3 Whole Months Later

I could make a hundred excuses as to why I’ve been gone this long. The only thing I can tell you is that a lot has been happening since my last blog post back in February.

Back then, I was in a relationship and things at my job were changing and very drastic ways. For 3 months, from January to April, I was dating a woman named Michelle. We were childhood friends who reunited 30 years later. I can still remember our first date in January like the back of my hand. On a Friday evening, Michelle came to my house in a Lyft to pick me up and we would go to Chili’s. After dinner, we walked in the rain to the nearest gas station to buy alcohol and then head back to the house. It wasn’t long before we were in my room and had gotten intimate.

Michelle and I began trying to get together as frequently as possible, as this was a new and blooming relationship. She was in the process of divorcing from her husband and was having all kinds of issues because of that. From being kicked out of her house to spending a week in a psych ward and finally, winding up on her aunt and uncle’s couch. Ironically, this was the house Michelle grew up in. Now, Michelle doesn’t work, so for her, money is hard to come by. This was especially the case, because her ex-husband refuses to give her any money unless it is absolutely necessary in his eyes.

As great as I thought things were between Michelle and I, reality was about to hit me in the face. February 14th, or Valentine’s Day, was the first sign that things weren’t as peachy as I wanted them to be. I’m already terribly stingy when it comes to spending money, but it wasn’t like she cared. Anyway, we had tickets to go to an event being held at the Orlando Science Center. We were to be at this event by 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Sadly, plans were drastically altered, as Michelle took forever to wake herself up and get ready. We would head out in the early afternoon and we had to pay our way in. Things took a turn for the worse when she started falling asleep on me as we entered the building. At the dinosaur exhibit, she passed out on a bench and someone alerted an employee to her condition. I raced with said employee back up the stairs to get to her. I told Michelle that we had to leave, because she was in no condition to enjoy the museum. Only after feeding her snacks and drinks, did she start to come around. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck the entire day.

Folks, I do not exaggerate when I say things were steadily getting worse from that point on. She suffers from both fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease, so when she would have flare-ups, it would be particularly challenging for me to have to look after her. I’ve never been in such a situation before with a partner.

I’m just going to skip ahead and summarize just how much worse things between myself and Michelle were beginning to get. She would have moments where she would not only binge drink, but take multiple medications along with alcohol. You’re probably thinking that this is a recipe for disaster. Oh, it was. It’s a wonder this combination hasn’t killed her…yet. When you are so out of it, that you cannot control your bodily functions, that’s when you have a true problem on your hands. Now in my case, I usually know when something’s wrong and I can get a handle on it. Michelle seems to take issue with that for herself.

Things ultimately came to a head on Easter weekend. I made an offhand about looking at other girls, which greatly upset her. We got into this big blow up argument, but reconciled the same night. We had to keep the peace, because I was meeting her youngest son the next day. While the meeting with her little boy and playing with him went well, I knew deep down that I was not going to be part of this child’s life.

On the weekend following Easter, Michelle and I tried to plan a picnic at a park the next town over. As usual, she took forever to get herself ready and the weather was turning for the worst by the time we decided to get serious about doing a picnic. I got so aggravated with her that I tried to break things off right then and there. Instead, we had our picnic at the neighborhood park as it was beginning to storm. Early on the next morning, Michelle was in an impaired state, falling off the bed and injuring herself. This was a frightening thing for me, as it caused me to call out of work for the day to look after her. As you can imagine, my supervisor was not happy with me calling out. It turns out that Michelle faked a concussion to keep me home with her. I deliberated for most of the day on putting things to an end with Michelle once and for all. After an emotional confession to my mother, my decision was clear. Of course, Michelle was shocked that I really wanted to go through with the breakup, but it had to be done for the sake of my sanity and well-being. She tried contacting me just about every day since the breakup for about a week. I have not heard from her in almost 6 weeks and I don’t wish to again.

Now, we will delve into the work side of things.

It was early February when the young lady who had been managing my store for a year and a half, decided to step down from her duties. She just couldn’t handle the stress of her job anymore. It took a few weeks before a new manager was brought on board. Let’s just say that the changes implemented by this manager and corporate weren’t favorable. This caused eight people to either quit or get fired, because they could not keep up with the new job expectations. I was nearly fired for a few indiscretions myself. After much protest and some investigation, this person was removed from her management position at our store. We are still trying to recover from all of the damage done and we are attempting to bring more new people on board to help us out. Apparently, new and better changes are on the horizon for my store and for the company as a whole, but I will wait patiently for those changes to occur.

Hopefully, you’ve managed to read all the way through this post without getting bored. I appreciate that. I will try to update this more regularly, because dog knows I have the time now. Take care, one and all.

When Inconsistency and Procrastination Unite

Today, the theme is inconsistency. Inconsistency, like how I don’t write as many posts as I should in a given month. But before we get into that, I suppose I should offer up a little life update.

I’ve often made references to the romances in my life and this is really no different. In mid January, I was talking with a beautiful lady and somewhat lifelong friend named Michelle. Now, Michelle and I made plans to meet up and have dinner together on January 15th. we had shown interest in each other for quite a while, so this would turn out to be our very first date. We have been seeing each other at least once a week since then and made our relationship social media official only about a week ago.I can say that this is the happiest that I have truly been in such a long time with someone. I look forward to our future together. Of course, I’m still also barely hanging on to my job at Goodwill. I would say that as of now, I’m just over five weeks away from my third anniversary with the company. Not bad for someone who’s on thin ice.

Without further delay, let’s get right into today’s topic.

What does it mean to be inconsistent with something? Well, if you are someone who usually and regularly keeps up a routine, such as going to the gym three times a week, and then you fall off of that, then you are being inconsistent. I have noticed that more often than not, my lifestyle has been very inconsistent over the past several years. You could say that it’s due to declining interest in activities and quality of life. Depression will do that to you, though. I have been trying to figure out how to be more consistent with my routines in everyday life, but something always seems to get in the way. Maybe my plans change, or my work schedule may change on the fly. Those seem to be factors which influence the lack of consistency and focus when it comes to maintaining a weekly routine.

