August Tiger Haul

Tiger never fails to delight & surprise me, and part me from my cash. So, here’s what I bought this month:

Food haul, clockwise from top left: Prtezels, French Nougat, Salted Caramel Coconut chips, liquorice root chews (that actually contain real liquorice root!), wasabi peanut snacks, and a heart shaped tin of menthol pastilles. 


And the rest: Again, clockwise from top left:

Black storage box with lid, fish patterned tote bag, rose soap, bendy monkey stim toys, black permanent markers, erasable pens, coloured pens, mini notebook (DD uses these to make flip books), banana box (DD going to try bringing bananas to school for lunch), mermaid plush toy. 

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Ugly

I was one of those kids that always tried to duck out of photos. That never smiled because I had deformed teeth. That was just bony and scrawny and looked like I’d just keel over. That had thin flyaway hair that looked messy no matter what I did. I was convinced I was ugly. 

Adding to this conviction, were the notes. When I was 15, for a period of maybe three months, every single school day, I would find a note in my school bag, with just one word written on it: “ugly”. I never told a soul. And never caught the author. Just took the notes to heart. 

I somehow still managed to get a lot of male attention, but I put this down to my demeanour. Especially the way I would never say ‘no’ to them. In fact, I thought I’d better act like that or nobody would ever like me because I was so ugly. 

Later, when people told me I was pretty, I never believed them. Convinced it was a trick, and that they actually just felt sorry for me. That I was just a scrawny ugly runt and to be pitied. 

Deeply ingrained thoughts are hard to counter. 

Some people go on about Millenials and “selfie culture”. Call it self-absorbed and narcissistic. But being on Twitter and seeing all those people unashamedly posting photos of themselves has stirred something in me. A re-examining of long-held beliefs. And, yes, there is a lot more to life than looks, than being “pretty” and “cute”. And my self-worth is obviously not based on my looks. But, I have gradually started taking a few selfies of my own. And although I hate most of them, I feel it is a worthwhile exercise. And finding a photo of myself that I like, that makes me feel not-ugly, feels like a form of therapy against all the bullying of my childhood. 

Call me shallow if you will. Call me whatever you like. But I will no longer call myself “ugly”. 

Identity First Language

One of my pet peeves right now on Twitter is non-autistic people who correct articles, essays or tweets that use “autistic” by saying “No, use person with autism instead”. It happens over and over again. And myself and other autistics try to explain why this is harmful to us, but mostly get ignored. So, in this blog post I’m going to gather all the links I have to where autistics have written in this issue, so I don’t have to keep looking for these links every single day. 

So, if I have referred you to this link, then I probably recognise that you mean well. You might have learnt that you are supposed to use Person First Language at all times. But I’m afraid you were taught wrong. Most autistics prefer Identity First Language, and have written extensively on why. So, please, if you truly want to help autistic people, read the posts by autistic people in the links in this post. Thank you. 

Autistic Hoya part 1
Autistic Hoya part 2
Jim Sinclair
Identity First Autistic
Amy Sequenzia
Musings of an Aspie
Just Stimming
Alyssa Hillary
Ryan Boren

And if you know of any other similar posts, please leave a comment with a link and I’ll add it. 

Also, if anyone knows who came up with the image below, please let me know so I can credit them. Thanks. 

Book Review: Autism…What Does It Mean To Me?

I bought this book for my son, to use with his teacher, and my daughter was so impressed she insisted I buy her one too. So I did. Her teacher did not use it enough but at least we can give it to her next one. So, before we go Back to School and I have to give them to the school, I thought I’d share this book with you. 

First of all, it’s a Workbook, for the autistic person to fill out themselves, mostly by circling, highlighting or underlining what’s true for them. Chapters include an Intoduction, which includes pages such as ‘What is Autism?’, ‘Neurodiversity’, Person first and identity First Language. Other chapters are: The Sensory Experience, Ways of Thinking, Talent & Creative Expression, People, Understanding, Thoughts, Communication, School, Friends, Feeling Upset, and finally Happiness. As you can see, it’s pretty extensive!

Each chapter starts with worksheets on various sub themes related to the chapter. Then it goes onto a section entitled: Especially for Older Readers. This is more geared towards teenagers or even adukts and expands a bit more on the topics. Some of these expanded topics include ‘Internet Aquaintences’ ‘Depression’ and ‘Love’. So, good topics but I’d have liked some pages on Sex and Sexuality too. The final section of each chapter is: For Parents, Teachers and Therapists. It provides down to earth advice, both in how to get the most from this book but also in general. 

The entire book seems very respectful of autistics, which makes a refreshing change from other books also written by non-autistic writers. I really like it and would recommend it to autistics of all ages. And their parents, teachers and therapists, friends, family, grannies etc. I’ve enjoyed reading what my kids have filled in and written about their own experiences of being autistic. Especially as they have often written such different answers to the same questions. I’ve no doubt this book will continue to help them as they get older. 

Finally, I love the dedication, which reads:

“Dedicated to the autistic community, whose time has come.”

I wish I’d known

I wish I’d known I was autistic. That there was a reason I never fit in. 

I wish I’d known I was bisexual. That I didn’t need to have had a girlfriend, ever, to be so. 

I wish I’d known I was aromantic. That falling in love wasn’t a prerequisite for being human. 

I wish I’d known I was genderfluid. That I could sometimes be a girl and sometimes not. 

I wish I’d known I was NB. That I could be something other than a girl or a boy. 

I wish I’d known that I could be polygamous. That monogamy wasn’t the only option. 

I wish I’d known I had a chronic illness. That there was a reason I was so tired. 

I wish I’d known I wasn’t lazy. That laziness is a concept foisted on us by others. 

I wish I’d known these things and more. But, at least I know now. 

[image of a lot of multicoloured balloons, each tied with string to paper containing a wish written on it. The balloons are floating off into a deep blue sky.]