Surprise! Turns out, I’m autistic.

So, 3 years after diagnosis, I’ve figured out how to nearly squash the fibromyalgia pain – Wim Hof is fabulous, as is eating/drinking intensely healthy, and exercising through the pain takes years and can truly drive a person over the edge but does indeed help wonderfully, hooray!! But the fatigue is still there. (Esp annoying because w/pain you can just pretend like it’s not happening until you burst, but fatigue…you just can’t. effing. GO.)

Long story short, the fatigue seems to be getting a lot of help from another diagnosis; one that I’ve just received. (It’s just answers/label/tools, nothing else is wrong) And it also explains jillions of things throughout my issues-filled life, which is a common description for independent adults with this dx. It explains why I’m capable of doing things like interviewing scientists about the endocannabinoid system; but will get flustered if you list stuff and expect me to remember it, struggle with regulating my emotion, and other executive function tasks described in adult life as ‘basic.’ (People like me often get asked, “how are you smart, but also so stupid?”)

It sheds light on random things like why I once had to train myself not to hold my arms up like a bunny, why I have no verbal filter, prefer to talk frankly/bluntly about things, am very interested in “boring” details, why people misread my intentions and emotions, why I zone out at sparkling things/rock when I sit/spin around my apartment/close my eyes and move my hands to remember/etc, why I was obsessed with psychology/sociology/philosophy/studies of humans (now, cultural critique, so still, haha), why my JTT crush was so next level, why learning to drive was like explosions in my brain, why I totally lose my shit when plans change at the last minute, and even why I strongly prefer to wear the same style of shoe, daily, for years. 

Today I was diagnosed by a psychologist as being on the autism spectrum. 

I am autistic. Weird.

An online test given to me by an autism organization confirmed it 6 weeks ago, and talking to people with brains like mine has been eerie, like having my completely weird, largely hidden, experiences described by people I’ve never met. It kind of makes me feel less original, I thought I was so unique, haha, nope, many of my seeming eccentricities are completely normal for an autistic person – but it’s very comforting. Though it’s definitely been a lot to process and an intensely emotional time; knowing the whys and having tools and community is helping already, I am definitely grateful for this news. 

Autism in females is estimated to be much much higher; until recently, psychologists were trained in traits that traditionally present in males, but not for typical female experiences (patriarchy, psssch), which involve a lot more masking of autist traits (vids below, any gender can have these ‘secondary’ traits/verbiage is in flux); in myself, I’ve been referring to this masking behavior as “people-pleasing” as I worked on stopping it over the last decade, thereby accidentally unmasking my autism, ooops, haha. 

Happy accidents, eh?

More info:

Vid from autistic autism researcher, ‘Everything you Know about Autism is Wrong’

Video on ‘autism in females’/secondary autism traits

Please watch this before you assure me that I’m not

 The spectrum isn’t linear (comic) 

For the very interested (great lecture)

Fuck Normal, It’s a Jerk

What does ‘normal’ mean in the United States? 

We use this nonsense word to describe the expected, whatever we’re used to seeing in life. This completely denies the fact that we’re a wildly diverse bunch – a melting pot of different cultures and ways of living. We are not the same.

How this pandemic affects someone who’s already dealing with serious chronic illness, and its cacophony of physical/financial woes, is different than an able-bodied person. Being high-risk means fearing for your safety every time you leave the house, it means a sneeze could destroy or steal your life.

And 4 in 10 adults (37.6%) are high-risk!
IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE LOW-RISK IN THIS PANDEMIC.

The attitudes of our police forces do not affect BIPoC communities the same way they affect a white person. I was raised to believe that it’s normal for cops to keep you safe, while others have to learn how to stay safe *from* the police.

And ~40% of our nation is of color!
IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE WHITE.

Normal is a silo. It isolates us from those that are different from us, and it makes it seem like they aren’t there. It keeps us thinking the rest of the nation looks and thinks like our Facebook stream – it blinds people from understanding, keeps us from seeing the comprehensive picture.

Valuing normal leads to concepts like groupthink, where people just follow the crowd, letting normal take them wherever it wishes. It denies that our entire history is riddled with abuse and oppression, disregarding the affected humans as “other.” It shifts the responsibility from the individual, it makes people feel like they aren’t culpable for the things that happen around them; because as long as it’s normal, it’s fine.

