Sometimes I have to… walk around in circles… walk around in circles… walk around in circles..

Sometimes I do.  Destiny has seen fit to allow amusing anecdotes to happen to me more than usual lately in order to give me examples for my new blog.  I am suitably grateful.  In this case it wasn’t much fun while it was happening but it was basically worth the story.

On To the Story Already

It’s Sunday night as I write, Monday technically.  On Wednesday or Thursday evening I don’t remember which I started doing laundry in the laundry room in the basement of my apartment.  I stayed down there and did something productivish in a notebook during the wash as is my custom, but went back up to my room to wait for the dryer, probably because I wanted to get something done on my computer or eat dinner or something, I’m not sure.  Normally, because of executive functioning difficulties I couldn’t do anything but squid around on the internet during this time.  In fact more often than not doing laundry is the only productive thing I do in a given day.  It’s hard enough some days to eat 1-2 meals and do laundry.  But this week has been one of the two or three best executive functioning weeks of the year so I had energy to spare.

In fact I had enough energy to immerse myself fully in a productive activity—either writing the first blog post (see that post for why it counts as productive) or coding a game I’m working on, I’m not sure which—which is such a rare and wonderful miracle that I basically didn’t even plan for it.  I hyperfocused on the activity whatever it was and forgot about the laundry entirely.  At least that is what I assume happened.

I didn’t find out until Friday night when I looked for my clothes.  I had been on such a productivity kick writing and coding that it didn’t seem worth transitioning to showering which tends to kill my momentum.  And I usually don’t change clothes if I don’t either shower or go out, because I figure I’m dirtier than my clothes anyway and I want to save clothes because laundry can kill an entire day.  It was too late at night and I was too tired (don’t ask why I looked for my clothes then; that’s a whole other random thing.), so I waited till Saturday morning after my ritual of slowing sipping tea until I can process the world enough to do anything (early in this process in the most common time I’m nonverbal).

Return to the Laundry Room

I went down to the laundry room, with the following plan.  If my clothes were there I’d bring them up to my room and then go out for breakfast and coffee.  If the clothes were gone as I feared I would just go for breakfast and coffee and worry about it when I had more caffeine and food in my system so that I could deal with the planning and administrative stress better and avoid a meltdown.  When I get down there, my clothes are there but my laundry basket is not.  This was not something I planed for.  There were two other baskets that were definitely not mine, but I was socially stress out about the idea of taking them.

I walk around the area looking for my laundry basket.  Because it’s not there this gets stuck in an endless loop.  I pace back and forth for, I would estimate, 20 minutes, but I’m only estimating by how tired I was after; I have no sense of the passage of time during something like that.  I just kept going faster and faster and was barely stopping to look by the end.  It’s important for me to explain to you what this feels like on the inside.  It’s about as distracting as being dragged through water (and realize being dragged through water may be more distracting for me than a neurotypical) but I manage moments of lucidity in which I know I should stop walking and decide what to do.

But I can’t do that until I’ve decided what to do next and even then its hard to remember the syntax to control my muscles so to speak.  It really feels like I can’t remember how to input commands to my body.  I’m on autopilot and I don’t have the password to turn it off.  I’m feeling frustrated emotionally and desperate for this to be over soon.  By some cruel logic, these emotions translate into motivation to move faster along the endless loop I’m pacing, as if I’m in a hurry to arrive at some destination.  Of course I’m just making the motion and sights more distracting so its harder to think about how to stop.  This easily could have lasted for  an hour and then triggered and meltdown and killed the whole day and maybe the next.  But I did something clever.

Jesus would like totally just say whatever and like borrow the other basket already, sheesh!

I was trying to tell myself to get one of the other baskets, because I was frustrated enough to get over my inhibitions against borrowing somebody’s thing for 5 minutes.  But my planning couldn’t cut through the loop.  What I normally do in this situation if I’m around somebody else is to tell them to tell me to stop doing what I’m doing.  Somehow this works, because listening to somebody telling me to do something is a powerful motivation that operates on a deeper level than I realize that they’re only saying that because I told them to.  My speech faculty isn’t caught in the loop because talking is independent of walking, so I’m using it to get around the connection gaps in my own mind.

