Rebuilding the ‘house’ Restrictive Repetitive POWER

So it’s time to pick up the bricks and start again, metaphorically speaking. This time… strengthening the walls from the inside.

The realisation is quite profound – that of the reality you’ve managed to internalise, SO many self-deprecating lies as a result of pushed consumerism, peddled solutions to non-existent problems and an ever – moving goalpost, and targets which you will never reach.

Which you are never intended to reach, by the peddlers pushing this sort of nonsense.

The first lie? That there is an ‘end’ at all. Starting a health – focused journey the proper way also means realising that the journey itself IS the destination. You smash that present goal repetitively, every time you choose to do something positive for yourself. And keep choosing. Over and over again. Trusting in the process, and being comfortable in the now.

All the time we have IS just now. Looking after your health is a a reward based on gratitude for that health as it is now.

It’s not supposed to be a punishment.

Building a house means laying strong foundations, in this case, mental strength first, endurance and the ability to conquer obstacles by first breaking out of the cages of fear and doubt in your mind. It can be a painful process, but the only way out is through.

It’s no secret that the billion – dollar diet industry has a lot to answer for, regarding the detriment it can cause to mental and physical health, particularly in women. Poor mental health and a feeling of ‘lack’ is an ideal sales opportunity. Who creates the ‘problem’ sells you the solution and benefits financially from it. Don’t forget that.
Reams of weekly weigh ins, self-denial, boring, uninspiring exercises, obsessive calorie counting, insecurity and self-deprecation. Sucking all the joy out of life for the entire duration of the time the individual is willing to suffer, until they quite predictably give up and give in to a tasty cake-shaped defeat, having forgone the inner work needed for any physical undertaking.

Magazines with diet plans on one page and calorific recipes on the next. Keeping a mentality of dependence & powerlessness over natural human instincts, encouraging individuals to fight them rather than harness them, a ‘purity spiral’ of the same mentally-damaging nature as religious extremism. All built on the seeking of external approval.

All built on encouraging a mentality of lack, feeding on – and capitalising on – collective insecurity.

I’ve had more than my fair share of health hiccups. Mostly as a result of my already fragile and insecure mental state – sucked in to the lie, and held there, by a lifelong, permeating feeling of ‘otherness’ or non-belonging. In my younger years, living with undiagnosed autism, my tendency towards obsessive focus also made every ‘health’ effort I undertook a spiralling recipe for disaster.

I’ve since learned that a feeling of unworthiness is quite a common underlying issue with eating disorders, and that they also are quite a common theme among autistic people, for many varying reasons, with our tendency to hyperfixate throwing fuel on the already self-destructive fire.

In my case, I usually ended up suffering from them at times when I was particularly unhappy or feeling out of control with my life. I decided to blame a lot of it on my appearance, using my ‘imperfect’ body as a scapegoat for my struggles, something to throw all my intense focus on, and that becoming as skinny as possible – no matter the cost to my health – was the fundamental answer to all my insecurities and problems.

In my mind, it would allow me more external approval, ‘allow’ me to wear fitted garments, and make it possible to wear bright colours and fabrics I found uncomfortable without becoming overwhelmed by how they felt or looked (looking back.. extreme weight loss never DID cure these sensory issues, funnily enough). And, probably the most disturbing incentive : to look as weak externally as I felt internally, as if it would somehow communicate to the outside world the vulnerability I felt, that I needed far more support in life than I was getting.

During my bulimic & anorexic ‘diets’ (which took over my entire headspace) I kept diaries, smoked endlessly, causing chest infections (I’m mildly asthmatic) and took in huge amounts of caffeine in a bid to increase metabolism, documenting everything I ate, random scraps with zero consideration for the nutritional content and, if I deemed it too much, went to further extremes involving laxatives or self-induced vomiting.

THAT is where impossible standards of ‘beauty’ mixed with a feeling of life-long inadequacy and a self-hating hyperfixation can get you. This tendency can be extremely dangerous when it’s not understood or wielded properly.

Harmful fixations can trample all over you like a wild horse if you don’t hold onto the reins & harness this ability for good.

It was a vicious cycle that would further damage my mental & physical health through lack of proper nutrition and outdoor exercise (amino acids, physical activity and daylight are extremely important in the release of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, and vital for proper neurological function, sleep / wake cycles & mental health).

My eating disorders ended up fuelling themselves in this way, my worsening mental state perpetuated by a lack of nutrition and exercise. I only recovered when I became too weak to physically function while also keeping up with the impossible things I was doing to myself, but the self-hate & insecurity remained, the feeling of ‘not good enough’ permeating my entire being, comparing myself to others who seemed to effortlessly ‘have it all together’ – socially, mentally and physically, waiting for the time I would ‘try again.’ Try to be perfect. Try to be A REAL PERSON. Work harder, to become everything I felt I wasn’t, at any cost. In the meantime, I frequently dressed in baggy, sack – like clothing to hide any signs of having an ‘imperfect’ body.

In spite of my efforts, I never once felt beautiful at my lowest weight. I had no sense of self-care or concern for my actual health whatsoever. All that mattered was that I continued to lose. I hated the styles I’d tried to adopt in my quest for a perceivable ‘perfect’ – having no sense of individual identity, abandoning the gothic and alternative fashion I loved, in a bid to outwardly appear like I had all of my shit together. Throwing my whole personality away in a fruitless attempt to try and run from the painful experiences and ‘inadequate’ feelings of my past and become somebody else.

