I struggle with maintaining friendships and the biggest reason is because I’m too busy for friends. But I don’t mean busy as in not having time to be a good friend or to be there when they need me. I’m a really good friend. I am very passionate about friendships I do make and I feel connections very deeply. When I say I’m too busy, I mean I’m too busy isolating myself in a dark room because social interactions overstimulate me and cause me to shut down. I’m too busy wanting to be alone because it’s more predictable. I’m too busy cocooning myself in my sensory swing to stay calm. I’m too busy sorting some of my sensory toys to help organize my racing thoughts and keep myself from having a meltdown. I’m too busy being frozen in place because transition and initiation of tasks is very difficult for me. I’m too busy melting down because I can’t always keep myself together. I’m too busy balancing between under-stimulation and overstimulation and trying to find a middle ground. I’m too busy giving myself squishies and smacking my belly and thighs because I feel like I’m floating away. I’m too busy crying because I feel like a burden when my friends make a big deal about me being distant. I’m too busy repairing and healing the traumatized autistic little girl within me who grew up abused and neglected. I’m too busy teaching myself how to communicate in other ways when I suddenly lose my ability to speak because I never received speech therapy as a child. I’m too busy trying to follow a schedule and routine and by the end of the day, I’m too drained to commit to anything else. I’m too busy covering my ears because this world is too loud. I’m too busy with my special interests because it’s the only consistent thing in my life and I don’t want to disrupt that. I’m too busy giving my autistic children everything they need and getting emotional because it’s everything I never had. To all my friends, I’m sorry I can’t always be present because I’m too busy being autistic.
I wanted to share with you what it’s like being autistic and also suffering with body dysmorphia
I hate my eyes but I’m not talking about the color. I’m talking the absence of sparkle. That sparkle was stolen by society that keeps telling me how I see the world is wrong.
I hate my smile because it’s a reminder of having to mask my happy flappy hands because society prefers quiet hands.
I hate the way I walk because society says it’s not “sexy” enough. I’m very clumsy and bump into things because I lack body awareness and I have poor posture.
I hate my body because society made me feel like my hanging belly, stretch marks and sagging breasts is ugly. I look in the mirror and pick apart everything and I cry because I’m disgusted.
I’ve spent all my life internalizing everything society sees as a flaw. But thinking about it on a deeper level, I now recognize that I actually don’t hate myself. I hate the person that I have become to protect who I really am. I hate that I’ve chosen to put myself down because it’s easier to tolerate hate from myself than to cry about the rest of the world hating me. I hate that I’ve had to mask a lot of my autistic traits so that I was protected from abuse. My fatal flaw is perfecting everything I do so the world has less of a reason to bully me.
As part of my self healing journey, I’m trying to find myself again and take back that power to love myself no matter what people think or how people feel about me.
I was 4 years old when I first learned that my happy flappy hands were “inappropriate”. I was in class and the teacher said it was snack time and I happily flapped my hands and giggled. She placed her hands on my hands and set them down on my lap and whispered “that’s not how we act”.
I didn’t have verbal speech fully mastered yet but I did speak loud and clear with my body. I would bite others when I didn’t want to be touched, I would bang my head when I was overstimulated and I would flap my hands when I was happy. But I still don’t understand why it was so wrong for me to express my happy emotions. Why do I have to suppress my happy stims? Why does it make others so uncomfortable to see me happy? Why isn’t the world more accepting of different forms of expression? I hear professionals pushing the “quiet hands” nonsense and I get sick to my stomach.
As an autistic adult who took all my life to learn to embrace my autism, after spending most of my life having people tell me the way I function is wrong, I want to be the one to tell the next generation of autistic children that it’s ok to flap your hands. It’s ok to be happy and to express it in a way others aren’t used to. It’s ok to flap those hands as much as you want until you feel enough of that happy energy has been released. I understand that regulating emotions is sometimes complicated and even happy emotions are considered BIG emotions. We regulate it the best way we know how and please don’t let the world stop you. Being happy and showing it is not a bad thing. It only means you experience it in a much profound way than anyone else and that’s a very beautiful thing, to be able to feel immense happiness. You don’t need to contain it. It’s a beautiful thing to hand flap happily over the smallest things in life that others take for granted. Happy flappy hands are so pure and beautiful and I hope that someday everyone else can see it the same way I do.
Being submerged in water has always been one of my favorite things for as long as I can remember. It’s been so beneficial for me in different ways and I wanted to share that with you.
Being submerged in water is a very calming sensory experience for me. It has helped me regulate overstimulation caused by my surroundings. The pressure of being in water makes me feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from me and I can finally relax and breathe. It also helps with my concentration and therefore I do a lot of mental processing while I’m in water because I can process my thoughts more at ease. It’s why I make most of my life decisions in the shower. Water puts out that fire I feel in my brain and calms my overactive nerves. It also brings out the best of me. My hands are flappy happy and I’m giggly when I’m in water.
Drowning is the #1 cause of death in autistic children. I have the advantage of knowing how to swim from a really young age so drowning was always less of a risk for me. I used to elope a lot as a child and I would always go where water was.
Fun fact: I used to swim in the Hudson River!
