Thursday, September 25, 2014

Entry 73: Surrender, to anti-disempowerment (last blog)

Entry 73: Surrender, to anti-disempowerment (last blog)

May. 31. 2014

(closing blog, prelude to Beyond The Boxes)

Ultimately, admitting powerlessness over something out of your control, isn’t really taking away your true power at all. Like many, I also struggle with not taking the word “powerless” literally. So, let’s try to reframe it. Admitting powerlessness in that context only frees us from unrealistic expectations that continue to tug on the heartstrings, and weigh us down into debility. Think of the word powerlessness like this: It’s surrender. Letting go. Admitting you are powerless over something you can't change, though that’s vague statement, which can be further dissected. So this is the real meaning of powerless, or at least the most positive way to apply it.

See, the negative version of “powerlessness” isn’t really powerlessness at all; it’s something called disempowerment. The literal definition of disempowerment is: to deprive of influence, importance, etc. For example: Voters feel they have become disempowered by recent political events. 

This is the wrong kind of surrender, and we seem tricked into it, whence trying to fight opposing forces. It’s often completely justifiable as to why we would want to fight something that’s genuinely unfair. There are a lot of unfair things going on in this world, right now. I have experienced a great deal of it too. 
However, there is a better way to “fight” and still avoid getting hurt. It’s not really fighting, it’s about rising above and moving forward.

Sometimes, we’re settling with an "if you can't beat 'me join 'me" rationale. This is just as bad, or maybe even worse, than walking into battle. This can look like many things, ranging from simple disassociation to devastating addiction that can easily turn tragic. These are the kinds of positions that the system seems to force us into. Begging and pining for acknowledgement, “services”, “help”, …and unhelpful help, more often than not.

A wise friend said to me “yeah, but even justified resentment can still kill you.” I realized how incredibly true that is, and it finally clicked. I began shifting at that point.  What I realized, when my friend said that to me, is; “Wait a minute, I still have a choice. I can acknowledge this for what it is, unfair and all…but I don’t have to let it hurt me. I can trust that I am capable of rising above, and walking away, when I don’t like something and it’s not okay.”

All too often we find ourselves settling for codependence on a system, as opposed to inter-dependence between our like- minded acquaintances, friends and families, ones of compatibility, and of course ourselves. If we are spiritual, and hold belief of that nature, we should definitely include that too.

It’s like how the Paleolithics once lived, pre- Mesopotamia time. They interdependently strengthened their own familial infrastructures. They were egalitarian, and power was not overly centralized. Everyone in the village had a position that was suited to them; nobody was “better” than one another. Everybody had a purpose and a place. Though there were some leaders, they were guiding, not governing. Unlike more recent human civilizations, they were not jumping into battle, with fear turned to anger, against opposing forces.

They even nomadically changed location as opposed to this, whilst further strengthening their own systems via peaceful avoidance of interference.  This took work and stamina to do too. They were more able to do it because of their empowerment-based attitude and approach to life. It’s important to note that fear and anger drain the body and mind of these things, like nothing else can.

I believe that there actually is no easier, softer way, which relies on codependence towards one with “the resource needed” as the systems continue to peddle. It’s not that we shouldn’t help each other out, coming from love, interdependently; it’s the looking at it like an “obligatory duty” whilst passive aggressive resentment, hailed from pity, which is particularly unhelpful. Can people “help their own selves” too? I think so, just as long as we seek outlets, other beings or other things, in which we trust can help us … especially if we feel weakened of lacking in control.

I feel that this perpetuates and encourages the negative behavior patterns seen in addiction. I feel this in my heart. I have the deep personal experience that’s brought this to my attention. Society wonders why addiction and addictive behaviors’, which negatively taint so many people’s lives, are such an epidemic. To me, it’s obvious as to why.

I’ve asked myself, are those “at the top” really as troubled as they seem to be, by all this? Or, are they pretending to be troubled so that they can continue to offer this “help” which is actually devised to perpetuate disempowerment. I ask this question, because I’ve tried to access “help” from public systems, whilst seeking an actual empowering solution. 

It actually caused me to receive structurally violent abuse and attack that hurt me deeply. It took every bit of strength I had to recover from this, and eventually realize I had to “find and hold my own” as well as let go. I must.

It was like “how dare I” ask for help to be empowered. In retrospect, I hate to sound cynical; and this isn’t always the way. I have found some who I can trust; though I remain wary for good reason. Like I mention in my book So, What’s A Disability Supposed To Look Like, there are a few gems to be found. I’m grateful for whom I’ve found. They choose to remain true to a cleaner purpose, and go against the current as much as they are able to.

