This week I went to a chronic pain information session where the attending psychologist lovingly spoke of mindfulness for far longer than I find comfortable. I, on the other hand, sat there as a stubborn autistic in an unreachable state of hell, no. I think she knew it, too, because she tried to talk to me after the event. Thankfully, the (good!) psychiatrist I’m seeing as part of the same program is really on board with autism, told me that we do not have to go there with mindfulness and I don’t have to see the program psychologists, so it’s more an annoyance than a problem.
On the positive side, this information session didn’t spent three hours demonising pain medication like most others I’ve been to. For a government-funded pain clinic, that’s actually impressive: the information sessions I went to at the first clinic were basically Pain Medication Is The Devil propaganda. It was close to the same addiction/opioid crisis spiel I get from “normal” people with a little more medical jargon thrown in, but one should never underestimate the ableism in medicine. I don’t. I can’t. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard pain specialists talk about pain meds as a “crutch” to a room of disabled pain patients while forgetting that a crutch is a mobility aid and not a ball and chain. It’s remarkable when I don’t have to sigh at it.
So! What else have I done this week?
Ask – Character Tropes and Identity: In which an anon asks me about a character trope that might be read as aromisia and writing an ace character who doesn’t use the split-attraction model, and I talk writing a world full of a-spec in response. I also make an addition on the Tumblr post in talking about allowing creators to prioritise one’s own marginalised identity over broader representation in our protagonists, which I should have mentioned in the original.
Post – The Quiver and the Quill: I’ve been murmuring about starting a collective for independent aro-spec writers, given the lack of specialised community, promotion and support–especially for those of us who can’t find it in asexual spaces. In this post I both offered up a name and underestimated the aro-spec community’s love for subtle puns and alliteration!
Fiction – What If It Isn’t: A month ago, I posted a short story to Tumblr, so this week I posted it to the WordPress site as well. If you want a cute, fluffy, unresearched piece about adorable sapphics planning to figure out a QPR after robbing an art gallery, plus an obligatory autistic aro-spec protagonist, this is for you. Also available in PDF and EPUB, because I can.
Post – Agender in Non-Binary and A-Spec Spaces: I had someone reblog one of my posts talking as though agender is unquestionably an a-spectrum identity exactly the same way “asexuality” and “aromanticism” are conceptualised, not knowing that I have long been chafing at this and the ways agender is treated in non-binary spaces. One day, I will write a proper essay on being agender in 2018, how the meaning of agender has shifted since I first started this blog, why I now use “genderless” more often than “agender”, and the problems with treating genderlessness as akin to both gender-possessing experiences and a-spectrum orientation experiences. In the meantime, you get my short sigh of frustration.
Post – Ableism and the Aro-Spec Community: In which I discover that people listened to last week’s post on the ableism in words like “arophobia” and are changing, without reluctance or resentment, the terms they use. I talk some more about this and how to change tags in XKit (for PC Tumblr users) on the linked post, and I talk even more about why “phobia” terms are ableist in this reply. This is the first time I’ve ever felt as though a post of mine has resulted in real change within my own community, and it’s amazing.
Ask – Change, Size and Activism: In which an incredibly kind person pays me an amazing compliment and I talk about the power of individual bloggers making change, followed by my realisation that how I’ve spoken about bloggers, community and impact undermines my belief in said power. I’m still thinking about this and the feeling that I’ve crossed the line between frustrated blogger and community activist, because as someone who doesn’t like the shape of much LGBTQIA+ activism online, I need to do better.
Ask – Oral Stimming and Safety: In which I talk about how to determine which toys are safe for oral stimming and how to use safely evaluate and use objects that aren’t quite intended for oral stimming for this purpose.
Ask – Relearning Stimming: In which I ramble on at length on how I managed to relearn, regain and reclaim my stimming, in terms of going from a person who didn’t stim at all to a person who now spends a lot of my time with a Tangle in my hands. I need to write a proper essay about this at some point, because oh has my movement changed over the last eighteen months…
Tutorial Update – Spiky Tangle: A few weeks ago, I posted my tutorial for making a DIY Spiky Tangle from cheap dollar store silicone, using a cheap eBay Tangle Jr as the test subject. For my second one, I use a custom Zuru Tangle as the base, and, aside from the nozzle on the silicone tube plugging up, I’m very happy with it.
Review – K-Mart Stretchy Banana: In which I review a stretchable sand-dough-filled silicone banana toy I found at K-Mart. Oh does this one stretch! It’s been a while since I’ve happened across a toy in offline stores that I’m not already familiar with, so playing with this one was a lot of fun.
Review Update – Coles Novelty Sponge: In which I announce to the world that Coles has restocked their novelty sponges, because they make great DIY squishy bases for folks who can’t use scissors. Since DIY squishies are far more durable for stimming than commercial ones, having a no-prep base to use is a great thing. You can see my DIY doughnut squishy here, which doesn’t look too bad for someone who can’t draw a straight line!
Kit March: I spent the train ride to said information session, at least until some inconsiderate arse sprayed their deodorant in the carriage and gave me a pounding headache, working on the last edits for “Curiosity”. The amount of pronoun slips in this one, for some reason, was just embarrassing, which is why I do spend hours of my life using the find and replace function. I’ve just got to check the names of Tes’s oft-referenced books again, do a last “how many unnecessary words should I cut” read and then it should be, finally, ready.
(Yes, I do need to make myself a style sheet with those book names.)
The Performance Magician: I haven’t had a lot of writing time this week, but I’m now in the third chapter, meaning that this is indisputably a novel or novella given that they haven’t yet left Rajad. In any case, this is where we get the first instance of Efe’s calling Darius a “porcupine”, which is an event of historical significance in the timeline of Efe and Darius.
It’s somewhat overshadowed by Darius’s telling Efe that Kit renamed a elfish-bred stallion, “stolen” from the Greensward, as “Bob Bobbsey Bobbins”. I revel in the absurdity of writing a world and characters serious about so many subjects against a background of human ridiculousness. This is one of those chapters where Darius talks around the edges of being an adult autistic in a world where autism erases the adult in the eyes of many allistics–something I’ve experienced now that I’m “out” as an autistic–and then goes on to discuss weird horse names. To me, this feels more human and realistic to my own life, even with the giant vegetables, than a setting that is so unrelentingly serious about its own seriousness.
If you have a few dollars to spare and you’d like to help me survive to keep on doing the work I do in the online neurodiverse and aro-spec communities as well as my fiction writing, please consider donating to my ko-fi.