Monthly Archives: October 2015

It’s Time To Come Out

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I have no problem being open and honest. That’s what Mutha Lovin’ Autism has always been about. Throughout these last few years, there have been things I’ve kept hidden though. I’ve honestly kept them hidden my entire life. When I was very young, I became…curious…about sexual things. I’m a sexual person. I think some of us just are, and it’s there young. I experimented. Nothing TOO major…but as the years went on, the experimenting became more intense, and it caused tension in some of my friendships. It caused confusion and depression for me. It caused me to be a victim of bullying. I would say a fair deal of this turmoil was brought about by the fact that I was a young Christian girl, attending a small, Christian school, and the people who I experimented with happened to be girls. Now…on the outside, quite young, I showed interest in boys. I had “boyfriends”. We “went together”. I dug dudes. They were my best friends…but when the first one put his arm around me, I felt nauseated. I was so confused and angry. At that time, I had been experimenting with females for a few years. I didn’t understand anything that was going on in my head and heart. I hurt his feelings. He never tried anything again. We remained great friends. Just…really great friends.

Over the years, I continued dating guys in the open and having flings with females on the side. Never once did I think of myself as a lesbian. I just thought of myself as disgusting and trash. Early on, I was the victim of molestation. My first sexual encounter was unwanted and traumatic for reasons I won’t share. It causes my family pain to this day. I was molested or “bothered” four more times by four separate people. I was raped once. By a friend. To say I was and have been confused and burying a lot is an understatement. It was THE disease eating up my happiness like a cancer. I refused to get help. I refused to face anything. I couldn’t. I didn’t even know how to start.

Something happened that changed all of that. I had reason to come forward about my abuse. And I did. And I lost half of my family. It was hard at first, but it’s gotten much easier. I’m proud I finally spoke out. Maybe it’ll keep someone else safe. A few years passed, and I was getting stronger…but there was more to deal with. I was speaking to the world about honesty and transparency and yet, every day, I stared in the mirror and couldn’t tell myself the truth of who I am. I couldn’t tell my husband, because I hadn’t even told myself.

I knew in my heart that it was the final piece to my puzzle. The one that would make the other random, ill-fitting pieces finally make sense. I also knew I had to tell my husband. I guess it’s not enough to find out your wife is autistic. Mine gets to find out that his is sexually different from¬†what she portrayed herself to be. Some may think that’s every man’s fantasy, in real life, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Our story is our story, and our private, intimate details are just that. I will say that it’s taken a lot of talking, a lot of tears, a lot of embarrassment, and a lot of understanding to bring us to the place we are. It’s not been easy, but it feels…right. I love my husband. I desire my husband. That’s all anyone really needs to know. The rest is ours to hold onto.

What I will say is this…I didn’t choose this. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want this. I begged God almighty to take it from me, and while I trust in Him and all He’s capable of, He hasn’t taken it away. It is as much a part of who I am as anything else. And I’m alright. I’m more than alright. I’m loved by my husband and my God. I’m safe. I’m happy. I’m healing.

I also happen to be gender fluid and pansexual.

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I’m Alive. (My Anxiety and Depression Story)

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Becoming a mother was all I ever wanted. When asked what I saw for myself after graduating high school, I said, “A mom.” My class predicted I’d be the first female navy seal. I met them somewhere in the middle and became a special needs mom. I wasn’t upset when I got pregnant right after I got married. I was elated. Finally, everything I’d ever wanted was growing inside of me. My pregnancy was difficult. I have auto immune diseases that weren’t diagnosed then. I stayed sick. I was miserable and sad. Shortly after my son was born, and by shortly I mean the first night home, he began screaming for hours on end. He screamed during all of his awake hours for six weeks. He vomited all of his food. I had to stop breast feeding. My life was not following my script. I began to fall apart. Sleep deprivation, sensory overload, hormones and defeat were stripping me of my sanity. When I saw the worry, not just for my son, but for me in my family’s eyes, I knew I needed help. I contacted my doctor and he put me on Zoloft to get through the “baby blues”. Baby blues…so cute. This condition that takes women’s lives, we give it a name that belongs on a baby registry.

Never questioning whether it would work or not, only trusting it would, I left with my prescription. (We didn’t have selfies then, you’ll just have to believe me.) The next year was hell. There were no crashes. No highs. No lows. No sex. No anything. I was a zombie. I was a distant mother, wife, friend…person. I pulled myself off and assumed medication wasn’t for me.

I had two more children within three years and became a youth minister. Whenever I had mental health issues, I assumed they were attacks from Satan. I placed my screaming toddler at “God’s feet” in front of my entire church. At this point, unbeknownst to me, I had a full fledged child with autism on my hands. To the church, and by no fault of their own, he was under attack. Our entire family was “under attack from the enemy”. He had a “rebellious spirit”. This was spiritual warfare. After six years of youth ministry and not even knowing that we were a family swimming in special needs and mental illnesses, my marriage fell apart. Very, very publicly. I also fell apart very, very publicly. I left my husband, moved in with my parents and began the decline to a total mental breakdown. Single life can do that to a mother. This was mental hell. Everything I wanted was gone and destroyed and everybody knew it. I left my church and all of my principles behind. I’ll spare a couple of years for my dignity, but I eventually came out of my “rebellious period”, found a church I love, and married my husband. He was and is my soul mate. We had a son together. Everything was falling back into place. Except it wasn’t. I was still a miserable, angry, nervous wreck most of my days, and I couldn’t shake it. Homeschooling, special needs, auto immune diseases, advocacy, work…It was all too much. Simple trips to the grocery store for forgotten detergent gave me panic attacks. I took the long way home to avoid traffic and not have panic attacks in the car. I spent more time locked behind my bedroom door than playing with my kids. I was missing everything. The moment I found myself screaming to my husband that “If it wasn’t for the kids, I would kill myself. I can’t. I don’t have it in me…but I don’t want to live. It’s too hard.”, I knew I had to do something. Moms aren’t supposed to be the weak ones. Everybody knows we are the backbones of a family, if we are good ones, and I desperately wanted to be one of the good ones. I didn’t want to admit I was failing. See when you hear your own death fall off of your lips though, your view changes. Pride takes a back seat. Stigma? What stigma? Save me. That’s all we know, at that point. Save me or let me die.