However, this can create a frustration in the way that you have to know and accept what degree help they’re able to offer you, when it comes to an entity still part of the public system. I realized I must let go of and hold our own over the rest. We could call that “managing our expectations.” It’s necessary to keep happy, content and sane.

Turning in the direction of a battleground just isn’t conducive. Trust me, I have done it, and I wear my scars. A happy medium between these two paths: of either battle plan to fight, or flight, disassociate, avoid and escape, would be to get off the path entirely. Yes, picture venturing into the forest.

You would have adequate gear, so as to be ready and prepared for self-defense if necessary, though not anticipating and planning out battle. Picture being a peaceful hunter-gatherer; obtaining only what is necessary to feed the vessel, our body. After all, it is the vessel for in which one ventures forth, extending and delegating this to their interdependent familial systems.

We can all do this; in peace, and love, neither as a predator, nor as running prey, discerning what is needed, leaving no other mark. This is as nature intended. Becoming that peaceful hunter-gatherer, in the moment, is key to not just survival, but “thrive-al.” Being in acceptance of whatever is at the given time, is the cornerstone of a seeming oxymoron; “surrender, to anti-disempowerment.” It’s when this happens that one can, in actuality, become electrifyingly empowered.

Yes, there is a difference between disempowerment, and being powerless over something you cannot change. This is especially true if it’s at the particular time, and in the fashion you want it to change.

The latter will transform one into either the predator, or the running prey; and both of those things fuel a system of hierarchy. It fuels a feudal system, like the dark ages.

A song of empowerment sounds off the birth of a grassroots concept; of true social equality, one in which gives no more power to “the power of thwarting change.” In turn, it will actually propel change. Real empowerment is to turn one’s back on, and no longer focus on, what is suggested to be disempowering. One can then journey forward without looking back.

I feel that most empowering of all is being able to simultaneously see what you can change, and accept what you cannot all in the same moment. This takes one out of this debilitating over-fired empathy, which causes us so much grief, and into what I call the “compassionate action zone.”

This action is contributive to a bigger picture. It can look like a big ship, like a Noah's Arc for in which everybody is helping to build. One day it can set sail, with consistent work continuing to be applied in optimism. This optimism, if preciously held onto, can even exist in the face of justifiable despair, whence looking into the far off horizon; and imagining the eventual end result.

Placing hope in this notion is when realistic, possible, gradual change can really happen. The reality is, there is a lot of corruption, upset, broken systems, environmental and health crises, social inequality, and beyond un-fair trade. It’s perpetually resulting in unnecessary hardship, anguish and grief in the world, at this time in history.
We are edging towards a point where change must happen, and evolution must flow.

There is an aggressive corporate surge running the globe. It continues to rage as the old tycoons stubbornly refuse change and resulting loss. It is raging in viciousness more than ever, much like wasps in September before a proverbial "ice age" approaches and threatens to take them out.

They, in this, will do anything it takes to fight it. This includes several inhumane acts such as pinning a psychiatric disorder one one who wants to be empowerment, to think for themselves, and may be affected by oppression. It's also suggested that those experiencing physical and thus chemical affects, due to the state of our environment, are merely mentally ill. They then drive this further, with pity-based disempowering “assistance”, such as offering base level and barely livable cradle to grave income, or rather "pine to grave income” as well as “services.” All of the former endorses corporations and their products, including and especially government systems. Currently, corporations have the government by the throat.

However, this doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice to not participate, to disengage from the old belief that reliance upon these systems put in place is necessary for survival. One has the right to live by their own system, and make it work for them, such as running a sustainable small and/or independent business.

This extends into their personal life; for example, some people grow and make much of their own foods and other necessities, from scratch.

People have the right to feel empowered, and to seek empowerment, living their lives “alternatively” in all regards via self-reliance, and interdependent co-existence with their dear ones. Many people who are compassionate but have either not been traumatized and damaged by system, or have been able to overcome it, already (albeit quietly) live this way.

Back to the system. Think of it like Ursula the Sea Witches’ offer to grant Ariel her instantaneously gratifying wish…in exchange for her voice. Such an exchange is like one signing a "disempowerment" contract, certifying themselves as "disempowered” via “disabled” in one way or another. A direct example of this is being on disability pension, which some are put into the position of not having a choice. It doesn’t need to be like this, and hopefully one day, it will not be.

So then comes the conclusion, the end result: As Ariel’s’ mission-of-condition turns out to be an impossible feat, she is ultimately set up to lose both what was offered to her if she wins, and her voice too. Food for thought; how many of us are getting the short end of the stick, when it’s not necessary? Most of us, but we can still believe in change.