While I’m thinking about it, I might as well also talk about procrastination. It seems to me that procrastination and inconsistency go hand in hand. I know that if I keep putting certain things off, that creates a measure of inconsistency which hurts me, and sometimes those around me. I’ve put off going back to the dentist for over a year, thanks in part to the global coronavirus pandemic. Only now, am I going back to seeing my doctor on a regular basis. It’s no secret that doctor’s offices all across the area have been full with sick patients who may or may not have covid.

I know that when something is wrong with me physically, I try to ignore it until it’s almost too late. I tend to put off important procedures, because I’m afraid of what the results will show. Many times, it really doesn’t end well for me and I wind up in the emergency room, because I’m in severe pain. You could say that it’s just part of getting older, but I feel that I’m actually too young to be exhibiting such apprehensive behaviors. This is something much more typical of a person in their 40s or 50s. As you well know, I’m not quite there yet.

My procrastination is a result of me just wanting to live as simple of a life as possible. That means if there is something I really should be doing to improve my overall health, then I will likely put it off as long as possible, just so I can feel comfortable. Unfortunately, after what’s happened in my family and the many lives I’ve lost, this really should be no time for procrastination, if I really am in some sort of unseen danger.

I also procrastinate when it comes to non-health related things. Maybe I put off little things like going to the library to print out important documents, because I don’t have a printer at home. Deadlines exist for a reason. Tracking back to the medical stuff for a minute, I’ve been putting off giving a urine collection to my urologist, because I’m afraid of what the results might show. My point is that I’m proficient in inconsistency and putting things off. I shouldn’t be so good at this at my age, because it might be a killer.

That’s enough catastrophizing and fear-mongering for this post. I’m only just speaking on what I go through in my daily life. I do want to take a moment to thank everyone who commented and reacted on last month’s post which memorialized my father. I really do appreciate all of the kind responses. You all really helped me through such a difficult time. Thank you. Until next month…

Today, We Remember My Father

Has it seriously been almost a month since my last post? Well, between getting a new phone, the stress of my job and entering into a new relationship, I’ve been kind of busy. Now, those are all legitimate reasons to delay posting, but I shall delay no longer.

Today (or rather, this whole week), we remember my father, David Colley. He was born in December of 1959 and passed away in January of 2014. Like my brother and myself, along with our mother, he was a native of Orlando, Florida. My brother and I are second generation Edgewater High School graduates after our father. He and my mother met in 1981 when they were introduced by someone who was his co-worker and her in-law. I would come along just three years later and my brother, the year after that.

For the first 6 years of my life, we were a struggling family. My father was the only breadwinner and he was struggling to pay the bills. A chance opportunity to work for a local flooring company fell in his lap in early 1991. Through many years of frustration and health scares, he would be with this company, even after a conglomerate takeover, until his passing 23 years later. My father was a very celebrated employee and later, supervisor, winning multiple employee of the year awards.

Now, we get into more of his personal life. It was often a challenge for him to raise two sons. Because of my autism, I proved to be more of a challenge than my younger brother. Still, my father was primarily the one who would take me to my neurologist appointments, as he understood everything the good doctor had to tell him about my condition. The poor man often had to deal with me whenever I would have a meltdown at school. I couldn’t rely on my mom, because I felt she would only make things worse, being as emotional as she is. He was also in charge of my disability income until his passing.

My father was also a very loving husband to my mom and was her protector for more than 30 years of her life. When we lost him, we didn’t just lose a parent, but the love of my mother’s life. If my parents had any issues in their marriage, they knew that those issues had to be resolved for the sake of my brother and I. He was a friend to many people and even offered the shirt from his back to a stranger who might have needed it. He still kept in touch with quite a few of his childhood friends, whose children had become my friends.

I would now like to take you through the most gut-wrenching and terrible week in my family’s life. On a Sunday afternoon, January 19th, 2014, my mother made a phone call out of concern for my father’s well-being. Her worst fears were confirmed when not him, but an officer answered his cell phone. The officer told my mother that my father had been found unconscious and not breathing on the men’s restroom floor inside of a Winn-Dixie grocery store.they said that he had suffered a heart attack, fell and hit his head. The fall caused a huge knot and eventually, his brain to swell, cutting off oxygen. Along with my Aunt Laurie, we jumped in the van and drove out to the hospital where they were keeping him, a county over.

No sooner do we arrive at the hospital, then we are taken to where he’s being held. My father, lying lifeless on a gurney and just this atmosphere of pain and sorrow. They had him hooked up to all kinds of machinery, but I knew as soon as I got my first glimpse of him, that he was gone. Throughout the evening, family and friends came from miles around to comfort us and some, to say their goodbyes. Over the next 3 days, my mom stayed with my dad at the hospital and was physically weak from grief. She reluctantly made the decision to come home with us that Tuesday night, knowing that she would get a certain phone call at any moment. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, she received such a call from one of the nurses. We all woke up, gathered our things and rushed to the hospital. The doctor and the nurse informed everybody in a small room that my father had gone into a “brain death”. Keep in mind, his heart had already failed, but they confirmed that there was just no activity left in his brain. It was just before 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday that my mom made the decision to take him off of life support.

The next two days after, were just such a blur. We spent that time trying to get all of our affairs in order and plan for his memorial service which would take place that Saturday. It was a beautiful service, with over 200 people in attendance, more than 60 of which followed us back to our house for the wake. There was just such an outpouring of love and support in that very dark time for us. I know that’s something my father would have appreciated.

