This morning, I’m drinking my coffee and pondering all of the things that I don’t seem to be cut out for. Autism isn’t my worst challenge. Being gay hasn’t been my hardest challenge. Poverty has been a huge challenge but that isn’t the crux of the issue. It’s my comfort zone and how that impacts my income and my life. They’re all relevant to each other.
As a child, I was told repeatedly that I didn’t measure up to my mother. She had personal issues. It makes sense that the things she taught me are the foundation for many of my beliefs and behavioral issues today. When I came home with a report card that wasn’t all As, she would go to her room and drag out ‘the box.’ We all groaned to see ‘the box’ make an appearance.
She had every single report card from kindergarten to the time she dropped out of school to get married. The lowest grade she ever received was an A- and that just killed her to talk about. We were constantly reminded that she was superior in knowledge. I realize, looking back, that she was very bothered by needing to quit school and not having her diploma. She was smart, but she was also toxic to be around. Her need to feel good about herself often resulted in tearing down others around her. This was often my father and me.
My brothers were doted on. I never understood why I felt like an outsider all of the time. I eventually learned that I had been an exhausting pregnancy. She had been sick the entire time. Then, I became the colicky baby who cried constantly. She admitted to me, when I was twenty-eight years old, that she had slapped me as early as 6-months of age.
I feared my mother quite often. I despised her rants and I feared physical altercations with her. It started as a baby and it continued until I was grown enough to physically fight back. I never had to honestly fight back, I merely caught her fist on the way to my face, and through gritted teeth hissed at her, “You will never do that again.”
Then it all became her mouth. That was worse but what I know now is that I likely was autistic too. Two years ago I found out that I have scar tissue on one of my eyes that would have been from ‘a trauma of some sort’ which I verified with the doctor could have been something such as being slapped hard as an infant or young child. He said, “It’s usually the type of thing we see with a blunt-force trauma to the eye.” I remember being punched in the face by her. She even broke my glasses once and was furious because it put her in the position of needing to replace them.
So here I am as an adult. Fast forward forty years from that punching incident, almost exactly. I have a life history of sabotaging any success that I might have had. I’ve ruined relationships with behavioral issues that I now know were most likely related to autism. I’m filled with self-doubt and confusion. This, I feel, is a combination of the training I received early on and the autism that leaves me frozen and undecided much of the time.
I’m caught between imprinting and behavioral issues due to genetic disorders that collide like trains on the same track all of the time. They all seem to play against each other to the point that I’m just too exhausted from trying to figure out what to do in every single situation that I ultimately just do nothing. I’m overwhelmed deciding what to eat sometimes, so I skip a meal. It’s called Autistic Freeze Loop. Sometimes, food is the only friend I have in this entire world and I eat until I feel sick. It’s insane behavior and I can’t stop myself because, by the time my brain kicks into gear and raises a red flag, I’ve already over-done it.
I’m broke. I’m always broke. I live in a shed that was built as a rent-to-own cabin/shed. I intended to finish it off inside and live in it as I did so, because money is just so tight that I’d never be able to do it any other way.
It’s been a year and I’m living in a shed with bare floors that get cold in the winter. The walls have fiber insulation and some plastic stapled over that. The ceiling is the same. My cats have torn the plastic in places. I patch it and recently gave up doing that. I need to put masonite up over the walls, or osb board but I can’t afford it. I can do the labor myself. Osb would be fine with me and I would just paint it. I’d be thrilled to have something up, but I barely afford to pay the rent on the cabin as it is.
I live without much power. I have 400-watts of solar panels. If I don’t have enough power to get through multiple cloudy or rainy days, then I just don’t have power. It stinks sometimes but I don’t have the money or the patience to try to figure out how to have power in another way. To get electrical lines brought here would likely cost a few thousand dollars. I’d have to wire the cabin = more money. I just don’t have it. I’ve considered getting a camper to live in, because it would have running water, a stove, a refrigerator – all things I do not have now – and that I’d just need a way to plug it in.
Money. Money. Money. Where are you? It’s in everyone else’s pockets but my own. I’m 52 and thoughts of my senior years are bleak. I don’t see every being able to not have to work in some way. My parents were good people, and I know that my mother loved me. The problem was that she had a lot of troubles from her own abuse and I believe that she may have had agoraphobia and depression, which I can also be prone to. They were both dead and gone by the time I was 29. I’ve had no safety net since then at all.
