I never claimed to be perfect.

Dear reader,

I never said I was perfect. I never said I didn’t have any gray hairs or crooked – even missing – teeth. I never said I’d be sober, or drunk, forever. I never gave you a trigger warning, but I didn’t think I’d have to.

Never did I say I never told a white lie, just to get by. I did tell you I’m autistic, but I didn’t add that even some of us aren’t perfect pity stories to be told. I never said I showered every day. I never even added that I only wash the important parts on the hardest days.

Did I tell you I’m wealthy? Did you think that meant I had a lot of money? You were wrong. I never said I didn’t owe a thing to anyone.

I don’t remember ever promising to add photos to every blog post. I might have even said I planned on adding none. I never said I was a capitalist, or a socialist, or any ‘ist’ for that matter, even though I may be something like an artist. But I never claimed to move you with my art, or my words.

I didn’t say this was a positive blog, or that my recovery would be a straight path to a destination of which I’m even aware. I might have mentioned a hope or a dream, but I didn’t say that nothing ever changes.

I never asked you to call me a woman. I let you call me a woman, but certainly not a lady. I never said I was non-binary, at least not here, so I don’t know if I can blame you.

I can only make one promise: I’ll always be writing, somewhere. To be continued.

-Alice.

I love (being in) the shower.

Once I’m in the shower, it’s such a refreshing and lovely feeling. I’m overcome with possibilities and a strange confidence. I have to say that I’m truly in the moment. I’ve always made it a point to have beautifully fragrant shampoo, conditioner, soap, and body wash. Today I used strawberry body wash and minty shampoo and conditioner.

Today was the first time I showered in almost a week. As many of you know, I’ve been experiencing depression to a degree. I’d say that degree is even moderate compared to the past. But it’s significant.

So, at 11 a.m., I “hopped” in the shower. It was more of an “I dumped myself in” the shower, or something as tedious as that. But once the shower head tackled my long, very thick hair, life’s endless possibilities (a kind of euphoric tease) hit me.

I even shaped my eyebrows, beforehand. I don’t usually claim to care about such things, but it felt right. I didn’t just take a quick bath today, I showered. And to shower means I can do so much more. You know the feeling?

It’s not often that I fit in. Part 1.

I’ve been feeling pretty down about myself lately. In an effort to combat this feeling, I’ve been practicing drawing and digital art. Art has always been a place where I’ve felt at home. It’s largely a solo activity, and who’s really wrong when it comes to self-expression?

Anyway, these feelings of not fitting in or being down, in general, have brought back memories. Specifically, of a time I was just 19 and working at an internship in New York City. I was working for a popular American talk show, as a production assistant. Working for no pay, that is. In fact, I paid to take the daily trip through the tunnel to the city a few times per week.

I tried my hardest to fit in and be as social as everyone else. It all seemed so natural to everyone. Morning hugs and kisses on both cheeks were the norm. I cringed inside when this happened. It was autistic masking at its finest… or, perhaps, worst.

A day looked like me answering phones on the toll-free hotline. I’ve never liked being on the phone, and now I had to listen to emotional stories from viewers who often wanted to be on the show or knew someone who should. I remember going into the bathroom to cry after a call that lasted about an hour regarding the host’s ever-slipping-down-her-nose glasses.

Another part of my day would be spent looking through mail and reading some very sad stories. Domestic abuse victims would often beg to be helped, sending in photos of their bruised faces. Others would write about their child prodigy. I came to learn that almost every other family thinks they have a genius of some sort.

I was a gofer, as they called it. I would “go for” stuff the producers and even the host wanted. Soup for lunch, granola bars for snacks, a special parrot that lived in Harlem that needed to be covered with something because it was a surprise. I kept one part of the family who’d be on the show company throughout the day, so the other part of the family would be surprised on stage when we introduced them.

In short, I worked my ass off!

However, I received a “C” for my final grade, while fellow interns went on to become producers upon graduation. All seemingly because I didn’t “talk enough” and I was “too quiet” for such an environment.

I could just be bitter that this happened. But I’ve been in many situations where I felt out of place due to my selective mutism and (at the time) undiagnosed autism. My introversion, you could even say.