While his insurance policy may have helped us pay off our house, he did leave us with quite a few burdens, including mishandling of my social security disability and various things around the house that needed repairs. Most of those things have already been taken care of, but my father just had too much on his plate at the end of his life to really be able to sort through all of those matters. I should note that when I’m referring to mishandling of my disability income, he just didn’t report when I would work beyond the number of hours per month allowed, in order to retain my benefits. We owed $25,000 in back pay, $22,000 of which was waived due to my father’s passing.

All of this aside, I remember my father David as a good man who was Stern when he had to be, but loved me and my family all the same. My 88-year-old grandmother still struggles with the fact that she outlived one of her children. Even so, my grandmother is strong and she is keeping my father’s memory alive, just as we are in my home.

I know this was long and very wordy, but 7 years on, I needed to eulogize my father the best way I saw fit. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post if you have read down this far. Thank you.

A Post That Needed To Be Made

Okay, it’s time for another blog post. I’m going to try and be more active with my blogs in the coming year. The reason I’ve waited until today to post was because it finally got me.

Oh yes, I had been battling covid-19. As of this writing, I am feeling so much better. Let’s rewind the proverbial tape and explore how this started. Back at the beginning of December, I knew that my brother hadn’t been feeling well. It was only on the 5th that he was confirmed to test positive for the Coronavirus. I foolishly, along with my mom, went and got tested the very next morning. Of course, because I was exposed to a positive case, I had to start my quarantine. That meant no work for a certain amount of time.

Cut to three days later on the 8th. I’m feeling absolutely lousy from the moment I wake up. I pretty much knew that I had caught the virus. It took a test two days after that to confirm it. I can say that the first four or five days were probably the roughest for me. I had a cough, fever, chills, body aches and digestive issues. These were pretty much the same symptoms my brother had. Surprisingly, I hardly took any medicine to help me cope with my symptoms. I was in so much discomfort, just waiting for the 10th day to arrive, so that I could break the quarantine.

It was only after a few hiccups from my brother’s employer oh, that he was allowed to return to work on the 16th, which was his birthday. At that time, my future was still uncertain in regards to returning to work. I was able to do so by the 20th. It is Christmas Eve, a Thursday, as this is being written. Anyway, on the 20th, it was my first day back to work. As you might expect, I had a rough going to start the day. Over the past few days however, I’ve been feeling much better, aside from soreness due to not working out at the gym for more than two weeks.

It has been well documented that the majority of covid-19 patients who have symptoms, will experience mild ones. That was certainly the case with my brother and myself. We both even lost our sense of smell. This virus is rather strange, in that it feels more like having heightened seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies that can be deadly to other people. This thing has killed more than 325,000 people so far. I’m certainly glad to still be among the living.

Amazingly, through all of this, our mother never got sick. She had the most exposure to my brother and I and she remains healthy. I think it’s because she takes very good care of herself, whereas the two of us have definitely slacked off in that department.

As a family, we are now just trying to celebrate the holidays oh, now that we are all feeling better and vowing to do our best to stay healthy until we are able to get vaccinated. 2020 has been a nightmare of a year for the entire world. From a rampaging virus to an adult toddler who won’t give up his presidency so easily, you would wish that this was all just a bad dream. It’s real and we are living it. I believe that better days are coming, though. They have to. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare for a Facebook live video session on Christmas Day.

Happy whatever you celebrate this time of year!

The Obligatory Winter Holidays Post

So, because it is December now, this will be a winter holiday-related post. How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I know I’ve been missing in action the past couple of weeks, but I finally found time to write a new post. Anyhow, in this age of social distancing and trying extremely hard to avoid catching covid-19, my Thanksgiving celebration with my mom’s side of the family was a decent one. My brother couldn’t join us, because he had to sleep all day so he could go to work that night. The food that I ate was delicious, although I overdid it on the stuffing. I always overdo it on the stuffing. Now, while I was eating, some of my inebriated to relatives decided to go for a ride on a golf cart. One such relative got thrown off of it and had a nasty tumble in the road. She wound up needing to go to the hospital to be checked out. I would assume she’s doing better now.

While we were celebrating Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, we were also celebrating the 11th birthday of a second cousin of mine. Her six-year-old little sister also got a few gifts and money. That was because her birthday was canceled due to the Coronavirus lockdown back in the spring. I was certainly happy to see those darling little girls. I even had to finally mend fences with their mother. I won’t go into why, but it had been nearly three years coming.

I think my favorite part of Thanksgiving this year was the fact that I did not have to work the next day, which is known in retail as Black Friday. I mean, I didn’t have to work on Friday to experience retail hell. I would get my dosage of it over the next three days. If there is one thing that I am proud of, it’s the fact that I have never had to work on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day, no matter where I’ve been. The day I’m asked to do so is the day I leave retail behind forever.

I’m going to share now, a favorite Christmas memory of mine from 1990. I was six and my brother was five. My dad bought a swing set that he was going to put together in the backyard. While doing so, I remember him getting aggravated, but for good reason. It was hot that day. A hot Christmas Day? How could that be? Well, it was. I just remember laughing at my dad’s frustration until he finally finished putting the swing set together. It served us well until my brother and I both got to be too big for it.

There was actually something rather bittersweet about December of 1990. I began the month, waking up to a very nasty infection in my urinary tract. I was rushed to the hospital where the doctors perform surgery to remove a blockage that was causing the infection. When I woke up from that surgery, my mom told me that my step-grandfather Jim and passed away. I remember Grandpa Jim as being a very jolly man, not unlike Santa Claus. Sometimes, even when it wasn’t Christmas, I imagined him being Santa Claus. Right now, I can’t recall what he died of, but I knew that it was sudden and this was also my introduction to the concept of life and death. What a thing for a 6 year old to learn. I think it took about a week or so for me to recover from the infection and the surgery, but when I did oh, my mom rewarded me by taking me to an Eckerds store and she let me pick out a toy for being so good about the whole thing. I picked out a Ninja Turtle toy.