The analogy illustrated resembles a current level of inhumanity, although insidiously unscrupulous, it’s becoming more obvious. This is then met with a pain somewhat necessary to be felt, in order for people to wake up and begin thinking for themselves. It occurs in order to begin questioning what is not right. However, that pain is a stage that must be moved through. If one remains trapped there, they can be weakened back into debility. They can even be done in. The rapids rage on, and one cannot hold onto the raft, if weakened.

The answer is not to take their labels as anything more than a grain of salt, whilst never forgetting who you are.... if you seek to love, help and harm none that is. We are individual human beings, who may be neuro-divergent and/or affected, due to being of a sensitive nature. These labels that are created are used with too much structural violence. They are used in a pity-based context, once again, to perpetuate disempowerment and hierarchy.They really do pillage people’s sense of self, and in a way, they are intended to.

This can all bring us down, unless we think about it and accept it using this example: “here is this silly game, and this is what I have been ‘categorized’ as. At this time, and in my position, I currently need this service and this exemption. I have been affected. Oh, it says I’m “bipolar”… this means, my brain chemistry is sensitive, and affected at this time.

I may get the chance to look into the cause of this further, and heal. I need this “disability” status as of now, because work is currently ill suited to my recovery and management process. I am still John Smith. I am not “Bipolar” John Smith.” They can throw all the labels around that they want, but we must not change who we really are, by taking on something we’re told about who we are.

However, with autism spectrum, this scenario is reversed. Autism is not a disorder, but a neuro divergent condition. Unfortunately, it is still treated like a psychiatric disorder, and thus we still find ourselves relying upon psychiatry to “diagnose” us.  Of course, our real motive is simply to self identify. In lieu of this, it would be reversed in the case of autism; we would not let a lack of acknowledgement tell us who we are.

It is the creative, highly sensitive, fluid, “autistically wired” style of thinking that produces invention; a desperately needed natural skill set in this dark time of now. It’s often those who are highly sensitive, then end up “labeled” with various mental “disorders.” However, we can’t allow this label throwing to cause us shame, or be afraid.  

Fear cannot strengthen the ability to hold onto the raft, on a river that ultimately needs to evolve, and move at a different pace. 

The true pace of this river must be more gradual, with time to take in the life it passes by. Picture a river more in tune with the algorithms of the humanistic heart and soul. If enough pressure applies, the pace can be slowed to such serenity. Picture the peaceful hunter-gatherers; placing one fallen branch and twig at a time, until a dam of love is built; then the rapids can cease in aggression.

We have to stay in the middle, rather than swing to either extreme lament of our suffering, or desensitization. This way we can remain in that “compassionate action zone.” If we strive to remain there, building that dam has a chance of becoming real.  If not, we can lapse into the raging river and drown in the rapids. It doesn't need to happen, we can build this Dam of Love. Then, as bonus, the river may support a boat compromised of the same constructive action.

Let's no longer make ourselves victims of the boxes, by putting ourselves in boxes, and giving those who create them so much power and clout. The DSM does not, and will never own autistic, neurodivergent people, and highly sensitive people. We are children of the universe; we are not disordered...only affected. We do not have to give any of it power; we have a choice.

Lets' not forget that the consumer, the receiver, is the one who is, in fact, the real holder of strength. We can boycott all systems, businesses, and ideologies related to outdated precedents that no longer serve us.  

However, the flip side goes back to admitting powerlessness. We’re admitting and accepting that we are only truly responsible for our own actions. We are ultimately powerless over other people, places and things. This means, we have to learn to let go, and this is what the admitting powerlessness is all about. It’s admitting that we’re powerless over controlling something simply beyond our ability to control. It’s the best and only way to not end up inadvertently injuring ourselves.

In the end, we can think of it how we want to; but I believe that our higher power, whatever form we choose to feel it (even if it’s not necessarily religious, or even spiritual) knows what’s right. If we listen to the universe, or our “inner voice” if you will, and let that lead, I’ve found things can work out.

Within that process, we are empowered to make our own positive and wise decisions, one by one and step by step. The rest can fall into place. That’s what I have come to believe, because when I practice this; it does work. When I have tried to control things down to the extreme detail, in everything that I do, I only suffer. Though I’ve come so far from where I was, I can still struggle with this too. It’s a daily exercise to try and let go of what I am, realistically, powerless over.
Ultimately, I think we can let go taking all these classifications literally, and move forward. We can trust in ourselves, and in the universe. We can recognize that these things we feel; patterns that we may notice amongst each other and amid our environment, intuition that we hold dear, things we just “know” in our hearts, facts that we do not take as literal and fixed but that we take merely to apply to our own individual, empirical and true experience, and so forth…These things are far more true than any precedent or textbook ever could be.