The whole reason I even got there, was through that obsessive self-hate. The insecurity I projected onto others, latching on to every hint of criticism, convinced I was unlovable as I am.

An example of one such criticism : a bitchy shop assistant I encountered on holiday, smiling and saying to my sister-in-law who was with me “You need to have a beautiful body to wear this” as I gave back a dress I tried on that was too small. She had no idea that I was fluent in Albanian, or about the impact such careless words can potentially have. I said nothing and pretended I hadn’t heard, but it validated what I felt inside. That I wasn’t beautiful. Wasn’t good enough. Wasn’t ‘like the others.’

During my eating disorders, (the last bad one in 2012 – 2014) I wore pretty dresses for occasions, smiled whenever a camera appeared, but I was dying inside. I wasn’t ‘me.’ It was a slow form of suicide, a ‘punishment’ for everything I was lacking, the social ‘block,’ I couldn’t break through, the ‘cool’ person I couldn’t be, no matter how hard I tried. Never good enough.

It gave me a much-needed feeling of control. Friends and family expressed concern. I was so far gone into my own deluded spiral, that I told myself they didn’t want what’s best for me, that they saw me as inferior, and were jealous of my achieving a size 6-8, and my willpower & ability to attain such goals so quickly.

It didn’t matter that my skin was bad, that I frequently suffered with a smokers cough, dizzy spells and palpitations, that I was too tired to even think about exercise, that I drank shots to forget hunger even though I could no longer properly handle alcohol without getting sick, was constantly cold, or that I had permanent bags under my eyes. Make-up could cover that. All that mattered was the number on the scale and the ridiculously small sizes I could fit into. I told myself that the health sacrifices were simply what it realistically took, and that it was worth it.

The light at the end of these cyclic self – destructive behaviours and the feelings that fuelled them only came when I started to understand myself better. When I learned about the advantages of holding personal boundaries and individual goals. When I first conquered the mental hurdle of the lifelong, unexplained innate feeling of insufficiency and social non-belonging which almost destroyed me.

When I finally discovered and accepted that I truly was different, right down to my neurological make-up, that I had no need to seek any external validation in place of the ‘cut off’ I felt from my lack of being able to read subtle social signals and communicate effectively with others, that autism is a disability, not something I could control or erase, and that there was no shame in it whatsoever. It just is what it is.

I go into more detail about the post-diagnosis process towards acceptance in my previous post, ‘beauty in the grey.’ (Link below).

With that mental victory came a level of empowerment and resilience the likes of which I’d never known before, finally feeling happy in my own skin, in my own mind, finally letting go of stubborn past habits of defensive fear, any external negativity falling off me like raindrops.

Suddenly – my struggles and inner feelings of unworthiness were not my fault. I wasn’t imagining things. I was not, and never had been, a broken neurotypical – but I was a perfectly good autistic person, and had been doing pretty well in spite of my circumstances. I cried when I first realised. Many late – diagnosed people describe it as a movie with a twist at the end which makes everything weird in the movie make sense – that’s a perfect description.

The people in my life who I believed considered me not ‘cool enough,’ ‘pretty enough,’ ‘social enough’ ‘too intense’ or ‘too weird’ to be accepted, or at best only accepted me out of pity… none of that mattered anymore, particularly as it was mostly a result of my own projection, and I’d finally accepted myself. That is validation enough, and believe me when I say that true self – respect reflects everywhere in the external environment.

In the same way as a tendency towards repetitive behaviours and interests can have a capacity for destruction, they can also be harnessed for creation, and for good.

Writing has been one of those things. Running has been another. It has offered a freedom like no other. Completely broken the bars off the cages in my mind.

This time, I’m nobody’s competition or sycophant – I’m only competing with my past self. And winning. The ability and motivation to engage in hierarchical social behaviour is not even in my make-up, but not being able to ‘play the game’ properly in all its complexity doesn’t stop me from understanding the basics after much objective study, and seeing straight through the superficiality of it all – including the lie of ever-unachievable ‘beauty’ and the lies and self-deprecation we internalise as a result.

I’ve decided that I’m more than good enough. That’s all I need to start ‘weaving the golden thread.’

Building the house , after laying the foundation of mental strength through self-acceptance.

Marathon ready!!!
These are my new and unbreakable beauty standards.

I’ve learned to love the badass in this picture…
Because she’s real. She’s the strength that fought in back all these years, against the demons that tried to push her down, tried to shrink her to ‘fit in’ (body and mind) tried to kill her just for being… and she has emerged from it all victorious, rightfully reclaiming her place.

I’ve finally accepted her.
I’m not interested in harming or starving her.
I buy her pizza instead 😁

I’m not requiring her to change.

(And yes, that does read ‘Rammstein’). 🤘

In dream interpretation, the house represents the self. (I explore this a lot in my music). If ‘the house’ stands on a weak foundation, it will need rebuilding from the inside out, which is why the ‘mental marathon’ of first seeking to understand past patterns of behaviour and the fears behind them is so important.

I’ve learnt that there IS no ‘clone of beauty,’ no standard size or number on a scale to adhere to. That smaller isn’t always better. A size 6 or 8 is in fact an unhealthy, extremely difficult attainment for my height – yet it’s pushed as an ideal universal attainment for ALL heights and body types. Paraded on catwalks by sunken-eyed, lifeless models. This ‘standard’ is BS.

The ‘standard’ is one of the biggest money-making lies of our time. It feeds on personal inadequacy and fear in the most parasitic way. The bmi, though a useful rough guide, is also flawed with regards to body composition.

My ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures may be in backwards order by society’s standards, but I’ve never played by its’ rules anyway.

The above bmi result would probably have sent my past self into a panic. I now laugh at it, because I know that it’s flawed, and there was no way I could have conquered these distances, felt the way I do now, or achieved what I’m achieving now back then. Even 2 years ago a 10k had me laid up for days. Now I regularly run 21k half-marathons and do 10k in an afternoon like it’s nothing.
I may have been within the ‘healthy’ bmi range in the ‘before’ pictures – however I definitely was not healthy – mentally or physically.

This is not to generalise and say toss all weight-related concerns out the window. Physical health is a balance which looks different for everyone. I suffered repeated ankle injuries when I first took up running properly, due to a combination of dyspraxia and awkward posture, my natural tendency to toe-walk when barefoot in the house causing tight hamstrings, the lack of joint stability and not understanding how to minimise the impact of weight on the foot. These were barriers I had to grit my teeth and push through, use my focus in order to gain the muscle strength and skill needed to keep going. I no longer have these issues. (Plus I bought some decent running shoes & got rid of the cheap crap I’d worn previously).

However it is possible to cover many miles, and have incredible endurance, without being ‘skinny.’ That’s not my objective, not anymore, I’m too happy with the process, and I’m done with punishments for being me. No longer interested in the pursuit of weight loss in the slightest. (Or in the attempted wearing of overwhelming and meltdown-inducing itchy, fussy dresses).

My new objective – strength and endurance (both mental & physical). I’m letting my body do what it likes, giving it strengthening challenges, sunlight and freedom, supporting it with proper nutrition (practice! protein!) instead of damaging it and fighting against it.

The objective should always be optimal health, with mental health and self-appreciation being the most fundamental taking priority over all else.

You need to treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Respecting your individual boundaries and needs, not looking to arbitrary numbers and clone-like ‘standards’ as a foundation for your self-worth. Differences are what give each of us individual beauty.

‘There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.’ ~ Edgar Allan Poe

As a long – distance solo runner with a good helping of hyperfocus where my ‘training’ should be … I’m finding – and absorbing – that ‘strange beauty’ more every day. In the bounteous rewards of every breathtaking sunrise or sunset over glittering water that I capture on camera. In the hyper-connection I feel with nature and animals. In every surrounding tiny detail that calls to me, almost as if it’s cheering me on to keep going.

That snarky shop assistant could never even dream of keeping up. I’d love to go back and give her this sharp response “Actually… I AM beautiful… TOO beautiful to wear that.”

I don’t have all my shit together. I still mess up. I don’t communicate perfectly. I’m not ‘perfect’ – not a plastic carbon copy. And I’m done trying to be, I’d much rather progress just as I am, alongside and immersed in all the wonderful intricate detail of nature.

‘Perfect’ could have potentially killed me.

Whoever is reading this, I wish the same level of acceptance for you, shaking off the fear in whatever way and with whatever outlet you choose, finding strength in the process, while allowing all your ‘perfect imperfections’ to breathe, as unapologetically as nature. Try it.

Today’s diary entry 📖

Let’s add some more links to the chain and keep it spreading ❤️

Harness your ‘weaknesses’ in whatever way you choose. Take back your power from the grasping claws of the past which have latched on to you and have become sneering inner parasites. Tear them out and rescue yourself.

You deserve better than be consumed by them.

Your power is yours for the taking.

Restrictive. Repetitive. POWER.


Beauty in the grey : Acceptance

There is a lot of beauty in the grey.

And there is NO shame in disability.

As much as I am light, I am also dark,

As much as I am ‘extra’ able, that much I am also disabled. It’s an eternal duality of extremes. Whether the trade-off seems fair depends on the day, along with many other factors.

It’s taken me a long time, and a lot of pain, to find what I call ‘Beauty in The Grey’ – but I’m so glad it’s finally here.

While pathologising every typical human trait to within an inch of its life is not good, so is having no definitive clue about who, what and why you are the way you are.

Why you cannot ever fit in, even if you try.

(Luckily for me, I never did try that much).

That which I initially fought against, is exactly that which had essentially saved me.

I fought the rescue that came with my diagnosis. I wasn’t ready for the truth, or for the emotional rollercoaster which would follow.

It had come far too late and left me bitter.

What started as an initial relief, which had swiftly and instantaneously removed the accumulated weight of a lifetime of blame from my shoulders, had quickly twisted itself into a spiralling darkness, an anger which took me by surprise, a massive sense of betrayal, and a need to defend the newfound truth with tooth and claw, what I saw as my ‘rightful vengeance’ on the past, a massive ‘fuck you’ to a world that had never truly felt like home.

I wanted revenge for it all – A lifetime of misunderstandings, of frequent social misdemeanours which I endlessly tortured myself over and tried to logically pick apart, (lacking the required instincts or natural motivation to ‘just know’ how to succeed in social matters) of forced, uncomfortable eye contact, of unnecessary conflict brought about by my literal interpretations, of ruthless school bullying which I had no clue how to defend myself against (so I didn’t)

A lifetime of unexplainable, explosive and psychologically excruciating meltdowns which often escalated into the use of my fists against myself, of crippling exhaustion for days after big social events,

A lifetime of confusing self-doubt, of ‘scripting’ – mentally storing ‘correct’ snippets of conversations for future use (freezing up when they took an unexpected turn) a lifetime of sensory bombardments, all the while being criticised for my ‘overreactions’ to them, of an awkward gait I couldn’t seem to fix no matter what I did, of intense obsessions with one topic at a time which completely occupied my headspace, often to the detriment of other things…

All of the above had culminated in an overall feeling of being perpetually and indelibly ‘wrong’ in some way which, though I learned to successfully plaster over the cracks of my shortcomings with humour (and still do) still, this feeling of ‘wrong’ permeated through my entire being, leaving ME the exposed guilty party, riddled with anxiety and insecurity, feeling like some kind of alien creature, and a total fraud in the game of life.