Now, we jump ahead about three years to an uncomfortable evening after dinner out with my dad’s friends. It was the spring of 1994. My family and I went out to eat at our new favorite restaurant, Amigos Tex Mex. That was the night my brother and I met another little boy who would become our best friend for life. Cutting right to it, when we got home from the restaurant, our parents sat us down and told us a very uncomfortable truth. That’s when they revealed to us that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny weren’t real creatures. Needless to say, my brother took the news a hell of a lot better than I did. It did strike me as rather unfair that I had to be almost 10 years old before I could be told this truth. I remember crying myself to sleep that night, but waking up the next morning seemingly unbothered by the whole thing. Now, when it comes to something like the tooth fairy, I already figured out what was up at the age of 5. That’s only because I felt a hand go under my pillow to leave money.

I hope to have at least another post or two out before Christmas. So, I hope you enjoy reading this one and maybe, you can share your holiday memories with me in the comments.

Let’s Have A Talk About Dreams

Dreams, everyone has them. What do our dreams mean to us? In today’s post, we shall examine what my dreams mean.

I don’t know too much behind the psychology of why we dream, but I do know a few things on the surface level. I know that when we dream, we are replaying the events of the previous hours of our day, or that dreams may be trying to tell us something. If we dream about unpleasant circumstances, those dreams may serve as warnings, or even predictions. Although sometimes, we just dream completely random and nonsensical things.

My earliest conscious memory was being 2 years old and going with my mom to take our dog back to the animal shelter. I vaguely remember being in the backseat of my mom’s 1978 Cutlass. Our dog sitting next to me in a cage, which I don’t know how the cage was able to fit inside the car. I mention this, because was it really my first conscious memory, or was it a dream that I may have had when I was a little bit older?

One example I know for sure turned out to be just a dream, was when I envisioned my house as it was being built. I spent most of my life believing that I live a past life and I was watching these men up on the roof of my house working. I always believed that I was actually here to witness that happening, until I dreamt about it again just a few years ago. That was when I realized I had only dreamt that event in my childhood.

Most of the time when we dream, we might remember parts of our dreams upon waking, but the dreams quickly fade into our subconscious, likely never to be recalled. But what about the dreams we can recall, the ones that stick with us?

I remember being 8 years old and having a dream so disturbing, that the next day at school, I had a nervous breakdown and it was enough for me to leave school early that day. I think in my dream, I had died. I died and was ascending to “heaven”.
That dream was followed a year later by one where I was fighting skeletal demon hordes in my backyard. It’s all kind of strange, because I was familiar with the biblical concepts of Good and Evil, but I was never raised in a church. Now, the dream I had at the age of 9 was the first in a series of three, kind of like a movie trilogy.

The next two of those dreams, I had at 13 and 16. In the second dream, I was battling Satan himself. It seemed like a never-ending battle. In the final dream of the trilogy, this is where I believe these two dreams were influenced by my musical tastes at the time, but in this dream, I joined up with Satan and the skeleton hordes. This could have also been a reflection of teenage rebellion and angst. These dreams would have made for a great heavy metal epic.
Before I jump forward in time with my dreams, I want to backtrack and discuss another dream that really bothered me as an adolescent. If you grew up in the mid-1990s and watched a show like Power Rangers, there were many shows that aired, which were just like it. One such show was called VR Troopers. The show featured three young adults who accessed virtual superpowers to fight a virtual Army of monsters that tried to invade our reality. The main antagonist of this show was a being with a double identity known as Grimlord. In the first season of the show, Grimlord was relegated to Japanese stock footage from a show that aired in 1987. The second season of VR Troopers saw Grimlord being upgraded to an American exclusive character. This version of him honestly frightened me as an 11 year old child. I then had a dream that I was transforming into Grimlord. I cannot explain why that dream haunted me so, but it was enough to send me to the guidance counselor’s office for half of a school day. It really helped to talk to my guidance counselor about this dream, because I never had a recurring dream of being Grimlord.

A lot of people, once they reach adulthood, whether they are in college or not, we’ll start having dreams about high school. It could be the first day of your freshman year, or the first day of your senior year. I’ve had dreams of both. My theory is that we have these dreams, because there are events that we lived through, that we wish we could go back and change or even prevent. Maybe we should have asked out that girl we liked, or maybe we could have prevented ourselves from getting into a fight that earned us a week-long suspension. Maybe there was a big test we wish we could have taken over. We will dream about these things, hoping for a different outcome, even when we wake.

The funny thing about these high school dreams is that they can often blend with dreams about your current or past jobs. You can be in a classroom with your coworkers or you can be at work with your high school friends. I know that anytime I have these dreams, I’m always looking to escape the environment that I am in. I actually had a dream last night that I was in a combination music and art class and the teacher was one of my current supervisors at my job. I was getting frustrated trying to play some notes when I aggressively strum my guitar to the point where the strings broke. My supervisor cease this and gets extremely angry with me because I also wasn’t able to color code something on a sheet of paper correctly.

When it comes to dreaming about your job specifically, you can have dreams that serve as earnings. You could dream about everything from being denied that expected promotion to being outright fired. Sometimes, these dreams will play out in very dramatic fashion, not too dissimilar from what you may experience while you’re awake. Dreams like these are the reason why I have to hang on to the job I have right now.

Finally, I want to talk about those dreams that seem normal, until they aren’t. I know that I have dreams about being at a family gathering or being out in public and everything seems to be going fine. A few unusual occurrences that you definitely wouldn’t see when you’re awake, but those can also transition into an emotional breakdown. Someone says the slightest thing critical to you and then you crumble to pieces. I feel like in these dreams, I revert back to a childlike state. To me, this reflects they need to continue maturing, especially since I still feel like a teenager in a 30-something’s body.

So ends this look into my dreams. I apologize for taking so long to drum up a new post. I almost wasn’t going to post anything this week, but the dream I had last night inspired me. Happy reading!

