ANNOYING FONT CHANGES

Hi world,

Especially world who uses blogger or knows how it works.

Does anyone know how to fix these secret annoying font changes? (LIKE THESE?)

They are incredibly annoying.

I’ve tried the normal changing the font in the editor thingy, and it usually shows the changes, but once I hit publish, it secretly switches back to weird random different fonts. I think it happens mostly for posts that I write on different machines, like if I use my ipod and my computer.

If anyone knows the answer to this, it would be lovely. Because the RANDOM FONT CHANGES are the worst (hyperbole) and make my blog ugly and also are distracting and such.

Thank you muchly.

Sincerely,
me

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summer is for swimming

The best part about summer is swimming.

(The worst part of summer is the heat.)
Swimming is my favorite.
I can swim for hours.
I swim oddly. I don’t do laps. 
I love to jump up and down in the pool. Swim to the bottom and jump up. Twist and spin on the way up. I can spend hours and hours, jumping and spinning. Touch the bottom, up for air. I will do this for hours, until my skin is so prune-y my hands feel funny, or I am driven from the water by hunger.

In swimming, you can be in your own world.

Underwater, you can’t hear the outside. It’s just you.

You can sit underwater and watch bubbles float up like jellyfish. At night, they shine silver. You can listen to the sounds they make as they hit each other, as you hit them, as they reach the surface, like tiny whispers of bells. You can watch them merge. You can watch the rainbow patterns of sunlight on the bottom of the pool, or reflected up to the umbrella. You can swim and follow the rainbows. You can change them with drops and splashes and waves. You can watch the patterns and circles and spheres of drops of water as you throw water in the air. You can float on your back and watch the sun through the leaves or the clouds in the sky, while the water covers your ears, leaving you in a blissfully silent world.

(We have a pool, so its usually empty and quiet. Or the loud is my loud or people whose loud I know so it is more ok than strangers’ loud).
I like wearing sweatshirts and pants. I like feeling them on my skin. It makes me feel safe and seccure. But I hate being hot. So in summer I wear dresses and tank tops and shorts (usually not all at once. but sometimes, I suppose, since I often wear shorts under dresses). But then in summer my skin gets all tingly and I feel all floating away. I need to be weighed down.

But it is ok because summer is for swimming.

And swimming weighs you down.

(And swimming cools you down.)

In swimming, you are balanced. In swimming, you can feel the effects of your motion. You can feel the moving through the water. You can feel where your body is and feel how and when you move. When I swim, there is the joy of being completely even. My whole body can feel the same thing. It is a nice, even pressure, all over, even my face.
Summer is swimming.

I’m afraid of laughter

Trigger warning: Something along the lines of bullying.

Sometimes I have problems coming up with things and writing things on here.

I’m afraid to ask for help.

I’m afraid of people learning my secrets.

I am afraid that they will know that I am not good enough.

I’ve always been afraid.

I would only ever write my diary in code, because otherwise, someone might read it and someone might know my thoughts. My secret words.

And maybe they would laugh.

My youngest cousin thought we were laughing at him (and we were, but it was just because it was so cute how he said something, and maybe hopefully we were more laughing with him than at him, but it still probably wasn’t the nicest) and he cried and cried because he thought we were making fun of him. (But then we stopped once he got upset and it makes me wonder if anything other than puns and plays on words and is safe to laugh at or is it all secretly hurtful to someone and should we stop?)

And it can hurt when people laugh.

I’m afraid of people learning my secrets.

Because then they will know what can hurt me.

Instead of just making fun of the silly things I do. Things that don’t really matter. Like the way I walk, the way I stand, the way I pronounce things…

That isn’t important.

I can handle that.

I’ve learned to.

Sometimes I even encourage it (because then I can control what they laugh at, and also because sometimes the things I do end up being funny to me, too. That’s usually the goal when I tell people about things that happened to me, in fact. Sometimes I do funny things.)

But if I tell people my secrets

and they laugh

I don’t think I could handle that.

Conversations are like Jane Austin novels

Talking in groups is like a Jane Austen Novel. The poorly punctuated ones. Where there are words words words and you have to match each one to the character and figure out the difference between dialogue and description because the editor (at least of my edition) didn’t believe in full quotation marks.

You have to follow all the words at once and they are mixed in with everything going on.

You have to fit all the words to the people.

It’s a struggle.

