I feel a bit sad (possibly even rejected)

So, The Boyfriend came to see me yesterday, which is quite usual for the weekend, although not each of them, and today in the morning he read in the traffic updates that there has been ‘major incident’ on the motorway so there are delays and therefore he decided to leave just after 9am, to be at home at the usual time, as he said, which is just after lunch.

And that is what I don’t understand, why making sure that he’s at home at the usual time is more important for him than spending more time with me? It seems to me like he’s doing the same thing that I used to do, when I was in Poland and had to organise mum’s stay in the private care home: I focused on problems much more than on the benefits of the situation – I referred to that as inability to play an infinite game or, possibly ‘seeing the wood for the threes’. However, I was doing that as I was under a lot of pressure, while on a normal day I can be quite relaxed person. The Boyfriend though seems to be focused on problems on a regular basis. Possibly it’s because he has much more demands in life, his job is stressful and, as much as I am aware, he still has some leave to take from last year, his mortgage is taking up significant percent of his salary, his home needs major improvements and his car needs some repairs. I don’t know, it could be due to that but I sometimes wish he was a little bit more relaxed. I don’t know if anything can be done about that though, because when I feel like that, nothing that other people say or do make me feel any better.

That’s why I let him go early, I’m trying to be understanding of whatever he needs to feel better, even if I don’t support his choices. It’s tough one, isn’t it? Both of us having Asperger’s could mean, for an average observer, that we should understand each other better, but I really don’t think this is automatic, especially that, as I said, I am normally quite a relaxed person. As long as I don’t miss the last train home, I’m fine – that is usually my thinking. And yet, if my local bus comes two minutes late, I get so fricking upset, that you can’t even imagine. And this is regardless of the weather of if I’m in a rush anywhere.

I think whether we get upset about something or not is much more about our own perception than what is actually really happening. Luckily lately the time table disapeared from my local bus stop and checking it online somehow doesn’t have the same effect on me – I mean I don’t get irritated because the bus is late, even though it’s winter so I can get quite cold. I just wait there, rather patiently, telling myself that the bus will eventually come, like it always does.

So I’m wondering what can be done so that The Boyfriend understands that he doesn’t have to be home at 1pm on a Sunday, only because he always did it before. I’m wondering what can be done so that he stopped bringing his books over when he comes to visit (he can read them at home every single day) and how to prevent him from getting anxious when we don’t have anything planned. I sometimes think it’s impossible, he did say he has troubles with connecting with women and in fact it looks like that’s true. But then, we’ve been dating almost six years now, I’d expect he’d learn how to talk to me about things that don’t involve burgers, pizzas and beers. Oh, pardon, he didn’t talk about beers for at least 3 months.

Something recent

Or maybe I’m just getting bitter because I didn’t sleep well last night? I didn’t sleep well because The Boyfriend needs to give me hugs most of the night and snore almost directly into my ear. Funny thing, the hugging doesn’t disturb his sleep at all but as soon as he’s awake he needs to read one of his books, or the news for that matter.

But I love him anyway. And, how to say it otherwise? At least he doesn’t disturb me too much when I need time for myself, like some other guys did in the past.

Otherwise things are fine, I suppose. My energy levels are back to normal so I not only have sufficient amount of teabags for at least another 3 weeks but also some mulled wine. I’m just drinking it now. It’s quite nice, but weaker, both in taste and in the amount of alcohol than Polish mulled wine, and that is a bit of a problem. However, after I drank Polish mulled wine a few months ago (it’s not just seasonal thing in Poland) after not having it for a few years, I didn’t like it any more as it seemed too strong. Strange, isn’t it? Perhaps the solution would be to buy both and mix them? But I’d then end up drinking two bottles, not just one. Oh well, let me think.

So what I was saying, my energy levels are back to normal since yesterday. That means it took me three days to recuperate after my LLOP driving experience. The training that I attended was two days only and the first day was in the office. The second day it took approximately 5-5.5 hours in the actual warehouse, with all the noise and in cold. And I’m telling you, I thought I was coping. Yes, it was unpleasant but I thought, it’s only for a few weeks, I’ll just make sure to have rest at home, I’ll be fine. Now I know, I wouldn’t be. Perhaps warehouse jobs are not for me then. But it was worth going, if only to find that out and to understand how detrimental effect sensory issues can have on me. Because, seriously, even though I’m autistic I’d never believe it can take such a long time to recover. So I’d like to say here (like Sleep School advises in a couple of their lessons) I’m grateful for that experience.

Blinis 2

As always, I don’t know how to title my posts. Everything seems so out of place, but then, titling them by numbers would not be very practical now, when I used links to some of them in other posts.

