Thursday, 26 April 2012


My latest with crayon.  Black crayon
over coloured crayon.  Just like in school!
I wasn't sure how to start my next blog so I am posting my circles in the mean time.  I draw circles when I am somewhere, like a workshop, where I need to focus on a speaker.  For some reason my mind doesn't wander as much when I am drawing my circles.  I always try to make the most perfect circle I can.  And then I struggle with choosing the perfect colours.
Pencil Crayon

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

New Town, New School

When I was 17, we moved to a small town from a big city.  I didn’t want to move.  I was used to the house I lived in and the neighborhood also.  I had never seen the house we were moving to, never even heard of the town.  I was very depressed and cried a lot.  Once the move happened, it turned out to be a great thing.  People were friendly and there were fewer of them.
Red was the main hair colour!

It took a few months and I was able to get a new job as a merchandiser but it was in a larger store in a mall.  Due to my slow processing, I still had some problems with customers even though I wasn't on the cash desk.  I would misunderstand what they said or I would hear them but not understand anything so I would have to ask them to repeat themselves a few times. One person who didn’t happen to be the same race as me decided I was racist because I couldn’t understand and went to my boss, but the problem also happened with people the same race as me. 
Red with a fading blue streak
The next fall, I transferred to the local public high school for grade 13.  I had no friends in my grade and was uncomfortable in most of my grade 13 classes.  I also took some classes with younger grades that I did not have access to at my private school.  I did fun things like metal and wood shop, drafting, and typing.  It was hard getting used to having boys in the class but I did get along better with some of them (especially the younger ones) than the girls.  I liked cars and rude jokes while I didn’t like shopping and small talk. I got to know some of the younger kids in grade 9 and some of the misfits like me.  I had my own style of dressing; people may have made fun of me behind my back but no one ever made fun of me to my face for the way I looked.  I started visiting a hair dresser regularly (mainly for something to do and someone to talk to) and had many different hair styles for the next few years.  I didn’t care what people really thought about the way I looked because I liked it.  In some ways that is a good thing about asperger’s but sometimes you can look really bad.
Purple done in England
During my grade 13 year, I had two relationships which I talked about inappropriately with the kids in shop class.  I was teased and called names because of the things I said, but the kids didn't seem to be serious.  I seemed to start going through my teens when at about 19 when most teens are starting to grow up a bit.  I was just getting started.  My mother thought it was because I started going to public school but it just allowed me to be me a bit more.

I wasn’t ready to leave school so I stayed an extra year doing my fun courses.  I had graduated the year before with more than enough credits for my diploma.  In this final year, at almost 20 years old, I got my first boyfriend.  I was in a relationship with the boy for almost 3 years.  During this time he abused me in different ways, mainly when he was drunk.  I knew it was wrong, but I didn't leave him.  I didn't have anyone close to me to talk to about it and I didn't want to leave him because I didn't think I'd ever meet anyone else.  Girls with asperger’s are more likely to get into trouble in relationships because we trust the other person and don't think that they would want to hurt us.  We also don’t think anyone else is out there for us so we have to keep what we have no matter how bad it is.  We also don’t like change and dumping a boyfriend is a big change.
Red with yellow streak (once blue)
I took a year off school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college or with my life.  Going to school was all I knew but I knew I couldn’t handle university.  I finally decided on the Mechanical Engineering Technician program in college.  There were only 3 of us girls in the program and I was the only one in most of my classes.  Too bad I had a boyfriend!  Most of the courses were hands on so I liked it and did well.  I got rid of my abusive boyfriend towards the end of my first year at college and a month or so later met my future husband.  We met through a friend and decided after a month to move in together and get married.  We had similar backgrounds and understood each other well.  Something nobody else did.  I did not go back for my second and final year of college that fall because I needed to work but I found out it was mostly book learning that year so I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Teenage Years (before the move)

New monster truck model!
My mother chose to send me to a private school starting in grade 7 so I had to leave all the kids I knew.  I had to take entrance tests and do interviews.  I passed the entrance tests for two schools.  I was declined at the one school because I was not a “joiner”.  I was not a sports person and didn’t join clubs so I could not contribute to the school and was therefore not wanted.  The other school didn’t seem to care about the extracurricular things as much so that is where I went.  I liked to read and build models not do swim team or debate etc.

Me looking thrilled in
my red blazer and tunic!
It took a while but I did develop a few basic friendships like at my old school.  It was a big struggle adjusting to the new school although the uniform was a good thing since I like routine and got to wear the same thing every day.  I had to take the subway and buses to get there and of course I got lost the first time.  It was terrifying.  Many times, I had what I now know are panic attacks.  I thought I was going to die.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe and made clicking noises in the back of my mouth.  I thought people couldn’t hear them but they probably could.  The subways and buses were so crowded that I would have severe sensory overload in addition to my inability to know how to interact with others resulting in the panic attacks.

I sometimes misunderstood what the teachers were asking.  I once told my French teacher that I didn’t understand the work because it was all in French.  What French I had learned in public school was below the level that they learned in the private school.  She said that it was okay and we’d take it up the next day.  I thought that meant it was okay if I didn’t do it because we would  be taking it up in class but it actually meant that I had to fill in some sort of answer (even though I didn’t know what it said) and I would find out the correct one when it was taken up.  I got a detention for not doing my work.  I was not used to getting detentions.  I always did as I was told so the only detentions I got were whole class detentions where a few people ruined it for the whole class.
Being a university prep school, the course load was heavy and the work hard.   I really struggled to figure out what to do in many of my subjects.  There were many tears over homework especially English and essays in many classes.  If the learning disability and Asperger’s were known back then, things might have gone smoother with the school work.  Sometimes my stepfather was able to help with the math, but I generally had to figure things out on my own except I did get a bit of lunchtime help with my English one term.

Everybody happy to be at my party but me.
I got invited to a couple of friends’ birthdays but I was always uncomfortable because I didn’t know what to talk about or how to act.  There were also a couple of sleepovers that I went to but they were torture for me.  Sometimes I lied to the people who invited me and told them I wasn’t allowed even though I hadn’t asked my parents.  It was easier to stay home even though it was lonely.  I always got this bad feeling inside of me when I had to go to other people’s houses.  Girls at school talked about parties and boys but I wasn’t interested in boys until I was at least 14 or 15.  What I usually did with friends was talk about books we were reading, some similar music, and movies, nothing personal.  Sometimes we went to movies.  During class (especially History), while the teacher was droning on, we would have highlighter weddings below the top of our desks.  It’s a surprise we never got caught.  A lunchtime thing we did was picking up a couple of books in the library and taking turns reading words or sentences; each of us from our own book.  It made for interesting literature.  We were definitely not the popular girls!
The depression and anxiety got worse through my teens but I kept it hidden so people at school never knew.  My parents should have picked up on it since I had terrible mood swings, lots of crying for no reason, irritability etc., but they didn’t.

After work with my best friends.
I was told to get a job when I was 16 and did well at stocking shelves and putting prices on merchandise.  I didn’t do as well at the cash desk.  It was very stressful dealing with customers, money, merchandise, and any complications from them. 
More to come:  The Move…..