Salad in a Blender

Until quirks are the norm, life will never be as fun as it was surely intended to be.

The world is made up of many people who see, feel, and think differently.  We need to start being ok with a world that doesn’t look and do things one way.

In fact, I’m certain if we look to those who see and feel and think differently and value their experience, perspective and ideas we will see beautiful change in this world.

  Someone jumps on the spot because it calms them. 
Someone needing to chill and be alone  doesn’t mean they are mean or that they are angry with you.

We might not call someone lazy because they don’t want to jump from their school day to another activity or don’t like to partake in certain events.  Taking in the sensory world usually feels like a herd of galloping clydesdales heading straight for you!  It is exhausting! 

Let us focus on the things we love.
Help us find confidence in doing things that use our natural talents and bring us peace!  That way, the precious stores of incredible, abundant or limited, energy will be used in the best way!

We might not laugh about someone who speaks awkwardly because we would know it’s just because their mind is going 1000 miles a minute and they can’t instinctively find the right words at the right times.  We think and speak and wonder and rearrange and worry and visualize all in the same moment.

We wouldn’t freak out over a meltdown in public because, hey, being out in public is a touch tortuous.  Being with people who don’t know how and why it is, makes it even more painful.

Like being the only one who can see a tornado coming, nobody else is sweating and screaming and when it is over, your little house is the only thing that got blown over and everyone is looking at you….then you need to search for somewhere to retreat into solitude, confused but also happy that you’re now safe and alone.

We would start making things easier for each other instead of trying to chop down a person’s strongest roots.  Eliminate the undesirable behaviours….a terrible term.  Here’s the thing…if you give me a chance to breathe and step back and close a door, I can do so much more than if you downplay my emotions or remove comfort zones or routines.

You can’t just say “oh we make him/her do this/that because autism doesn’t rule our life”  I just cringe anytime I hear people talk like that because that sounds like they are disregarding the difficulty their loved one has with certain outings or situations. You actually DO need to adjust your life a little.  And there is no “getting used to” things that bring you extreme discomfort. Exposure therapy?? No.  All you are doing is taking my reaction and suffocating it when it’s best for you.  Where does the pain go that I’m experiencing?  I’ll tell you a few places   it could show up.  A meltdown.   Lashing out.  Eating disorders.  Alcoholism.  Depression.  So you think you’ve handled the “undesirable behaviour ”   but all you have done is forced your needs on another and forced them to seek comfort in destructive ways to self.

Great things come from gentle, loving encouragement.   And allowing time for our minds to get wrapped around whatever it is your wishing us to do.

If we decide we will take on this request. . I like a start time, an end time, break time, and the ability to be comfortable wherever it is we are headed.  Please be ok with going over the plan a few times if necessary   I am mapping it out in my head to be ready for each step.   Please don’t surprise me with unexpected people and extend the duration of the outing.  I might agree to lunch out, but I don’t want to sit at a table by the line up waiting to be seated or in the path of the glaring offensive sun beaming through a curtain-less window.  

You wouldn’t pour a 10 kg bag of flour into a teacup.  Yes you got a teacup of flour but what happens to the rest of that perfect and valuable flour? I would never run my lovely dinner salad through the blender.  Why would you do that to your beautiful salad?  I’d much rather let my salad be a salad all colours, fresh and crispy.  One simple step back can give someone struggling the power to move 100 steps forward.  Trust me on this. 

If you know someone who has autism or a sensory processing disorder or any other type of amazing difference, know that they’re doing the very best they can at every possible moment.  It’s the only way they know.  We learned early on about expectations and the inner calm we would sacrifice to meet them.   If you are able to help someone get through their day a little easier you can then see just how super fabulously smart, dedicated and kind they are.

When someone sees their path ahead full of scary beasts, and they know they have to get through it no matter what, they go in cringing and screaming and waiting for pain.  Total torture.  Then guess what?  They get to look forward to a replay every day of their life.  Starts to feel like dread.  Starts to feel like an ending before the beginning. Defeated.  You know there won’t be time to refuel.  You know you’ll have to mask or pretend through most interactions just to get by.

  I grew up with all kinds of sensory issues that I worked at 100%, 24/7 just to “fit in”.  That fitting in felt like fighting the beasts.  I still have to work at it every day. 

It must become typical and wonderful to see true authenticity.  Let’s scratch the idea of conforming.  Let’s praise our kids for being real and honest and not giving in to the pressures of society. Embrace the quirks.  Until quirks are the norm, life will never be as fun as it was surely intended to be.  Let’s stop assuming and expecting.  It’s hurting people!  Let’s find out about comfort zones and preference and know that not everyone can show up or tackle stuff or manage basics without costing them their entire energy allowance for that day.  Or week or month.  Burnout happens.  It happens much quicker when little tasks use huge amounts of your energy and peace of mind.  You feel life become a pool of quicksand where you know you will never get out.  The more you try the more you sink.  The only way to win is for the struggle to be recognized and adjustments to be made.  You CAN walk a different path.  You don’t NEED to go through the quicksand.
What if some kind soul opened a side door where the beasts couldn’t fit…and we could go along with our day free of pain, feeling safe, all while knowing we have a friend.  That sounds nice right?  And logical too?

It can be as simple as:

Turning down your music.

Forgetting about eye contact.

Closing a blind.

