About autisticaplanet

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Welcome to a blog written by an autistic adult woman in her late 30's using words and images to advocate acceptance as well as awareness of those with life-limiting autism spectrum disorder. I hope you will gain compassion as well as knowledge in your visit. Thank you.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Goodbye

After almost a decade of blogging, I've decided that I have shared all of my autism perspective. Most of the subject matter focused on my childhood and adolescence. I wrote about what it was like to grow up undiagnosed. I wrote mainly from the victim's perspective, which I certainly was. I shared some victories and funny moments. 
A new decade is coming. I can't share any victorious, enduring adult stories. I don't do well researching, unless it is on a special interest. Millennial and Generation Z autistics have been given advantages (and disadvantages) unavailable and unthinkable in 1979. They are the generations who have endured life with diagnosed autism. From early intervention programs to utilizing 21st century technology for communication and advocacy, these are the voices who are uniting for changes.
I will continue to do what I can, passing along tidbits of wisdom and firsthand experiences.
You can send me a request on Instagram @autisticaplanet. 
Thank you for reading my posts over the years on both Blogger and Wordpress.
This blog will remain open. Occasionally, I may share something that I think is timely.
Sincerely,
Allison (autisticaplanet) Kramer 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Authenticity and Fashion: Things I Wish I Knew Thirty Years Later

When I was in Middle School, it felt like the emotional (and sometimes physical) equivalent of the weeping and gnashing of teeth in Hades.
Each day was a nightmare and fight to survive. The only thing that gave me a reason to wake up in the morning was my closet and jewelry box.
I didn’t think much about it, but I was expressing my creativity and offering my unique perspective of the world through fashion.
My parents were wonderfully supportive of my unique choices influenced by Blossom, Beverly Hills 90210 and Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains it All (Melissa Joan Hart WAS Clarissa in my opinion).
The early years of the 20th century’s last decade were bold, colorful and fun. I couldn’t understand why so many of my bland, NT peers weren’t into dressing like this:

“Clarissa Explains It All” Nickelodeon 1991-1994

The layers. The patterns, the mixing and matching. The funky accessories. I wore my ensembles like armour, protecting me from those vile beige and yellow cinder block walls and linoleum flooring.
Unbeknownst to me, my peers didn’t share my point of view. Along with my clumsy gait (I was told I walked like a duck) and obvious sensory sensitivity any time there was a fire drill, I unwittingly drew bullies like stink on shit.
Hindsight is 20/20. The saying is cliche, but pithy and easy for me to remember.
I wish someone had told both my parents and I about compromise. Not moral compromise, but the social compromise that would have helped me to fly under the radar a little without hiding my authenticity.

Me sporting a mullet, sunglasses, paisley sleeveless dress, motorcycle gloves and black tights with black stripes at my 17th birthday party in 1996.
Bullies are predators by design. They look for someone-anyone to take out their insecurities and emotional pain on. Some might say that I asked for every threat, punch and body slam I got by wearing these outfits. Others might be wondering what my parents were thinking.
My parents didn’t know about autism. Nor did they have any form of parental support. The schools wanted to get rid of me, but there wasn’t any place to send me aside from behavioral ed classes. Private school tuition costs a lot of money in the U.S. Homeschooling sans internet or parent who could devote the time and teaching skills meant public school hell.
I didn’t understand at age 11 why others couldn’t calm the hell down and mind their own business. I didn’t understand anything social. All I wanted was one friend, to be allowed to express myself and concentrate on learning so I could pass along to the next grade, one step closer to liberation.
My mom and dad never let me look like a slut. Anything that showed the hint of cleavage or buttock was promptly hung back on the rack.
As grunge made its way to the Midwest, I wore flannel shirts, stovepipe pants and (off label) Birkenstock-style sandals. Soon, the pop tart princess look was in: navel baring spaghetti strap tops, baby buns and body glitter. Who the hell needs body glitter? It gets everywhere you don’t want it to be!
Anyway, it didn’t matter what was in the window of Gap or Merry-Go-Round. Whatever inspiration I drew from them or a model in a magazine was recipe for continued bullying.
I tried dressing more conservatively a few times. I felt numb inside. It was like having a lobotomy performed on my spirit.
I thought isolation was worse. I tried doing dance moves to gain some sort of attention anytime there was a dry spell in bullying activity. Kids actually threw coins at me when I performed the
MC Hammer dance and ended it by shouting “Hammertime!” I was confused. I was hated, and yet they paid me to do it.