It’s the third day of my exhaustion, at this moment it seems unbelievable that it’s all caused by sensory issues on Tuesday (it’s Friday now). Especially that during last two nights I had around 10 hours of sleep each. It seems like I should be recovered by now.

I’m still very hungry (again, god only knows why) so made another portion of blinis for lunch. I had an idea to add grated parsnip to batter, to reduce number of calories per portion (even though it probably has marginal effect) and I was ready to sacrifice on flavour, but guess what happened? Surprise, surprise, they turned out delicious, with mild nutty flavour and no parsnip aftertaste whatsoever. It’s so strange as parsnip didn’t really work in muffins, unless possibly it was too fresh, and now, when I have the open bag in my fridge for like two weeks, the parsnip flavour possibly is not there? I need to experiment further to work this mistery out.

I also have strange feeling that I should change something in how I approach life, although I’m not really sure what this should be. It’s only feeling, without any further understanding. Hopefully it will come with time.

I really like the quote

I’m in the same situation that I was at some point a few weeks ago: I almost run out of teabags and because I’m too tired to go out shopping I’ll be drinking camomile. At the moment I’m having hot chocolate but I need to be careful with that too as I’m also running low on milk and I need it for my morning coffee.

If it continues like this I’ll have to pass on having a date with The Boyfriend this weekend as he wouldn’t really let me have much rest. Well, obviously the purpose of a date is not to have rest but to be exiting to be around, which I’m currently very far from.

I put the blog on my CV yesterday and updated my profile on Indeed today. I decided, why would I hide the fact that I’m autistic and that I have a blog? It’s not a crime, is it? And hopefully me writing about issues autistic people have helps increase understanding. I then applied for a few care jobs but didn’t hear anything from any of them yet. It’s of course a bit early to take it as a sign of rejection, but I am really curious what employers reaction will be to having an autistic applicant.

Today is actually International day of people with disabilities, strangely enough I found out about that from Redecor as there’s no articles on BBC about it. In general BBC website doesn’t seem half as interesting as it was before covid so I now don’t know where to get my daily news from.

I’m still hungry. I really don’t know why.

Wrong answer! (I feel absolutely exhausted)

I think it’s funny how tired I am today, even though I didn’t overexert myself yesterday. The training didn’t require using any physical force but I was exposed to cold and noise for quite a few hours – I thought yesterday I could cope with it, but now the exhaustion is a result. Even the use of therapy lamp doesn’t touch it.

I said yesterday I would write today about a particular statement the guy who run the training made on the first day and I’d better do it, even though I am so tired that need to make an effort to think properly, but the thing is, if I just post today that I’m really tired (as I try to report on everything that is autism related and this is how being in a sensory challenging environment is affecting me) so I’d write about it in another post, readers could end up expecting it’s something very excited and I don’t think it is, although it’s still interesting to see how quickly my autistic brain can come up with inappropriate things to say, and not just one of them, but the entire set.

So basically, at the end of the day one our trainer said that for people who want to work hard it’s very easy to earn money in that company. He mentioned a guy, who’s Polish, like me, who has trained to drive every single piece of equipment so he’s on the highest warehouse pay rate, but doesn’t want to progress to management or anything. However, he does loads of overtime, works every single day a week and as a result takes home three grands a month.

As I said yesterday, I do hope that is exaggeration, but when the trainer said that, I didn’t see it like that at all, I took it absolutely literally and what came to my mind first was ‘Yes, Polish people often work long hours’ and then I immediately thought I can’t say that because it increases prejudice towards us. Yes, some Polish people work very long hours because they need to earn money quickly, but that doesn’t usually happen for long. As soon as they have money for deposit towards the house they remember they need better work-life balance, the same like everyone else. So stating that Polish people work long hours would not really be true but make us look like slaves, especially that the rest of the people on training and trainer himself, not being Polish, would think that I know more about Polish people than them.

The second thing that came to my mind was ‘I’m pretty sure working every day a week is illegal’. I don’t want to say that to the representative of my prospective employer, do I? I hope that is clear.

Too tired for patterns

The third thing that came to my mind was ‘this money is not worth such a hard work’. That would show that I don’t respect another person’s circumstances, expecially another Polish – not good, is it? If that guy works that hard, possibly he really needs this money and I know nothing about his situation so it would be really rude to say that.

I managed to stop myself from saying every single one of that statements but it’s shocking how my brain can produce one inappropriate thing after the other, isn’t it? I wonder where this is coming from. Possibly from time when I was being prompted by people to ‘say something’ to show off confidence. Well, if anything, the above statements show off arrogance, not confidence. I wonder now, however, if I could be trained the same way to say something that would show off I can see another person perspective.

So far I haven’t been so I ended up just saying ‘oh’. Much better than stating anything of the above, and, does that imply I’m not confident? I don’t think so. I just had nothing to say, that’s two unrelated concepts!

