I have to write something. But I’ve been finding it so difficult to be interested in anything lately. Do you ever have times like that, when you go through all the things you normally like to do and just think nah! and end up doing nothing but not being happy with doing nothing either because it’s too nothing-y?
Right now, I’m feeling pretty drained – I had my son with me for almost 24 hours, and that has zapped my social batteries – but I’m pushing myself to write this while sitting in a café. (There was going to be a ‘because’ just there, but I’ve forgotten the reason already.)
Still processing my autism diagnosis, and learning new stuff on that front all the time, but it’s still not a good time for me to write about it. Number 6, a support centre for autistic adults in Edinburgh, has been very helpful for me. I’ve been part of a late-diagnosis group there, being brought up to speed on a lot of stuff, and I’ve also had very practical one-to-one support from staff specialising in benefits and employment.
Not that I’m ready for employment yet. I’ve seen one or two jobs advertised (people have been kind enough to point some out to me), but as soon as I’ve delved into what’s required of applicants, I’ve freaked out: job descriptions terrify me, to be honest, and at this precise moment I find it hard to imagine ever feeling competent enough to work for someone again. I used to have quite a bit more confidence in myself, even if I found the job application process intimidating and almost invariably fruitless.
Just going to get another Americano. Excuse me a moment.
Coffee can make me sleepy, sometimes. I might have said that before. I can’t remember. It also helps me focus, I think. But it’s not perfect. Having talked at yesterday’s late-diagnosis session about ADHD medications, I’m really keen to try some, which means trying to get that additional diagnosis first. Anyway, that’s not an immediate priority for me.
I’m not sure what my priorities are, really. I still have a huge financial elephant sitting opposite me, but it’s being studiously ignored, a fate that must always befall the metaphorical indoor elephant. I also have things to organise for tomorrow, a long list of things to do by different dates, and a scarily packed week ahead of me. And that’s not counting buying and eating food etc. How do people with jobs do all that stuff too?
There are routine things during the next seven days, like choir, tai chi, church, and a couple of appointments at my GP’s surgery. But I also have a Scottish Women’s Autism Network conference fringe event on Tuesday evening, which I’m very excited about.
And the other exciting thing that I’ve waited a long time for is my first meeting with my vaginoplasty surgeon, in Glasgow next Friday. The hospital in Brighton where he works (and where I will have my surgery) phoned me on Tuesday as a ‘courtesy call’ to remind me about the appointment. Two things: the phrase ‘courtesy call’ is an oxymoron for many people on the autistic spectrum; and did they really think I would have forgotten? (I fell asleep for two hours after that call. Coincidence?)
The café is quieter now than when I first came in. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be here at all: I can’t afford to be; I know!) All I can hear is the music playing and a little shuffling from the serving area, which is round the corner from where I’m sitting. There were people in earlier who were quite loud, and I was distracted by being able to hear their conversation. I am wearing my headphones, and they are on the noise-cancelling setting.
I was thinking about my headphones earlier. It’s so good to have them back after that month when they were confiscated for repair. But they don’t cut out all the sounds I want, and the controls aren’t as versatile as they could be. I suppose they’re designed with the neurotypical user in mind – someone who wants to listen to music on a bus or in another noisy environment without having to turn the volume up too high. Sometimes that’s my use case, but more often than not, I’m not listening to music at all. I want fine control over what sounds come through, and I’d like to be able to block out high-frequency as well as low-frequency sounds. I’m not going to replace my current headphones for a while, but when I do, I’ll definitely look into alternatives, now that I know how life-changing they can be.
A little hiatus here, as my thoughts dried up momentarily and a group of people with a small child came in. (The last noisy people had a dog.)
For some reason, my thoughts have turned to dating, which isn’t something I have any recent experience of or am likely to have experience of in the near future. (But I’ll run with it.)
I like hugs. I love that physical contact. And it’s lovely to be able to hug friends, something I’ve been more comfortable about doing since coming out as a woman – though I’m still not brilliant at initiating them. Getting better, though. I hugged someone the other day, and our cheeks touched for a couple of seconds, and that made me aware of closer levels of intimacy that I’ve been missing. I’m not talking about sex. I’m still working on the hypothesis that I’m more or less asexual.
It would be so nice to have a significant other – or others? – to share parts of my life with. Someone who gets me. Someone I get. Someone to say goodnight to and to wake up with in the morning, sometimes at least. I’m trying to rethink my very conventional ideas of what relationships are like and think instead about what a healthy relationship for me and anyone else involved in it would look like. Maybe it’s not healthy for anyone else to be particularly close to me. I don’t know. That would be sad (for me), but I don’t want to take more than I can give.
I still hold a romantic ideal of how a more intimate relationship might spring from an existing friendship (presumably with the other person making the first move, as I have never done that in my life!) rather than mechanistically through the likes of dating apps.
I have tried a couple of dating websites, but always panic when someone expresses an interest in me. Usually they’re not ‘my type’ anyway, but it’s worse when they seem quite nice at first glance. I don’t actually want to do anything, so I don’t respond. It just feels as though everyone is being commodified. And besides, I haven’t said on my profiles that I’m trans or asexual or autistic. How many people will still be interested? It seems pointless.
Here end my thoughts for now. The café closes soon and I have things to do before tomorrow. Until next time.