Letting someone sit in the chair they always sit in.

Allowing a chill out for 5 min.

Stop talking so much.

Give someone time to absorb new info and see it clearly anyway they need, whether through visuals or just extra time to think it through before demanding input or decisions.

Don’t be offended if they don’t want to eat lunch with you or get together later.  They may have had all they can take just with the basics of life and just cannot fathom adding extras.

These sound like small and fair things for anyone no matter who they are doesn’t it?

We need each other!  We need our differences.  We need to change this world from a place where everyone needs to “strain” the unique flavours out and pretend to be vanilla  into a world where possibilities and the magic of true self are endless. 


I’m not about to eat them everyday but wow what a nice experience for my mouth that was.

I like to do things the exact same every time. If I have a way to get somewhere I’m not likely going to change it. Even if you promise it’s faster, or easier. If I’ve already figured out MY way, that’s it. Things like pulling into the driveway. I pull up. Sometimes my husband backs in…no…why are you doing that? I like to eat the same things together and can sometimes eat the same meal everyday. I pack my kids lunches almost exactly the same everyday. Luckily they are also creatures of habit.

Once I figured out where to take my recycling I was horrified when I was told there was a much closer one to go to. Uh no. That means going in and figuring this new place out. Starting from scratch?! NO! There is just such a heavy weight that comes with getting to an unfamiliar place and then going in and “making friends” with that new space and the new faces.  I actually DID try this closer recycling place.  It WAS much closer and MUCH cleaner and easier so it is now my place.

Sometimes if the planets align and I face my fears and try something new it becomes my new thing which is why, even though I describe myself as super set in my ways and unlikely to change, it doesn’t mean I want to completely shut down and never again look at the possibilities ….it just means the lead up and the many variables have to be just so.

Then one magical day I might try eating a plain marshmallow and like it! I am 41 and just tried my very first plain marshmallow after years of assuming they were too sticky and too sweet. I’m not about to eat them everyday but wow what a nice experience for my mouth that was. Now, to be completely honest, because lord knows I cannot leave out precious details, I DID only agree to eat the marshmallow if I rolled a 5.  I did.  And no, I don’t roll the dice for all my decisions. Some of you may try bungee jumping, some of us sample a well known well loved treat with far more trepidation.

I’ll eat at home.

I don’t want to be required to talk to people to get my food.

I don’t usually like eating at restaurants or other peoples houses. I don’t want to be required to talk to people to get my food. What if they seat me at a table with 2-4 hard chairs?  No, I need a booth.  A quiet, cozy booth out of the way of traffic and bright windows.  What if I order something super scrumptious and want to stuff it in, but then cannot even enjoy it because of all the people around who might be watching me eat? I’ll be forced to take pretty little bites and dab my lips over and over.  Things will get sloppy and I’ll be stuck trekking through a bunch of tables and people to find the washroom. It will be smelly and have super loud flushing toilets that flush when I’m not ready.  There will be hand dryers that only go off once I am certain they aren’t working with my type of motion. It will be too dark to actually see the sauce on my uncomfortable outing outfit.  As I find my way back to the table I will wonder if people are staring.  If I see someone look at me I will assume I have something dreadful stuck to my shoe or worse, maybe I forgot to pull my pants up!  I’ll wish I had checked the mirror just one more time.

I don’t feel “chill” enough to risk going to someone’s house where I’m likely already in something way less comfy than yoga pants and a sweater and then be served fish. Or something equally grotesque like liver? How do I maintain my happy-go-lucky, calm persona when the look and smell of the food on my plate make me feel like I might start spinning around while vomiting like the exorcist girl? What if they have no diet coke…only regular? What if they don’t have kids and want to talk about politics? What if they have some fancy fork or tong that everyone but me knows how to use? What if their toilet runs over??  What if they serve wine and they start to wonder if I had too much when I slur my words, not realizing I’m just really uncomfortable and rarely speak without some sort of nonsense coming out.  What if I DO have too much wine and I start channeling their deceased Grandma or recently departed hamster??  No thanks, I’ll eat at home.

Go for Coffee??

You wouldn’t ask Santa if we could “do this more often” Hasn’t he done enough?

“Hey, let’s go for coffee” Uh, excuse me? No. That’s just way too aggressive. Like where are we going? Will it be hard to find, is wide open parking available? What kind of people will be there? Will I feel awkward? (of course I’ll feel awkward) Will they have weird coffees that nobody knows how to pronounce? Will I need to pay ten dollars for a big silly mug of some hard to pronounce brew that I will be too nervous to even enjoy? Will someone else you know show up, forcing me to act all cool and fun? Will it turn into shopping and a movie? Will I be unable to concoct a good enough reason why I can’t go. Is “I need to go home and sit quietly” a good enough reason to refuse a continued interaction? If I’m able to get out of there safely will you start popping in? What if you start calling me to kill time? Will I happily agree to your super fun party while we are being all social and then finally, at home, be in the pits of hell trying to figure my way out of it? I can maybe do one event. Per year. It takes me the rest of the year to reflect on it and find moments to recover from it. Kinda like Santa. You wouldn’t ask Santa if we could “do this more often” Hasn’t he done enough? I realize I’m not heading out with a sleigh full of toys and bringing joy to one and all but I’m preparing and planning and will be putting on my best self when it’s my time. When I head home that’s it. Year off.