Another funny situation was, when the trainer brought test books with him. He said they have two different test booklets and, raising one stated ‘this is test number two but today I’m going to give you test number three’. That’s strange, I thought, what about test number one? And anyway, if there was test number one, they’d have three different test booklets, not two, so that didn’t make any sense.

I was thinking about it for a bit and then, finally, decided to move on. I then came up with the idea that, possibly, that’s what I should be doing in any situation that doesn’t make sense to me, like sometimes when people are involved.

I don’t know if I mentioned here, but before I realised I’m autistic, I had this, very good coping strategy: if I don’t understand what someone means, I ignore them. It didn’t even come to my mind while speaking with such a person who I didn’t understand, that possibly he/she is deceitful or manipulative, I just ignored them. I’m now sure this way I saved myself a lot of drama.

Or looking for a different set up

Since realising I’m autistic I started getting involved in those little games, thinking that I either don’t get something due to my autism and need to give this person another chance or, possibly that there is something going on there and I may benefit from working it out. So far I didn’t.

The above is unfortunately experience of a lot of autistic females diagnosed as adults who either tried to work out other people hidden motives or learn how to make face expression suitable to the situation. I really would like someone to tell them this is not going to work or, possibly, can even put them in troubles.

What I did in the above situation, with two test booklets? Did I go after the trainer two hours later to ask him what he meant as, for a joke it was a bit too strange? No, I did not. I just moved on. Yes, I’m posting about it now as I think it illustrates a certain phenomenon but I wasn’t obsessively thinking about it.

Funny thing, it just came to me that possibly what happened was, the company used to have three test booklets and they later decided the first one was not up to standard so it has been removed but the second and third booklets numbers hasn’t been changed to avoid reprinting them and the trainer was just trying to be sarcastic about it?

It would be really silly if I followed him to ask what he had meant, wouldn’t you agree? If you don’t understand something, move on – that’s a good advice for an autistic person, I hope you can see that now.

I’m still exhausted, but at least I wrote a blog post, and ta da! it’s about communication!

I failed!

So, basically, I didn’t pass my LLOP (low level order picker) driving test. I am not sure how it happened – I miserably failed on reversing from the right, was unable to do it properly at all and it didn’t make any sense to me, while I coud do reversing from the left at the first attempt almost without thinking.

I really don’t know how such a massive discrepancy is at all possible, but maybe it’s due to dyspraxia? We did the reversing from the left first and I did it almost automatically and then when I had had to do it from the right, I couldn’t do it automatically again as my brain had an idea to just repeat the same moves that I did while reversing from the left, and that’s why I was standing there and thinking that it doesn’t make any sense?

While I was taking driving lessons, while living in Reading, I was apparently very good at manoeuvres, but I’m wondering now whether the instructor meant I’m much better at manoeuvres than an average person or whether I’m much better at manoeuvres than at driving on the road (that btw wasn’t coming easily to me at all). I don’t remember having similar issues then, however the instructor was obviously focused on teaching me and paying attention to what I had difficulties with, while today the trainer was focused on finding people who could drive the truck without difficulties.

That means, I’m without a job again. I’m not sure how I feel about that as I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. Regarding the sensory issues it was probably not as bad as I expected, I coped with both cold and noise better than I thought, even though I only had around 3h of sleep last night. However, I feel quite competitive. If I had some spare money I’d go for external LLOP training only to prove myself that I can work out how to reverse from the right.

There was a young guy on training, I think he said he’s 20, it kept being discussed that straight after passing LLOP training he’d be trained on a different driving equipment, even though at a different time we were told that the company standard is that all the new starters are only trained on LLOP and only more experienced employees go on to be trained on something else. So I asked him how he convinced the company that he can do both and was sure to hear he driven LLOP, and possibly another thing before, but he just said ‘they just offered it to me’. Strange, I thought.

What a face

Today, as we were doing our training, he had a bit of difficulty for like 5 minutes and then became absolutely natural at it. So I asked him directly if he driven LLOP before and he said, no, never. He also claimed he never drove anything else in life, didn’t even have one driving lesson. Strange, I thought again.

And then, as we were called for the test he was asked to go first ‘as you are more experienced’ the trainer said. Great, I thought. Why people lie this way? To get attention, I suppose. Possibly I should try that sometimes, but then I can never predict if similar behaviour is going to backfire.

There was also this situation yesterday, that I didn’t want to mention as I make an effort not to shine negative light on my employers, even prospective or ex ones (even when I mention Home Group – I only speak the truth about them), however, I now think the situation must have been a joke or an exaggeration. It was about communication and the fact that my mind can so easily come up with all the wrong things to say, however, I’ll leave it for another day to write about it as today I’m rather tired and still a bit freezed up.

