Category: Random Author Babble

April 7

Disability visibility and self ableism

So, this might not be of much interest to those who are just here to read, but it’s something of importance to me because it relates to who I am as a writer. Especially during these last 6 years of illness.

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and autism, but before that diagnosis was 6 years of torment, and before that a lifetime of PTSD. You’re only seeing this website because 6 years ago I became so sick and bedbound, I decided to start my own business and self publish. I have been ill this entire time — but my skills as a writer have fluctuated greatly, seeing these sharp declines and improvements. This, on learning about my autism, now makes sense.

It wasn’t brain damage and repair; instead these language fluctuations are associated with autistic burnout. Now, the allergies and dopamine drops I was experiencing aren’t necessarily autistic burnout, so much as because I’m autistic, stress on my body can lead to certain symptoms. So having a chronic illness such as being allergic to mold and unable to handle the scents of certain things can result in autistic burnout.

Why is this important? I have psychologically kicked my ass for years now, waiting for my ‘brain to come back’ so that I can allow myself to write. As a result, I internalized my ability to write as part of my self worth, internalizing this very normal part of my existence — the part where stress breaks me and my brain loses language skills for a period time — and saw it as a character flaw, a moral failing, failing at being a person, instead of part of who I am. This vicious, cruel, internal bullshit I spew at myself is ableism. Instead of accepting myself for who I am, I was being an asshole to myself — not making anything better, might I add — and just being miserable.

This is also connected to the perfectionist problem I have. Because I’m waiting to be ‘perfect’ before I allow myself to write. Aka, I am the biggest dick to myself for nonsensical reasons to protect myself from what I saw as inevitable failure. What failure? Who the fuck knows. I started a business sicker than I have been in my entire life; I have no clue why I thought I could fail when at this place. But I managed to get a little bit better, and I saw any return to ‘the worst’ as failure. Fun.

I am now aware of this, and working on it. Which is why I’m also writing again. And this will be a process, because I’m still angry with myself that my writing is not at a level or ease that I know it could be, and therefore my brain has decided it *should* be. But whatever, until I get a therapist, this is where I’m at on this topic. I need to write when my brain will let me write, even if it’s total shit, because if I don’t, I’m judging myself for this very normal autistic trait I have of losing language skills when I’m ill. I don’t get to do that to myself — I’m bad enough without being that level of hateful over something I have no actual control over. Autism is me. That’s it. Time to fucking love it instead of this knee jerk hate fest.

If I were a scientist–which I am not, but my brain would like to be one once it grows up >_> — I would love to point out all the correlations I have found with autistic burnout and low dopamine. These loss of language skills are also connected to low dopamine. Stress of any kind is connected to inflammation, and chronic stress lowers dopamine, leading to cognition, memory, motivation, emotional regulation and impulse control losses. My multiple chemical sensitivity could be just as easily explained as how my brain processes scent because of autism, leading to what feels like screaming in my head, and pain through my entire face over certain scents. The fact that I become more ‘neurotic’ — which is really hyper systematizing — when I am ill, is an autistic trait growing more extreme in correlation to inflammation. My agitated tics show up during sensory overload and illness — inflammation exacerbates autism, and potentially it is that drop in dopamine which is the trigger.

I have not found anything online on how to cure/treat autistic burnout outside of ‘give it time,’ but I suspect if they instead started helping to improve dopamine levels and support adrenals, autistic burnout would not disrupt the lives of so many autistics, disruptions that can last for years for some.

This shit needs to be studied, but I am not a scientist. I’m just someone trying to crawl back into my life after so many years of exhaustion and illness. I am also someone who is trying to come to terms with my disability instead of ignoring it, and only showing up on my ‘good’ days, which have been so damn few that I haven’t been showing up at all for months at a time. I need to deal with this and accept my situation. I designed and built a fucking clean room to overcome all these immune problems and multiple chemical sensitivity, and for some reason I thought I could just pretend none of it even happened; I’m living in a bubble pretending I’m not disabled, and no, that’s not dealing with anything.

I’m trying, babes. I am fallible and broken and I try every day with subpar results, but I’m still trying. I only like to be seen when I don’t have to struggle to do the most basic of things, but that just leads to complete isolation and this illusion of how life is for someone like me who is disabled. They talk about disability visibility, but honestly, if I keep hiding away, I become the reason I’m erased in this really fucked up, sociopathic world that only wants to show the most beautiful, idyllic, abled among us. I have never lived in that lie of a world — I have never wanted to — but for some reason I still managed to contribute to the illusion by not showing up when shit gets so damn difficult.

So here I am. Tired. All the time I am tired and I don’t like to talk about it. But I’m still here.