That’s just a little story, but I think I’ll write more on this topic of feeling different and out of place, later.

-Alice.

A recent drawing that I turned into digital art. Still practicing.

Only in my dreams. A gray reflection.

I’m making myself write today. I almost skipped another day, but decided I would figure out something, anything to write. Today is a gray day, and I’m in a gray mood. It’s better than previous days (my mood, that is), and I’ve been somewhat productive considering.

I had a dream about M, my former therapist, early this morning. He told me he was sorry for the way he abruptly cut off communication and said he was being pressured by others. He promised to never do it again, and said that he’d always be there, in some way or another. In the dream, I saw his face very clearly. More vivid than most, this dream, I knew exactly what he was wearing: perfectly fitted jeans, rolled up just at the bottom, a buttoned shirt, and a vest. I felt so peaceful, and so at home.

Then I woke up with a terrible cramping in my stomach, as happens at least a few days per month. I felt that sense of home and calm suddenly disappear. My stomach felt hollow, not only because I hadn’t eaten a proper dinner last night, but because I was feeling empty, in general.

My subconscious is holding on to M for dear life, while in my day-to-day, I’m nervously managing.

I guess I wrote more than I thought myself capable. I plan to practice some drawing today, and maybe finish a book. I’m three books ahead of schedule for my 2021 goal of 72 books for the year.

-Alice.

I’m experiencing depression.

It only clicked yesterday that I’m depressed. I finally put the pieces together and realized this is my main issue right now. By the way, I do understand what’s going on in the United States right now, but haven’t the emotional energy to make comments (other than retweeting on Twitter), at the moment.

What happened that made me come to this understanding? It’s quite personal, but I found myself being passively suicidal. I realized that I was, for a handful of days, reaching for a drink to escape. Napping, not only because I was exhausted, but to escape as well.

Fortunately, I haven’t been completely bedridden. For example, yesterday I drew in my new workbook and this morning I read some of Managing the Depression Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Ashley L. Peterson. Thank you, Ashley – I’m finding the book helpful and comforting. I also recommend Ashley’s blog for some very useful and insightful entries.

So, I’m not sure what to do first. Well, yes I am. I’m laying off the sauce again. That’s a start. I also ordered some vitamin D because I’m positive that I’m deficient, which helps nothing. Added to my list, but not ending my list, will be cutting down on sugar, slowly.

Have you ever taken some time to realize you were experiencing depression? I guess I’m so used to it that it’s my normal at times.

-Alice.

I want to draw better.

I recently bought a workbook called You Will Be Able to Draw by the End of This Book by Jake Spicer. He has a series of art workbooks available, and I figured this would be a good one to start with.

New book I just bought.

I started practicing a few simple exercises this morning and decided to skip ahead to draw part of a person. This is because I’m eager to learn how to better draw faces. So, I drew Ursula with an Updo.

Ursula with an Updo

I haven’t drawn much in some time. Considering that, I was pretty pleased with myself. I can’t wait to practice even more! The book is really neat and I will definitely be purchasing more in the future.

In other news, I feel much better today than I have been lately. I don’t think I’ll need an antibiotic for my infection, but I’m giving myself until tomorrow to really know. Just to be sure I don’t wake up feeling lousy tomorrow. However, I’m expecting continued improvement.

I hope you’re all doing well! Off to read some blogs.

-Alice.

Something feels off.

I haven’t been feeling well for a few weeks now. And it’s been over a month that I’ve been having strange GI symptoms. My body just doesn’t feel right. Remember, I am in the UK and don’t have health insurance, so it’s not just as easy as quickly getting some tests done.

But I’ll have to see a GP soon, somehow. I’ll spare you all of the symptom descriptions, but I’m getting a bit scared and don’t wish to wait too long. I’m getting infections more easily, and wonder why. As a child, I had a condition called Neutropenia, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s happening again.

Part of me wonders if I’m being a hypochondriac. The other part knows I shouldn’t take chances. And yet another part is trying to find some kind of gray area.