Otherwise my day was good, thank you. Just had my 5th beetroot muffin, I didn’t have one yesterday so that’s 6 days after I baked it and it was still soft and moist. No gluten and loads of chia seeds are going to be my secret from now on.

Tomorrow I need to apply for a job in Royal Mail. Normally I don’t like giving my employers names but how else I can explain that I’m sorting letters?

I want my DBS.

I feel like going on strike

Well, I was in a good mood for a few days already so now it’s time to be low. Btw I do not think that means I’m bipolar (which is my second diagnosis): I didn’t overspend, I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t even overeat (ta da!), I also didn’t make any strange plans regarding my future and I believe my insight was good. I think I really was just in a really good mood, possibly elevated slightly due to the use of therapy lamp.

Why I’m feeling bad now, then? Because I keep getting this idea that I’m not meant to have only one job: whatever I choose to do I’ll be running into trouble. It will either be too much contact with people and too much politics (like in a care home), sensory issues (in a warehouse), too boring (cleaning) or not enough time for myself (live in care). I do realise that other people don’t have some of those challenges and also cope better with those that they do have. Perhaps they don’t loose sleep (like me know) over the fact that they can’t find an ideal job and just get on with what they have, as long as it’s good enough.

One of my problems is that, when I have been somewhere for a bit of time, I start focusing on negatives and find it very difficult to move on from that type of thinking. Over the years I learned that making decisions based on this is not good to me and it’s much better to be logical and stay in a job because it is, in general, ok. However, what is really happening is, the fact that I force myself to be logical doesn’t mean the negative thinking will go away – no, it will stay with me and slowly eats me away, until one day I get sacked (oh, ok, that only happened once).

I don’t know what to do about that. It seemed I was getting ok with the fact that I need to have at least two jobs, that I can alternate, but now it seems to me like it’s a sign of failure, something that no one would understand, let alone support.

Gig economy is supposed to be bad for us, that’s what we are told, isn’t it? And yet, now, I need to put myself in a situation where I purposefully reject the idea of having permanent job, with all it’s benefits, to protect my mental health. Other people don’t need to do that and yet their mental health is good.

I really do not think that’s fair.

I’m all freezed up!

So, basically, it turned out my training for the food warehouse job is full time, even though the job is part time. The agency staff didn’t inform me of that, but also, I didn’t ask. It obviously makes sense that part time staff gets the same training that full time staff, but I just didn’t know the training will be that long. I mean, I don’t have a big problem with that – it’s paid and I have no other commitments, plus, it’s good that they’re so throughout about training, not like in the last warehouse job I had, where I was told to move pallets ‘over there’ using manual pallet truck, even though I never used one before. It was really funny when I tried to operate it and it just wasn’t behaving at all how I expected and there was no one next to me to ask what to do.

So yes, I’m not complaining about the extensive training, I am just saying I’m a little bit surprised.

Other than that I am curious how I’m going to cope – tomorrow I’ll be learning how to drive electric pallet truck called LLOP (who knows what that stands for, training didn’t cover it so far). If I pass I’ll become qualified Christmas Reindeer and will be rushing around so that people in the area could get their Christmas food on time. It is partly exciting, I must admit, but I wonder how I’m going to manage with working in such a large space (I don’t like large spaces), exposed to sudden noises and without heating. I wonder if the limited contact with people and lack of exposure to workplace politics is going to make up for all the other factors I am not so keen on. It will be interesting to see actually, so keep your fingers crossed for my LLOP training tomorrow.

After finishing the training today I waited 50 minutes on the bus stop as two buses didn’t turn up and that’s why I’m all freezed up, even now, two hours after getting home (of course the central heating is on and I also have an old type of gas heater in my living room that I have on at the moment). I sometimes wish to be like The Boyfriend who copes with cold really well, but it’s oversensitive to heat, so when it’s summer I’m glad I am myself. Oh well.

My latest achievement – pattern display

Tomorrow I need to get there by 7am, which means I need to be up around 5am and I still won’t have enough time to use my therapy lamp fot the same length of time I normally do, I hope that won’t affect my excitement levels (oh, actually, I’m too freezed up now to feel excited but I had very good mood during the training).

Nothing new to report regarding communication, although there was this moment when I found out that ‘high visibility vest needs to be fastened’ is called 360 rule – that’s really fun, exactly something that I could come up with and that wouldn’t be understood by my colleagues in care.

Goodnight. I need to get up and switch that gas heater as I’m suddenly getting hot. I may sleep on the sofa again today though.

