I’m 🤗so glad🤗 I spent the last three days exploring how “I Hid in a Closet,” followed by my poetry mini-collection, “Soothe.”
As much as I felt myself emotionally distancing in a few patches of those blog posts—and if there’s anything I’ve learned from writing every day of my life, distancing is a tell-tale sign the brain’s still not too keen on a topic—it helped me check my luggage at the door so I could focus on other stories.
For instance… Now I can write a little more about how 👩🏫I’m a teacher!👩🏫
I’m not nearly as badass as the teachers in the above spoken word video; I’m a softie, actually; but my students usually like me, and I see tremendous growth in their writing from start to finish. If students are learning, and they’re feeling good about the subject they learned about, then I feel happy as an educator.
I’ll talk about my teaching career more later in the month, cross-my-heart.
I’m also an entrepreneurial blog writer—just (re)starting. I used to blog as a hobby, but now I’m more dedicating to the writing practice, hoping to receive support through Patreon, as well as Amazon ads for treasures I mention in my writing—ads that make sense, so they aren’t so annoying when you’re navigating the Internet—like the wave light I use to self-soothe, this is a nice one to talk about:
So if you’re autistic, or you have an autistic family member or friend, it might be worth taking a look at this light. It’s a blessing when I’m having a shutdown, and I need a soft pattern to focus on, help me breathe, return to the present moment.
I think the reason it’s so successful as a self-soothing aid is because it targets the senses most likely to be overstimulated, and therefore in need of rest:
- visual stimuli (common sources of visual-social overstimulation—these are often very taxing on autistic people, since we’re talking about a multi-sensory overstimulus here—include eye contact, reading facial expressions, and social media);
- sensorimotor stimuli.
In addition, I write novellas and poetry. You could say, I feel extremely comfortable writing. Perhaps, I’m more comfortable writing than any other form of communication. That’s what I want to spend the next 3 days talking about.
Brace in advance, because I get excited about writing, and sometimes my excitement registers as loud. I’ve a theory that it’s because positive stimulation has as much of an effect on my decibel as negative stimulation; it’s just a matter of if my overstimulation stage is expressed as:
- an alarm signal, or
- as a three-year-old’s first trip to Disneyland.
Writing is My Primary Discourse
A discourse is like a collection of communication rules (ex., netiquette), vocabulary (ex., slang), and nonverbal behaviors (ex., tone) we’ve amassed together to create a checklist of how to present ourselves to others.
In our male white privilege society, our “acceptable” discourses are pretty limited, but we’ve made huuuge strides towards acceptance of diverse discourses since the invention— and the intervention—of Internet. Yay!
Most people choose family conversation as their primary discourse; in other words, their most comfortable method of communication is exchanging verbal conversation with a loved family member.
That’s never been the case for me. It never will be. As much as I enjoy a deep verbal conversation, my safest place—the space where I can express myself most sincerely—has always been in writing, ever since I was very, very little. The Internet, being a place where writing is champion, truly saved my life.
But what about before the Internet, when personal computers were still mythic, extraordinary expensive heaps of spaceship parts? Since I narrowly missed cellphones in K-12, you bet I was the girl who instead passed notes around the middle school classroom, fossils of my insecurity.
I left “Do you like me? Check yes or no” post-it notes on lockers every semester—not just for boys, but friends, too—and by high school, I shoved letters into lockers, like our lockers doubled as mailboxes.
I was shocked when, while working in K-12, I found students (at least at McLane) didn’t have lockers. Did you have a locker? All my letters and mailboxes…
My friends and I also sailed origami notes through the high school classroom like ninja stars, like silent voices the teacher would never hear or see. Except, one teacher did see one of my flying notes, and I had to eat it to avoid reading it to the class.
But that’s how you do it, people. If you’re ready to eat your words, you’re ready to fail, then you’re ready for anything.
I look forward to sharing stories about my life as a writer tomorrow and Saturday. In the meantime, enjoy this lovely Canadian micro-documentary on autism (my favorite part is his facial expression @2:50):
Do you enjoy Cleo’s Autism Awareness?
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Kourtnie has an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno and a BA in English from CSU Fullerton. When she isn't writing or making art, she's moonlighting as a professor at community colleges. Read her writing at Kourtnie.net or Wattpad.com/user/KourtnieNet.