Normal is how so little has changed since our civil rights movements, 50 fucking years ago. Looking to normal for guidance will lead to assumptions around battles you don’t know anything about. We hurt people by propping up normal.

Fuck normal. Normal is a jerk.

US Hearts and Souls

Is current American culture *really* reflecting our hearts and souls?

In good moments, I see people coming together to rise up for what matters, folks advocating both for those who are different than them, and for themselves. I see able bodies who are happy to endure a little discomfort for the safety of those more vulnerable to COVID. And I see the beauty of the human spirit, so willing to fight, support, and serve — and so often with such powerfully beautiful creativity.

But then there’s the rest. Those who think people like me (#spoonie) should just stay home, forever, because they can’t be bothered to wear a piece of fucking fabric on their faces like the rest of the now-recovering world, and the rest of the fucking history of pandemics.

I see people who just don’t care that others (including seniors!) have been working for minimum wage in the front lines, now ready to throw in our teachers; people who whine about being bored and inconvenienced — begging for things to “go back to normal” when the norm is fucking hell for so many.

I do my best to stay positive, but I’m one of them. It’s not okay to be a poor person in our country — is that what resides in our hearts and souls? Do I not count because I haven’t been able to get my body and brain to work in an employable fashion? Because there’s no test for what’s wrong, should I just be grateful that decades of paying disability taxes covered a teensy bit of the time I’ve been desperately trying to survive? If I can’t keep figuring it out, do I deserve to perish? Is that what resides in our hearts and souls?

And are we the kind of people who don’t trust communities reporting mistreatment, even though the stats clearly reflect it (always have), and more shocking video footage of it comes out allllll the time? The kind that still fucking manage to say “is it REALLY all that prevalent though? Things seem fine from my suburb. I just don’t see it.”

Is that what resides in our hearts and souls?

Resilience and Compassion

I love this quote. After going through a difficult time, any semi-reflective person is likely to do some thinking on their weaknesses and faults; because how else does one avoid making the same mistakes?

But it’s easy to overdo ‘er. It’s common to not only own one’s errs, but to define ourselves by them, if only unconsciously. When you decide that you’ll never be good enough, things improving seems impossible. And the mental place of “why bother?” is no breeding ground for resilience.

Compassion for ourselves helps us get to a place of seeing ourselves as stronger and wiser for our mistakes, which makes trying again seem worth the effort and potential risks.

And compassion for others is how we become able to look at the world, and the people in it, as potentially trustworthy. This enables us to put ourselves “out there” again, one of many daunting-but-essential parts of getting to a place of resilience.

Becoming resilient is generally a prize that must be hard won, but the goods are mighty good indeed.

What’s SO BAD about wanting people to like you?

Nothing, inherently. It’s nice to want to get along and it’s normal to prefer being adored over disliked, of course.

The problem is when you start giving fucks in order to get someone to like you: Agreeing when you actually don’t, censoring yourself beyond politeness, doing things you’d really rather not, allowing attitudes towards you that are less than respectful, and all kinds of other ways we diminish ourselves when we make our objective: be liked.

Because when that’s your MO, there’s no choice than to be less of yourself. Giving fucks makes a dull wash out of the glory that you are; the you when you’re behaving with more inner-direction, when you’re really being yourself.

This realization terrified me when I first had it. I thought of myself as being a good friend, well-liked, caring, friendly, fun – I was only considering myself in relation to others. This led to trouble when I was alone. Over analyzing my relationships. Overconsidering others’ perspectives on things like my art, or even what kind of music I was listening to, i.e. “I’d be so embarrassed if so-in-so knew how much I love this.”

It was like I was never alone, not really, despite larger-than-normal amounts of time spent alone. Who was I even living my life for?

It was such an important realization: My life should be about me.

It was like I was spending all of my energy on being the best co-star in everyone else’s movie. Not that I didn’t pursue my own passions and whatnot – but “they” (those I’d prefer like me) were intrinsically involved in my decisions, even ones that had nothing to do with them. It was just little blips of thought that seemed like nothing, but as a mindfulness-obsessed sort, I quickly realized that they added up to living on the periphery of my own life.