You can’t touch this! Me with chlorine hair from the pool wearing a black, rhinestone hat, purple tunic and a long, silver chain with bobbles attached. My hand is extended as I’m attempting  to prove that I am very cool, at least in my twelve-year-old brain.
There is no excuse for bullying anyone, ever. I did come to learn some heartbreaking explanations for why some kids bullied. I had a few friends for a few years and saw first hand how having an alcoholic parent could break the kid’s spirit. It was a wonder none of them bullied.
I attended school with a lot of kids who lived in a bad section 8 housing complex. It was full of drugs, homicides and absentee dads.
By contrast, home was my safe haven. I sometimes took out on my loving parents what had been done to me at school that day by swearing, being sarcastic and even one time, throwing a snowball at my dad in a way too rough, not playing around manner.
It was terrifying hearing him say “I think I lost her”, as my dad talked with my mother outside my room, down the hall.
He thought in that one moment that he had lost me as a daughter. I sobbed at the thought of disowning my dad because he got after me for throwing a snowball at him, even if I was mad. I was taking out my rage from being bullied out on someone who was safe. He yelled at me to stop throwing snowballs at him, and I snapped, throwing more.
I inadvertently bullied my dad without realizing it. We did reconcile, later that night. My mom helped us.
I’m wondering if being abused and wanting to be accepted by any group of people makes a kid a bully, preying on whatever they can find, especially when the object of their rage carries an army green, fishnet purse.
Back to clothing, I see now how I could have compromised without losing my creativity. Here is an example:

Me test driving a golf-cart on vacation in 1993.
As you can see in the photo above, I have a toned-down boho look going on. I had on a white, ribbed round-neck shirt and terra-cotta colored 12 inch shorts, a brown belt, white socks and Keds. Also, I wore a shark-tooth choker length necklace as that was in fashion at the time.

Me sporting my “Collegiate” look. A gray hoodie with the word “Classic” in all red caps and some kind of crest and symbol trio below. Those pair nicely with denim shorts and a pair of birkenstock-style sandals-especially if worn in winter for some reason only my NT peers knew. Normal is whatever the majority wants.

I was further inspired by “Blossom” each Monday on NBC back in the early to mid 1990’s.


1993: This babydoll dress paired with a black choker with a silver flower and black cardigan is what I would considered “toned down” and still on theme. Blossom would approve.
I hope this post provides further insight as to social compromise as an autistic person or someone with some type of disability without compromising authenticity. Don’t blend in. Be you, but please be balanced in doing so.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Lessons Learned in 2018 (Wish I'd have known in 2017!)

The following are a few insights I (sometimes painfully) picked up along the journey of 2018.


