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I love being able to learn in different ways every single day. I love listening to new music, reading new books, watching new movies or TV shows, and also expanding my knowledge on a subject I am passionate about. Recently, I’ve been watching new anime on Netflix (Bleach, K-On, Fairy Tail) and listening to musical artists such as Juliana Hatfield and Alanis Morissette.

However, I’ve also had a problem with procrastinating when it comes to trying something new for as long as I can remember. I either end up not having time or simply run out of mental energy. It is mostly the case that I end up running out of mental energy, because the notion of “not having time” to do something can be vague in its meaning.

And oftentimes, when I try to push myself to include new information in my brain when I don’t necessarily want to, I can make myself utterly exhausted. This in turn can make me feel too burned out to continue to incorporate new forms of acquiring knowledge into my schedule.

But either way, I’ve always been an extremely curious person, and it can seem as if my thirst for knowledge and information can never be quenched. It can feel overwhelming at times, but it is usually very fulfilling.

Long Time No See

So much has happened since July — the Black Lives Matter protests, the presidential election, COVID-19 cases and responses surging, and registering and attending college courses. 2020 has been an exhausting year, but at least it is nearly over with some sense of relief.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are officially our new president and Vice President! People all over the world were celebrating Trump’s defeat with dancing, parades, and fireworks. In Paris, they celebrated beautifully by chiming bells. I was particularly glad to hear that Canada celebrated as well, since I actually assumed that they were starting to think less of us after the last four years.

Let’s hope that Biden and Harris lead a brand new era for the United States — an era full of knowledge, integrity, progressivism, and compassion. We’ve been missing all four of these ideal American attributes during the Trump administration. Even though I am incredibly relieved to hear that Trump lost and that Biden will be president in January, I am by no means relaxed. Getting Trump to concede and move out of office will be extremely difficult.

But anyway, it feels nice to realize that my family and I don’t have to worry about leaving the United States just yet. We trust that Joe Biden will be a good leader and attempt to do all of the things he promised. He won’t always succeed, but he will honestly try to make everyone’s lives better. And that is enough for me.

I am currently taking Painting I and ENG 111 at my local community college. These classes serve as a decent distraction from all of the uncertainty during this difficult time. I am learning so much, and it feels especially rewarding to improve my art and writing skills.

As an autistic person who is prone to burnout, however, I also tend to feel especially exhausted after a full day or week of meetings and studying sessions. Therefore, any attempts to incorporate my hobbies into my schedule usually prove futile. This is part of being a disabled person!

In conclusion, I know I definitely need to write blog entries more often in order to provide updates on my life. This will also be an additional method of improving my writing skills! I hope I can at least remember to do so tomorrow.

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Record-breaking heat and frequent storms are both byproducts of climate change. In fact, Southern Florida has broken 120+ heat records in 2020 alone. If that doesn’t concern you, what will?

I always worry about how animals will react to climate change. They will almost certainly gradually die over time. There are a few stray cats in my neighborhood, and I periodically feel the urge to give them food and a bowl of water to help them properly recover.

Of course, us humans will suffer if the effects of climate change aren’t addressed directly. Higher temperatures will make it more likely for diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents to occur. Heat, drought, and wildfires will increase, in turn leading to worsening levels of particle pollution. And also, the loss of insect populations will contribute to a profoundly negative effect on food production.

So, in conclusion, we should all do our part to contribute to the mitigation of climate change. There are many ways to help: donate to organizations that aim to preserve our wildlife; reduce carbon emissions by driving less; refuse to or at least reduce your intake of meat; and demand more sustainable energy.

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Yikes. I think I definitely might have a crush on someone, although I can never exactly know for sure. For an autistic person like me, any form of love can be anxiety-inducing. My mind immediately tends to spiral out of control: I end up not being able to stop thinking about this person, and everything I do leads to self-criticism.

I always keep wondering whether this person I love will approve of the things I like, do, or say. I’ve repeatedly gotten myself into traumatic situations from being too trusting with other people, and my general feelings of loneliness and depression seem to exacerbate my over-the-top emotional reactions.

Plus, since I’ve never dated anyone and I’ve never even had my first kiss, how will I even know how to appropriately initiate or respond to romantic or platonic feelings of love? Do I even want to start dating or seeking for any form of emotional connection?

Maybe I’m primarily just tired of never really knowing exactly how I feel. I’ll admit that this is indeed one particular trait of autism I wish I could improve. What I do know is that I truly admire this person I have a crush on, and that I also like him enough to want to get to know more about him and really talk with him.

Well, whatever. It’s not like I can really consider attempting to connect with other people right now due to the current circumstances of the global pandemic. I’ll know when I’m ready, I guess.

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Today I registered for two classes at my local community college: English 112 and Drawing I. I am especially grateful and excited for the opportunity to continue to learn about two subjects I am passionate about. I am also particularly glad to have the advantage of being flexible with my classes.

However, as is always the case with me, with every instance of triumph and accomplishment comes a distinct sense of worry and dread. My academic advisor encouraged me to never feel overwhelmed whilst registering for classes, but to an autistic person like me, there is no such thing as silence or calmness. We’re always stressed about something, yet we’re also so exceptionally resilient compared to our neurotypical peers.

One primary reason for our stress may be the never-ending urge to mask our quirks and fit ourselves into a box to attempt to impress others who may not even be worth it. This world was never meant for autistic people.

School can often exacerbate our anxieties: constantly being under florescent light, having no choice but to listen to people with no indoor voices, and also having little to no opportunities to move around or take breaks can take a drastic toll on autistic people.