I’m autistic and my main special interest is arts and crafts. It’s very broad because I’m also ADHD which makes it hard for me to focus on a task too long. So I hyper-fixate on several different forms of art to satisfy my need to indulge in my special interest.
A special interest is something that a autistic person develops deep interest to and therefore gathers all facts and information about the thing and sometimes it’s all they can talk about. I use my special interests to cope with sensory overload and my depression. My art is a form of self expression.
I love to draw. I used to spend hours when I was little drawing flowers and cats and eventually started drawing portraits of my favorite celebrities and people.
I love to sew. I make gowns for prom, weddings and other occasions. I enjoy making little dresses for my daughter and now I’m trying to teach myself how to make clothes for boys because I would like to make a suit for my son and husband. I also take baby clothes or loved ones clothes and I make a memory bear for customers of mine. I made one for each of my kids. I also make baby bows and tutus.
I love to embroider. I’m the only one in my family from the newer generation to carry on that skill. I was inspired by my grandma. My grandma and all her sisters did embroidery. My grandma is so happy that I do it now. I even like to incorporate hand beading into my embroidery work as well.
I love to crochet. I’m currently working on a beach waves blanket and a white table runner. I have many more ideas but I have to finish those 2 projects first. I also like to loom knit. My very first loom knitted project was a long bag that my grandma could use to stash all those plastic bags from the grocery store because it was always scattered around the house and I thought she would appreciate my effort in trying to minimize clutter for her.
I love resin art. I make resin paintings, sculptures and geodes. I also make jewelry with resin which brings me to my next thing.
I love making jewelry. I mainly make DNA keepsake jewelry that incorporates breastmilk, cremation ashes, lock of hair and more. I also work with fine silver metal clay. I make fingerprint pendants with that. I also do metal stamping with some of my Jewelry. I also like to do some wire wrapped jewelry.
I love polymer clay. I make fetuses from 4-18 weeks gestation and put them in a resin heart as a memorial keepsake for parents who suffered a miscarriage. I also make snakes that I hand paint myself.
I love needle felting. I make mini pocket pets and I also make 3D pet portraits. I also make small cat butt magnets.
I love paper crafts. I love making paper flowers and handmade cards.
I love making custom vinyl shirts. I’ve done many birthday shirts and other kind of shirts.
I love floral art. I pick pretty flowers and I remove all moisture and put them in resin.
Please feel free to info dump about your special interests in the comments. I would love to read them all and get to know you all better.
Autistic people are 4 times more likely to get sexually assaulted than neurotypical people. I’m autistic and I’m a sexual assault survivor. I don’t blame my autism or myself for what I went through but I do believe it’s important to talk about these things so people can be aware and understand the intersectionality between autism and sexual assault.
What made me more vulnerable to sexual assault is my difficulties with non verbal communication. I have a hard time interpreting body language and facial expressions. I was very trusting and sometimes gullible so it made it easier to manipulate and groom me. I even have difficulties with verbal communication because I don’t really understand hints and subtext when others talk to me. I was also unaware of danger and often unknowingly put myself in risky situations. I sometimes have delayed response to situations due to the way I process information on a certain day. So by the time I realize that there’s red flags, it’s already too late. My processing speed is much slower if I’m already dealing with sensory overload which can be triggered by many things.
I still have a lot of trauma to heal from. I wish I could just snap my fingers and the pain just disappears. I used to see the good in everyone but now I’m hyper vigilant and avoidant. I need to protect myself because there really are disgusting people in this world who target whoever is the most vulnerable. Please stay safe out there!
Growing up I didn’t have my own Lego set. I do desperately wanted legos but my mom always said she didn’t have the money to buy it. Now as an adult, I treat myself to Lego sets whenever I can afford it because I feel that I owe that to my inner child that’s still healing from trauma.
Our home is loaded with legos. I do have children so they obviously love it. But legos is more than just a toy for me. Whenever I complete a set, my confidence level goes through the roof. As someone who struggles with confidence development, legos is an easy way to help boost that. Legos also helps stimulate my brain and helps me with problem solving. I also love the opportunity to be creative. The instructions that comes with it are visual so I’m able to understand it just fine. It’s the perfect sensory tool for me and very therapeutic. It helps decrease stress levels and sensory overload. It helps me build patience and encourages my need to hyper focus on something I really love. It also helps me build a stronger bond with my children. Legos is one of the few things we can all do together that makes us all happy. Also, since I never received occupational therapy as a child for my needs, playing with legos is the best thing for my physical development because it develops dexterity and strength in the fingers but also teaches me control of the pressure applied when building things with intricate detail. I lack body awareness and I’m often heavy handed. Building with legos has taught me what gentle touch is.
I recently released my autism poetry book called “Beautifully Wired by Jessica Jenkins”. It explains autism and my personal experience and perspective as an autistic person in poetry form. The same day I released that book, I opened up Microsoft word on my laptop and started typing up my next book. It’s going to be a personal memoir about growing up autistic and masking. I’ll be sharing many raw details of my life and I really hope that my readers are able to connect with me when they read it. At this time I don’t know when it’ll be finished and released but I’m very confident that it won’t take me anywhere near as long as the poetry book took. I’ll keep you all updated. In the meantime, you can find my autism poetry book on Amazon. Click here to order your copy and please don’t forget to leave a review after you receive it and read it!