Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Post #103 - Joining The Committee

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I have just become a member of my local branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS) and I'll be responsible for communications!  Yay!  I desperately needed a purpose in my post-redundancy existence and this is it. I have, however, sat on (not literally ...) at least two committees before, so let me tell you all about my past experiences.

When I was pregnant with Ted (well, I have only been pregnant once, so of course it was with him ...) me and [my husband] Bob signed up for antenatal classes at our local branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). They were pretty rubbish by the way and if your idea of fun is replicating the experience of changing a small baby's nappy by cleaning English mustard off of a doll's arse with cotton wool and water, then go ahead - it'll only set you back £400 or whatever the retail price rise is.  Anyway, I joined the local committee and soon rose to become joint chair (in reality, I don't think that anyone else was interested in the position).  I think that I only served for about six months though because I returned to work part-time in London when Ted was eleven months old and no longer had the time and energy to put into the role.  I didn't regret throwing in the towel, as it just wasn't me anyway and I'll be brutally honest, the sheer lack of any semblance of humour about anything was just grinding me down.  There was a very funny moment at a 'Nearly New Sale' though.  We were cleaning out the fridge at the end of the session and there was a tub of Olivio Spread left - the former chair's long-haired middle class son uttered: "that's not ours mummy - we don't have butter substitutes in the house!"

When Ted was in Reception Class at his current primary school, the Chairwoman persuaded me to join the Parents' Association Committee (our school doesn't have a PTA and I've never fully got the bottom of why the teachers aren't involved ...?)  I stayed for about three years, but I cannot, hand on heart, say that I enjoyed helping out at any of the events though, as I always found it an awful trial.  A number of parents in the school couldn't be bothered to join the committee or help out at all, but felt justified in moaning about costs and believing that the volunteers were there to provide free childcare whilst they sat around on their lazy bottoms and perused their bejewelled smartphones.  I'm no burning martyr, so sod that for a game of soldiers.  I must admit that one of my pet hates in life is being told off and that happened a few times.  How about giving me the correct instructions at the beginning of the event and not fanny around, eh? Also, a fellow parent pushed me out of the way when I was trying to look at the collection (parliament?) of owls somebody was exhibiting at the Summer Fete.   Sod that.  I resigned after the Christmas Concert Incident of 2013 and have never returned.  [My husband] Bob remains the treasurer though.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Post #102 - Trying To Work Out Peoples' Motives

Being the huge Aspie I am, I often struggle with trying to work out what people actually want from me.  I know that that sounds bizarre, but meeting, maintaining and quite frankly, keeping friends is an almost impossible feat for me.  I just cannot work out the signals.  I also write in an increasingly blunt way, with no heed for others' feelings.

One of my main issues surrounds my increasing inability to support friends with Mental Health (MH) issues.  As an Aspie, my empathy (EQ) score is really low and I just cannot do it.  I have had some awful experiences in the past with people (usually with MH conditions) getting too close and literally trying to take over my life.  As soon as I think that history is beginning to repeat itself then I'll push things to facilitate a permanent split.  It's an odd thing to do, I agree, but it's the only thing that I feel safe doing. I don't wish to upset my current home situation, that's for sure.  My son Ted, now he's nearing puberty, is becoming more difficult and demanding by the day.

I know that, at this time of writing, that I really should be doing more with my life and I totally agree.  I have seriously been considering a return to full-time work, but regular readers of this blog will be aware what happened to me back in September 2016 and I have no wish to repeat this.  Office jobs and working with people generally makes me very unwell indeed and I lost count of the amount of times I went AWOL from jobs - I was threatened with dismissal on more than one occasion.  I just cannot cope.