Good mood continues

As yesterday, I had this idea to make a post to record that I’m in a good mood. If I only post when I feel miserable, people could come to a conclusion that I always feel miserable and it’s to do with me being autistic. It’s really not like that at all, although, I guess, I may get into a bad mood for different reasons that neurotypical people would (like being in noisy environment or, even worse – socialising for too long, who would have thought?).

As yesterday, I have absolutely no idea why I’m in a good mood. Possibly it’s the side effect of SAD lamp? In that case I’d recommend it to everyone, because I really do feel like I won a lottery, even though my bank statement shows less that I would expect to have this time a month ago (where’s my DBS???). It will be really interesting to see if this mood will stay with me for longer, fingers crossed.

I was thinking recently about my ‘work personalities’ and I summed up myself as having 3 of them: researcher, practical/focused on processes and an activist. When I worked in care neither of those personalities could really shine. I used the practical one to deliver the service and, as I already mentioned here, that was not always appreciated (a resident’s bath chair looks like it’s getting broken? Magda is looking for problems again, instead of focusing on people, that’s what it is).

Focusing on patterns

When I said researcher, I mean I am someone constantly looking for patterns. I used that ability to do complex maths and to study IT, which was a great fun, yet I never had an opportunity to actually use that in my career, which is a bit sad. I really do think autistic people need more career advice and not something that is overly simplified because we oversimplify things ourselves already, so we don’t need neurotypicals to do that for us, seriously. I have a blog about autism but I don’t think I’d like to be autism researcher. Firstly, I wouldn’t then be able to be an autism activist, as that would be conflict of interest; secondly, I’d need to then work with other researchers, possibly neurotypical, who could try to research me during our lunch breaks and that wouldn’t be fun. As much as I want autism research to progress, being seen as full time research object is not what I want from life.

I’d like to be researcher in medicine, possibly working on creating new drugs. That would however require going back to university, without and guarantees that I’d get where I want to be at the end. Maybe I’d just end up in a local pharmacy instead? It’s also possible that, even if I got a job in research, I’d have to be against politics, that would have nothing to do with patients best interests and everything to do with company profit. Never working in that area and having limited social imagination puts me in a situation where I am unable to weight pros and cons of this route, therefore I’d rather not take it. I do hope that people who read this won’t think that I’m lazy and lacking ambition, I’m just trying to be practical in situation where my access to information is very limited.

So that brings me to my third work personality: an activist. I suppose having a blog makes me an activist already and complaining about Professor Baron-Cohen even more so. As much as I feel that sacking me from my job in care was a step too far, I am grateful to my life circumstances for that as I really used it as an opportunity. I mean, I don’t have many readers for now, but things may change with time, and I know that I have to keep blogging to get there. Possibly one day my views on the state of autistic research and support available for us will matter. I’d never start a blog when I was employed. One problem was, I was constantly fed up so there would be nothing to write about, the other thing was, my work colleagues didn’t know me as a blogger and I was afraid to upset the status quo. Although I didn’t disclose to my prospective employers that I have a blog or that I’m autistic, the blog is available online and possible to find and I am who I am.

Thinking about all the above, it took me years of trial and error to understand my strengths and weaknesses. I probably still don’t fully get them now, and this is, unfortunately, part of being autistic. While in secondary school I was constantly being told how smart I was and no one ever realised that there are things I am unable to do. That’s why there really needs to be more support and quality research – something that doesn’t include ‘autistic mice’ but focuses on autistic people instead.

Yay!

As this blog is meant to describe me, as an autistic person, and I did post in the past about some of my difficult emotions I think it’s only fair to also post when I feel better. So basically, I feel incredibly excited since yesterday afternoon. I have no idea what I am excited about: my shop cleaning job finished two days ago and my DBS is still not back. I received a letter from mum’s bank and they’re not going to refund her any of the stolen money that we have no evidence for, so what she’s going to get is like 10 percent of what was stolen and the bank is having difficulties to even admit their employee was stealing – they don’t even use the word fraud but instead call it ‘this situation’. Fantastic.

Home Group did not even contact me regarding the email I sent two weeks ago – this is, I guess, them saying they don’t really care about what happened to me, as long as their business is intact. It’s really strange that all those big companies create procedures for similar situations, and then, as things happen, the employees never follow them because they don’t want to disturb the internal politics. Would someone working in a customer service department stand up against their CEO – as I already contacted him and he ignored me? As much as I understand that in hindsight, having procedures that state a different behaviour is expected is only clouding my, autistic, judgment – if there was no procedures at all I’d be much better at predicting other people behaviour, or at least that’s what I think. I wonder what Professor Simon Baron-Cohen would say about that.