What Would You Do With 1 Million Dollars?

So, I want to break away from the autism topic today with a post of hypothetical means. Let’s talk about what you might do if you had $1,000,000. Well…really, it’ll be about what I would do with that money, but you can tell me your million-dollar plans in the comments.

Now, I have many ideas on what to use that seven-figure sum for. Everything from living off of $50K a year for 20 years, to buying a house and putting the rest away for retirement. Worry not, for I will go into more detail on these items.

First, let’s say I’m choosing to live off of $50,000 a year. Over the next two decades, I would probably still buy a house, but I’d put some money down. It may take the first two or three years, though. I would certainly make sure all of my bills are covered. The only thing that might alter these plans would be a colossal repair bill or medical bill. Gotta be prepared, either way.

The next scenario involves me taking a good chunk of that million dollars all at once to buy a house. THEN, and only then would I decide right there to put the rest away for retirement. I might still want to work for a few more years. It could also be for nearly the rest of my life, if I squander my money. So, I should try not to do that. Plans to buy a car or a big boat wouldn’t be on the table if I’m still not able to drive by then.

I know it seems like I’m writing a blog that a 10-year-old would write, but even as I approach 40, I still want to get a hold of a cool million bucks. That’s okay, because I’ll try to keep the fluff posts to a minimum and write something you’ll actually want to read. Anyway, here’s what I would do with $1,000,000 if buying a house or saving the money WEREN’T a priority.

I would do a LOT of traveling, and stay for weeks at a time wherever I landed. How about season tickets to Buccaneers home games? Actually, I could do that for several years. Attending conventions to meet some of my favorite actors would be a regular occurrence. Who knows? I might even follow a few of my favorite bands as they tour the country. Now, this is all provided we’re clear of a global pandemic.

There are so many possibilities when you have that kind of money. Maybe not as much as if you had one billion dollars, but I’m keeping it simple. Did you enjoy reading this post as much I enjoyed writing it? Let me know and I’ll catch ya next time!

My Behaviors as an Adult with Autism

I can already tell that is going to be a fun topic.

If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that people on the autism spectrum behave in a wide variety of ways and each one of us sees the world differently. You can have those of us who live in total chaos and darkness, yet still somehow wake up every morning to face another day. Then, there are those of us who live such charmed and privileged lives in blissful ignorance. I’m still not sure where I fall on this particular spectrum.

I try to live a life that’s unassuming and private. It’s a change from when I was a child and every move I made was watched by my whole neighborhood and school. I was the “bad” kid, the one who needed to be arrested (at 10 years old) and tried as an adult, just for getting into fistfights with the other adolescent mouth-breathers. Seriously. Do you know how many people tried to have me hauled off to jail or kick my family out of our neighborhood? That sort of thing only stopped after certain families moved out as I was entering high school.

As far back as I can recall, I’ve always been more difficult to deal with than, let’s say, my brother. My parents spent so much time focusing on me and trying to keep me in our home, that my brother often felt neglected. He was the “normal” child in our home and was an underachiever, until he got his act together after 9th grade. When it came to raising me, my dad was the absentee parent and left the bulk of the child rearing to my mom.

I was a relatively happy child until the age of 9. Now, why would 9 be the age when things started to change for the worst? Even to this day, I still don’t know. That’s when my environment began to change. I changed schools in the middle of 4th grade. I attended an all-grades special needs school, then I was “mainstreamed” into a regular public school for the last 3 semesters of elementary school.

It was bad enough just dealing with all these new kids I never had met before, but I also still had a real bad hair-pulling problem. You see, I had a habit of pulling my hair to the scalp from the age of 3 until about 12. I even almost started it again at 14 before finally controlling the urges. Other children made relentless fun of me for having these bald spots on my head. It’s why I always had to wear a hat. That’s another thing, I was usually made to remove my hat in public places, because it was “offensive” for me to have my head covered.

When I speak of autistic behaviors, one that also comes to mind is stimming. You know, it’s the act of flailing your hands at the wrists, which is something I don’t ever recall doing as a means of stimulation. Now, I am quite the fidgety guy and I will hum to myself to keep my brain stimulated. Talking to myself is yet another annoying quirk of mine. In fact, I used to get made fun of for doing so on the school bus. It didn’t even matter if I had my headphones on and was singing.

I’ll bet you’re not here for mindless drivel. You’re here, because you want to know why I’m such an angry basket case. Well, when you get teased for things like hair-pulling and being a super awkward loner, that will start to get under your skin. You don’t know how to behave like a normal child or teenager in society’s eyes. You’re never allowed to even be a little irritated, for fear that you might seriously hurt someone or cause destruction. I mean, yes, I will admit to hurting people and destroying property, but I try not to do those things today. Prison is not a nice place, I hear.

My bitterness and anger stems from quite a bit in my life. Because of my disability, I was often shunned not just by social groups, but by my own relatives, too. They never wanted their fun to be ruined by any outbursts I may have, so they would include my brother, but leave me at home to be mad and upset for the exclusion. That’s the reason why I was always so jealous and spiteful towards some of my cousins and even my own sibling.

School was never any better, as I could still be discarded to the outcasts and the losers. Of course the jocks picked on me, but so did most of the other students, even the underclass ones. It was my troublesome nature that got me suspended from school or isolated in a room full of other troubled students at school, at least once a year between 7th and 12th grade. I had certain individuals come after me when I named them in a so-called plot of violence at the school, following the 9/11 attacks during my Senior year.

My behavior in the workplace is the last major thing I will touch on. As I was working for that large grocery chain, I faced scorn from customers, coworkers and managers alike. These people all saw me as weak and easily influenced, which I was. This treatment led me to lash out at customers for things that were not their fault. I was also very particular about the type of grocery bags I would use. I always preferred plastic bags to paper, because I didn’t like how labor intensive it was to pack someone’s groceries in paper bags. Here comes a theme for the next paragraph.