This time I was alone though.  Talking to myself doesn’t work as well, but it sometimes can.  What really makes it work is if I can dissociate enough from what I’m saying that I process hearing myself speak like another person.  It helps to be alienated from what I’m saying and it helps to say it in an unnatural accent or register.  I did both here.  I asked “What would Jesus do?”.  Even if I’m a Christian, I’m definitely not the sort in the habit of saying that.  Then I answered myself in a valley girl accent.  “Jesus would like totally just say whatever and like borrow the other basket already, sheesh!”

I listened to what I had to say then and used the basket to bring the clothes to my room and then immediately put it back.  Then I got a much needed breakfast and coffee before going off to buy a new laundry basket.  I managed to do that and also buy another useful item while I was looking, because as I mentioned, this was a good executive functioning week.  I didn’t manage to blog about it last night though.  But I did tonight.

The Point of This

I sound like I’m bragging about how inept I am, I know.  That’s not exactly what I’m doing but I am doing something related.  I’m trying to dramatize as well as explain the sort of difficulties I among other Autistic people have that NTs have a particularly hard time understanding.  This sort of thing is what is referred to by the technical term “uneven skills” or what I like to call “Exotic Skill Deficiencies” a term coined by a close friend for me specifically.  The gist of the “uneven skills” question is when NTs ask somebody like me “You’re smart enough to do advanced mathematics; how come you’re too stupid to do your laundry?”  According to my experience and, judging from other Autism blogs, the experience of many other Autistics, NTs most commonly respond to this sort of thing by not believing us and saying we’re just lazy.  This is a failure of empathy on their part.  (That joke never gets old.)

The answer, I think is to not just to explain things to people, but also to show them, help them get in the head of people like me in this sort of situation.  I want to show them the narrative, the drama, inherent in navigating activities of daily living when you’re wired as funny as I am.  That requires a dramatic tone.  Because it’s a particularly pressing issue for education the public, I’m going to be putting a pretty high priority on this sort of war story.  I hope I manage to come across decently sympathetically without compromising the truth.

Valediction With Out-Stuck Tongue

To any of you readers who believe me about all this but still want to call me high-functioning: huh?  Have you been listening?

“But you live independently.  How do you live independently, Setrain?”

Badly.  I live independently, badly.

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Gender, Noses and Strange Alien Geometries

I”m a boy with really long hair.  Yes I still say “boy” not “man” even though I’m 30.  I just don’t believe in my own maturity enough to call myself a man with a straight face.  It’s hard to say or type things that I don’t mean, like physically hard in a way that I’m sure I’ll get around to explaining.  Sometimes I can call myself a “guy” but this is not one of those times.  I’ve taken to calling all male humans boys and all female humans girls, regardless of age, in response to this difficulty.  Dear reader, please don’t be offended if I refer to mature adults in this fashion in what follows.

Enough Background: Now For Something That Happened Yesterday

Yesterday, some teenagers on the street mistook me for a girl and apologized.  I didn’t actually hear what they said while they were misinterpreting me, but I heard the apology.  I found that I wasn’t upset that they though I was a girl, but was a bit deflated that they apologized.  This is the sort of reaction that when I tell my friends about it, it makes tell me I’m probably transgendered.  A somewhat more convincing example is when I got my genome tested.  I was disappointed to be confirmed to be XY.  I was sort of holding out hope that I was XX and was biologically male because of some weird hormone disturbance.  That would have made me feel really good, in the way that explanations feel good, especially publicly accessible ones do.  Stuff like this keeps happening.

It’s not so much that I’m not sure I agree that I’m transgendered as I’m not sure I understand the question.  I’m fairly sure I would prefer to be a girl, especially if I can somehow have been a girl all along and avoid the awkwardness of a change.  But I understand that that’s not the same thing.  I certainly feel like I fit female stereotypes at least somewhat better than male ones and this becomes especially true if you discount things that seem to be the direct results of being treated as male (ie. people buy me male clothes and I wear them.)  But I don’t fit either very well.  I’d certainly be a weird girl as much as I am a weird boy.

There has been some discussion lately about people who are female and autistic having a different presentation, and I do fit the female autistic pattern pretty well.  Let me run down a list of female autism traits in a relatively reputable site and compare them to me:

From http://www.help4aspergers.com/pb/wp_a58d4f6a/wp_a58d4f6a.html

list credited to Rudy Simone

Usually a little more expressive in face and gesture than male counterparts

Well I actually exaggerate facial expressions and intonations a lot in order to express myself better so I certainly qualify.  On the other hand, I learned to do that from my girlfriend in high school, who is also Autistic.  I wanted to be like her.  On the elephant’s trunk (I’m out of hands) wanting to be like her is not exactly not a sign.