Ok, moving on from Home Group – I decided to complain to University of Cambridge about Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and his extreme inability to communicate with me. As I stated in one of my previous posts, I felt at some point that it’s getting a bit better but then suddenly Professor sent me an email to say he feels sorry for me, which just totally didn’t make any sense. I do not feel sorry for myself at all. In general it is said that autistics tent to have misunderstandings with people, but I’d expect it will be a bit better when you talk to world famous autism researcher, and instead it’s much worse. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen has an incredible ability to misinterpret absolutely everything that I am saying, therefore what value his research has? I only contacted University of Cambridge yesterday afternoon (Friday) about it so it’s too early to say anything. As much as I am curious about what will happen, I doubt my excitement comes from that.

I managed to secure another temporary job, in a warehouse this time – in a food distribution centre, I will be starting a training on Monday (it’s Saturday today) and it will include… driving pallet truck! I wonder how I’ll get on with that. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. Is it possible that my excitement comes from that? Possibly my subconscious mind already knows that I’ll be ok there, will get noticed for my ability to follow procedures and understanding systems and will keep getting promotion after promotion until I get to the very top? Oh well, probably not, but I’m very curious about how I will cope. I never tried this kind of job before so it will be interesting to see how it will work out.

Some greenery, we need it in winter

I was also thinking that possibly I should have two part time jobs instead of one. I used to do that in the past and I quite liked it: the transition from one job to the other helped me to release any tension; while being in one job only makes me feel trapped. I suppose there should be more understanding in the society for having two jobs – it seems like it’s often being seen as a sign of failure, inability to commit or possibly not being wanted anywhere full time. But the question is: do we need to commit? Obviously if you want to progress commitment is needed but plenty of us don’t want that, we just want to pay the bills and have some money left for fun things, so what is the commitment for?

It’s snowing at the moment, and it’s extremely windy. I’m unlikely to leave my flat today. I decided, however, I shouldn’t be spending all day in bed so I moved to the living room and I’m on the sofa… such fun! I don’t suppose I’m excited for that either. As I stay in I may do some updates on the blog: I decided symbols (as a form of communication) will get their own tag, as so Redecor. Redecor is a very important part of my life now, hard to understand how I coped without it, and I’ve only been playing for around 10 months. The more patterns I have available to use, the more fun it is, although again, I don’t suppose my excitement is caused by the game.

Did I mention I baked another lot of beetroot muffins? I used better quality beetroots this time and added some almond essence – they’re much better this time, no beetroot flavour, so this is, I think, the way to go with my baking. However, again, I don’t suppose that is what I’m excited about.

I also realised a little while ago how much better my mental health is now, when I don’t work in a care home any more. Possibly I should never go back to this kind of job? And not because I’m not a caring person. One thing that I found extremely difficult was the need to constantly switch between tasks: I could not do one thing for long enough before a different resident needed an urgent assistance. On top of that all that bitchiness you get there… God help me, seriously! And the problem is I tend to oversimplify everything where people are involved. I can think, for example, that everyone who works in a care home is caring so they will be nice people. And believe me, some staff really are not! And I don’t talk here about scandals like Winterbourne at all; the staff may be actually caring towards residents but bitchy towards themselves – not fun.

Ok, end of post. What am I excited about though? I still don’t know, but it’s a nice change at last.

Life as a cleaner

Tomorrow is my last day of the cleaning job in a popular clothing shop. My DBS is still not back and I don’t know what I will be doing till I get it. Mind you, I didn’t know I’ll be bored with this job that quickly – it’s only been two weeks and I am already feeling meh. I really feel like I need some meaningful contact with people and having the impression that I have impact on somebody life. When I just started work in care, everything was new and interesting and I wasn’t planning how to get out of it. There is so many job advices for autistics where being a cleaner is considered a good fit for us that I’m really shocked I can’t wait till this job is over. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I tried it, and at least I know how I feel about it, but it really is too repetitive for my liking.

Cleaners sometimes face difficult choices at work. Never heard about a cleaner who damaged art exhibition as she thought it was rubbish? There’s been more than one instance of this type of overzealousness (is that actually a word? Correct me if I’m wrong, as you may know English is not my first language) and when I was at my first university, studying physics in Łódź, we had an academic teacher well into his 60s, who only had a master degree. I don’t know how it works in other parts of the world but in Poland staff with master degree are only allowed to do support tasks with students while they work on their PhD; they can’t deliver lectures or be responsible for exams and this particular teacher was doing it all while, due to his age, it was obvious he had more than enough time to do doctorate. It was very confusing to me, until someone said, and who knows, it could well be true, that his PhD work required to grow some crystals and one day cleaner throw them to the bin!

Poor cleaner, I hope she didn’t get fired for that. Anyway, after that happened, the man told his supervisor he’s not doing it all over again, period, and was allowed to stay and enjoy all PhD privilages. It looks like he wasn’t thinking in terms of infinite games, which is quite sad.