Watch your mind and see if you do this. (You do. We all do.) And try to drop it. This will help loads in the next step: staying inner-directed when you’re with others. This involves fighting the urge to blend in and saying what you think, what you really think. (Don’t be a dick or anything… Or maybe do, I don’t know what’s best for you.)

Start paying attention to your feels when you’re around others, and right afterward. It’s important to feel good.

I feel like that’s almost a controversial thing to say, I can hear the cries of, “but selfish!” It’s not selfish to ensure your well-being, not at all. In fact, making sure you’re feeling centered is responsible. Being where you want to be and doing the things you want to do is responsible. The world needs you at your best! Your people need you at your best!

You’ll probably find that even when you’re acting from a truly inner-directed place you’re still a positive force in others’ lives. Perhaps not in the same ways. And perhaps with a totally different flavor: martyrdom vs weeeeeeee.

And the funny thing is that when you get really good at this inner-direction thing, most folks will indeed like you. It’s nice to be around people who are at peace with who they are, comforting even. They lack neediness and emanate confidence. They offer unique perspectives and speak their truth.

But others will still totally think you suck. C’est la vie.

make-sure-youre-not-saying-no-to-yourself-paolo-coehlo

 

A ganja love letter.

An editor had me switch formats so the following poem will not be published anywheres. But, I couldn’t just delete it! It’s a love letter to cannabis, inspired by my transition to needing it medicinally.  I think my fellow herb lovers will get it… So, here:

My dearest ‪Cannabis‬,

I know my love’s grown temperamental since our relationship has taken on this medicinal tone, and I’m so sorry. Now I lean on you like Snoop taught me, and that’s everyday. I’ve started to look to your faults, pointing out where you make me lose track of thoughts—and overlooking how you make my imagination ace, helping to form a thought worth capturing in the first place.

I take you for granted, it’s not enough that you melt the pain in my aching body; I just want you to rid me of more, and I want you to keep it away forever. You distract my mind from pain via whimsical and varied trains of thought, but I get frustrated when the same locomotives hamper my ability to express them.

I love how you give even boring food pizzaz, but bellyache that you’re to blame when I munch too much. You ease my worried mind, you coax anxiety out the door—and yet still, I ask for more.

I judge you by your appearance, and even take a sniff to see if you’re up to par. I reserve photos for when you look your best, sharing only your gorgeous purple tones and crystals; and resort to name-calling when your game is off—I call you schwag that smells of hay, and you don’t deserve that, not even on your worst day.

But, my dear ‪marijuana‬; my pakalolo, my herb, my sensi—the truth is that I love you, that you truly are a kind bud indeed. Since our last vote you’re always there when I need you. (Though, I’ll admit, the price increase totally blew.) Whether we meet via vape pen or pipe, or by rip or a toke, if you grew up indoors or out; you’re always someone on whom I can count.

So I vow to appreciate you, my beloved ganja, to see you for all of your goodness; and there is so much to see—for you even make smelling skunky a good thing! I love you so much, I’d even declare it with a ring.

Everyday,
Meg

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Espavo = Thank You for Taking Your Power

Have you ever heard of Lemuria? It was an ancient civilization that I feel very connected to, and they were said to have a beautiful greeting, ‘espavo,’ which was used for both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’

This word was to help people re-member their true place in the Universe. Literally translated it means: “Thank you for taking your power”

Isn’t that fierce? I love how it calls one to service as well as being wildly empowering, like – thank you for standing up, being brave, and doing your fucking thing. Thank you for remembering that you are a piece of ‘God.’ Thank you for knowing you belong here and you’ve got shit to do.

GET IT, GET IT, FRIENDS. 🔥

Why you can’t kill Ego.

I just came across a Twitter post by Alex Grey that included a pic of one of his gorgeous paintings.  It shows a man being enslaved by self-hatred—something only possible when ruled by ego.  Its caption says, “Hey Ego, your fears and limits are really getting in the way of my higher calling…”  Some guy commented, “that’s certainly rich for someone so active on social media.”

It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about ego.  It’s a highly misunderstood concept; people are always talking about smashing it, killing it, generally making it go away—which not only inadvisable, but totally impossible.

What would someone with absolutely no ego look like?  They would only have awareness of connection with others, and with the world around them.  They would be fully embraced in the truth of our Oneness.  They would see no separation between themselves and others, they would truly always see themselves in Other.