The precedents in the textbooks are not a "higher power", they are not spirit; they hold no metaphysical or true authority over our hearts, bodies, minds and souls. They bear no absolute validity which can surpass any of the above, after all, despite those who created them believing they do.

Well, that is their deal, and we don’t need to accept it anymore.

With that, I can say goodbye to “A Girl Outside The Box.” Why? Because I’ve said all I wanted to, told all I needed to, in the way I needed to, feeling compelled that it was the right thing to do, combining objectivity that relates to others’ experiences too.

Now, I’m tired of riding this train. At first, it was scenic and brought discovery, but now, I’m exhausted. It’s gotten me to an important destination and now I can step onto the platform, walking away and beyond.

Beyond the boxes: because there really is no box. There are boxes that were created by man, and they’re all proverbial, an illusion of the mind. I thought they were real too, as I fought them.

I’m just a girl “outside” the realm of the typical thinking that creates those boxes. For this, I’ve often been ousted. For this, I’ve been affected and hurt inside. For this, I have grieved, I’ve been bullied, misunderstood, and attacked…but in the end, I still know who I am, and what I’m here for, deep down.

I relentlessly rearranged, renamed, stacked, moved, and even kicked those boxes for in which I saw myself as trapped outside of. Trapped outside, tripping over boxes, being squashed by them, having them upset me and in retrospect bring me to sometimes necessary angst.

But I’m done now. So, I’ll leave them here. I’ll get up and walk a clear path, knowing the truth that I seek, in which I walk toward. I will become brave emotionally, enough to formally deal with even the worst injustices in which I've seen, and experienced. I feel, deep down, that it'll get deal with, somehow justice will be served, and maybe it'll all be for a solid reason, in the end. 

I won’t look back at the spot where I walked away, at least not right away. Maybe after time passes, when I finally do look back down this path, the boxes will have vanished.

Yeah, I'm just a girl outside, searching for truth, hoping to heal, and hoping that one day I’ll find some place I can really call home. I find only glimpses of it in others who think and see things similarly to me; dear people who resonate..people like me, who remind me that I’m not alone.

No, There are no boxes, not for real…because everything is variable and changeable. Every map made of these concepts bears it’s own unique constellation. Sure, we may need to structure and to compartmentalize it, simply for the purpose of organizing it. However, people tend to take this too literally, forgetting that things aren’t set in stone, and that things don’t come from cookie cutter molds…and that everything is moving, like how energy flows.

We can look within, and above, and realize that there is no need for any more of these boxes. There is no need for them to clutter and block the path to freedom. We can rise up, rise above and journey beyond. 

Because there is no box.

- Rose Whitson-Guedes

Entry 72: “Artistic Autistic”

Entry 72: “Artistic Autistic” 

May. 25. 2014

I’m “Artistically Autistic” and perhaps “Autistically Artistic” too…not sure which way sounds better, or how it differs. What do you think? Many of us are artsy aspies, that’s for sure. I know I’m not alone whatsoever. Let’s explore the nature of how intense and painful, though wondrous, this can be.

My chiropractor said that the autistic neurology is a lot to do with being dominated by the part of the brain that wants to “solve.” Then, my husband said in order for the brain to be prompted to solve, it must first be enriched with perception.

We perceive a lot, in fact, so much that it hurts. This can feel like a curse, too; and this is where the sensory issues come in. My sensory issues are so intense, and difficult, that I haven’t said much about them. I wish I’ve said more, and I will in my main book especially. However, it’s so difficult to talk about.

This hyper perception must be why the dominating needs to “solve.” Add the fluid intelligence to it, and this produces the looking at something from many different angles, exploring several possibilities, or routes to a similar or same answer. This seems like a logical process, it seems mathematical, but also it’s creative. This is how inventing happens, using design and originality, and also logical processes.

Now, autistic people are all fluid and creative in several ways, even when they aren’t “artsy” per se, and principally into math, science, and/or language. However, many autistic people are very artistic… either primarily, or as a hobby. What I try to tell me people is that even though I’ve taken up this endeavor with writing, I’m primarily an artist, even in my writing. It comes out, in ways that are either appreciated or frowned upon.

Imagine this applied: the extra flare for design, the seeking out, exploring and producing ideas with the colorful enrichment of being “artistically inclined.” This kind of aspie, who adores artistic endeavors, and therapeutically expressing themselves artistically, is often quite intense. They may struggle with overwhelming emotions, and need the outlet of their chosen art form. It’s with things like drawing, painting, sculpture, crafting, music and songwriting, and creating writing. What I mean by creative writing is poetry and artistic prose, using many word pictures, simile, metaphor, allusion, personification and so forth.

