Monday, 13 January 2014

So, what are you going to do with this year?

Happy New Year, dear ones!  Now Christmas is over with and 2013's been shown the door, it's time to crack on with this shiny new year and make it wonderful and worthwhile.

Did You Throw A Little New Year's Party?
Photo by JD Hancock on Flickr
Do you have plans for the new year?  There's an interesting discussion on Quora about new years resolutions - the answers range from big, general life changes like improving one's education and being more social, to specific goals like passing a certain exam, getting a drivers licence, or losing Xkg.

One of my resolutions for the year is to learn to code: I'm a freelance writer and web content creator, and it's becoming increasingly apparent that some up to date html and javascript knowledge would be a useful addition to my toolkit.  So far, I've been getting by with bits remembered from high school IT and snippets taken from online tutorials and forums, but it really is time to sit down and learn this stuff properly.  I signed up with Codecademy late last year, and am currently working through the "web fundamentals" course.

Another goal for this year is to get the book based on this blog, which I've been talking about for ages, written, published, and released out into the world.  I was going to make it one proper, book-sized, made-of-squashed-tree book, but now I'm wondering if maybe a series of shorter ebooks in specific topics might be a better way to go.  A quick look around Amazon will confirm there are already more books about Aspergers and autism available than there are fleas on a dog, so maybe it'd be more useful to do a series of shorter resources looking at specific things - sensory issues, for instance, or managing executive function.

While I'm working on that - however I end up doing it - things might be a little quieter around here.  I'm still aiming for three posts a week, but they might be shorter and lighter than a lot of last year's posts.  I'm also cutting down my involvement with the online autism community, and focusing more on strengthening my local network and working on things that matter in my own community.  

Monday Muster will still be a thing, and speaking of which...

Monday Muster

Kitt McKenzie from AutisticChick has written a gentle, sad piece about having their challenges and the effect autism has on their life diminished:

"Every time. EVERY SINGLE TIME I mention that my disability causes me to struggle,

"I am told that "everyone goes through that."

"Or that I'm selling myself short and need to work harder to do everything everyone else does with little effort.

"That I can do it if I just try. ...

"It is a disability. It is not an act."

On The Third Glance, E has been to see Frozen, and found some interesting analogies for autism and how and Autistic people are treated in this film loosely based on the Snow Queen:

"When she is being crowned, and has to remove her gloves, you see her muster every tiny ounce of self-control she has, so that her hands will work the way “normal” people do. She is able to do it, but only briefly. Because that’s not how her body works, and there are limits to how much anyone can do to “pass” as normal, and she is finding her limits. And when she is pushed past her limit later at the party, she has a meltdown, and her magic spills out uncontrollably. She accidentally hurts someone she loves, terrifies everyone around, and spirals into a complete shutdown, running away from everyone in the process. I’m sure I am not the only one who has had this experience…"

Rubyvroom has written a piece not just for Aspies but for anyone who grew up different - particularly those who grew up different in a small town, before the internet gave us a way to find each other.  It ends on a hopeful note - as the internet becomes more useful and easier to access, it'll be easier for young people to find the information and connections we never could when we were young - but that doesn't stop it being very sad in places:

"And maybe you got out of some hell-hole as soon as you were old enough, and even when you went somewhere better you found out that you never learned how to talk to people, you didn't know how to go to a gay bar on your own or how to find an anime club or where you might learn how to play tabletop RPGs or any kind of social activity you would have any hope of being comfortable with, and now this prison of isolation you grew up in was going to last you the rest of your life."

That's a pretty accurate picture of what happened to a lot of people, particularly people older than me - assuming they were able to even get away in the first place.

Here's something happier to finish on, from Jennifer on Fickr:

In the end, only kindness matters