Because of my outbursts of anger over the smallest irritants, I’ve had 7 jobs over almost 18 years, all of them retail. That means I’ve been fired 6 times. I was fired from my first job, over accusations against a customer for stealing soda. The manager attempted to blacklist me from future employment by saying that my motivations were prejudiced. I was fired from the next job for simply leaving a spilled mop bucket on the sales floor, because I was mad about having to clean up a spill. See, kids? I can get mad over petty things like that. I was let go from another job…well, I should say forced to resign, after getting into an explosive argument with a dumb blonde head cashier. I won’t mention every dismissal, but I will say that there was one job that cut me loose through no fault of my own. Turns out, I was just no longer useful to that manager, plus an old high school bully filled his head with outright lies about me.

It should be understood that I am not an evil, hateful person. I’ve just made some terrible decisions based on my behavior. At 36 years of age, I’m trying to be better about how I treat people and how I adapt to my surroundings. 24 years spent in and out of therapy, plus countless medications to manage my brain and I still don’t have all of my ducks in a row. But really, who does?

In saying all of this, I hope you’ve come away with a better understanding of what it’s like to be in my shoes. That shall be the end of this diatribe.

Dating tips and things I’ve learned about women.

Hey there. So, since my last post was more of a score card of all the women I’ve been with, instead of offering tips and advice, which should have part of said post, I’ll do that here. Here they are, in no particular order.

Always approach the woman you’re interested in with a goal in mind. Is it friendship? A relationship? No strings attached sex? If you’re unclear, then steer clear.

If you are white guy and you want to date outside of your race, there are quite a few things you must be mindful of. Just because you may use racial slurs and share racial jokes among friends, that doesn’t mean she’ll be into it. SPOILER ALERT: She won’t be.

Adding to that, try to understand and respect the cultural differences between the two of you. Work to blend your cultures so that you’ll be more comfortable around one another.

You should never be afraid to ask the tough questions or even have tougher conversations. Yes, things might get political. So, in that case, if you can’t come to a respectful middle ground, then your relationship will be in the gutter.

It cannot be stressed enough that you and your partner MUST have common interests and goals. Communicate what you want out of the relationship and see if she aligns with you.

Just as I’m sure you don’t want to foot the bill for everything you do together, she is also not a replacement for your mother. Learn to cook, clean, fix things and drive a car if you don’t already. Don’t be a man-child. They might find it cute for a minute, but they will throw you out with the trash if you don’t shape up.

Remember when I said “ask the tough questions”? Well, these include inquiring about the status of your relationship. Are you official? Does she agree with you sharing your status on social media? If the answer to any of those is “no” or unclear, then she’s not for you.

Date above your league if you must, but do it at your own risk. If you’re still living at home with your family and you’re over 30, your dating options are quite slim. She’ll tolerate your living situation for only so long, before she dumps you. If she’s a lawyer or a counselor and you’re just some grocery store bag boy, that’s not gonna make her feel too secure in the relationship.

If you’re gonna date down, please avoid single mothers. Their kids and drama are NOT yours to deal with. These women also expect to be spoiled and so may their children. Date someone who is only slightly below you, socially and career-wise. It’s healthy and you’ll help build each other up.

You are NOT her personal ATM.

She might be the most beautiful woman you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, but if her personality is ugly, run far away. Usually, their vanity gives them an excuse to be vile towards other people. You don’t want that.

Guys, if she’s not comfortable with the idea of you meeting her family or she doesn’t give you the address to her new place, it was over before it could flourish.

I, personally, have had to learn the hard way that grand gestures to try and win her back when she’s pulling away will only make things worse. Don’t even write her an apologetic letter. That just shows her how weak you are.

Sometimes, you’ll figure it out when it’s the final time you’ll be intimate with a woman. It’s usually after some bit of drama that your relationship won’t come back from.

Be sure your schedules are synchronized just enough so that you two can see each other when you are able. If she’s got a 9 to 5 and you work nights and weekends, that’s not totally a deal-breaker, but it could be.

Not always the case, but if she starts telling you that she needs “space” or “time to figure things out”, she’s either already seeing someone else, or has another guy lined up. Sometimes, that’s on you, but most of the time, she’s just trifling.

Don’t plan anything big out more than a month in advance. Never mind having the money for a trip, concert, sporting event, etc. On the chance that you split up before something like a planned hotel stay/theme park visit is supposed to take place, then get your money back and make alternative and cheaper plans. You’ve got friends, don’t you?

Running it back a bit, don’t be a mama’s boy. Nope, not even at 35. Hell, not even at 25. It’s one thing if you are your mother’s primary caregiver and your partner is understanding of that to the point where she may even help you. It’s something else when you choose you mother over your girlfriend in every decision you (or you mom) makes (for you). It’s harsh, but your mama needs to understand that she’s not the only woman in your life.

I’m sorry to have to make you scroll down so far for this one, but here it comes. If you have a neurological condition such as autism, education is key. Educate your partner about your diagnosis and make them aware of the behaviors you exhibit. Let them know that sometimes, you will have emotional meltdowns and that they’ve done nothing to cause them. It is also important that your partner understands how your brain functions differently from hers or anyone else’s brain and that things like jokes and sarcasm can easily go over your head. Many of us aren’t that great at reading body language or facial expressions, either.

Consent to any physical acts between you and your partner can mean the difference between a great time with her and a lifetime behind bars. This is something she must also understand, because a lot of autistic people don’t like to be touched. This applies to non-sexual displays of affection as well.

As I mentioned earlier, making grand gestures to try and win her back when she’s pulling away never work. You can, however, make her feel special by planning something big or going all out for an anniversary or her birthday. Just make sure it’s something worth celebrating.

In case things fall apart in your relationship, make sure that if you’ve met any of her family or friends, you remain on good terms with those people. You just never know, these relationships could be beneficial to you. Remember to pay it forward, because otherwise, you’re taking advantage of those who’ve bothered to reach out to you.