Mind you, he was one of the teachers who made me to study extra hard because I didn’t get all the questions right on the exam, and then, when I finally answered everything he asked me perfectly, he only gave me a C. I was thinking at the time that was because I was the only female in the entire physics group, but now I think, even though that must have play a part (‘you only came here to find a husband’ said in front of everyone else was an acceptable comment at the time, I really do hope things have changed since then) I think my autism was probably also at play. One teacher actually told me she lowered my grade because ‘I look like if I didn’t know what was going on’. But that is how I look when I’m focused on something! Obviously at the time I didn’t know this is due to autism and that I’m autistic. I didn’t know anything about it at all, although the first time I’ve heard about Asperger’s syndrome was when I was in a primary school.

It is said that girls don’t get picked up early enough but the first person who I knew was diagnosed with it was a girl from my primary school, a few years younger than me, very bright, she was getting the best grades in her year, but yes, she looked like if she didn’t know what’s happening around her, never spoke to anybody during break times and she used to rock regularly. I didn’t know anything about Asperger’s at the time and to be honest neither me, nor my friends were that interested, it was enough for us to know that this sensation had a name: genius who looked like if she was severely impaired. I really do hope she’s doing ok now, got a good job, where she can use all her strenghts and is not forced to rely on her weaknesses to get by.

Only 4 patterns on this image

I also know she was diagnosed in Warsaw, our capital city, just over 100km from our village and it was possibly 7 years after my mum was told by local child psychologist I’d grow out of ‘it’. Mind you, I didn’t present as severely as that girl, probably because, although quite intelligent, I was not as bright as her, and also I spoke to other kids at school (I never was a popular kid though) so my mum never felt the need to pursue any further diagnosis. Mind you (using the same expression in two sentences in a row!) mum would never get a diagnosis for me, I was just too normal for that time. And actually, when I was in my early 20s I probably appeared like if I in fact grown out of it. I was parting, was confident and knew a lot of people. I just didn’t know how to make friends with them. They all seemed like acquaintances and nothing more. Sometimes I thought a person is my friend and then they always chose somebody else to spend time with, whenever they had a choice. I was only good for times when they had nothing better to do.

Although I used to have A Friend (don’t confuse with The Friend) who however stopped treating me well quite quickly… oh, that is a long story. I’m not sure if I should be putting it in here. Maybe one day, when I decide what details should be left out, partly to protect her identity (strange thing I still care of her enough to think about that), partly to appear at least slightly mysterious to my readers (ok, I only just came up with that reason now as giving one reason only to do something just didn’t feel like enough).

Yes, so, I wonder whether I’ll have enough things to blog about when I discuss everything from my past. This blog is about life as an autistic person so everything goes, even my parsnip muffins (mind you, I already ate all of them, which is a shame as I feel a bit peckish). Parsnip muffins are part of my life and, because I’m autistic, it’s an autistic life so parsnip muffins are part of my autistic life. Makes sense, I hope. Plus, one could think that being autistic I only eat food that I know well and that is not true! One day I need to tell you how I went to Malaysia and on my first night ordered Thai green curry because I liked the taste of Thai green curry sauce that I bought in Sainsbury’s once or twice. Mind you (again!) no one explained to me that they eat incredibly hot food in that part of the world and the Sainsbury’s sauce was our, European version of it. At other times I ordered ‘sweet and spicy chicken claws’ because I didn’t know what claws mean… well, on both occasions I ate the whole of my dinner. What helped was telling myself that I’m travelling so should be opened to all the new experiences. You see, I’m autistic, but I can do it when it makes sense to me.

It was also in Malaysia where I got my tattoo. This one that was meant to cover my self-harming scars, but the tattoo artist didn’t do very good job with it and they are still visible on the sides.

Anyway, I was speaking about food earlier on. What should I have for dinner? Russian pierogi or, possibly, baked beans with toasted potato waffles? It’s strange that I can’t eat chips but love potato waffles, isn’t it?

What comes next

I really didn’t want to go to work today in the morning. I am sorry to say that but this is probably the most boring job I’ve ever had. Who said that autistic people want to do repetitive tasks over and over? I mean, ok, there is something calming in the fact that I know that when I go there again, hoovering will be the first thing to do and will take me one and half an hour, but… if I want to do things a bit differently, there’s no space for that.

When I was a housekeeper in a hotel (mind you, I did it for one day only), I felt there was something magical in the fact that I enter a room that a guest just left and I’m preparing it for another guest. It felt like for those couple of minutes (well, it was probably more like 3 quaters of an hour) I was part of their life. Well, ok, after a day of this work I had such a terrible back pain that could barely move, so no magic could make up for it, I’m just summing up the general experience.

