I’m home.


Wanted to put something out there to note explicitly that I’m home and I’m okay, and things went pretty well. Kassiane’s sense of humor and Kathleen’s general existence might have saved me from the parts that did not go so well. And I will note that I have now for the first time ever experienced the phenomenon of hiding in the women’s bathroom and having a bunch of other women follow me in and start gabbing. (A phenomenon that up until then had remained a complete mystery to me — it appears to have to do with the women’s bathroom being the closest place a person can find relative privacy sometimes. The only non-stereotypical aspect was that my frustration was political rather than having to do with a failed relationship or something. I’d say I pulled a Larry Arnold at one point (which I mean with high respect for Larry’s ability to stand up for his principles in difficult situations), but as has been pointed out to me by many people who were there, I did not say “bollox” often enough.) (EDIT: In US slang, “pulling a Larry” means doing something Larry is notorious for doing, it does not have any of the sexual connotations someone in the comments section described.)

I especially enjoyed the movement differences presentation, and finding out that there are in fact a wider number of people with roughly my pattern of development out there than I had even suspected (and I had already known it was more than most people realize). And talking to Martha Leary afterwards meant I’ve now gotten a lot more information than I had before. Hopefully it’ll eventually make its way out of my brain again (which is always the problem).

I also liked Estee Klar-Wolfond’s presentation about changing the way people look at being autistic.

However, I’m exhausted and also dealing with personal problems offline (unrelated to the subjects of this blog), so my online work might be sporadic for a little while. Also, the kind of shutdown I’ve experienced after this conference is qualitatively different enough from my usual post-conference shutdown for me to be still puzzled about what the boundaries of what I should and should not be doing are. Because of this, I’d like to ask anyone who has my email address not to contact me about anything that’d be stressful to me at the moment unless absolutely necessary. (Exceptions to the “anyone” are friends contacting me about their own personal problems (which I’m glad to listen to but may be sporadic in responding to), and family.)


About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Developmentally disabled, physically and cognitively disabled. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died in 2014 and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

20 responses »

  1. Glad you’re home and okay, and that things went pretty well at Autcom.

    It’s great that you discovered that there are more people with roughly your pattern of development than you had ever suspected.

    Get all the rest you need.

    The phenomenon of women socialising in women’s bathrooms is also something of a mystery to men.

  2. “Pull” has a UK slang meaning of finding a sexual partner, usually in a casual-socialising situation like a party or something. I don’t know if it has that meaning in US or Canadian English, but i don’t think i’ve ever heard a US or Canadian person use it…

    “I pulled a Larry Arnold”, therefore, *could* be interpreted as meaning that you and Larry “got together” (however, the form would usually be “i pulled Larry”, without the indefinite article).

    I think you are using a primarily US slang meaning of “I pulled a Larry Arnold” meaning, roughly, “I did something that Larry is notorious for doing”?

    Casdok, i believe Larry is the wrong gender for Amanda to want to “pull”… ;)

  3. Larry wasn’t there. And, yeah, good grief, wrong gender, wrong age, wrong lots of things, I doubt either of us would put up with that kind of ‘pulling’.

    And I’ve edited that part to explain it a bit so that there is not some weird gossip started based on this. ;-) I did not have any form of anything even resembling sex with any AutCom participants.

  4. when you’re ready, please share more about autcom…..I’m curious to know what it’s like. Athena and I have never been to something like that before………….

    another Monday.


  5. I hope you are able to determine what was different about this AutCom from other conferences. I’m sure it had something to do with the variation in people and the situations. Maybe CNN’s presence made things more difficult than usual? (This is my “male brain” trying to “fix problems” – feel free to ignore me.)

  6. I can’t imagine Casdok would’ve meant “pulled” in that sorta way anyway . . .

    Welcome back, Amanda. I promise I won’t bug you much. But you simply must have a look at those photos of our new kitty.

  7. Janna:

    What was different was in part that I was looking out for other people. So I had to stay functioning in ways I normally don’t, but something had to give, so other things shut down than usual.

    Which has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I was like in school, which was another situation where I managed to function for many years in other ways, but shut down in the exact same way I’ve been shutting down now.

    So I know pretty well what the problem is, the issue is trying to figure out how to navigate this kind of shutdown. And that’s a very internal sort of thing, it’s basically a matter of figuring out where the boundaries are.

    Having now talked to a few people who acquired this pattern of functioning to get through all or part of their schooling, I’m now wondering if this is another of the awful effects of school on many autistic people. I have to say I prefer my ordinary pattern of shutdown to this, although there’s very little I’d have done differently at the conference anyway even if I knew.

    Also it was nice to talk to you, including in the bathroom under that weird primping-shelf. :-P Your speech is much easier for me to understand than your writing (no insult to your writing, it’s just difficult for me to figure out). So it was actually easier to talk to you there than it has been online (and I think it’s obvious we don’t talk much online even though we’ve known each other awhile :-/ ).

  8. Pleased you got home ok and hope you feel ok soon. Glad parts of it went well even if every part didn’t. I like the term “bollocks” :).

  9. Having now talked to a few people who acquired this pattern of functioning to get through all or part of their schooling, I’m now wondering if this is another of the awful effects of school on many autistic people

    I definitely had similar things happen while going through schooling — basically at one point I sort of figured out how to tap into “emergency reserves” for fairly long periods of time. And I mistook this for having “developed self-discipline”.

    It was such a relief for a while to not be called “irresponsible” and various other things that even though I spent several years in pretty serious overload (senior year of high school, about 2 years worth of college) it was almost weirdly a relief to be dealing with things like dehydration and random shutdowns as opposed to getting a constant running commentary on everything I said or did. I couldn’t maintain that indefinitely, though. And my life is a lot more balanced now, though I still have to be careful of not ending up getting swept into Permanent Emergency Mode when a lot of stuff happens at once. :/

    Also, glad you are back OK, and hopefully you are able to take whatever time you need to process stuff and rejuvenate, etc.

  10. My writing definitely is more convoluted than my speech. I’m really a very plain speaker, probably because my brain is going so much faster than my mouth that I have to condense everything more! ;)

  11. I am VERY curious to hear about the incident involving the “bollocks” remark :-)

    But no rush, of course – I can wait until after recovery from shut-down mode … unless someone else was there and is able to share :-)

  12. The bollocks WASN’T said, that’s the POINT. Though it certainly should have at certain points (ahem. like the BS about MMR and kids who can’t learn anything, which has so much wrong with it it’s a whole blog entry that I’m still too fried to write it all up…or the Benevolant Dictatorship…er…Guardianship bit that I missed out on, that sounded pretty bad…).

    As for seizing all over the place and being a general pain in the ass…apologies. At least I’m a funny pain in the ass? Generally I don’t fall on my head, but generally I don’t sit in chairs because I don’t like them because of that whole seizures-falling thing.

  13. I hope that you feel up to communicating, soon. Please don’t do anything that might hurt you, just to please us. I, for one, am willing to wait for whatever you have to say.

  14. Hi, Andrea: I gather that Amanda means that she stood up for her principles in a difficult situation but, had she been Larry, she would have said “bollox” a number of times while doing so. In any case, I’m patiently awaiting the story myself.

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