It is and isn’t about you. Always be considerate of your partner’s needs, but don’t forget about your own. This is big. Don’t lose yourself if you’re comfortable in the relationship and try to have a life away from her. DON’T BE AVAILABLE 24/7! That will turn her off to you real quick. Being clingy has never and will never be attractive to a woman. It’s a lesson that even I’ve had to relearn.

The last piece of advice I can give is this: It’s a totally different world of dating and courtship than what you knew growing up. Gone are the days of lasting marriages and relationships that stand the test of time. If one of you isn’t satisfied, you’ll seek “happiness” elsewhere. These days, most people favor hookups and short flings over long-term relationships. Casual hookups might be fine for a little while, but you’ll still end up with an empty feeling inside. So cherish what you have with that special someone, especially if it becomes something long-term.

I worked on this blog for 3 hours, so I think I’ve covered a lot of topics in that time. Luckily for you, it shouldn’t take 3 hours to read this page. I’ve dished out some cold, hard truths here, but don’t let that discourage you from pursuing (and hopefully landing) the lady of your dreams. Take this all under careful advisement and you’ll be alright.

As always, thanks for reading.

My experiences with dating while being on the Autism Spectrum

With the dissolution of my most-recent relationship, I have been compelled to share my insight into what it’s like dating while being on the Autism Spectrum.

Here’s a quick backstory for you. Now, I received an initial diagnosis of autism at the age of 3, in 1987. This was in a time when very little was known about the condition. Even through my childhood and into my teens, I was often made a pariah because I was “different” from everyone else. I was seen as a danger, a menace to society, because I would be quick to anger and ready to beat other kids up if they made fun of me. To this day, I still carry the trauma of being different from my peers.

Now, let’s get into why we are all here. I was the tender young age of 7 when I developed my first crush on a girl. Her name was Mindy and she was older, 11 to be precise. This started a little pattern, but I won’t dive too deep into that. Mindy and I met at school, which was a K-12 school for special needs students. We became fast friends and tried to spend time together outside of school, but she lived much too far away for that to happen. We might have lived in the same county, but we lived at least 30 minutes apart. I knew that I always wanted to be around Mindy, but I knew nothing of crushes or being in love. She certainly must have thought I was crazy to want to hold hands and kiss her, because let’s face it, I at least knew that much about “love”. Our story ended about a year later when she had to move away and of course, I was sad.

I really didn’t pay any mind to girls again until I reached adolescence. I’m going to tell you now, this is where adult subject matter and terminology come into play. Click off of this page if what I say from here on out might offend you. With that having been said, let’s continue.

At around the age of 11, I really started to take a renewed interest in girls. As puberty hit, I began to have erections whenever I would think about a girl or woman I found attractive. Before I had access to pornography, I would masturbate to Sears catalogues and TV programs I knew had pretty ladies on them, with the TV on mute. In any case, I was hopelessly chasing girls with no success. Then again, I might have been successful, had I not turned down a field trip in 7th grade. The group I was to go with were all girls, including one I was really into. Talk about your missed opportunity.

Just remember, we are all adults (hopefully), who are reading this blog.

Middle school was humiliating enough, what with every kid being hormonal, emotional tornadoes, just sweeping through everyone who got in their way. When it came to high school, I can’t say that my dating prospects were any better. Oh, I tried, really tried to find my “soulmate” at 16 or 17, but the ones who did like me, I took no interest in. In fact, more than 20 years on, and I still regret not pursuing one girl who genuinely was into me.

At this point, you may want to ask “Well, James, what does any of this have to do with being on the autism spectrum?”

Dating as a man on the Autism Spectrum presents its own set of challenges. For someone who already has trouble with social cues, boundaries are another issue. I don’t always know if a woman is comfortable with my words, moves, or motives in general. Other times, they can see right through me, knowing that my end goal with them is sex. That’s when they promptly friendzone me.

Trying to get the attention of the opposite sex is difficult enough for even neurotypical males. It’s a whole ‘nother nightmare for people like me. Never mind that I was never one of the “popular” kids, I was clueless (and still am) about social interaction, period. Confusing lust for love is all too easy in my world. Even as I started working at a well-known grocery store chain for my first job, it was still just an extension of high school, what with cliques and hierarchies. I cannot tell you just how many young ladies I tried to get with over the course of my time at that job. One in particular stands out, because she strung me along for a year, before revealing that she had a boyfriend all along. Just hold on tight, because things are about to get juicier.

The year was 2006. I was fresh off of being canned from my job at the grocery store and had a lot of time on my hands. I was on a journal website, probably GreatestJournal, when I met a girl whom we’ll call “C”. In late January of that year, C and I agreed to meet up where she was working at the time, then we came back to my house to hang out. As we were spending the first of two nights together, I decided to take C over to meet an elderly neighbor of mine. C, of course, thought that I was weird for making her go and meet this person. The second night C and I spent together, we started making out and feeling all over one another. I was pretty sure she was expecting sex, but I chickened out, because I really liked her and wanted to wait for a “special occasion”, one that never came.

I got to meet and know C’s family, especially her youngest brother, who liked me because I was into Dragon Ball Z like he was. My relationship with C, however, was rocky from the start. She began to treat me like I was a waste of space and always demanded that I pay for her when we’d go out, whether I had money or not. I still clung to C through her succession of boyfriends and girlfriends. That, kids, is another pattern I would fall into when it came to the females I dated. Most of them were bi or pansexual. Anyway, when C was in a rather serious relationship towards the end of the time I associated with her, the guy she was with didn’t take too kindly to clingy fools like me. 8 years I put up with C’s crap before finally cutting her out of my life for good. Funny how I do something like that, only for it to be followed by a major life-altering event, such as losing my father to a massive heart attack.