  1. Not to “info dump” or converse in even a half socially acceptable way with just anyone. Trusting just anyone with tons of information can make trouble for you. That person could relay things you entrusted to them in private in order to hurt you. Being vulnerable is only good if you can trust the person you are engaged with. And if you are being vulnerable with someone you trust, let them say their peace.
  2. It’s OK to let the other person (who you know is in the wrong) be right. Continuing to argue with someone who is toxic makes things worse. God and you know who’s right. If the other person admits their wrong, accept their apology even though it might seem second nature.
  3. When God asks you to let go of something, He means it. Letting go, especially when it is a passionate obsession is heartbreaking. I tried to explain and reason with God many times about this passion, and He waited, very patiently, until I trusted Him enough to let go.
  4. Screenshot any receipts or other transactions between you and any business. If there’s a glitch, you can directly upload it to an email or website without needing a URL link. I take surveys, so I screenshot each one I complete in case the system doesn’t credit me. I also screenshot my Amazon receipts, emails regarding payment for submissions or cyberbullying on a social media platform.
  5. I’ve read a lot of Instagram posts regarding self care. As long as you aren’t becoming self-centered, self care is valid. Saying “NO” can be a good thing if it means avoiding a meltdown.
  6. Plan ahead: I know when my PMDD (premenstrual dysphoria) comes. Paranoia and irrational thinking (even when on medication) does not pair with going on a road trip, the mall or even for a short walk. Have a backup date (raincheck) in case one of you has to cancel your plans for whatever reason.
  7. Drastic measures usually aren’t necessary. When neighbors set off fireworks on weekends, a sleeping pill (prescribed to me by my doctor) will suffice. Wanting to die is, well, overkill.
  8. Adding a description of my photo or meme is the right thing to do. Sure, it takes a few minutes, but vision impaired people need to be included. Inclusion is a right, not a privilege.
  9. Never use Windex to clean the picture frame that holds your favorite celebrity autographed photo. Even when the frame is dry, the Windex ingredients can still eat into the photo.
  10. If you want something bad enough, the pain is worth it. I prayed about my decision to get new ear piercings before going to the tattoo and piercing parlor. Once I knew God was good with my choice to pierce both my conches, I was ready to go. The intense burning pain was over within 3 seconds. Had it gone on for minutes I could not have done it. Five months on, they are healing beautifully.
  11. It’s much more accurate to say, “My autism” when describing my own experience in a blog post or commenting on social media. It helps avoid conflict over someone whose autism experience is totally different. Both parties can learn something. Here’s an example: “My autism is disabling.” If someone invalidates my own experience, I don’t need them in my life.
  12. God already validated me. It is hard to understand if you’ve been invalidated and gaslighted by fellow humans, but God doesn’t see us the way others or even us ourselves do. He did so by sending Jesus to die in my place.
  13. A little self-deprecating humor is a good thing. As long as it’s self depreciating. This eases tension between me and another person. Sometimes I use accents and lines from characters in sitcoms or movies (scripting). Example: Dropping something around another person, I can quote Adam Goldberg’s expression, “Oh balls!” It’s a bonus when the other person is a fellow “Goldbergs” fan.
  14. Instagram has helped me learn more about autistic people’s experiences. The generally short insights and images make learning for me easier than blogs. I also have an Instagram account, which if you learn like I do, you might want to follow @autisticaplanet
  15. Now that I’ve plugged myself (a little self-deprecating humor), I will bid you a blessed New Year filled with acceptance, inclusion and insights. Perhaps you will pass some of them down to me!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Scripting

I have heard that autistic people do something called "scripting". It is a coping strategy that one can use in the proper context in response to something someone says.
I had never thought about this, but I've done it over the course of my life. I've used mainly lines from movies such as.Forrest Gump, which still remains my favorite movie 24 years on.
Recently, I've added vocabulary from one of my favorite TV shows, The Goldbergs. If my sibling tries to trick  me into believing something is true (in a good way), my response might be "Yeah, that's not a thing." I pull from movies like Office Space as well. I am told I do a good impression of Milton Wadams demanding his stapler.
Knowing the proper time in which to script is something I've learned to refine over time. I learn by repetition, so binge watching a TV show or watching a movie several times in a row helps me to learn the situations and conversations and how to contextualize.
 Sometimes, I want to joke. Imagine paddle boating with your sibling on a tranquil day at the lake. A pontoon comes near and I pull this: "I don't want your giant box of porn, Andy!" (From The 40 Year Old Virgin) Autistic people are capable of being deliberately inappropriate for laughs. In retrospect, I should have made sure there weren't any kids on board!
I'm still trying to come up with something when I am beginning to experience sensory overload, but my mind gets so tense that there is little space in which to think at all.
When this happens, the best thing I can do is repeat the name of my special interest over and over, stim and/or focus on escaping.
If you are reading this today, I hope you will go and vote. What happens to all minority groups depends on who we put in office.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Relaxed

These are the times that don't happen very often, at least not on a weekly basis. My sister took me to a recreation center that had paddle boats for rent. We spent three blissful hours going around a lake that used to be a gravel quarry. It was quiet and the sun's power was tempered by giant, puffy pillar clouds. It was peace that both of us needed after having a very stressful week.