Upon being diagnosed with ASD – I had finally grasped the holy grail of my vengeance for it all, and was ready to spill it forth upon the world.

Rather than doing the sensible thing, which, in retrospect would have been sitting with these complex feelings and processing them in my own time & at my own pace… I took my love for writing and unleashed my internal storm out upon the world, with every perceived instance of further external ‘ableism’ I discovered only serving to attach its oozing black tentacles to the twisted web of self-hating demons I already held within, further strengthening their mocking & sneering grip on me, and reaffirming my long-held belief that they world was indeed my enemy, that it was still out to get me and others like me.

It was a twisted form of vengeance, that only resulted in the spiralling, obsessive self – harm of my endless reasoning, my tireless attempt to fully pick apart and categorise every unjust past and present event that made no sense in my mind, now perfectly worded and filed neatly under the headings ‘ableism’ and ‘discrimination.’

But my anger was only eating into myself.

The fact that I was different, in my mind became the reason for ALL my past sufferings, (whether this had actually been the case or not).

And I was furious.

Channelling my anger in this destructive way was overwhelming and harming me, but as anyone who has ever had a personal cause mix with the compulsive power of an autistic hyperfixation knows, it had become a complete and all-encompassing addiction, like a permanent, heavy black cloud over me, holding me in the pain of the past and destroying any chance of seeing any beauty outside of my self-constructed mental cage.

Already an introvert, I went on to become severely reclusive and withdrawn, scraping by in the ‘real world’ with minimum effort, neglecting my health and self care, and everything positive that I previously loved doing (music & art) because my heart and soul was now sucked into writing endlessly – about the various oppressions stacked up against autistic people, and all the ways the system sets us up to fail and tries to erase us, rejecting and pushing outward any notion of ACTUAL, real, personal acknowledgement of my disability.

I told myself that this seclusion was because I was ‘unmasking’ – forgoing social events in order to be as ‘authentically autistic’ as I pleased, which resulted in spending more and more time on my (now harmful) fixation (or ‘special interest’ as it’s called) with endless word and reason.

So it spiralled.. further and further from reality, further and further from the actual objective truth – that I could not, and was not required to save the world from my past demons.

I became blind to the fact that I was loved by so many and pushed others away, because I was in a hopeless self – destructive spiral, an evil rabbit hole of my own making, fuelled by my own pathological obsessive behaviours.

The world wasn’t ACTUALLY out to get me – but every inch of my being believed that it was.

So in the ‘safe’ routine of my evil rabbit hole I stayed – a familiar yet counterproductive coping mechanism I had previously fallen into in times of distress.

That same intense and powerful hyperfocus can be either extremely beneficial, offering loopholes to enable self-healing, or extremely harmful, all depending on the situation and the application of it.

It is a heavy double-sided sword, which needs to be respected and wielded with the necessary understanding and skill, in order for it to have positive results.

As a result of my tireless quest for truth and reason, I had already been scorned by the same online ‘community’ I had religiously devoted all my time to in my passionate search for answers.

This included former online friends and acquaintances involved in the predominantly online and heavily politicised neurodiversity movement – who I had previously seen as ‘my people’ – inevitably now becoming adversaries through the tendency I now had to try to reason my way through everything around me, calling bullshit on the endless strategic political divisions of 2020, the discrepancies involved in the ‘great reset’ on the back of a pandemic, and the complex issues, internet opportunism and psychological manipulation rife in the autism community, freely and fearlessly giving my every explicitly honest opinion, as if it would categorise, neatly, my every fear.

I had spiralled into fervently trying to tie up EVERY single loose end of every injustice I saw around me, rather than letting it unwravel in its own time, and further damaging my mental health in the process.. my loyalty now firmly embedded solely in truth-seeking.

I failed to realise one thing, just how fearful, defensive and panic-driven I was, perhaps as a result of so many huge changes to my world in such a short time.

‘Running from fear is fear, when the mind is in pain, the mind is in pain.’ ~ Alan Watts

‘Fear’ fineliner on A4

I was still brimming with that same energy, the anger that had me spewing my long-awaited vengeance upon the ‘ableist’ world which, once encouraged by my friends & followers, was now seen as a threat.

An uncontrollable fire. A ballistic missile.

In many ways – too autistic for autism advocacy.

Mentally draining myself, simply by BEING myself.

Being rejected and hated for my spiralling refusal to assimilate has proven to be a blessing in disguise, bringing with it many valuable lessons, and a painful reminder that certain people will ALWAYS prioritise the opportunity to be seen and heard as righteous (through the self-fulfilling internet engagement level & dopamine fix that drama and controversy ALWAYS reliably brings… think tabloids) putting thinly veiled quests for popularity or external approval before genuine, unseen and unapplauded supportive friendship or inner work. Jumping onto my downfalls for personal gain – just as tabloids do.

They are in pain too, as I was, and in no position to truly help others – as I wasn’t.

Your own oxygen mask should go on first.

The veil of illusion is thin, yet reciprocal validation from others in the same fearful position often keeps it in place, preventing healing.