I’ve been drinking a lot of water and some cranberry juice in case I have what feels like a bladder infection. Later today I should get some tests in the mail to see if it is, in fact, an infection. If it is, I can order antibiotics easily, I think.

That’s about all I have to write about, at the moment. Until next time!

-Alice.

One month sober.

I celebrate this day, of being one month sober, by writing about it. Or Alcohol Free (AF) as the cool people say. It’s been a rough month, my “pink cloud” lasted only a handful of days, and I’ve suffered some physical ailments all along.

Does this mean I shouldn’t have stopped drinking? No way! I feel so much better, emotionally and in other ways. Overall, my sleep has been better, as I haven’t woken up at an odd hour from withdrawal. This, by the way, can even happen to the lightest of drinkers. I also haven’t had severe anxiety every morning, as I used to. Alcohol contributes to anxiety.

Sometimes I miss the buzzed feelings I used to get, where for a few moments, I was carefree. However, there is always a sort of crash that I’m trying to avoid by being AF.

In other news, I’m going to get therapy of some sort, beginning, ASAP. I really need someone here to understand my situation and be there to help; someone with resources for me. Recently, I reached out to someone in the states for a consultation, which may be a start.

I think I’ve been struggling with some depression lately. It’s been difficult just to keep up with things like hygiene. I have so many goals, but cannot see them being accomplished if I don’t address my mental health.

Happy New Year’s Eve! I want to thank y’all for reading and I’m now off to read yours.

-Alice.

I resolve to:

Just get a chihuahua already. Be myself, no matter what and WHATEVER that means. Not shrink or shrivel to fit in or be loved. Love as much as I want. Be loved, unconditionally. Apply to graduate school. Speak my mind, even when I fear being abandoned. Continue talking about autism. Have a self-esteem that is something to be proud about. Not worry about always being polite. Be assertive. Trust my intuition. Not pathologize every quirk and characteristic.

Write my memoir. Write a lovely piece of fiction. Draw. Paint. Gift a pantoum to someone special.

Reach out when I need to. Stop fearing rejection. Pick up after myself, even when it’s boring. Learn Tibetan. Give my time. Accept help. Continue speaking of sobriety. Teach and be taught. Never forget my loved ones, even if they have forgotten me.

Tap dance. Be as straightforward as I need to be. Ask for clarity. Eat intuitively. Read fiction once in a while. Self-soothe. Not take things personally. Take things personally. Wear my mask. Not mask.

Keep writing…anything.

I haven’t been well, but I’m sober.

I’ve always intended to be as straightforward as I am “in real life”, here. This means you won’t always read about my wonderful life. My life is imperfect. Yours is, too.

I was very “lazy” yesterday and gave my eyes a break from looking at so many screens. But today, well, today I must write. I’m not doing well and I need to get it out.

I was told to shove my sobriety up my ass, earlier this morning, by someone I thought loved me. After all, does that seem like love to you? I get it: the person (I will not be naming here) was likely triggered when I questioned their drinking. I actually didn’t even question it, but I brought up the fact that they drink every day in relation to being a Reiki practitioner, and simply wondered if that meshed well.

This person began to get very defensive, in an abusive way. No, not physically. But still, nothing I want to be around.

So, I am happy to be sober, even though it can be quite difficult at times. Even though people want me to fail, or so it seems. Reading that today is the 45th year of sobriety for Anthony Hopkins, a fellow Aspie, really inspired me. I should be able to bring that up without punishment.

Overall, I haven’t been feeling so well. I’m sick with something that also makes me feel dizzy. Just when I think I’m improving, I’m not.

In other news, I reached out to the author of the Rainforest Mind (RFM) book. I’m waiting a few more days before following up, or assuming she won’t write back. The feeling that I may be gifted didn’t last very long, but it was a fancy thought. I may have a RFM, but I also don’t believe this excludes autism. I think a lot of individuals are uncomfortable about autism being a spectrum. They, for example, expect certain behaviors from a person such as myself. So, it’s often “either or”, rather than autistic or maybe twice exceptional (if I am feeling so grand).

Perhaps I’ll write later, to make up for yesterday.

How are you all doing?

-Alice.