All in all, C was just like every other bully I had in my life, constantly putting me down for my disability and hating the fact that I wasn’t already living independently at 21. She was the most spoiled of princesses and I was happy to do away with her. C actually had a loose association with someone who would become my first actual girlfriend. This one, we will call “K”.

I met K on Myspace? Remember Myspace? Of course you do (or don’t). After a few weeks of talking, K and I meet at the Winter Park Village and spent the day in a book store, a video game store and other places. Later on, my mom picks us up and we go back to the house. K was trying all evening to get into my pants, which I wasn’t clued in on until we had to take her home. 3 days later, she calls out sick from her job and wants me to come over. I do and I lose my virginity to her that very day. On Tuesday, April 25, 2006, I finally became a MAN!

Now, while I had plenty of good times with K, even attending that year’s Warped Tour concert together and bonding with her estranged father, we had some not-so-great moments, like when I was nearly arrested for not having identification on me while being with her and two friends, all of whom had criminal records. K treated me well, otherwise, but her mom and sisters hated my guts. In fact, her mom encouraged her to stay with me so that she, not K, could get some of my disability money. It was 3 days after my birthday when we would split up. That afternoon, K and I were left alone in her mom’s apartment to have a little fun. She then wanted to go for a walk down by the lake behind the complex. It was then that she told me she didn’t want to be with me anymore. This caught me by complete surprise, because I thought we were doing so well. It was only a couple of months later that I found out why she broke up with me. Her boyfriend came home after finishing a tour with his band. Case in point, I was K’s side guy for 3 months. Thanks, but no thanks to a mutual friend for divulging this information.

I would spend the next several years, chasing random girls from my past, even having sex with one, which she clearly pitied me and let me sleep with her. Then, in 2009, at 25, my quarter-life crisis was in effect. I was so despondent from the job I was working at the time and continuing to fail with women, that when one came along, I became obsessed with her. She will be referred to as “K2”.

K2 and I met while working at a place known for being a “red bullseye”. We became fast friends and seemed to have real connection. There was just one problem, she was married. The people we worked with couldn’t believe that I was trying to pursue a married woman, but I would have none of their criticisms. To me, it didn’t seem to matter that K2 was taken. I just wanted to be with her, even going so far as to include my brother on outings and inviting myself to go with them to an outdoor concert, when it was their anniversary present to one another. One of the last times I had anything to do with K2 was when I showed up at her townhouse unannounced to try and be alone with her. She freaked out, understandably, but let me visit for a short while anyway. Nothing happened. We reconnected over Facebook 2 years later, but she told me that I was responsible for their divorce. Her husband could not mentally recover from my intrusion, even though K2 and I never even so much as kissed.

I took the next several years off from trying to get laid and just focused on myself. I registered to vote, took trips out of state, went to more and more concerts and had a pretty wild 28th birthday party, where my dad stole my thunder. That last bit was July of 2012, and we would lose him 18 months later.

It’s late 2015 and I’m 31 years old. The next woman I would get involved with was an older woman who lived out of state, in “Buckeye Country”. For this part of my story, she will be abbreviated to “H”. H would be the first single mother I found myself dating, as she had a 5-year-old daughter at the time. Our infatuation was quick to grow and within weeks of meeting H, I was on my way to visit with her over a long weekend. I spent some time with her daughter, but she was mainly with the grandparents, so that H and I could get to know each other. The first visit, even though I caught a little cold, was as wonderful as life could get for me. We spent much of our time in the bedroom, even waking up in the middle of the night to go at it. When that wasn’t going on, I was attempting to form a bond with her daughter.

Unfortunately, as these things go, reality soon set in. There was talk among H and myself about her and the kid driving down to visit me over Christmas break. When the time came for that to happen, she backed out and I was upset. I tried to break up with her around New Year’s Day 2016, but took her back shortly thereafter. It’s now February 2016 and I go back to visit her over Valentine’s Day weekend. I wish I could say that things were as good as the first visit, but I came down with the flu and spent most of that weekend in bed, sleeping. It was also during this time that any attraction I had towards H was on rapid decline. I just couldn’t do the long-distance relationship thing anymore. One month later, I was pushed by a friend to finally break up with H, over the phone, no less. I told H that she was only fit for helping me break a 6-year dry spell of physical intimacy.

After a random sexual encounter with someone in between, I remained mostly unfulfilled until March of 2020. Through the Facebook Dating app, I started talking to a lady with a Christmas Day birthday. We will refer to this one as “A”. A was my most promising potential relationship yet. We talked even when the COVID quarantine began and I was furloughed from my job for a month. In June of 2020, the stars finally aligned and we had our first date at one of my favorite restaurants. That was a great day, even with all the rain that fell. We tried to get together every couple of weeks. The first time I would sleep with A, was the night before my birthday. After the way that session embarrassingly ended, she almost didn’t want to see me again, so I had to plead for her to stay with me.

After that night, things did improve between us and I started going over to where she was house sitting, and those were some of the best times that A and I shared together. I even paid her a surprise visit one Sunday and met her mom and nephew. My relationship with A seemed to be on an upward trajectory…until about late September. A decided that she needed to time to clear her head from all the stressors in her life. Those things include her chaotic job and moving into her new home. Looking back now, I could have been one of her stressors.

Now, in mid-October, after another of her multi-day disappearing acts, A texted me to tell me that she wished me well, but wanted to move on in her life without me. Now, I don’t mind if my significant other needs time to herself every now and then, but if she won’t let me in just a little bit, then I can’t be with someone like that. I’m the type of person who needs near-constant communication with my partner, if only to be assured that everything is alright between us.

Maybe I’m all wrong and I should stop being so needy, but that’s a topic for another day. If you made it this far down the post, then you’re a real trooper. I’m finished with this blog, but be sure to return next time, when I give a little advice about what to do when you’re dating as someone on the spectrum.

Thanks for reading.