Better at mirroring than many males and so able to mirror many types of personalities.  Hence females may not have a strong sense of identity and can be very chameleon-like especially before diagnosis.

Definitely that.  I used to think I had multiple personality disorder.  I was always afraid to introduce friends to each other.

Will have obsessions, but they are not as abstruse or unusual as her male counterpart’s and tend to be more practical.

I have no idea how to judge that for myself.  They all seem perfectly fascinating and practical to me :p  Though surely being obsessed with understanding people must be practical.

More open to talking about feelings and emotional issues than males with AS.

I love talking about feelings.  I can talk about feelings until NTs are bored.  I am a geek of feelings.

Less likely to receive early correct diagnosis because the criteria is based on male character traits.  More likely to be diagnosed as bi-polar or manic depressive.

I wasn’t correctly diagnosed early, though I was also never diagnosed with bipolar.

Physical gestures/behaviors when happy more expressive than males: hand flapping, clapping, singing, jumping up and down, dancing, bouncing—this pertains to adult woman as well as girls.

I see you hand-flapping and raise you entire-arm-flapping.  I clap, I sing, I jump up and down, I dance (badly), I bounce; I’m thirty and none of these are anywhere close to stopping.  Home run on this one!  (See how excited I get when I fit criteria for being a girl.  I even bounced about it.)

Adult females are prone to both temper and crying meltdowns, even in public, sometimes over seemingly minor things due to sensory or emotional overload.  Hunger/food issues seem to be a common trigger.  Adult males not prone to crying.

Yes, but not crying in public.  But I was raised as a boy and that meant crying in public could get me beat up.  I cry a lot in private.  Meltdowns are often caused by hunger.

Tends to receive less tolerance and more expectation from others because she appears more adept.

I’m not sure about that one, but I’m not sure if it’s relevant, because it has so much to do with being seen as female.

Hates injustice and hates to be misunderstood; this can lead to anger and rage meltdowns.

Yes, just yes.  I sometimes have to hide from reading the news if I want to get anything done.

Less likely to stutter than male counterparts when stressed or upset; both may have raspy choked voice or suffer mutism.

Okay, I stutter, no girl point for me. 😦

Females are generally better at socializing in small doses.  May even give the appearance of skilled, but it is a ‘performance.’  Like her male counterpart will shut down in social situations once overloaded.

This was the description that made me thing this list was describing me in the first place.

More likely to keep pets for emotional support, but not always due to sensory issues.

I don’t have a pet, but I think I’m likely to keep a pet for emotional support in the future.  Just as soon as I live in an apartment that allows one.  (among other obstacles).

Conclusions

Okay, I definitely fit the pattern of Autistic girls more than Autistic boys.  However there could be a lot of explanations for that.  I mentioned my girlfriend in high school, but I fit most of the list before that.  But my very first real friend in the world was a girl who decided I must be lonely and that she would teach me how to have friends.  Maybe I act like a girl because I learned it from her.  On the other hand well before that I liked playing with girl toys more than boy toys and played with boy toys like they were girl toys a lot.  (just not when my dad was looking.)  On the elephant’s trunk, maybe I learned all that from my mom who was way more tolerant of my weirdness than my dad.  But on one foot, maybe it doesn’t matter where it comes from the point is I’m more like an Autistic girl now.  I’ve already told some friends that if they thought of me as a girl they would be less confused.  Maybe if I presented as an Autistic woman people would be less confused?

On the other foot,  gender identity is supposed to be something you feel on the inside.  I’m not sure what feeling like a woman is supposed to feel like.  I doubt I feel anything like it though; it’s just that I equally doubt that I feel like a man on the inside.  Just going by body image…  Well I do imagine feeling somewhat more at home in a woman’s body.  But even more so I’d feel more comfortable if I had the body of a small child.  I am frequently surprised looking in the mirror that I don’t have the proportions of a six-year-old.  When I imagine my self in my minds eye planning actions I picture more or less my six-year-old body.  The map hasn’t updated.  This causes lots of clumsiness.  It’s like growth spurt awkwardness that never ends.