‘To burn the witch is to admit magic exists.’

Public execution’ is still rife today, only this time in digital form – but rather than fearing the witches, or joining in with the heckling as an act of fearful self – preservation, I challenge people to look at those who ‘burn’ them.

What their REAL motivations are.

The REAL internal monsters that they are trying to burn – as I also was.

It’s no wonder that so many eagerly jump on to hate and outrage bandwagons – so many people, especially autistic people, are in inner turmoil as a result of our previous life experiences.

Forgiveness and understanding sets in when this is realised.

It’s no longer personal when you realise that the external ‘witches’ are only a reflection of the true enemy, the fear within people’s minds.

Though I was confident on the surface, it was a house built on sand. My online enemies reflected my subconscious fear back to me. And it wasn’t pretty.

It is a pattern I have seen repeat itself, and one I have unwittingly been a part of, time after time.

It is what it is, a thoughtless expression of a deeply ingrained part of human psychology, (the fear of difference / possible threat to the survival of the group) and I have to learn to accept events like this which I cannot control, simply seeing and recognising them for what they are – endemic tribalism, a primitive survival instinct gone awry.

In the manner of opportunistic vultures, people had eagerly picked at the remains of my former fear and pain-riddled self through endless hate and nasty comments.

Internal energy matches in the external environment – and my insecurity was reflected all around me.

Not just online – in real life situations too.

They smelt the decay. I couldn’t.

However … there is calm after the storm.

With destruction comes creation.

Believe it or not, I am now grateful that I was torn apart, it effectively accelerated my personal healing process by demolishing that house built on sand, sniffed out the decay of my former self which was already falling away, the painful instinctive struggle of the caterpillar as it almost suicidally enters itself into the chrysalis, laying the bones of mental trauma completely bare.

Vultures, after all, do have an important part to play in nature. They reduce the chances of decaying flesh spreading disease, and, metaphorically, this left me ‘clean’ – ready to begin to fight back, expand and rebuild anew from the very bones of who I TRULY am.

Who I was – before the world got its grubby little hands on me. Before the rot had set in.

The realisation : The past and the present were not all other people’s fault. It just is what it is. They were suffering too. Not just ‘my people’ – but also every neurotypical person who had previously done me wrong, including classmates, colleagues, fake ‘friends,’ family and religious figures… all with their unique brand of projection, with me being the inconvenient mirror reflection of their internal fears – a glaring target, too tempting to ignore.

People can try and try. But they cannot externally smash their own inner reflection – mine being what I saw as the ‘confirmed broken,’ the disabled, the medical diagnosis and the medical model I fervently fought against through my destructive activism, with screams of ‘ableist,’ accusations of ‘discrimination,’ and a new-found refusal to accept any responsibility whatsoever for owning or overcoming my struggles.

I wanted MY autism taken OUT of the DSM.

I wanted to OWN it as mine, while still not fully accepting it – as if the event of declassification alone could magically erase the feeling of ‘wrong’ that I’d had all through life.

THIS was my internal ableism at its twisted finest. Denying that I had any disability or disorder at all, instead blaming the world for my struggles.

I now know that my black and white thinking actually rendered me blind to the fact that the social & medical models of disability are not mutually exclusive.

Autism IS a disorder – yet one unique in that its concurrent abilities also have an important part to play in the progress of humanity – one that needs and deserves respect for what it is.

I was trying, and failing, to personally categorise something too wide to ever be contained, a spectrum which, through the pervasive nature of its many forms of genetic expression, likely never will be. A huge grey area in and of itself, affecting those of us who struggle to comprehend grey areas. (That’s irony for you).

I was not destined to repeat the same self-betraying mistake of those who had hurt me in the past, the reliance on projection and the eternal blind eye turned to my own healing.

True fear can ONLY truly be conquered from within. It was time to break the chain.

I have learned that it is not, and never has been my responsibility to be a spiritual punchbag for ANYONE with ill intent.

By ‘validating’ it through endless defensive explanation, I was only validating and amplifying the voices of my inner demons through their vibrational connection with my external adversaries.

Image : Epica – ‘Storm The Sorrow’

I cannot save the world – but I can choose to be a part its chaotic beauty nonetheless.

It is time to lay the boundaries I never had, by gratefully tearing off the last few dried up and weakening pieces of the decayed flesh ravaged by my inner demons, and then simply walking away from the pain of my past, choosing to replace the sticky bonds of hate with the air of understanding, and ignoring any further requests for a spiralling over-explanation (which I mostly owe to myself – why I’m writing this) with my bruised, but not quite broken heart now firmly in my OWN hands. Ready to grow again.

Ready to be REAL again.

The key to happiness lies firmly in my pocket alone. It’s not a key to a door. It’s a key to an infinite PATH. And I will follow the path of that long-awaited happiness all by myself – as I’ve always done.

In the end, you have to learn to understand, to cope with, and learn to WIELD with confidence the extremely sharp double-edged sword that is autism, in order to be able to twist the advantages of it to your will, to create what nature truly intended for you, while simultaneously being aware of, and refusing to give in to its spiralling, mentally imprisoning, dangerous side.

It is an endless duality of extremes- that same thing which hurts beyond measure, also being the very balm that heals its own wound.

I am the writer of this story, and the creator of my own beautiful chaos.

It is never finished, tied up, packaged or categorised. It is a book that only closes upon death.

It is a life – long, ongoing process.