Medication may not always be the answer, but for some, it’s the right answer. It’s THE answer. The wrong answer every time is dying.

When Friendships Dissolve

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There is a common misconception that those on the spectrum don’t like to make friends or being around people. The facts are actually that’s it’s difficult to make and keep friends when you’re on the spectrum, and sensory processing issues and anxiety can make it difficult to be around people. But hey, if you can deal with those things, people rock. I have a wide array of friends. I’ve never understood cliques. I get squeamish the minute I feel one forming around me. Limit my horizons? Ew. No thank you.

There’s another misconception about those of us on the spectrum. ¬†People really believe that we don’t have feelings, because we don’t display them like our neurotypical peers. The fact is in this situation, we feel TOO much and have a hard time processing and displaying such intense emotion. In actuality, I believe we feel more than others.

Which brings me to the point of this piece. What happens when someone that you love intensely doesn’t love you back? I’ve had this happen in many different scenarios from boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and family. The one that will keep me awake, staring at the black ceiling at night, is losing a friend. I’ve lost friends over many things. Being too weird, being too outspoken, being too honest, being a jerk sometimes (typically during sensory overload or meltdown), being too much of an activist, and the one that hurts the most…being too autistic.

When someone that you love doesn’t love what is at the heart of your existence, it is the ultimate betrayal. There isn’t much that hurts worse, and I’m a professional at pain management…So how do you recover? How do you move forward? Well, it depends on the situation. If you’re to blame for the loss in trust or friendship, go to them. Don’t be too proud to apologize. Be real, and then give them time to process. They may not be able to forgive you right away. They may never…but you tried. They may actually care for you enough to forgive you, and while your relationship may be awkward for a while, there’s a depth that comes from weathering those storms and coming out together. Just…be patient. You were a jerk. Don’t do that again.

If someone can’t handle your honesty, you need to ask yourself a couple of things. Are you a blunt jerkwad? If you are, go through everything I just described about being a jerk, and hope for the best. Then work on not being a jerk, because hey…you’re losing friends. If you aren’t a jerkwad, but are in fact, a loving, honest friend who doesn’t want to see your doofus friend get hurt, then hold your ground. They’ll likely come around apologizing, OR they’ll continue being stupid…and really…who needs that ish in their life, amiright??

Finally, the biggest loser of them all…the one who leaves because of your neurology. Forget them. Seriously. Don’t you DARE shed one more tear on someone who is so shallow, they would walk away from you over this. You may not be perfect, but you’re the one concerned with salvaging a relationship while you should be sleeping. So honey, you ain’t the problem here. You are beautiful. You’re a mess, but you’re a beautiful mess, and you deserve friends who are going to support you. I know it’s hard, but they’re out there. Don’t waste your time crying over the wrong ones.

And get some sleep.

I’m Viral. It’s Not Contagious. (A Love Letter to My Readers)

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I’ve never desired fame. I never cared much for money, other than the fact that brand new Converse shoes and bills being paid feels pretty cool…and money kinda helps with that. I’ve been published once in an actual book. My name in print didn’t mean as much to me as the collaborative message of the bloggers inside of the cover. Autism acceptance. I have never received a dime of it’s sales. None of us did. We submitted our pieces for the education of others. Not money.

When I started Mutha Lovin’ Autism, it wasn’t about fans or followers. It was about community. Anybody who has been with me from the beginning, and there are quite a few, can tell you that. I care. A lot. I cry with my readers. I listen. I open myself up. I tell it all. “The good, bad, and the ugly.” is a common phrase. This is my tribe. My family. No, fame had nothing to do with it. I was alone in autism. I was searching for you too. I’d been to the doctors, schools, friends, family. I’d begged for answers and searched for solidarity, a kinship, in somebody. Anybody. I couldn’t find it. I knew others had to feel the same. I knew I could tell my stories and make someone feel better. Maybe even help them a little. And I did. And it was incredible. The longer I was online telling my stories…the deeper my desire for honesty and transparency grew. I wanted the truth…the raw life lessons that REALLY grow us. I wanted them for you and for me.

I watched as my family, your families began to flourish, in this honest, open, always learning community. We were GENUINELY making change in our own families and in the world around us. Never ONCE did I see dollar signs in growing likes. Never once did I, or do I, see my followers as beneath me or behind me. We have always been in this together. For each other. You were there for me when I was personally diagnosed with autism. You’ve gotten me through my great grandma dying in my arms, You were there when my son spoke his first full sentence.

You were there after my two month absense. After my breakdown. I didn’t know if you would be, but you were. You were there the morning I went to the doctor to ask for help. You were on my mind and heart when I took the famous selfie. You were there when I filled the prescription. You were there when I woke up and had gone viral.

You’ve been here every day since.

I don’t know how or why this happened. I’m almost as amazed by all of this, as I am meeting Doug the Pug…but it did. And it is happening. And it’s incredible to be a part of. Do I want to be well known and famous? Hell naw. I want autism and many other mental health issues to be well known and famous.

Hashtag Humbled.