But anyway, I certainly don’t want society to treat me as a kid, because my somatosensory map sees me that way.  I maybe used to want to be treated as a kid, but that was only because I despaired of freedom and would have settled for just being taken care of better.  Even worse, If I look deeper into my somatic intuitions, my imagination of my body is not most naturally human at all.  For example, I intuit being able to pick up things with my nose, though I’ve long since stopped forgetting that I couldn’t.  So you could say that I have an elephant’s trunk on the inside.  But I definitely don’t want to be treated as an elephant.  I want to have human rights and not have to worry about poachers.  It’s possible that a talking elephant would get rights, but I don’t want to be that test case.  In any case, being Autistic, I certainly don’t want my rights to depend on my ability to talk.  My ability to talk can come and go.  It’s easy to imagine losing it forever.  Especially if somebody turned me into an elephant.

Honestly, I’m not sure my body image fits in normal three dimensional Euclidian space exactly.  I do math in my head sometimes by a process a lot like imagining rearranging my limbs to get into a more comfortable position.  I will totally post about that someday.

Okay Actually Conclusions This Time

On the new world monkey’s prehensile tail, I have to pick something to identify as or I’ll just default to being seen as male.  Maybe female is less wrong.  I really just don’t feel up to bothering with doing anything about this now.  It would be so hard to explain in addition to everything else.  I want to keep thinking about this though.  Hopefully, I might help come up with insights into what gender identity means for different brains, or if the concept just isn’t applicable outside a certain distance from normal.

Final Bashfulness About Relatives Etc. Reading This

I’ve hesitated throughout this post about making it public, but I just don’t have enough public posts yet and this could help somebody or something and I’m trying not to be afraid or hide anymore.  Dear anybody who knows me among my readers for whom all of this is news, feel totally free to ignore any of this if it makes you uncomfortable, I’m not doing anything definitive or public yet.  If there are any situations in which you are likely to disown me—for example, if I get turned into an elephant—please tell me in a comment or email or something; it would be very useful information for me to have.

Okay, here goes.  I’m totally posting now.  You’ll see.  Actually from you’re point of view I posted a while ago.  More tense stuff.  Okay 3-2-1

Posted in Examples from my life, Theory | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

I didn’t mean you when I said “you”

I’m apparently off to a promising start at being inflammatory or something.  I already sort of offended the second close friend that I showed my first post to.  My goals for the following are 1) to correct what went wrong so that strangers are not offended by things I don’t mean 2) to explain why I screwed up as an instance of my language difficulties 3) Abstractly explore language in the process of saying what I meant and finally 4) create a convention I can use to avoid this in the future while linking to this post.

Here’s what I didn’t mean:

I did’t mean to be addressing the reader, early in my last post when I was talking about not being a self-narrating zoo exhibit.  I was arguing, out loud, for the blog to hear, at such people who might try to make me into such an exhibit, or any people who might tell me that that’s what I’m doing by expositing my internal experience to the general public in a theoretical way, as I intend to do.  If you, the reader, are not one of these people, you are not who I am yelling at.  I think that is probably clear to people who know the history of the phrase “self-narrating zoo exhibit” but I can’t be totally sure because I’m not very good at certain linguistic aspects of blogging that I’ll get into in a second.  If you don’t know what a “self-narrating zoo exhibit” is, then I’m definitely not talking to you.

It also apparently sounded like I was only talking to neurotypicals which I’m not.  I was primarily directing my anger at neurotypicals among the people behind the zoo exhibit phenomenon because I have a lot of sympathy for whatever oppressed people do to survive.  But I was potentially arguing with fellow Autistics and other neuroatypicals that might theoretically shame this blog as some sort of vulgar display.  Similarly, while I am inviting everybody to listen to what I have to say, the tone of that was directed at the doubters who I expect my first readers not to be.

I was also trying to run the whole zoo exhibit metaphor into the ground because I have it out for that metaphor.  I’ll talk more about this in some other post.

But How Could This Have Happened Setrain?

Good question, bold text.  I think the cruz of the issue is that standardly second person in a blog means the reader except in specific circumstances where it doesn’t that I didn’t manage to follow.  This didn’t occur to me at all because I didn’t have any readers at the time I was writing that post because there was nothing to read.  How could I be talking to readers when they didn’t exist.  The answer of course is that they would at the time the message was received.  Writing is often a dialog across time.  This is incredibly counterintuitive to me.

This sort of tense and pronoun issue is one of the things that comes pretty naturally to most adults that I have to remember the rules for consciously.  I have trouble remembering when you means me, because somebody is talking to me and things like that.  I have trouble figuring out the timeline in sentences like “I was going to go to the store but a dog was in my way and it bit me before I could get there.”  I often use the word “this” totally inappropriately when nobody can tell what it refers to.