I'm taking on various freelance projects at the moment, which I enjoy and I'm soon to taking over some of the communications work for my local branch of the National Autistic Society and hope to expand that as much as I possibly can.  I am intelligent and as such, need an outlet.  It doesn't really help that I was made redundant though; don't get me wrong, it was the right thing to do, but I'm so much better than this, but I cannot be - it's a dichotomy.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Post #101 - Offending People

Sometimes it's hard to be an Aspie, actually that sounds like a song, but it isn't. Yes, I'm an oddbod at times, but I can assure you that my heart is in the right place. More than often I write on social media or say something to offend someone, but it really isn't meant nastily; I'm just extremely socially awkward.

I have built a lovely carapace around myself, like the crabby Cancerian I am. Nobody's getting inside my shell, it's nice and cosy in here and that's the way it's going to stay.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Post #100 - The Forthcoming UK General Election and a Look Back To 2008

This morning it was announced that British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called a General Election in June. That'll give the civil service something to chew on and they'll undoubtedly be going into purdah.

Right, OK, I was sorting out my understairs cupboard earlier, mainly to find the pair to the H&M velcro and bungee lace high top trainers I bought Ted online ages ago and duly stored. He still cannot do up standard laces, much to our chagrin.

Along with the piles of discarded packaging, my collection of bags, umbrellas and other household detritus, I found my appointment diary from 2008, which was the year after Ted was born. Here are some highlights/lowlights:

The Girls' Night Out in Bexley Village was bloody awful as I seem to recall.  Me and six other mothers from our particular National Childbirth Trust (NCT) antenatal class booked a table in a certain Indian Restaurant in the Village (which was once classed as a village back in the year 1608 or something, but now it's the ponciest part of the borough and commands a 30K more on a house price as a result).  It was an awful night - the waiters shouted at us, the woman sitting in front of me, who'll I'll refer to as Annie, completely ignored me and the majority of the women didn't eat very much and merely pushed their respective curries around their plates.

Jane and Gary - former friends; Jane was once my best friend at secondary school and we now ignore one another.  There's a really good reason for this, but I won't go into it all now.   

The NCT meet up at my house didn't go ahead because everyone dropped out, citing some shit excuse or another. That made me feel really good about myself. After suffering, once again, from overbearing friend syndrome, I finally blocked the whole group out of my life in 2010 and have never once regretted doing so.  

Monday, 17 April 2017

Post #99 - My Son At Cub Scouts

My son Ted, who's nine-years-old, is really struggling at Cubs; when he previously attended Beaver Scouts his disability wasn't quite as pronounced and he blended in much more.  He was passed over for promotion to seconder of his six (or whatever the Cub equivalent is) by a boy who's much newer to the Cub Scout Movement than he is.  Ted cannot even salute properly - he looks like Benny Hill when he attempts to undertake such a feat:

Image result for benny hill salute pic

The older he gets, the more I notice how far he's slipping away from his peers; how I wish that he were not, but it's a fact.  I often wonder whether he has Classic Autism and all that entails, or Asperger Syndrome, although the latter is no longer a formal diagnosis, as it was removed from the DSM V.  I still state that I have it though.  The school reports state that he doesn't appear to having a learning disability, but I'm not sure - he's behind on so much and his fine and gross motor skills aren't age appropriate.  He still wets the bed at night and cannot do up his shoelaces, I bought him a pair of (adult size four!) Nikes a month ago and you should hear him complain (actually: I wouldn't recommend it).

Anyway, to conclude - we're planning to take him out of Cubs after the end of the summer term as he'll turn ten in late August and as far as I know the age limit for the organisation is ten-and-a-half anyway.  As for Scouts - no bloody way!  I know that the Scout Organisation is supposed to welcome people with disabilities, but I don't think that, in reality, they have the capacity to deal with it. My neurotypical husband tends to help out regularly so that Ted doesn't feel too left out.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Post #98 - My Mother

I cannot recall whether I've previously written about my Mother's new obsession? Well, if I haven't, it's her recently acquired retired racing greyhound, a bitch that she re-named (in a non-gender specific way, Shadow). Now that me and my brother are fully grown up (physically, if not mentally) and the grandchildren aren't quite as young, loveable and willing to be lectured by her, she clearly craved a new focus in her life.