Sounds beautiful, eh?  Now ask them their name. Where they live. How they pay rent.  What they like to do with their time.  Etc.

We need ego! Ego serves us in this life, it defines our separateness, and separateness is what we came here to experience.

An unbalanced ego is the troublemaker.

An overgrown ego tells you that you are better than others. It constantly fuels the mind with reasons why others are inferior, why they aren’t as good as you. An overgrown ego is highly defensive, and ignites easily (though not always verbally). It is constantly threatened that someone will remove this sense of superiority, as it is “who I am.”

A diminished ego tells you that you are shit.  You aren’t as good as anyone else.  You don’t deserve the things that you want.  You don’t matter.  It is an Eeyore, but it’s not so cute in human form.  It is a victim mindset.  It will not stand up for itself when hurt, because being hurt has become “who I am.”

A healthy ego is a strong sense of who you are.  You like you!  (You might even promote your work on social media like Alex!)  You see the beauty in others, and appreciate them for just being them.  You see when you fuck up, you try to see the humor in it, and do your darnedest to correct it.

You understand that “bad” behavior doesn’t make you less than others, and that “good” behavior doesn’t make you superior to others. There aren’t even really ways to behave “good” or “bad”—there are only actions that are serving to yourself and others, and those that aren’t. You get to choose, and sometimes it’s hard to know which is which.

A healthy ego never feels imperiled because it is aware of “I AM”—it is centered and connected whilst maintaining an awareness of the current perspective and its separations.

There’s all kinds of middleground, of course, we rarely hang out in extremes. There will even be days where your ego shrinks and expands in reaction to who and what you encounter! It’s a versatile lil’ bugger, and not one to attempt to squash.

Certainly to keep yer eye on it though! Watch your reactions, that’s where ego really shines. Notice feelings of superiority and of unworthiness, that’s unbalanced ego showing off. Notice these things without judging yourself, and just jump off that there thought train! Eventually, the tracks themselves will change—your mental constructs will adjust.

Get it get it, friends!

The Best Spiritually-Oriented Books Ever to Ever

There are many paths to spirituality, but I think books might be my very favorite. Here are the books that have touched my heart and helped me find my center:

The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield: An epic spiritual adventure! Lots about energy, very fun read.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman: Follows one man’s spiritual awakening, and a bromance to last the ages.

Energy Speaks, by Lee Harris: Shares the energetic components of life, and brilliant ways to use them to our advantage.

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle: Great advice about staying present, such a crucial aspect of this process. All his books are brilliant!

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz: Focuses on common sense wisdom that is immediately applicable.

Ishmeal, by Daniel Quinn: Centered on our relationship and evolution with the rest of our planet.

Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, by Doreen Virtue: Helps sensitives shine by showing us why we stopped.

The Law of Attraction, by Esther and Jerry Hicks: The OG law of attraction, this is where The Secret came from and puts those ideas more in context.

Flatland-A Romance of Many Dimensions, by Edwin A. Abbott: Explores life in 2-D, making 3-D seem realer whilst also making you wonder about what’s next.

Monkey, by Wu Ch’eng En: A 16th century text that follows monkey’s shenanigans on the way to enlightenment.

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu: The basis of Taoism, feel the flow!

The Tao of Peace, by Diane Dreher: A brilliant analysis of the Tao that provides grounded ways of applying the concepts to life.

Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins: Tom Robbins mixes the sacred and the profane so very delightfully. His writing feels like Pan meets Jesus. (Which happens in Another Roadside Attraction…)

Conversations with God Series, by Neale Donald Walsh: Translates spiritual concepts through a western Christian’s perspective.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A story about a bird who knows that there’s more to living than meets the eye, he follows his heart even though the other sheep-birds think he’s bonkers.

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, by Debbie Ford: This book is the reason I find myself engaging in shadow work daily, she makes befriending and balancing our difficult aspects somehow kinda fun. Genius.

The Valkyries, by Paulo Cohelo: A darker look at personal transformation, occult focused. (Loved The Alchemist as well, so many more of his to read!)

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert: A woman’s quest for inner peace via traveling the globe; to indulge, intensely meditate, and to learn ancient wisdom from a medicine man.

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury: A dystopian society, a seeker, and an enlightening young woman.

Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander: A neurosurgeon and skeptic falls into a coma and an experience of life after death.