You may want to say, “Hey, you were an adult! Stop whining!” I beg you to understand that I was not fully ready to exist without some sort of support. I’ve sunk deeper and deeper since then with each year that passes. I have learned a lot, and I do get by, but that is all I do. I (barely) get by.
My life is so hard sometimes. I just wish that I could catch a break! On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d know what a break was unless it hit me in the face really hard? It would probably need to introduce itself to me, “Hey there, I’m that break you’ve been waiting for!”
I’ve reached the awkward age of 52. In your 50s, you are no longer sought by employers. Schools don’t really want to offer you deferred tuition or grants. I never finished my degree because the person I lived with wanted to move to Colorado. I was so excited about the move that it never once crossed my mind that walking away from a degree I was months away from completing was a bad idea. Autism struck again.
For most of my life, my attempts to ‘do better‘ have typically involved leaving a place and starting somewhere else. It’s become a pattern for me. It’s like I run away all the time. Moving here was a little different because I felt that I was running to something. I knew that this land and this tiny cabin were things that I could afford. I wasn’t counting on COVID-19 putting hundreds of thousands of people out there out of work and thinking they’d become writers.
My business has waned. I’m barely getting by. Times are tough for everyone, but I feel like my choices are not as abundant as for others. I’m unable to hold down a position that requires leaving the house. My car is a junker, and my anxiety won’t handle being around people each day. I don’t even like leaving the house. With COVID lurking out there, my agoraphobia is on red alert.
I was scammed out of $89.95 in a bank account on November 18th. The bank very quietly did nothing. I called today to find out what was going on and they informed me that the merchant refused to work with them and therefore I wasn’t getting my money back.
WTF?? THEY SCAMMED ME! It was a clear bait and switch scam. OF COURSE, they won’t willingly give me my money back!! I’m livid. I’ve refiled the dispute and moved all the funds I had left from that account into another account. I will file a direct dispute with MasterCard now too.
That was almost my land payment. 🙁 Now, my options are fewer, and I truly need to find more money from another orifice. I don’t have any more up my ass to pull out. See? These are the things that plague me. I’m so angry and hurt because I’ve been taken advantage of. It makes me feel stupid too. It hurts to admit that I’m brutally naive at times. It’s brutal in the way that it causes me so much grief.
I feel like my entire life has been spent scraping and clawing for whatever scraps life would throw me. I just want to have the basics. To do laundry, I have to pour water from my water tanks into a bucket and then carry it to my little washer that runs from solar power. I can only do laundry when the sun is shining brightly.
I collect rainwater because I am not hooked to city water because they won’t hook me up if I don’t have a septic tank. The law where I live doesn’t require me to be hooked to water or to have a septic tank. I use a composting toilet. I have to carry it outside when it is over half full and I spread it among the trees, where it continues to compost.
If I had a travel trailer/camper parked out here, that would also be legal and because it has a holding tank, the city would hook my water up. I tried to explain that it makes no sense because I would still use a composting toilet and run my gray water to a tank that I could water plant beds with. They didn’t seem to care that my way makes more sense. I tried to make some phone calls to contact the state for a waiver. They ignored me totally. Calls and emails went unanswered.
I wish I had help with things like these. I know that it’s no one else’s problem or responsibility, though. It must be me. It’s my life. It sucks a lot of the time. I’m invisible to society. I fall between the cracks of what is autistic enough to need help and autistic but ‘highly functioning. To me, I’m just autistic enough to truly fuck shit up. I’m autistic enough to know what going without food, electricity, refrigeration, and running water is like.
I saw a video of an old guy who was delivering pizzas. He stopped at the home of a young couple and they liked him. They liked him and he was old, so they made some videos and a fundraiser and then handed him a check for $12,000 one day. Now, I’m not saying that he didn’t deserve that attention or that he didn’t need the help, but damn … I often wonder what’s wrong with me that nobody hands me twelve grand.
That’s my pity party for the day. That’s how I feel and what happens inside my head, to some small extent. I’m tired and upset over the bank account now. I may need a nap?