So this, my anti-conclusion for now, will not be black and white and categorical like the nature of my thinking – and, as I finally walk that path into the mesmerising, mysterious, cloudy and beautiful grey as my true self, with my eyes wide open in joyous and hopeful anticipation, I sincerely hope that others in my past situation will follow.

There is SO much beauty in the grey.

And there is NO shame in disability.


Disability is NOT a political statement.

Don’t hate on people for their neurodivergent traits & difficulties, while wearing those exact same things as a pleasing ‘aesthetic’ for self-gain or a power play.

When you wear a ‘divergence’ as a political badge and nothing more, while fully passing & communicating as NT :
It’s fine, you are listened to and considered valid.

When you show any signs of it whatsoever :
It’s a problem, you don’t fit the ‘cute & quirky aesthetic’ and you’re considered weird or ‘problematic.’

It should be obvious, but it’s not.

As somebody who has been considered ‘weird’ since forever (before deciding to just own it & get on with it) I still see this all the time, opportunism disguised & exalted as inspiration porn or something to strive for.

We are not all happy to have our very real struggles conveniently worn as badges to be picked up willy nilly & shoved in the faces of political opponents as a way of effortless point scoring.
It effectively cheapens something which affects many lives.

Those ‘not so palatable’ or ‘not so aesthetically pleasing’ people who dig deeper, and think without the NT fears of social limits, who remain honest about their individual views & observations rather than parroting along with the majority because they couldn’t care less about how it ‘sells’…

Those are the few, who remain underfoot, paying for the greed of the many who play hierarchical social games, using the plight of the ‘underfoot’ as a personal, self-exalting political statement – from ALL sides.

And I have ‘played’ with both sides.
The similarities are astounding.

My anti-conclusion for now :
Disability is NOT a political statement, a selling point, or a cute accessory. It cannot be packaged or contained in any form of social or medical model, because it’s an eternal loose end.

It’s never black and white.

It just IS what it is.




A form of high functioning food.

Said to reduce risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and provide multiple other health benefits.

Ongoing debate about whether this humble vegetable and those who eat it ought to be cancelled, and no longer defined as a stand-alone food, due to the circumstances surrounding its discovery.

Quite frankly I don’t think that’s such a great idea. After all, you have to have #asparagus to decide whether it’s a problem or not, and without its discovery, this wouldn’t be at all possible.

Many advances and discoveries have been made in dubious circumstances… are we going to ‘cancel’ them all? Take the Volkswagen Beetle for example. Look up the history of it. You wouldn’t want to be associated with that, surely …?

It is also said that this humble vegetable believes it is somehow ‘better’ than the other offerings of the garden, that in being defined as itself, it is being discriminatory. That the benefits should not be highlighted as it is, after all, just as fibrous as all other plant – based foods.

What I want to understand, is why this is necessary… after all, asparagus may work well with chicken, but not so much with stew, for example. It is important to plan our recipes properly. It is also a versatile food, open to experimentation, and not set in stone.

Confusing as this all may be, I say let everyone enjoy their dishes however they please… whether asparagus, potato, or whatever they choose to add. We all have different tastes & ramming ‘standard’ recipes down people’s throats is most unhelpful to those who wish to clearly define their presentation of food, especially if asparagus was the original recipe they were presented with by the head cooks.

I have a joint recipe for asparagus, meaning that on that recipe it also states that as a result of this I also have a recipe for all the other associated foods.

Asparagus squared, if you will.


A few thoughts on ART…

Creating is one of the greatest pleasures of life, and yet the underlying fear of what’s ‘acceptable’ can choke the very life out of art, writing, and music.

This form of self – doubt and self – depreciation shows in every unfinished, unloved piece, in every literary work obscured by smoke and mirrors, in the simultaneous fear of being badly misunderstood – and of being completely understood.

It’s there in the hesitation to keep going, there in being pushed back by the invisible inner force of ‘no, you can’t do that, you can’t say that, you don’t belong here, you can’t be YOU.’ Fear of being 100% REAL, because what lies beneath is likely TOO MUCH, too intense, too inconvenient…

I’m afraid of the sheer responsibility of this whole ‘unmasking’ business, of unleashing it all, of fighting for change, of adversaries – although I’ll admit, most of them are internal.

I often thought of destroying everything, deleting everything, of completely starting again, or never again.

This platform of the internet can be, after all, nothing more than a pixellated wasteland in which phantoms try to grow roses (hence the name)

When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist in the commonly understood sense of the word. But art isn’t about pretty pictures, inspirational word porn, or simple auditory or visual pleasure. It’s 100% REAL. It’s about touching souls. About making people THINK. ‘Disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed.’ And the only way to do that is through 100% raw, honest vulnerability.

I thought that having a free – associating thinking style, and intense fixations on one topic at a time, would be obstacles to staying ‘on track,’ being consistent, or making anything work, but it’s exactly that which has kept me consistently growing, learning, evolving, developing, reaching out to and inspiring others, in ways I never imagined possible, without a paintbrush in sight. That is it’s own reward. That is exactly what it’s all about.

Seeing patterns in illusions, in human behaviour and through to the very root of every false construct and social ‘norm’ has me itching for justice. I simply can’t ignore the lack of it or pretend all is well.

I’m here on this crazy planet to share what I see .. not to hide it.

Those of my neurological ilk in particular, are often subtly and not – so – subtly discouraged from displaying natural expressions, of taking up space, of telling too many uncomfortable truths, of being too colourful, of making too much noise…

Persistently denied our rightful place in the world through accusations and assumptions of inferiority and defectiveness. Whether we are aware of it or not. It still happens.

