episodes. I’ll confess that I don’t know much about Bastille or Muse but I’ve been trying to learn more about everything that everyone has been sharing in this thread so I’m off to go check it out so I know what we’re all talking about here.
I just fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: Never press the ‘back button’ on a browser before posting a comprehensive comment… D’oh!
To sum up… I don’t have a blog, but I make animations (frequently juvenile humor), and my wife and I produce/upload short Italian Lesson videos. I’ll post SFW links if you’re interested.
An Italian lesson
An animated parody of the viral video song “Dumb Ways To Die”.
Here is one where I speed paint Pikachu doing Gangnam Style on a tshirt
I was about to “follow” this blog by clicking the icon in the lower right hand corner, but I seem to ignore my email. So I “liked” your page on facebook instead. I’m guessing that you’ll post ‘new blog’ alerts there.
Oh no, sorry about the lost comment! Thank you for sharing SFW links. I know some younger folks read this and like to keep it clean. 🙂 The Pikachu painting one is very cool.
And yes, I post updates on FB as well Twitter and Tumblr. People like to get their updates where they like to get them, I’ve discovered.
I’m following your experiment with interest: I tend to be too passive and just go along with whatever somebody suggests doing. I seem to have trouble explaining myself when there’s something I want to do; I don’t think I ever really learned how to do that.
I blog about my own experiences with Aspergers at Married, with Aspergers. I often struggle to find time to write, as much as I love doing it, because of home and work commitments: there’s just not enough hours in the day.
I can relate to the difficulties with verbalizing. There was one decision this week that I had some trouble speaking up about but I pushed myself to do it anyhow. It was almost physically hard to say “this is what I want.” I’m hoping that practice makes everything easier in time.
Oh, I found your blog recently but I don’t think I associated with . . . you. So it’s nice to put two and two together there. 🙂
I would definitely be willing to write a review for your book! Also, I do blog. You can find me at: http://fairytaleforgotten.blogspot.com
I still haven’t quite grasped the I’m-an-adult-who-can-decide-what-I-want-to-do thing yet. I am bad for defaulting or sitting around looking lost.
Thank you for offering to write a review. I’ll be sure to get in touch with you when I have the books in hand.
The whole being an adult thing feels positively foreign at times. It’s almost like I have a split personality because I can do adult at work quite well.