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March 30

Unraveling the number cage

So you may notice a lot of numbers disappearing from the chapters/events/scenes to be replaced by short titles. Maybe it’s just me having too much time on my hands waiting for ADHD treatment… but I’ve been thinking about the things that trip me up as a writer since starting the subscription site.

It wasn’t something I actually planned to do, write while being observed. I was used to finishing a book then sharing it. I didn’t think it would be difficult — all I do is write at this point. But I realized in the middle of writing Hellcat, having done about, oh, three extremely different drafts of that book until I got to the end, changing it so many times on the site while readers watched it transform, that numbering things made me feel trapped. Like, I had to make a scene 5ab at one point—and don’t get me started about the mess of the PATB serial as I tear through the rough drafts building the completed form like a tornado—and it just felt dumb and annoying because suddenly nothing was the right number when I added scenes in the middle, and I’ve been using ??? for certain scene numbers just to claim this isn’t definitive, the number might not be this, don’t hold me to this! XD

It’s a mess. I write in drafts, and I change shit around, a lot, which is totally normal (things do not automatically appear in their final form on the page; it’s a process that requires the initial ideas to then spark the later ideas), yet I’m so stuck on patterns and systems—and to be clear, I’m not being glib about this being a disruptive thing. It seems quite brilliant to be able to find any pattern in a puzzle or sequence—once aced a PSAT of analogies not knowing a single word in front of me just based on pattern recognition. My brain zeroes in on this shit, and it all seems fine until you realize there is no pattern and your brain just assumes everyday things means something and that patterns must be found and created. My brain gets stuck on pointless labeling structure—it’s so fucking dumb.

It’s all in my head. I’m fucking neurotic. A part of me loved the idea of these really neat, simple number systems (the balance of the same pattern on a screen to scroll through is just so lovely to the eye), which is why I switched to them in the first place. And then here I am realizing I don’t feel like I’m ALLOWED to change things around because I’ll mess up the stupid system I made up in the first place! XD Oh, and if I do it for one story, everything I make has to have the same fucking system—there is no half-assing with this brain of mine. All or nothing.

Do not have my brain. Seriously, no one should have to deal with this madness. @[email protected] Although, this could be a part of autism—I have autism, recently found out when I got the ADHD dx. So definitely have this type of brain, just don’t let it rule you. Avoid the triggers that turn brilliance into tormenting dumb fuckery. Otherwise, it’s just this damn cage of nonsensical rules that pop up, something that writing in general has a lot of minefields. Grammar nazis are dangerous to a brain like mine, this insistence that something like the language we made up must be followed to precision (an elitist, ableist, classist claim, btw) when language is an evolving, ever changing medium that now includes n00b, c0mpu732 50c141 14n9u4935, and emojis ??? as normal forms of communication. Like, fuck my auto correct that used to help me and now just gaslights my spelling choices.

So, yeah, anyways, getting rid of numbers when it comes to scenes and such. The final, final books will have numbered chapters, but until that point—for my own damn sanity—I need to not use numbers. So of course now I’m just fucking around naming all my scenes that used to have numbers, still seeming mad as fuck about everything as I obsess on this part. The whole point of this is to be less neurotic about shit, I swear. It just doesn’t feel like it during this part of the process… >_>

But it’s important in its own way. It’s like coming at things sideways, dragging me into thinking about writing even as my brain struggles to focus. The fucking thing can focus on numbers, on patterns, on coding (fucking hate coding, just to be clear, even when obsessing over it) but it is still struggling to translate ideas of plots into scenes.

Soon. 2 weeks and I should have my first attempt at seeing which ADHD med is going to work for me. I’m already dreading the possibility that the first one won’t work—this has felt like the longest damn wait to get help for ADHD, and everything that slows it down is just unbearable. But whatever. I can’t function without treatment, so I don’t have a choice. Gotta wait it out.

Oh, but binge watching the The Great British Baking Show during this long ass wait. Some good is coming from this all. XD

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November 3

The Perfectionist’s Web

Okay, so all the audiobook stuff of the moment is finally done. Yes, there are still the fanfics, but I’m leaving those to be recorded specifically for the weekends. I’m not good at dividing my time during a day, so I would rather ensure I focus on my writing on weekdays and then give the final recording stuff attention on the weekends.

I want to slice through these waiting stories and get shit done. All of them. Just knock them out, one by one, scene by scene. I’ve been doing a lot to deal with the perfectionist side of me that sprung up once my brain started coming back after the mold. It’s fear, vulnerability, identity all mixed up in if I’m choosing the ‘right’ words, the ‘right’ plot, etc, and it’s been freezing me in this rather painful web. I think I’ve broken through, but I imagine this will be a work in progress, overcoming the psychological damage that came with having my entire life swallowed up by illness for so long and just feeling unanchored and unable to find myself in it all.