However, the brain is still in this logical “solve” thing too, in one way or another. So if we intertwine the two together, the brain is very uniquely integrated.  Here is design central! The reason for such heightened perception is because autistic people’s brains are so heavily integrated. The artistic flare applied to this can be a creative genius, coming up with the most amazing art of various types. Some of the great artists now passed were likely autistic, in my belief. The Autistic Artist is often very gifted.

Here’s the double-edged sword though, when the autistic artist does the solving, when they communicate their thoughts, they may sound convoluted to the ones who just don’t get it. In other words, they may sound “nutty.” Now, this kind of brain is like a wild horse that needs to be kept in reign, like a balloon for in which we need to hang onto the string. It can get carried away.

I do believe that there are many unrecognized cases of autistic folks out there who, under heavy stress, likely a lack of diagnosis, mistreatment and abuse, and drug abuse too, may have developed a comorbid major mental illness. Sadly then, the autism has been missed and may be forever more. Many of these people could even be homeless, busking with their music, making jewelry and crafting to get by, reading tarot among other things. Picture it. Again, these are the “lost savants.”

I don’t like labeling, I don’t like the DSM, but for the purpose of describing it we’re talking the bipolar and/or schizophrenia spectrums are where these unfortunates may wind up on. This is when the brain has become all jumbled up, severely imbalanced, and into a “dream state.” It’s complex but all I’m saying is that the likelihood of a sensitive, brilliant brain “shattering into fragments” due to exposure to heavy stress, abuses and perhaps self medication addictions, all ensuing chemical imbalance, seems logical to me.

However and in staunch retrospect, the original thinking state of the autistic brain, artistic especially, is not “schizotypal”... though it might be somewhat seen this way, and thought of as such. The way we think, so deeply, fluidly, creatively, and reiterating the same concepts, viewing it from many different angles, can again sound “off” to the average minded person. It’s not. If one had the capacity to really view it for what it is, they’d see that past the types of descriptive language use, there are often brilliant points to be made.

The artistic autistic is more at risk to be seen this way when they communicate their theories, views and concept in words: in writing especially. They are likely to be on much safer ground when they use visual art, poetry and song. From these angles, with the application of music and/or pictures to “show” what is meant more simply, in a way an NT is more able to understand, it’s alleviating for all.

This is not to say that I don’t regret what I’ve done in my writing, I needed to “actualize” my experience and pass it on, in hopes that it’ll help others who do get it… and many do get it.

Autistic people especially get me, particularly the more creative types. Of course they do, I’m “speaking autistic” albeit in my own “dialect” with heavy creativity and my own individualism applied. In lieu of that, I’ve run into some mean and cynical “sub-clinicals” (very mild Asperger types, not profound enough to make a diagnostic cut off.) However, it’s mostly NTs who’ve been negative, sometimes almost disgusted, with my viewpoints.

Some have been very mean, not realizing that I’m merely describing my unique viewpoints, and I’m doing my best despite subtle difficulties in “finding the right words for the patterns” (and sometimes I may “miss the mark” a little, and get misunderstood. My “takes” on things are hailed from different angles and most especially based on empirical experience. I am about ready to mostly retire from the relentless efforts to “spew out” my ideas in on paper, at such high intensity in terms of verbosity at least.

I will still write occasionally, but much shorter blurbs and blogs on the site I’m building. However, they will be much shorter, more succinct and more importantly they will “branch out” to other topics, often lighter ones, but sometimes just different. Like for example, the state of our oceans.

I’d like to further explore and bounce off my ideas in the area of concern for the environment. It will only be occasional, I am mostly going to back into my main passion in life: music, and all the art/design that comes with it.

It is intense even for the writer, and I feel I’m getting close to what I needed to say.  My body is telling me it’s time to “whoa Nelly.” I am feeling it, and have felt it…basically I am paying for it in more ways that I’m willing to say at this time. I did what I did, and this chapter must end.

I want to wrap up my books, and climb the stairs onto the “higher plain” above all that language. I’ve taken some mean hits, from those that don’t get it, and want to attack me. I’ve taken hits from my own healthcare system, too. My own health condition is paying for speaking out about my views and attempting to get needs met in ways they were simply unwilling. I’ll likely continue to take hits, so I need to prepare for it and get better at handling it without letting it affect my core sense of self. However, I want to show that I can, and will, rise above. Art: I’m coming home. I’ll feel safe in your arms.

- Rose Whitson-Guedes

*Like what you read/wish to support? Diary of A Girl Outside The Box and others (Kindle) are available to purchase via the "books" link on my site!