It’s a hard poison to swallow, and the simple act of creation, of expression, whether visual, written or audio, is the most powerful antidote. A way of pushing back, of taking that space, of saying “Hey, I’m here, I belong here, I’m not going anywhere. And I will not be silenced.”

As most would be driven to share knowledge of an impending threat, in the same way I’d like to share my perceptions of things that maybe others don’t think about.

Hopefully it will leave even a small amount of good here. I’m a great believer in the ripple effect.

So cheers, and here’s to keeping it REAL, raw and completely unfiltered.


The responsibility to oppression

And what a pesky responsibility oppression is, always needing such tireless care and a close eye, lest it should, left unattended, run into the oncoming traffic of objective critical thinking.
Not exactly a ‘progressive’ approach, but there you go.

While we’re using this analogy, it’s safe to say that mine is splattered in a spectacular gory mess all over the proverbial road.
I was the one who pushed it there.
I didn’t want to listen to its lies anymore.

‘You make people mad – that shows that you’ve made them think.’
Such is the path of an artist.
I’m quite cool with that.

With big pharma spewing easily misinterpreted DSM criteria, big tech spewing social media addictions, and big attention seekers desperate to be a part of the ‘loud minority’ which lives out its collective dystopian fantasy by fighting what it perceives as facism – with, you guessed it, FACISM…

It’s no surprise that the above cocktail would produce a few unpleasant offshoots or ‘movements’ involving online ‘communities’ which exist only in the minds of those who believe they are a part of them, with self – appointed ‘leaders’ and their army of online sycophants clambering for the internet ‘top spots,’ the dopamine rush, and the chance to speak for, and shout over, ALL of their selected minority.
(Whether selected through ‘self identification’ or ‘self-extortion,’ it no longer really matters, as long as the intention of the hivemind is the same, it seems).

Tirelessly fighting for the chance to BECOME the very concrete structures they strengthen by pummelling their ‘oppressed’ little fists against them, to eventually BE exactly what they claim to hate the most –
bigots and FACISTS.

Full circle. ⭕️

Starting Lines

The open track, and a good helping of some of the finest symphonic metal.

It doesn’t matter how many times you need to start again, as long as you keep getting back up.

There is literally no limit, no set number of shots to take.

The journey IS the destination.

Its time to slow down to speed up – realising that it’s not always necessary to over explain, clarify or neatly categorise everything, to rush to tie up every loose end in our thinking or our progress towards a goal – as we spectral folk often do. That’s our pathological behaviour, our proverbial vodka on the fire.

A disability can also be a gift.
It’s a disorder and it also is not.
Those things are not mutually exclusive, and cannot be categorised as such, no matter how hard we try (and try we do).

It’s time for finding beauty in the grey, learning to leave things open-ended, accepting the eternal lack of a solid identity, even seeing it as a blessing, and going with the flow of life, changing and reinventing as many times as desired.

Human is a permanent work in progress, the ongoing creation of the universe in action. It IS the answer to the question of its own existence, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.


The Monsters Within

In life, all of us have the potential to be made to feel worthless.

Scared of others opinions, scared that they will connect with – and validate – what we have already been conditioned to think deep down, even if we won’t externally admit it.

This is a result of trauma – with every past situation appearing real again in the present moment.

People who struggle with self – depreciation of this kind will be more susceptible and less resilient to bullying, perpetuating the vicious cycle of bullying -> feelings of worthlessness -> fear of the opinions of others -> excessive compliance / lack of boundaries / validating the behaviour of the bully -> and eventual self-blame and self – invalidation.

Those of us wired differently in any way can also be more sensitive to the effects of bullying because it ‘validates’ the twisted ideas of ‘never good enough’ put in our heads over the years by a clone-happy society.

All put together – it makes for a toxic cocktail, and, left unchecked, a spiralling implosion – often leading to self harm or suicide.

It’s not easy, but choosing to fight is not a physical process – it’s something which takes a shit ton of mental action. An external solution is not the answer – healing is our responsibility alone, from the inside out.

It involves picking apart the rubble of the past to find the mini self-bully within the mind and to promptly evict them, so that they can no longer connect and chatter with external adversity, and no longer continue to infect you in this way.

That is far more empowering than any superficial physical accommodations, flowery or nauseatingly positive speech which attempts to gloss over, rather than permeate and devour the problem at its very root.

Are your thoughts, your perceptions and your beliefs about yourself TRULY your own, the way they would have been before the world got its grubby little hands on you?

Time to accommodate THOSE.

Don’t give the negative self-chatter equal space or status, and don’t align with it, it will only spiral and multiply inside you. Find the equation that got you to into this mental situation and do it backwards.

The power is in your hands, and yours alone.


Fighting our own fire :

Burning pathology.

The trouble with the Neurodiversity movement.

Towards the end of my time as part of the ND movement, I chose to highlight the issue of the widespread opportunism, polarisation, predatory behaviour, fear-based control and general toxicity that often results from disability movements (and other social movements) becoming divisive and harmful popularity-seeking ‘outrage bandwagons’ or trending hashtags, leaving a trail of counterproductive, distracting and destructive misinformation in their wake.

Needless to say, feathers were ruffled. Assumptions were made. Hateful dogpiling ensued. Ableist. Racist. Hypocrite. Added to block lists and gossiped about, mocked for my interest in philosophy, hated for my message of self – empowerment and self – ownership.

