Aspergirls and Gender/sexuality

I know I’m not alone as an Aspergirl in this. Last year I read about the idea that gender is a spectrum and not everyone fits into the categories of male/female, cis/trans. I thought, Yesss! Makes total sense to me. Biologically, I’m female and comfortable in my physical body, I wouldn’t change anything. But gender lies between the ears, not between the legs (not sure where that quote comes from, I didn’t invent it) and in my head, I’m about 75/25 female/male. When I’m around other women, I don’t feel much like them. They seem like another species. I feel more male than them. I know this is partly to do with having Aspergers and being gay. When I’m with men, or butch lesbians, I feel more female. My brain is quite male (logical, rational) but my interests are almost wholly stereotypically female, and I have absolutely no interest in sports, cars or DIY. I have supported feminist causes in the past, but now have a lot of disagreements with radical feminists. I’m at my most comfortable, I have discovered recently, around trans people – they are often in-between genders and amazingly, up to 40% of trans people are autistic too. I want to meet more of them! My dress sense is androgynous, I feel most comfy in shirt, jeans and brogues but sometimes with a small feminine touch: a necklace, a lacy collar. I love to dress up when I’m playing a character in the musical theatre company I’m involved in: I’ll wear the most feminine of frocks and heels and get a massive buzz, because I’m being someone else and can leave the real me behind.
Sexuality: I came out as gay at 26, after believing I was bi since the age of 12 when I first learnt what the word meant. Gay people of both sexes fascinated me throughout my teens, but it took sleeping with men to realize that wasn’t right for me. The physical side was a massive turn-off. I can enjoy the company of men, but women, well some women, drive me wild and set everything off in me. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m gay and proud. Coming out for me wasn’t hard, everyone was supportive and many said they guessed anyway. I hope the same can be said for coming out as Aspergers, as I gradually will be doing. Recently I contributed to an article in a lesbian magazine about autism: “Living life on two spectrums.” Very proud of that! “I am what I am, I am my own special creation.””Here am I, I shouldn’t have to hide, with one word defined, boy or girl my destiny.”

Aspergers and Travel

I haven’t been blogging for a while: been preparing for, then going on, Berlin trip!!! 1240-mile round journey, alone, to see my favourite singer H (who is from my country, I’ve already seen 8 times at home!) Read an article last week about how people with Aspergers sometimes feel more at home in a foreign country – because we’re so used to feeling alienated in our own country, that it’s second nature when we go abroad. We are expert at being foreigners! Makes sense. So true, for me anyway. I have literally had the time of my life these last few days. I’ve actually managed to forget I have Aspergers – at home, I’m reminded at every corner. I’m a confident traveller, as long as I have maps, timetables, itineraries. Travelling alone is no bother in a safe (English speaking and/or European) country. I rarely travel, sadly – no opportunity. I love to catch planes! Getting up at 4am or whenever. Take- off. Crossing time zones. Figuring out funny money. Trying new foods: (I’ll try anything as long as it’s vegan.) Feeling in no-space-or-time. Being taken out of my comfort zone and puzzling how to get back in it. If I suffered from sensory overload, or the need for routine, I can see travel would be much harder, as routines are broken and new stuff can be total sensory bombardment. I do have a really poor sense of direction, I have to go somewhere 2 or 3 times sometimes to sense the right eg. exit from underground station. I rely on maps and signs where others would rely on instinct. I’d recommend to any Aspergirl who likes, or thinks they would like, travel: Do it! Go places! Especially if you can pursue your special interest abroad, as I’ve been doing. Heaven! Just wish I could do it more.

What does it feel like to have Aspergers?

In this post I’ll try to describe a few thoughts about what it feels like to be me. I can’t claim to speak for all Aspergirls, and neurotypical people I know feel some of these things too. I’m aware that my Aspergers is mild and to many people I appear to function normally, so people on the other end of the spectrum probably feel like this to the power of 100.

Most of the time I feel like an alien. Even when I’m at home, or with my partner or my (supportive) family,  although at these times I can block it out more easily. The only times I don’t, are when I’m singing/playing/listening to music, sometimes when I’m writing, or when I’ve had a drink (although I don’t drink a lot and wouldn’t recommend it). Medication might help, but I don’t do any meds and would rather avoid them.

My body feels like an extraneous object to me. In my mind I see myself as kind of like a head on a stick, even though my body is physically healthy, I look after it  and I wouldn’t change it.

Things can seem super-real and unreal at the same time. 5 minutes can pass in a blink, or feel like a lifetime. I can feel like a different person from one moment to the next.

I can remember complex and irrelevant things, especially dates or numbers, and then forget simple things like where I put my keys. I  have to work hard at remembering just the things I need, and not cluttering my brain with random information.

I notice silly details but miss really obvious ones. TV and film plots are often hard for me to follow for this reason, and I’m terrible at housework because I don’t see half the dirt.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not! My life is good most of the time. I see all these things as challenges, not problems. 

My plans for this blog

Hello and welcome to the 2nd post on Aspergirls Anon!

Who is my blog aimed at? Aspergirls and anyone else who works with us/our families and friends/anyone who wants to understand us better

What do I intend to blog about? General day-to-day observations on life as an Aspergirl that I think will be helpful

How often will there be new posts? Hopefully at least weekly!

Why is it Anonymous? I’m not yet ready to be fully out in public as an Aspergirl, as unfortunately there  is a negative stigma attached to it, and my paid work is with members of the public who could judge me negatively. Maybe, hopefully, one day that will change.

I cry, you cry, you bleed, I bleed, I’m free, you’re free

We love, we lie, we hurt, we try.

(Heather Peace, “We can Change”)

It will be great to know if anyone is actually reading this blog, so please leave comments! If not, hey ho, it’s fun to write!

 

A newly-diagnosed Aspergirl: that’s me, here I am

Laughing, crying, dreaming, trying, That’s me, here I am

Taking, giving, loving, living, this is who I am

These are the opening lines of a song “I Am” that I co-wrote last year. It was featured in a film, which I’m very proud of. It’s a song about identity. 2 weeks ago, after my partner’s insistence, I received my formal diagnosis of Aspergers. Finally my life makes some kind of sense, but it is also scary – who wants a label of “special needs”?  National Autism Awareness month seems a good time to be starting this blog. My main aim is to help others like me, and to connect with other females on the spectrum.

I’m now nearly 45, and knew from an early age that I was different. My main difficulties have been social. I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t have all the typical traits of autism. I don’t have temper meltdowns. Loud noises, flashing lights and shopping centres don’t bother me. I don’t suffer greatly from anxiety or stress, and my general mental health is good. I don’t have a need to follow routines or rituals, although my days are generally happier with a structure to them. I’ve been in the same self-employed job for 20 years and with my partner for 15, the mortgage is paid off and money is stable. So, I guess I’m on the highest functioning end of the spectrum (although I hate that phrase, makes me sound like a robot!) But, watching “The A Word” this week, I see similarities between me and the 5-year old kid, Joe. The school playground scenes were especially painful to watch. Like Joe, I was the kid who always played on her own, mainly through choice. I didn’t join in games of tag or bulldog where I’d always be caught as I was the slowest runner. They were the predominant games at my primary school. Instead, I made up a fantasy world in my head, peopled with imaginary families based on the people I actually knew, and my playtimes were spent concocting scenarios for them. I was happy! I often skipped up and down the length of the playground in happiness. I loved school: the work, the structure, the teachers. The only problem was the other kids. Luckily I was not badly bullied, but I was called names and was basically misunderstood. I didn’t understand them, nor they me – what a relief to know now, that our brains are wired differently. I preferred the company of adults to children my own age, because with them I could be more myself. No one thought anything was wrong with me: I was doing well intellectually, I answered questions when spoken to, and it was the 1970s: no one mentioned autism then, or even special needs apart from the most obvious ones. In some ways I wish I was a kid growing up in the 21st century,  then perhaps I’d have received a diagnosis and help sooner. But then again, my life would have been very different, I may not have achieved the stuff I have achieved because of being hampered by a label. Labels don’t define who I am! Aspergers may be an explanation for my behaviour, but it will NEVER be an excuse. I am determined to overcome any difficulties I have, and I will always try to be the best I can be.