Don't get me wrong, Shadow The Dog is a beautiful creature - lean, glossy and with a lovely pair of silky ears. Shadow is, however, rather lively and at two years and nine months of age, took early retirement, due to being a bit of a slowcoach compared to her fellow Romford-based sighthounds on the race track. Shadow does go absolutely crazy when people come and visit the house though, which means bolting up and down the room and rolling over on her back.  As she's classed as a big dog, it's all a bit overwhelming, especially as I'm used to owning cats, who, as a species, tend to ignore people anyway.  Actually, cats are an ideal pet for an Aspie, as they share many of the strange traits, are incredibly aloof and routine based. I did reinforce the need for Mother to obtain some forms of obedience training for Shadow, but that didn't go down well as it was seen as a personal criticism.

I had a terrible tension headache building up throughout the visit. I mentioned over lunch, that we should plan a trip to see my Aunt P up in Hertfordshire, as she is in her eighties now and cannot live forever (unless she's a kind of home counties Methusalah). Mother remarked that her Cousin G hadn't spoken to her much since we declined his kind invitation to a Masonic Weekend in Oxford back in 2012ish, a time when he was the Grand Lodge Master (or whatever!) My stepfather, who has undiagnosed Asperger's in my opinion, can't cope with staying away overnight, and I can only do so with a certain amount of planning. The weekend was a social get-together of a Jewish Lodge, and I'm not a follower of that, or any other Faith.  There were also two, yes two, formal dinners, which necessitated the wearing of evening dress; I'm pretty sure that Birkenstocks aren't permitted to be worn with a ballgown.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures of my parents' garden:

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Post #97: Travelling Anxiety

A friend of mine shared a really helpful article on Facebook earlier, it was a link from the BBC News Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-39489898. In a nutshell, the jist of the text is that travelling can prove difficult if you have a mental health condition, such as anxiety, ADHD, OCD and depression.  I should know, I am currently in the process of renewing a passport which expired back in 2009, mainly because I haven't left the UK since 2006.

Why is that you may ask?  Well, allow me to explain: I don't mind flying, I don't believe that the great metal bird I'm strapped into is going to plummet from the sky, but what I cannot abide is the person in front reclining their seat into my personal space.  It first happened back in 2005 when myself and my husband boarded an Al Italia flight from London Heathrow to Rome.  It was a midday service, but as soon as we were up in the air, the Italian bloke in front of me decided to fully recline, until I politely asked him to wind the seat back up. Being Italy's flag carrying airline, he quickly beckoned to the Italian stewardess and a heated exchange, all in rapid Italian ensued.  The stewardess, an overpainted skinny harridan, implored me to 'show a little consideration' for his plight. Consideration?  On a midday flight?  I know that most southern Europeans seem to believe that women should be seen and not heard, but this is a post feminist era and even Italian men should realise that everybody deserves respect?  He ended up moving his seat back up to the semi upright position, probably after getting rather tired of my foot's location in the small of his back.  Seriously though, if you're blonde and busty, Italy's a great place to go if you enjoy men staring at you incessantly.

I also got into a row on a flight back from Spain the following year, in the year of Our Lord, 2006, when some old English git made the decision to stick his head in my lap.  I honestly thought that they'd call the armed guards to remove me from the 'plane, like they did with that bloke from REM did back in the 1990s.  That didn't work well for him, an no it wasn't Michael Stipe, but the unlucky Georgia bluesman later was charged with air rage at Hounslow Magistrates' Court, or whatever.  I could Google the incident, but I cannot be arsed; you get my point.

Having Asperger Syndrome is very difficult at times.


This very subject has been hotly debated on Mumsnet's Am I Being Unreasonable? AIBU message boards, here: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2911606-Airlines-seats-passive-aggression

I have read through 2 of 7 pages of opinions, which seem to be divided between those who think that reclining their seat is a divine right and others, such as me, believe that some consideration is required.  I didn't contribute to the debate as I've had issues on Mumsnet before with other posters being rather hostile and I'd personally rather steer clear.