I’m just glad that many more people are becoming aware of what autistic people truly need or desire: however, when my counselor told me that she believed it is now a good time for autistic people, she frankly couldn’t be more wrong. We still deal with numerous instances of discrimination, harassment, and even assault. To put it mildly, things could be better.

But anyway, I will now come to the main point of this entry. One particular source of my stress this time is the awareness that I frequently need pictures as a source of reference for when I’m drawing. Am I truly immersing myself in art if I am repeatedly using technology?

What I hope is that my future art professor will be understanding once he realizes I have applied to the disability services of my community college. I also hope that my fellow classmates treat me with the same amount of respect that I serve.

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Oh, man. Things have been incredibly hectic and stressful, what with the coronavirus spreading so rapidly and it ultimately leading to a complete lockdown in multiple cities and towns across the USA.

In this particular moment, I am especially lucky to live in a state where our governor is a Democrat. Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, has done great work and has been very considerate of the citizens of North Carolina. If our governor was a Republican, however, I highly doubt that the virus would be treated with the same amount of seriousness and caution. For this reason, I am deeply worried about disabled and elderly people in states such as Texas or Florida.

Also, I am legitimately frustrated that the U.S. seems to be thriving more on capitalism than socialism: while multiple countries such as Spain and even China have done their utmost to actually help people, some corporations and people in America are simply exploiting our fears. It doesn’t make it any better to know that our current political situation makes it even more difficult to get tested and seek medical care.

I also think it’s funny that we’re just now calling grocery store workers, doctors, and nurses “essential workers” during a pandemic when we can’t even pay them a fucking living wage. Capitalism without laws (not guaranteeing paid family leave or paid sick leave to employees) kills.

But there have also been stories of incredible kindness, strength, and ingenuity during this pandemic. For example, I believe almost everyone had their spirits lifted by a video of Italians singing together on their balconies. Many people in various countries are also continuously finding new ways to connect with others during quarantine: my Wake Tech classmates and instructors are now meeting through Zoom. It is especially important to take care of yourself and others during times of crisis.

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Last night, I couldn’t really sleep because I was too worried about future commutes and whether I’ll be able to effectively obtain a job that is close to home. I was also stressed about future travels to Wake Tech: will my dad be able to drive me, or should I figure out a way to commute on my own?

Well, the good news is that I have officially discovered a way to get to Wake Tech by bus! I’m proud of myself for simultaneously accomplishing independent living and time management skills. Now, we’ll simply have to know for certain whether my dad will have his schedule shifted so that he can drive me, or if I will have to start commuting to Wake Tech next week.

All of this doesn’t mean I feel any less of a burden on my parents, but I also don’t want to perpetuate the stereotype that disabled people are burdens. I used to feel ashamed for the accommodations I needed, not realizing how necessary they are for me to thrive in school at work. Nondisabled people have ableism so deeply rooted in their brains and culture that oftentimes they are unknowingly condescending when mentioning us in conversations.

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When I see old photos of myself, I see a bright, imaginative child who also had no idea what the future had in store for her.

If I could go back and tell my five to ten year old self anything, I would tell her that she will inevitably have to overcome many struggles as she grows up. People will always try to put you down and overpower you, but somehow, you will always find the strength to get right back up on your feet with that incredible mind of yours. You have more resilience than you think.

I would also tell her that #ActuallyAutistic people are too often expected to conform or are simply viewed as less than capable. No matter what they say, you should never let them stifle your creativity and intelligence. (Also, please make sure to add more variety to your diet every once in a while!)

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I spotted period blood when I went to the bathroom this morning: I immediately get an odd mixture of relief and dread. I felt relieved because it has been a couple years since I’ve had my last period, and menstruation is almost always a sign that a woman’s reproductive health is working as it should be.

I also felt a sense of dread, because I am more than aware of the symptoms prior to and during menstruation: cramps, bloating, irritability, fatigue, and mood swings. I’ve nearly forgotten how awful periods truly are for any woman to experience. I’m just thankful that I now know how to take care of myself in order to make it more tolerable as the days progress.

However, it can also make me sad to hear that other girls in developing countries such as Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and Somalia have a lack of access to menstrual products that makes them miss school. Poor menstrual management is also the leading cause of reproductive tract infection in women globally. Plus, due to the constant taboo and stigma associated with menstruation, many cultures in the world have harmful and even destructive ideas and beliefs about menstruation that isolate and sham women during their monthly cycles.

In general, there shouldn’t be any negative attitudes towards menstruation: it should merely be considered an (unfortunate and painful) part of life for women and girls everywhere.

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Alright, I’m going to be honest with you all for a moment: I can’t even remember the last time I’ve had my period. I believe it has been two or three years.

A general absence of menstrual bleeding is called amenorrhea, and the two main types are called primary amenorrhea (when a girl over the age of 15 has never had her period), and secondary amenorrhea (when a woman who has had regular periods stops having her period for six months or longer). There are many potential causes and risk factors for amenorrhea, and sometimes the cause is unknown. Causes and risk factors include:

. Obesity

. Having very low body fat (less than 15 to 17 percent)

. Deficiency of leptin, the hormone that regulates appetite

. Overactive thyroid gland

. Extreme exercise or emotional stress

. Use of some contraceptives or certain medications, including some antidepressants, which can increase levels of a hormone that prevents ovulation

I have previously suggested to my parents that they take me to the doctor to find a potential cause for my headaches; well unfortunately, this may in fact be another valid reason to schedule an appointment.