What I’d like to be able to do:

I’d like to be able to yell at straw men like everybody else gets to.  Linguistics distinguished the audience of an utterance from the addressee.  The audience is the person being addressed grammatically, but the audience is the person you are really communicating to; they can be different.  Cicero wrote speeches against other politicians that were addressed to his enemies, but who he really wanted to convince was the Senate.  This is rhetorically effective and emotionally cathartic.  It’s a lot better than having to go “What I’d like to say to those people is ‘___’!  Take that, those people!” every time.

When speaking out loud I have figured out one the tricks people use to address somebody other than the audience, and can perform it crudely.  It involves something I call “quote voice”, the voice you use to put words in somebody’s mouth, often to mock them or their position.  Then a different but related voice is used to adress the quoted voice.  I’m sure there are ways to do this in writing; I’m equally sure I don’t know them yet.

I’m aware that the internet is supposed to be a place that people like me can communicate more easily.  It’s certainly true that I can write or type sometimes when I can’t talk and so it’s definitely good for that.  I’m sure I would join many in the community in praising the internet as a better way of communicating if I was born 5 years later.  But I spent my childhood with out it and I painstakingly learned some of the rules of verbal communication.  I’m exhausted at the thought of learning to communicate in text, time asymmetrically, even if the rules are easier.  I’ve procrastinated until now, and I’m only really starting to learn now.  I’m certainly not going to wait 10 years till I’m decent at it before I start blogging.  Instead I’m going to make stuff up.

Defining a Convention

Dear readers, when I adress you like this I am indeed addressing you, the readers, current, future and hypothetical.  If I wanted to qualify I could have added qualifiers to the adress.  If I don’t actually explicitly adress somebody then “you” does not default to meaning the reader.  It doesn’t default at all.  One should try to figure out from context who I am arguing against or otherwise talking about.  They are the addressee.  If you don’t know who I’m talking to, it’s almost certainly not you.  Addresses like “dear readers” should be considered to last until the end of the bolded section they appear in, or until a new address.  If they are at the head of a bulleted list they modify the whole list, but if they are in one item they are only relevant to that item.  If you make a comment to ask a clarifying question about this or any similar language convention I define in the future, I will be your best friend forever.

Closing Remarks

To the friend in question, Thank you for giving me the idea for my second post.  To the English Language, acquire third person imperatives and similar structures so this can be a little bit easier in the future.

To my hypothetical readers, I welcome you as readers whether you feel you have more in common with the first-person, second-person, various third-person, or any other hypothetical gramatical persons extracted from my opening essay.  Or indeed if you just want to listen to me talking to or at various people and comment on us all in third person.  Or yell at us, or whatever.  I’m just talking in public here.

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I claim this land in the name of small herbaceous plants!

I’m starting a blog because I might be trying to go back to school next year and I need to have a well established blog first.  I will explain.

Who I Am and What I’m For.

I just turned 30 and I’ve spent most of those 30 years knowing that there was something terribly wrong with me or the world or both.  For most of that time I’ve been torn between three different responses to this knowledge:  1) find the people like me because they must exist  2) find and advertise something valuable about myself  3) figure out what the heck is going on with me and then decide what to do.  Lately the three have combined; the answers have always been the same.  I’m on the Autism Spectrum.  That is both what is wrong with me and what is wrong with the world.  I’ve found my people and I’ve found what I’m for.

I’m for showing people worlds, mine, other people’s, and fictional ones.  I think that in figuring myself out, I have found things, normal people don’t need to know, even about themselves.  I’m not here to speak for anybody else, but I will speak about possible ways to be other that the exact way I am.  This blog is about the wide open universe of ways to be human, not just the part I live in, or even the part my community lives in.  This blog will seem to be about a lot of things, but its all really about different kind of mind, real and possible.

I am not a self-narrating zoo exhibit.  There is nothing special about your side of the bars.  The Neurotypical mind is just the best kind of mind evolution could produce for the benefit of being an average hunter gatherer.  There is nothing canonical or sacred about it.  Any particular interest it holds for me is only because it is both practically very useful for me to understand, and that there is by far the most available data about it.  What I’m saying is you’re in the zoo too.

