It’s still Women’s History Month (I write this on the last day of March) although every day is a good day to remember women. I think of my mother, a gentle laughing spirit and her mother, a fragile sprite of a woman with a mischievous aura about her. I think of my birth mother too, who I met a few times before she passed and found out later she loved to tell stories about faeries and little people. My biological grandma who I met twice, an artist who grabbed my cheeks gently, the first time we met and said “I love you already.” I think of Starr, who has had to face way too much havoc and to whom I send love healing intention every day- she deserves happiness. I am often drawn to autobiographical accounts of women in particular although my fave author Augusten Burroughs has a new book due out and I am very happy to have that on pre-order. Some interesting women’s stories (artists, writers, leaders…) a few that stay with me, of the very many I’ve read:
Her beau: the well-known-died-too-young-Jackson Pollock gets the attention but Lee is fascinating!
It stays with you. As tragedy and remembrance does.
While books like this are rarely “juicy,” and words are carefully chosen, it is a fabulous insight into what shaped and directed the Obama trajectory.
What can I say? I just didn’t know autism is a broad spectrum. I didn’t know stereotypes I’d been fed were largely untrue. I was always picking up memoir in my 30s, as I still do, in an attempt to know how people tick, so to speak, to get a grasp on my own different brain. I saw the title Nobody Nowhere on a Caldor store shelf and I thought, “Sounds interesting. I don’t have autism, I mean I don’t bang my head all day…but it should be an interesting read.” This is the first book I read from an autistic POV. Page one, I said, “So that’s what I’ve got.” Epiphany. The rest is history. Errr….. herstory.
Speaking of herstory, I’m going to recommend my own book to you and while I can’t say I am a leader or a mover-shaker, I can say that it is from the heart and that the late author of Nobody Nowhere became a sister at heart friend and wrote my forward free of charge, because she offered and I was honored. Every single human being has a story. I have a mountain of books at my bedside that I step around when I rise in the morning, to prove that. And for a long time I didn’t think I even had a voice. While my voice and what I have to say is unconventional, I do have one and this little book I wrote proves that:
Oh, someone give me a kick in the writer-ass to get going on my next book! Art is something I am immersed in however. I’m planning a series of women-inspired paintings/collages of women (real, bumpy, curvy, diverse, empowered) and as such, I was looking at the extraordinary work of Goya’s women and witches, of which I’m sharing a little here…
Awestruck by olden images/sketches of woman, I had a specific search engine that brought up image drawings. I entered the search words “Old Woman” so I could inspire my own art creations with images that came up in the search results. Here’s what happened:
Bags! Bags came up when I searched old women? A derogatory outdated term for women? Interesting, because that’s the opposite of empowerment isn’t it? LOL as they say.
So, Women’s History Month has Marched by and the next theme-designated-month is….drumroll….Autism Awareness! It’s a month many dread. Fact is, we are all going to see news, TV, docu-features, articles, etc. and community happenings and all manner of things in April related to what many of us live with EVERY day of the year. Walks. Stunts. Blue lights.
I’ve read that blue was chosen for Autism Awareness Month because autism supposedly disproportionately affects males (…actually girls hide it better and fall under the radar, so is that really true?…) and we all know blue is the assigned color for males… Really though? In a 1918 Ladies Home Journal article, the following was said: “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Hmmm I’m digressing. That in itself is disempowering in itself. Girls: dainty. Boys: Strong. It’s like that old Betty White quote I adore.
But I digress. While some feel that designating a month for autism awareness is a great soapbox from which to express autism related topics, others absolutely despise it and are triggered by it. Autism is no “walk in the park” for those affected, says Kim Stagliano, Washington Post.
According to the Autism Society, the initiative was created “to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with [Autism Spectrum Disorder] is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.”
On that note, here is what I’ve been up to…in part, as an instrinsically actually autistic woman: Truth is, I’m up to a lot.
Wednesday Al and I went to Manhattan with my son Silas and gf Kat to be filmed for our part in the anthology docu-film Desire, which Keri Bowers is directing on a shoestring. I destroyed a cuticle or two along the way. My nerves. They sing too loudly.
My now-son Silas had top surgery and used to be my daughter Kerry Annie and if you’ve read my book you recall a little girl who loved classical music, daredevil activities, kitties and motorcycles…. Now I have three sons. Silas and Kat bravely talk about their love story, in this film. I’m proud to be a small part of a big thing. Maybe it was easier to talk about other people’s sexuality than my own?
When we arrived (early) at the highrise where filming was taking place I saw these marvelous doors.
Al and I took a seat in the library room to wait our turn, as filming was running late. Al can get curmudgeonly when things go unexpectedly and while I am not happy with unexpected change, I often try to take the stance that it’s an adventure after all and meant this way. Al did hold it together patiently, to his credit! Our unruly dog has taught him patience!
So, waiting in the library for our turn, Al settled in to an iPhone game and I picked up Neurotribes and skimmed through for an hour. Someone had put a Post-it note inside. Steve’s book reminds me of me when I was “shiny” which is my term for newly diagnosed, and in that awestruck and happy period of newly-diagnosed-revelation. At least that was my experience. At the time I was diagnosed (1990s), I got library books (much of what is in Steve’s book) and copied and copied info that I recognize in Neurotribes as part of what I researched, into a red binder which I still have, handwritten. Truly, Steve’s book is a go-to, a culmination of autism knowledge that is a gathered place for invaluable information. Inspired! (This library had jarringly noisy glass doors…for a library one doesn’t expect to grit teeth every few minutes while someone enters through said noisy doors…)
While Keri got great shots of Al and I walking, and even kissing on the busy street, it should be noted, alas, that filming is not my forte. I have RestingFrownFace. I suppose to focus on communication (selective mutism sucks) AND my facial expression is not cohesive, one always suffers. Plus side? I got to meet members of my tribe, Keri’s assistants Mark and Michelle. Here is lovely Michelle who had a very sore foot (and a trans child in common with me). My foot wasn’t sore. 🙂
Keri wanted footage of my hometown and planned a trip to visit us on Saturday by train,(yesterday) … Unfortunately Keri and Mark got lost on the way and we are rescheduling the trip for the future. She had a rose for me but never got to deliver it. Here are she and Mark who is delightfully shiny 🙂 mugging with my rose. At least I got to see it!
Here is a shot of the filming of my son (left) and his gf Katerina. They held hands the whole time.
I have probably shared these before, but here is a “before” of Silas and a shot of ‘she’ and I miming.
It’s warming up here in the east. 60 degrees! woohoo. I plan to get a lowBattery-refill from nature as often as I can. My low power light is blinking. I’ll leave you with some art I’ve made, old and new- most collage, some acrylic, a lot of them unfinished. Poor quality quick iPhone photos.
See Alex Trebek in her calf muscle? These collages and paintings are more vibrant in person. They came out rather dark here. Images copyright me of course.
Go see your favorite tree. If you don’t have one, find one. Find your tribe, whoever it is. Make art. Catch Pokemon. Life is short. Maybe you’ll catch a shiny like me! Did you know Pokemon Go was created by someone with Aspergers? Of course you did.
Sanctuary has me as a featured artist. There may be a typo. I’m not VP of Art of Autism. I’m VP on the board at Art of Autism. Here’s the link:
More on Keri at the link below: