Monday, June 23, 2014

I've got an internship!

I've been too busy to write here for over a month, and that's because besides work and art (and watching sports), I've actually been preparing for an internship that I managed to get! Today's my first day of working at the American Museum of Natural History - which I've wanted to do since I was four years old. I'm now 25.

I'll be doing archival work during this internship, which I'm really excited about because it's nice to really do something properly archival, and I just can't wait to get started and help out the institution I've longed to be in the employ of since 1993. The whole thing still feels surreal to me, so maybe really getting to work will help me realize that this is for real.

In the meantime, I'll go back to crying because I still can't believe this.

[You can see the blog for the archival project the other interns and I are working on here! I'll be adding blog posts of my own at some point down the road.]

Friday, May 16, 2014

Neurotypicals won't always understand certain elements of Asperger's, and that's okay

It's starting to dawn on me that people in my life who aren't on the spectrum are never really going to fully understand what it's like to be on the spectrum. They can try, certainly, but they won't fully get it, and that makes it a bit more difficult for me to explain things I do to them.

My kid brother thinks I focus too much on my Asperger's and says so every time I mention having it. The problem is that I only mention it if we're talking about disabilities at all or if I happen to see something related to it. According to him, I talk about it constantly, which I don't because as anyone who actually has Asperger's knows it's much more fun to talk about your special interests constantly.

It hit me tonight at dinner when I made a joke about my Asperger's and he implied again that I discuss it too much that he must not understand how much work I have to do just to survive in a world that he can navigate without thinking. He was born with a normal brain that allowed him to naturally develop social skills, make friends, and avoid being mistreated. I was not. I had to struggle just to make friends. I had to develop a highly sophisticated, self-deprecating sense of humor to fight off bullies from the moment I entered kindergarten until the moment I graduated high school. I didn't even know I had Asperger's until I was 20 years old.

As an adult, I need to actively make sure that I don't put myself in situations that would be overwhelming for me. I need to manage my condition constantly to keep myself safe. I need to overthink social situations so I don't say the wrong thing or embarrass anybody - naturally, this is extremely tiring, and the social anxiety I developed from being bullied doesn't help matters.

And all that work is just to make sure I don't have a panic attack or a breakdown whilst going through an average day. My brother will never have to worry about that, so he can't possibly understand why I have to do this. And I've accepted now that he can't understand and that I can't explain it to him - and that's okay. Even though he's my best friend because we grew up together and always had each other, there are going to be certain things that happen to one of us that the other one can't comprehend.

I should probably just discuss the Asperger's stuff with my parents and not him, though, just to be safe.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm alive!

Today is Autism Positivity Day, but it's a bit difficult to be positive when it's pouring outside. Actually, it's not difficult to be positive, but it's really hard not to be lazy. (I also have a sensory issue with rain. Strangely enough, I can take and very much enjoy hot showers, but rain bothers me for some reason. Maybe it's the cold.)

I'm actually working on a subject guide on Asperger's in adults for one of my grad school classes, and I'm going to host it here on a page on my blog so everyone can use it as a resource. I really do think that one of the biggest problems with so-called autism awareness campaigns is that they so often forget us - the adults on the spectrum. Autism doesn't magically disappear when we turn 18, and so I think it's valuable for us to pool our resources and help each other self-advocate as best as we can.

It's been a while since I last wrote here. In that time, I did not get the job I interviewed for, nearly finished my third semester of grad school (I have about two weeks left - and then just one to go before the Master's degree!), turned 25 years old on April 25th, and have one sensory overload less in my life because for six months my grandmother is living with my aunt in Rochester. (It's a real relief and my mood's improved considerably because I'm not constantly being barraged.) I've also applied for another archiving position and an internship, so hopefully one of those two will go better and I'll get some proper experience!

Anyhow, it's back to working on that subject guide/resource list for grad school, so I'd best get to that! See you all soon!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wish me luck tomorrow - interview time!

I've been extremely busy as of late between catching up on my massive art backlog and starting up school again, but I'm writing here today because I'm nervous. I've got a job interview in my field tomorrow morning and I'm hoping beyond hope that it goes well.

I don't think I've ever been this concerned with making a first impression in my entire life. I'm actually getting my hair blown out before I go at a salon and I've picked out a pretty nice outfit, things I generally don't do normally which may be why I'm still single, but that's for another post. It's only a part-time position, but the experience is what matters here - I need to get real archival experience and this would be a great place to start. Do keep your fingers crossed for me, everyone!