I care about people as people, but I get that special autistic obsessive joy when I try to understand them intellectually.  This may seem to distract me from caring about people personally, but it allows me to care personally in a way that is as accurate as possible and that, for me, is worth it.  It makes me a better person that I ever could be by trying to be natural or intuitive.  Misunderstandings hurt people.

So What the Starfish Does the Title of my Blog Mean?

Something I wrote when I was 15 during a backpacking trip, after a half an hour spent staring and picking at a patch of small herbaceous plants that caused me to believe in a god again, because the world had so much detail it had to be holy: “Why doesn’t the world seem to have a place for me when there is world enough for me in every little patch of mossy ground.”  I named this blog after that quote.  I think I know the answer.

The smallest world I have ever found is the world of things that societies of normal people will admit matters.  There is not world enough for anyone in there.  I know that the inner lives of neurotypicals is not so impoverished, though I’ve wondered before.  I know they are silencing themselves and each other as well as me and my people and other people who are different.  I know they do this because they are afraid and ashamed, the same reason Autistic people often try to pass.

Freedom For My People

I want to be part of the fight for freedom for my people, for Autistic people.  But I love many people who are not autistic or even that abnormal.  I see how they are also held back by the cage they built around us and everything else but themselves.  I want to save them too.  I don’t think these things can be separated.  So I do the only thing I know how to do to help; I will try to show wonders to the world that make people want to open up the zoo cage and let the world in.

Obviously my life is not all joy and wonder.  Lots of things have hurt me and lots of things still do.  Lots of them happen to other people too and I want to stop as many people from getting hurt as I can.  But the first step is to let them exist in the first place: let the people who are being hurt exist, and let the pain that they feel exist.  All of the pain in the world is still happening to us whether we admit it is real and say that it matters or not.  A main benefit of the tiny world outside the zoo is that it can pretend to be safe simple and just.  But nobody gets to live there and when people go home to their minds they are still hurting in silence.  It usually doesn’t help anything or anyone to look away.  Pain is still there if you look away, but it can only be beautiful and wondrous if you look.

Consider the above a trigger warning for this entire blog.

This blog may also contain:

*Discussion about Autism and the Autistic Community and the politics thereof.

*Discussion about childhood, parenting, school and child abuse in those and other contexts.

* Discussion of writing and other forms of artistic expression of possibilities

* Random speculative philosophy

*Proposed new technical vocabulary for various types of experience or mental phenomenon that I try to make catch on.

*Discussions about language and communication in general and how it works, what it affects and how it might be broadened.

*Some discussions of my everyday activities and struggles, because I am allowed to speak for myself and I’m a passably good test case for all this theory.

*A certain flamboyant rhetorical style that I use to overcompensate for not being good at certain kinds of social signaling.

*Lots of jokes about sensitive subjects along with a principled distinction about what sort of such jokes are okay.

*Occasional poetic hymns to math

*Lots of long bulleted lists.

Why I Need a Blog to Go Back to School

So yeah.  I have a blog now.  I guess I’ll tell you why I need it to go back to school.  I’ve been up against enough difficulties from both inside and outside at getting my life  to work or getting anything done that I’m pretty sure it’s not worth my doing just for the normal benefits of being a “productive member of society.”  I’m not going to fight that hard to live inside normal.  I’d rather die out here, if it was down to that.   I only bother keeping myself out of an institution because I have friends that I can talk to about who and what I actually am.  If I’m going to go to college, get a job, anything like that it has to be as myself or I’m not interested.

So I need to feel I am welcome, that I’m invited in or I just won’t manage to go.  I don’t need to feel invited by everybody, but I do need to see that those same people who tell me that college is important and my measure as an intellectual, want me.  I need the society that tells me its a good idea, that would be impressed to say “I want you, actually you”.  Fooling them wins me no honor.

I’m done hiding, like some fugitives are done running.  Sometimes that gets them locked up or killed.  I don’t think that will happen to me though.  I think that I have things worth saying and somebody will care.  So I’m putting this out here because I believe somebody is listening.

This sounds really immature and I know it.  That’s okay; sometimes immature feelings are the truth.  I’m only just barely beginning to figure out how to be an adult in the world.  I have more knowledge and perspective than a middle schooler, but I’m feeling a lot of the same things they feel.  Pretending that I’ve been an adult since I was 18 would accomplish nothing.  I wouldn’t be mature; I’d just be shy.

Assertive Concluding Statements

I’m done being shy.  This piece of the internet belongs to me and several trillion small herbaceous plants.  We have something to show you.

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