I plan to show up every day to have new stuff written, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. You can’t face writer’s block if you don’t show up. I will record each scene only once it’s fully written… And yeah, think that’s it. I’ve been feeling well, trying an experiment with CBD oil that’s been helping my health a lot. My brain is feeling better, my memory almost where it should be. And believe me, I fucking need all the help I can get as I wait who knows how many months long to see if the fascist orange dickhead is voted out, and if the electoral college will honor those votes.

But fuck that shit– I refuse to waste my energy on it. Let’s get some awesome stories written already! ♥

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August 19

Audiobooks and Perfectionism

I think I’ve finally reached the point where I can just post audio without it being perfect. Sometimes I have to trick my brain into shit–if you lived in my head, you’d understand. I need to call it a ‘draft’ and ensure I mark it accordingly, and if I do that, I will be able to record and put the rest of the audiobooks up–possibly every single one of them–this week.

A thing happened today, one of those wake up things in life. I found myself sleeping on the cleanroom floor as allergies once again took over the main living space so completely, my heart rate wouldn’t return to normal until I locked myself in the cleanroom. I don’t think I’m waiting for ‘perfect’ when I’m waiting for livable, but the reality is, most of the shit I’ve done when it comes to writing and art, for that matter, was while living in mold under extreme stress as my brain was overrun with neurotoxins and my dopamine system was breaking down. I have done nothing while life has been in any sense of the word perfect, and expecting that I’m somehow going to get more things done if only my existence could be momentarily comfortable just isn’t really realistic.

This body is broken–it overreacts to most every thing now. The dream of affording a house that isn’t full of mold is pretty low, unless I want to magically have a fuck ton of cash and move completely away from the state I grew up in to find some low humidity either freezing cold or boiling hot area to live where mold is less likely to grow. I built the cleanroom understanding that; sometimes you have to make your space because it’s just not going to be handed to you. The stars do not align– not in shitshow 2020.

This is still going to be a struggle for me–not the audiobooks, I can already feel I’m past that. I’ve given myself a bridge to cross with the idea of making drafts that will eventually be edited up nicely, but until then, it’s something–anything–to improve accessibility for all readers. No, perfectionism–the dream of being allowed to have my brain when I’m writing certain stories so they can be the best they can be. That’s going to be a lot harder to overcome. But it’s my job as a human being who needs to accept the limits my body and environment place on me to do the work and deal with it as it strikes.

So, yeah, expect a lot of audiobooks being posted this week and the next. Each chapter will be marked clearly visibly as either draft or not– if there’s music at the beginning, it’s a completed edited audio chapter, if not, then it’s a draft. Simple. I’ll be rerecording some of the original audiobooks too where I was just learning the system and fiddled with things that conceptually seemed really fucking cool, but I did not have the skill/knowledge to pull off–looking at you, I’ll Tell with your weird voice mods.

Hope you’re all doing well. Depending on if that solar flare hits tomorrow, this shit might all be moot anyways. 😉

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July 21

Cool Things a Brew’n!

Hey peeps, thought I’d check in. I had this stretch where the cleanroom failed when I changed the airflow, and it took a while to figure it all out. But it’s all set now — I’ve got an office and I’m just going to have to give up on the whole bedroom thing for the moment. There’s just something ‘wrong’ in that room no matter what I do, no matter the mold treatments, etc, and I just don’t have the expertise (or energy) to make it work. Figured out CO2 levels though, and that’s been an interesting puzzle seeing as it’s much harder when dealing with a fully sealed room to keep CO2 at safe levels. Gotta love a learning curve. 😉

More interestingly, I’ve been taking some time to look at the poor abandoned stories and fanfics that haven’t been finished after all this time. I mean, for real, fuck. Where did the time go??? @[email protected] I feel like I kept waiting to feel well enough, assuming that I’d find this whim and just finish things up, but it never happened. It’s shit.

I’ve been organizing things, going through my notes, and my plan is to get back on track. I want to get the next episode of Demon Bonded out, not to mention update City Howls and finish it (but probably only once the next couple of PATB Serial books are done.) But also Awakening! And the Fanfics!!! They’re just sitting there, so many unfinished, and I realized I hadn’t even planned to turn them into audiobooks when I was claiming I wanted to create a more accessible site. It would be pretty cool to turn them into ebooks in general just so people could download the fanfics for free and read them whenever they want…

So yeah, plans are a brewing, and I’m in the stages of assessing it all and seeing what’s coming next once I get a feel for the scope of everything. I’m going to need a new external hard drive– audio apparently takes up a lot of fucking space compared to simple text files. ^^; Who knew? XD Hope you’re all doing well and staying safe during this long ass global pandemic. I’m pretty sure it’s never going to end for me in the US (too many sociopathic assholes normalizing ignorance) but hopefully anyone living in the rest of the globe is fairing better and seeing things start to lighten up now.

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