Especially because you don’t get the helpful he said, she saids that are in the book. And remember, names are not too helpful, because even if I was introduced to people at the beginning of an event of even a conversation, if they move at all or switch places at all, there is a large chance I won’t remember. Or if I didn’t have a chance to repeat names back at once or if they were all said at once, they are all probably jumbled uselessly in my head.

EXAMPLE:

And I wish my collection were larger for your benefit and my own credit; but I am an idle fellow, and though I have not many, I have more than I ever look into.
Elizabeth assured him that she could suit herself perfectly with those in the room.
I am astonished, said Miss Bingley, that my father should have left so small a collection of books. — What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!
It ought to be good, he replied, it has been the work of many generations.
And then you have added so much to it yourself, you are always buying books.
I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these.
Neglect! I am sure you neglect nothing that can add to the beauties of that noble place.
Charles, when you build your house, I wish it may be half as delightful as Pemberley.
I wish it may.
But I would really advise you to make your purchase in that neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for a kind of model. There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire.
With all my heart; I will buy Pemberley itself if Darcy will sell it.
I am talking of possibilities, Charles.
Upon my word, Caroline, I should think it more possible to get Pemberley by purchase than by imitation.
Elizabeth was so much caught by what passed, as to leave her very little attention for her book; and soon laying it wholly aside, she drew near the card-table, and stationed herself between Mr. Bingley and his eldest sister to observe the game. 

Pride and Prejudice, ch. 8, Jane Austen  

And then imagine all the other sounds and things going on around you.* People walking. Lights and shadows everywhere. People breathing. A lot of the time, conversations happen when there are groups of people. So there are multiple conversations to keep track of or to shut out to pay attention to the one you are interested in. The sound of talking and words and syllables and laughter everywhere. Noise noise noise. And then there are all the bodies around you. Maybe walking behind you. Accidentally bumping into you. Keeping track of eye contact in a group or looking at faces at least (how do you do this in a group! Who do you look at?)

And before the story makes sense, you have to match up who said what with each body. You have to match up each person with their words to figure out their part in the story, so that each story makes sense.

Except if you are reading a novel, you can pause and go back over the pages and figure out who said what. With a conversation, you can’t pause it. It keeps going.** But it’s worth it (most of the time) because I want to hear the stories. I want to know the stories. I want to know the people. I want to hear their stories.***
 ~~~
 P.S. I generally enjoy Jane Austen novels, especially when I buy properly punctuated ones.
 P.P.S. Sorry for the weird fonts. I wrote this on a couple of different devices and it keeps switching back to the original everytime I try to change it.  I think I fixed it now!
~~~
 *Jane Austen doesn’t actually like to mix up her conversations and her descriptions. Well, really, she likes to if at all possible, leave nothing to describe. Just have it be books full of conversations. Between groups of people. Which can make the stories difficult to follow.
**Although actually if I’m talking to my friends and I hear something I want to respond to, I’ll raise my hand, and they will stop and say “Yes, Alana” and then that gives me time to catch up and figure out the conversation and then add up things I was going to say, especially since I don’t have to watch my words nearly as well. But I have awesome friends.
***Really, I love when people tell me random stories about their day. Or about their life. Yes, talk to me about what you had for breakfast. Breakfast is a safe topic. I can tell you what I had for breakfast, what my favorite breakfast foods are. But really, I would rather if you just talked. And told me stories all about you so that I could hear your stories and I could learn your stories.

Autism gave me answers

Autism gave me answers.

It gave me a reason why, at the age of 22, I would regularly end up crying in public. It wasn’t because I was spoiled and trying to get my way. It wasn’t because I was trying to make people feel sorry for me. It was because my brain would sometimes get overwhelmed.
It gave me an answer to why sometimes my voice stopped working. It wasn’t because I was just being difficult. It was just because I was me.

It gave me an answer to why I so often would break down after really fun days without anything really going wrong (even though other people didn’t) (a lot of these really fun, awesome days involved a lot of things that would normally stress me out, like socializing and people and talking and stuff, and even with the fun, it just eventually built up to be overwhelming). I was just overwhelmed. 
It gave me an answer to why social things so often didn’t work out. It explained why I had so much trouble understanding and following large conversations. It explained why things seemed so hard that other people found so easy. Because they quite possibly, most actually are.

It gave me an answer to why I couldn’t sit still, to why I was abnormally always in motion. It told me why I was always humming, counting, bouncing. It told me that was ok.

It gave me new tools to try, new resources to use. It gave me new people to meet. It gave me new ideas.