I had broken ‘the rules’ – without even being quite sure what the rules were to begin with, or quite aware of how politically – charged the movement had become.

Yes, I too can be a stubborn, obsessive, insufferable and socially blind asshole as a result of my wiring, as can anyone with a similar disposition – I have never denied this.

It’s not an excuse for the times these traits have caused upset, nor am I offering an excuse for myself OR others. It’s simply a reason. It just IS – but to be attacked for my own naivety in speaking my truth by my own… to have my overly trusting nature turned against me for the sake of scaling the social hierarchy of the ‘community’ … that was something else.

In my opinion, to allow personal interest, insecurity or fear of peer ostracisation to deny logic, and to gloss over the fact that opportunistic social media trends like those mentioned above present a danger, especially to the young and / or mentally vulnerable, is foolish.

We have many gifts, a great capacity to care for others and create positive change, and an equally intense number of ways to exacerbate division & self-destruct which, left unattended, can quickly spiral into disaster.

It’s an endless black hole, and an increasingly tedious game of ‘smash the mirror.’

We don’t need to attack each other for the very same stubborn nature and traits which we are fighting to have recognised as equal and valuable.

Trying to fight pathology with pathological behaviour is like throwing vodka on a fire to try and put it out.

It’s impossible to be fully objective while using the perception of that which is being perceived.

There is no getting out of this glass jar.

It is what it is.

Every single argument on Earth has a counter argument. There is also a lot of nuance in between, a lot that makes us black & white thinkers feel uncomfortable. An obsessive need to find exact answers & see things through. (Like I’m doing right now in fact).

So we fight. Invent ‘rules.’ Explain everything endlessly in painstaking detail.

Being attacked by my own is a different kind of dynamic than I’ve ever seen before – like a frustratingly impenetrable reflection of myself, and a painful yet valuable life lesson.

There IS no one blanket generalised answer to anything. Not everything in life will always ‘fit’ to our perception or be possible to control. We are defined just as much by what we are NOT, as we are by what we ARE. ‘Every explicit duality is implicit unity’ ~ Alan Watts

It is time to step away, and lead by example. Continue to share my truth on my own terms. Allowing people to hate if they choose to continue to do so. Understanding the underlying causes, and FORGIVING them for feeling that hate.

Nobody can speak for me, nor I for them.

Autism is a real disability, yet it’s being worn as a political identity. Autistic people are not a monolithic ‘community’ – only individuals, and every single one deserves to speak in their OWN individual voice, and sing their own song.

A large part of what I hope to achieve through writing, is helping others like me to realise that their own individual inner power is there for the taking, with no external ‘permission’ needed.

Personal responsibility is in short supply these days, especially among those who deflect and attack, thinking in black and white, believing they have the only ‘right’ answers. And yes, I’ve been ‘guilty’ of this way of thinking myself. Black and white.

In real life, there is no such thing.

Picking at the chaos, persistently trying to categorise, control and find order in it can be an addictive form of self-torture, and can keep us enslaved & locked in our minds forever if we let it.

Hyperfocus can be dangerous when left to spiral unchecked. Throw in a lack of cognitive empathy with an added hefty sprinkling of stigma-spreading, visibility-seeking opportunism and polarised political ideologies … and you get the mentally damaging clusterfuck you see in the ND movement today.

Life has endless duality, nuance and contradiction.

Time to surrender to the wonderful chaos of life & leave the nuance alone.

We need to for positive change and fight stigma without perpetuating it by exacerbating unhealthy division over the details. (PFL language, the complexities surrounding functioning labels, puzzle pieces etc). Being aware of how our most powerful traits can sometimes be extremely counterproductive.

We are human people, NOT a monolithic obnoxious caricature of DSM criteria (however badly some ‘advocates’ want us to be) and I have not appointed ANYONE to speak for, or over me.

Nor do I speak on behalf of anyone else – in fact one of the most important goals of my writing is encouraging others to find their OWN voices.

Autism is a condition of extremes – with our biggest strengths also being the very source of our biggest weaknesses.

Feeling everything full volume can invite incredible passion and incredible vitriol in equal measure.

Yet we are free thinkers, solitary by nature, not designed to be tribal, and individual truths can be no tribes’ mascot – trying to parade them as such inevitably leads to disaster.

‘An autistic person should never have to apologise for acting like an autistic person.’

Isn’t that what we say?

Perhaps it’s time we remembered who we are, and practiced what we preach.


It’s fascinating how the different shields for endemic human tribalism and subsequent trends of what’s deemed ‘offensive’ changes with the times.

(Feel free to make assumptions / accusations / projections etc etc).

The trouble with ‘validating’ absolutely everything whether it’s harmful or not, is that we lose sight of the underlying causes and the real issues that need to be dealt with – these are ignored in favour of a back – and – forth battle on a completely superficial level.

Seeking validation is futile when you know you already have it.

If someone decides they are a rooster and wants to scream at the crack of dawn, that’s fine, as long as they alone will justify it, as long as they alone will take responsibility for the consequences.

Maladaptive behaviour in itself does not necessitate the seeking of outside approval. It’s nobody else’s responsibility.

The very ACT of seeking validation is speaking from an inferior position.
If someone asks me for validation, it’s not mine to give.

It only comes from the inside out.

Imposing a projection of one’s inner turmoil on the external environment only reflects exactly that back to you.

Been there, done that, got a whole suitcase full of the proverbial t-shirts.

The pattern is real.
It is what it is.

Let’s just not pretend that it’s any different from times gone by, because it’s not.