Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Onions, Nylons, and Vera

Ever hear or see something about autistic folks having an issue with certain items? Kind of like the extreme opposite of their interests?

Yeah, I have my own likes and dislikes, Vera. I just deal with my dislikes.

Oh? You do? Interesting. Now I'm curious: how do you deal with items of complete and utter dislike?

Ummm, I don't think about it. I just do it.

Do what?

I just deal with it and move on.

And this is why folks can't have nice things.

I get that conversation, shown above, too many times to count. Those that are non-autistic (neurotypical or allistic) have this seemingly inate ability to take on nouns that cause them displeasure and bifurcate themselves from said nouns.

Hey, Vera? English much?

Okay; note that I used the word "ability" in the previous paragraph. In other words, non-autistic folks are able to separate their being from something or someone or some place that causes such disdain.  The same can be said with folks dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); folks that do not have this condition are able to strip themselves away from people, places, and things (nouns!) that trigger flashbacks of horrific events in their lives.

I, as both an autistic and a person with PTSD, can not do such things. I am not able. I am disabled. Yep. Allow me to explain.

For example, with most autistic folks, we have a tendency to desire things that keep us calm and abhor things that makes us all jumpy.

Umm, yeah, I do that too!

That's awesome! So, say you're at a restaurant, and you order a burger and fries and tell the waiter, "no onions, please," but the cooks forget that and put onions on anyway. What would you do?
It depends on how I feel in that moment. Sometimes, I'll just take off the onions. Sometimes, I'll just eat it with the onions. Or even a couple of times I'll ask the waiter to make me another burger.
It depends on how you feel, you say? So the texture of the onions don't smell like a freshly bathed skunk and tastes like eating sharred glass to you?

Ummmm, no....

Ah, okay then. Your sensory processing can override the experience of having onions on your burger. With me, not so much. The scent of the (either raw or cooked) onions in my food makes my skin feel like it's twisting and bending itself all by itself. And then the looks of sliced onions have the equivalence of albino (or maroon top-coated) earthworms (because onions have segments, just like earthworms do). And then trying to chomp on them is like my tongue is about to get cut up and the teeth broken into pieces due to the crunchy texture.

But Vera, onions are good for your health!

Nope. Still not eating them. Unless they are onion rings from Burger King, heh.

Here's another example of senses gone wild when introduced to a texture of my disliking; nylons. Pantyhose, trouser socks, thigh highs, bathing suits, cute little g-strings; you name it, I'm not wearing it. At one time, as part of me questioning my autism, I tried overriding the senses by voluntarily wearing such items to please other folks. After a while, it got to the point where I just don't want to look at the damn things.

Wait, you mean to tell me that autistic people can override their sensory problems?! You just said a while back that you couldn't!

It is possible for (most, not all) autistic folks to, on a very rare and extreme situation, to do so. It requires a lot of energy and a game plan to make sure things go smoothly. However, it can not be done on a daily basis; the autistic body will not be able to function because the autistic mind is not able to handle such large quantities of overwhelming sensory absorption.

Back to the nylons, please. In my case against nylons, it also has a PTSD tie-in. When I was growing up, I had to wear pantyhose whenever I went out in public wearing a skirt or dress. It was mandatory. My mother made sure that before the family would leave the house for church, for example, that if I wore a dress or skirt, I must have on those damn devices that (because of my fluctuating adolescent body) would feel like I'm rubbing my inner thighs with sand and would actually try to blend into my skin, causing heat rashes and scrapes. One time, my mother discovered I managed to go to church in a skirt without pantyhose (such a great feeling, and other girls in church didn't wear pantyhose, just socks). My mother was like: "that's because they're sluts. When you don't wear pantyhose, you're telling everybody that 'hey, I'm a slut!' Is that what you want?". After that argument, I decided to not wear dresses or skirts because of the insistence of wearing pantyhose. Turned out to be a good choice, actually.

To close, autistic folks not live life hard and love harder, but also loathe the hardest. And in most cases, for good reason.

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