Autism told me I wasn’t broken.

Autism gave me hope.

The name of the blog

So this blog has a bit of a strange name. It’s named after my favorite poem, “anyone lived in a pretty how town”, by ee cummings. (It’s at the bottom of this page if you want to read it). Except that title was already taken by someone who wrote one 2-sentence post in 2008. So that wasn’t an option. So I decided on sleep wake hope and then. I don’t really know why*. It was a nice sounding line and a lot of the other ones were taken. I did that a while ago, while the goal of my blog was still to be a food blog, although even when that was the goal it was still a bit confused (eventually, my food blog dreams were stalled by the realization that I should probably take PICTURES of the food, and also by the end of break and the resultant move back to a kitchen-less dorm room).

Anyway, about the poem. I hated and hated and hated ee cummings for YEARS because of his improper capitalization and grammar. And then in senior year AP English, it was explained to me somehow in a way that I finally understood. And I learned to just look at the way the words looked when you heard them and the lovely sounds and not read them directly and literally. And then I loved it. Once I stopped looking at words as words and started looking at them as something else which I don’t really have a name for, I really liked this poem. (Also it is just so fun to say). (Also, it was explained to me that anyone and noone are names to replace people and I realized that just because you don’t follow the rules doesn’t mean something is bad). 


And then all of a sudden I loved it.


And I think the title makes sense with my life now, in a couple of ways. 


One is not very exciting. I just write a lot of the posts when I wake up in the middle of the night. 


And because just because you are different and don’t follow the normal rules, doesn’t mean you are bad.


And maybe I could write a long extended metaphor where sleep is before I thought about autism, wake is when I figured it out, and then hope and then is all the good things that will happen after. But that sounds rather mushy and sentimental, so I shan’t actually say it (just sneakily suggest it here).



~~~~



anyone lived in a pretty how town

ee cummings






anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

~~~~~~~~~
*I suppose it would be a better story if I skipped this part, but that's NOT HOW IT HAPPENED, so I will stick it in anyway, because I like to be factual and complete when possible.

On running away

I am a runner.

Not in the athletic sense (much to my track-coach parent’s dismay).

But it the fact that usually if it is between fight or flight, I will flee.

It is a problem because if I panic enough, I will just find myself running several minutes later, half a mile away. Luckily, this has really only happened a few times where I was so panicked I didn’t remember how I got somewhere. And those times I was on my wonderfully car-free college campus, so I was pretty safe (the lack of cars on campus was one of the main reasons I chose that school, as far as I could tell…decision making is not always one of my strong points)

And I panic rather frequently. Loud noises. Crowded places. Lots of people. Weird lighting*. Strange buzzing sounds. Lots of talking. These things all build up at much earlier levels than most of my family members and overwhelm me. And then I try to escape.

But this definitely has dangerous implications. Running without thinking is really not a good idea. Cars do exist.

I sometimes hide instead. (Sometimes running is not an option because sometimes there are no exits.)

Sometimes then, people come into the rooms I am hiding in and then I have to decide whether to stay hiding or come out. If I come out, sometimes I have to explain why I was hiding (family is good, I can usually say “I was taking a break”). If I don’t come out, then I am stuck until they leave the room (or sometimes they find me).

Usually, I can avoid this if I remember to pay attention. If I watch myself, I can usually catch myself before I get to the breaking point. If I am with someone, I can hold their hand to keep me grounded. Or I can follow them around and put all my focus in that, and then not have to make decisions about what to do or where to go or who to talk to or what to say while I process the overload. This is one of the reasons that it is very, very, very important to me to have someone to go places with.

So I understand why people run away.

At some point, the panic just overwhelms everything logical in your brain. And you are away and free and escaping and trying to be safe.

Flight.
____
*I really like in-ceiling lights and I do not like poorly lit places that only have awkward lamps that don’t light up the whole place

Don’t Offend. Don’t Upset.

Trigger warning: brief mention of suicide, death

Offending and upsetting others is one of my biggest fears.

I’ve been trained not to upset. Not to offend.

Because I can’t really tell when people get offended, upset, or disappointed. I was trained to pick up some signs, because my parents were concerned I didn’t have empathy when I was younger (because I couldn’t tell when people were offended or upset). So I was taught and I was very thoroughly trained on the importance of not upsetting, the importance of not offending.

So every time something upset someone, and it was told to me, it was added to my list of not upsetting, offending, disappointing.