Cleaning in a shop is mostly removing dust, and believe me, there’s loads of it. Dust can even settle on a vertical surface, did you know about that? I only found out a few days ago. So it is really boring, after a while. Well, I can probably say, that I am cleaning so that people can come over and buy some new, fancy clothes, but – this is probably what is a big problem here – I am a no logo girl. So, in my head, there’s no reason for people to come to this shop for clothes.

By being no logo girl I don’t mean we should all start buying all our clothes from Primark from now on (for those from outside of the UK: Primark is a chain selling extremely cheap clothes, sometimes badly made), I do understand that logo reflects quality a lot of times and that we need good quality clothing so that we could donate them to charity shops when we’re bored with them while lower quality clothing is going to end up in landfill much quicker, however, I still do not fully understand the purpose of brand.

That’s not too many patterns

I mean, I get the fact that business owners want to differentiate themselves from competitors, but still, the fact that they use brand to do that is something I don’t fully get. Brand is something totally made up, isn’t it? You can’t wear it, can you? So why people put so much attention to it, I don’t really know.

Another part of the problem is that I really don’t understand what this particular brand is actually selling. Grunge clothing on one hanger, a cardigan that my grandma would be proud to wear to church in the 80s on another… That doesn’t make any sense to me.

It is said, sometimes, that autistic people don’t understand fashion. Mind you, for some of us fashion is our special interest, but as you probably guessed correctly, I’m not one of those people. I’m one of those people who could argue that fashion doesn’t really exist or, at least, is overrated. I mean, ok, I just mentioned grandma style cardigan in an on trend clothing store, but possibly you know what I mean.

When I was 12 and I went to town with mum, I’d knew within 30 minutes what was in style: I saw 3 ladies wearing white buttoned, slightly transparent blouse over colorful, floral bra, so this must have been on trend. It was not on trend the next year or the year before. Now, when I am at work, I see a very nice satin top just by the entrance, and it’s almost identical to what I bought in M&S 3 years ago, just in a different colour. I’ve never seen anyone wearing anything similar on the street, so I find it difficult to believe those tops were ever on trend, although certainly they were in stock in more than one clothing shop.

So that is my understanding of fashion: trends are just unnecessary distraction, especially when there’s so many of them. I wonder if anyone has similar views, whether you’re autistic or not.

If it was up to me I’d created a universal clothing brand that companies could sign up to and the clothes created for that brand would have to meet strict quality criteria. Then people would now that what they’re buying is not going to fall apart after wearing twice, won’t shrink in a wash, won’t shred and even, possibly, was made of recycled plastic bottles, yet it’s fully breathable.

Even less patterns

I made parsnip muffins today and they’re ok, although have strange parsnip aftertaste and I really don’t know where this is coming from, any ideas?

Tomorrow I’ll be having a day off, possibly my last one, as my last day of cleaning job will be Thursday. So from Friday I won’t have any more days off, I’ll have days of full time unemployment. You could argue those are pretty much the same thing, I will insist they really are not!

I had this idea a while ago to go to a cafe one day and ‘work’ from there. I mean, write a post while having a coffee and a slice of cake on a commercial premises, which I think I already done once while in Poland (and the cake was not great). Obviously blogging is not my job as no one pays me for it, I suppose it’s more like a hobby, a way of creative self expression, where I imagine that what I really have to say is finally being taken into consideration by people who read me (normally I’m being ignored when I try to be myself and no one ever understands my jokes). Writing from a cafe could be a way of making the moments with my blog even more special and also would give me the opportunity to photograph the cake I’m eating, I will think later on if that’s worth splashing out as it could be my two days food budget or even, possibly three. Also, another problem that I could encounter could be that the cafe will be too noisy for me to focus enough to write anything sensible (Polish cafes are usually much less busy) but I’ll definitely think about it again before Christmas.

My DBS (criminal record check needed for a job in care) is still not back. I’m wondering, what I will be posting about when I work as a live in carer. Posting about clients is not permitted of course and I’d never do that. I suppose, at a push I could disclose whether I work for a lady, a man or possibly a couple, but then that would make all the boundaries blurry for me so it will be better to stick to only disclosing which town I am based in, or even only a general area in case I’m sent to a village. I’ll see if I’m creative enough to come up with anything new to post at this time, as most interesting stuff from my past has already been discussed here. Oh wait, I forgot about one exciting thing: how I got sectioned in December 2019 (feels so strange to think that’s only two years ago) and dragged out of my flat in handcuffs by police (I always count that towards ‘been arrested’ on all of those Facebook games) while my deputy manager was a witness!

I will definitely come back to it one day, I promise, but for now I’ll just try not to eat another parsnip muffin.

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