My roommate’s uncle committed suicide. No talking about killing yourself as a figure of speech. Or any mention whatsoever. My roommate’s cousins died in a car crash. No talking about any car accidents or saying “I almost got run over” or “I could have been run over” when I trip off the sidewalk into the road. Another friend has an abusive father. No talking about fathers at all around her. And so it went. Until each person had a list of piles and piles of things not to mention around them.

It’s no wonder conversation gets difficult, when there are mountains of things that can’t be discussed. And then when you are in groups, you have to compile the whole set of lists for each person. It slows down the conversation, checking the offensive and upsetting lists.

It’s especially a problem when it comes to people and groups of people I don’t belong to or I don’t know much about. And because I don’t know much about them, I don’t know what’s insulting (I don’t know what’s insulting to anyone beyond my close family). And then I am afraid to talk.

I’m worried about accidentally insulting or offending different ethnic groups.

My faceblindness is a big issue with this. I do not recognize people by their faces. It is just an absolutely hopeless task for me. I recognize people primarily by their hair and the way they move. If I don’t know them well, just by their hair. (This has gotten me called racist before. It has also gotten called the worst part of a retreat–that I didn’t learn everyones name!) (I knew all the names, I just couldn’t match them all to the faces.)

I’m really afraid I will accidentally offend the LGBTQ community somehow.  I’m worried about offending, upsetting, and disappointing other autistics. The general disability community.

I’ve written posts and deleted them. I’ve looked at sentences for hours and hours because maybe they might just be offensive. I’ve analyzed and fine-tuned my language (here), which can be helpful, but can also be overwhelming. (Normally, I would run them by someone else, who might have a better idea on what offends others, but this blog is a secret to everyone who knows me.)

I think I may be overly worried about offending and upsetting people, but the worst thing in the world is to disappoint.

Sometimes I was jealous

In college, there was a boy.
He had friends that were girls and friends that were boys.

I was jealous of him from the beginning.

(from before I even had really thought about autism and me)

Because he was very visually autistic. And I was jealous sometimes.
Because somehow, it was ok for him to run up to people or to just run places instead of walking.
Because it was ok if his run was not a normal run, but something different.
And somehow it was ok for him not to remember people’s faces.
And he had friends and I did not. And I was jealous of that.
I couldn’t even talk to boys.
(because they scared me)
And he could talk to everyone.
And everyone responded.

And no one seemed to care if he looked in their eyes or not.
And everyone on campus knew him.
And he seemed to do well in school.
And he could just wander and stop in and talk and make friends, and somehow that was ok for him (but not for me).

And I was jealous.

I was jealous of being obviously different, instead of just almost-normal.
I was jealous of not having to pretend to be normal.

I was tired of spending hours and hours trying to memorize faces, just to fail.
I was tired of coming up with conversation topics in case I ever came up with people to talk to and never having it count.

(And I know that his life had his own difficulties, but jealousy isn’t always rational. Jealousy sees the bad parts of me and the good parts of him.)

Sometimes I was jealous.
Sometimes I am jealous.

the importance of words

So I have been working on changing the way I use words.

This is why.

I read Lydia’s Ableist Phrase Glossary. It is an interesting look at the history of a lot of commonly used words. It is rather thorough. There were words I didn’t think about using that might not be the best to use. Using stupid as a general bad term or saying things were lame. I didn’t think about the general implications of using these words.

Besides being rather (possibly) rude, it was also lazy and imprecise. And this was the main point. 

Words have meanings and power. I know this a lot. Even if it isn’t the meaning YOU intend to use, the second meanings still are there. They creep in. (And sometimes, the second meanings were the first meanings, but times have changed words and switched the orders).

So I’ve decided to work on improving the way I use language. To avoid using these words. It is difficult. But it makes me more precise. It makes me more polite. It improves my vocabulary (well, uses my vocabulary more effectively.)

It’s tricky, because some of those words right now are in my built in responses. So I have to write new scripts. And adjust to using them. But I think it’s a good project.

To be clear, this is a very much a personal project for me. I am not trying to tell other people what to do. You are entitled to use whatever words you chose to use (assuming you don’t start threatening people, etc. Because threatening people with death threats and related things is not cool). You should be able to choose to use swear words or offensive language if you want to. 

EDIT: Nattily also has a very interesting post on this. Read it!
After reading that, I found it necessary to edit this post a little. To clarify some things. All of my edits are in italics.