Education & Autism

If there's one thing I've loved my whole life, without fail, it's education. In school or on my own, I love to learn new things, especially when those things are my interests. I will hyper-focus on whatever I'm wanting to acquire knowledge in or about, and I will gather information until I'm satisfied with it.

Then, I'm on the to next thing.

I'm a sponge. And I'd rather learn something to do it for myself than have someone else do it for me...that is, as long as I'm interested in what I'm doing, of course.

It won't surprise you, then, to know all through elementary and middle school my grades were mostly A's with an occasional B. The B's were usually the result of something I found relatively boring, but either grade I received was from absolutely zero studying. In 6th grade, I never had to take a spelling test on Friday because I would get them all correct by mid-week. I was even in the talented & gifted program.

Through this, I went to three different elementary schools and one middle school...

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Autism & Disappointment

There is one thing about autism that, as I get older, never gets easier to deal with...and that, my friends, is disappointment. I've never been good at handling disappointment, no matter how hard I've tried to tell myself it's going to happen, and it causes very real problems for me when I don't know what to expect.

If there are expectations and they suddenly change, I just am incapable of understanding the change immediately...sometimes forever. But the reactions aren't any fun. Depending on the situation I will either get disoriented or frustrated, then I will get angry, and finally I will get sad and cry. It has definitely cost me friends and relationships throughout my life, although now being aware means those who come to know me understand it's a reaction I haven't managed to stop having yet.

I will say this is the reason why I try to never expect anything, ever, from anyone or any situation. Even when people promise me something, I don't believe them, and that's because most people I've known don't keep their promises.

A promise isn't made only when you say "I promise." No, a promise is made when you say you will do something, period. This is called keeping your word and in general this is apparently a hard freaking thing to do.

And when someone does make a promise to me, one that I choose to believe they mean? Well, they break my heart when they don't follow through and emotionally, that's it. I will get so angry, but then I will cry, because I can't believe another person has let me down. Then, I cry harder because I can believe they have let me down and hate that I was stupid enough to take someone at their word even for a moment.

After all, I know better by now.

It seems so easy. And people can tell me not to take things so personally, but I can't help it. Plus, truly, should I never have any expectations of anyone at all? What's the point of that?

When did it become okay for people to not follow through on what they say and to just let it go, to not rebuke them for wasting my time or energy or anything else? "Oh, just get over it" or "Oh, move on, they aren't worth the effort" is just ridiculous responses to me. Don't get upset over someone lying to me or treating me badly or breaking their word? Where in the world does that make any sense? Should someone not be held accountable for the terrible way they act toward others?

I am tired of people not respecting my time and my energy and my effort. I don't need recognition of any of these things outside of the simple courtesy of people doing what they say will and meaning what they say, that's it. It's not that hard to do and I won't let people get away with treating me that way no matter what anybody else says.

Which brings me to why I wrote this post.

Yesterday and for a few days now, I've been excited about my trip, because I thought I would finally get to see my ex and deal with some long-trapped feelings. You know, get some closure, that I so desperately need.

But you see, although I told him I wanted to see him on my birthday, and he said he would drive to see me where I'm staying, this morning I wake up to a message where he tells me that seeing me "isn't doable" and that he is sorry. However, he hopes I have a good trip.

To which I flat out called bullshit and yeah, I got pissed. No reason, no nothing, like we were discussing something simple such as the weather! I told him he's selfish - a trip I planned to see him specifically and where he said he was excited to see me - and all the sudden out of seventeen days, he can't find one fucking day to visit me? I told him this and that he's also a selfish bastard and then I told him to fuck off, because you know what, I'm angry at his zero respect for me, especially when he's called me his friends for all these years!

Angry at being denied what I need to close an old, awful wound that breaks open every time I think of him, one where I can't get rid of old feelings and memories because he won't face me. And I guess I'm not his friend, not really, because last I checked friends didn't treat each other this way, and I deserve better!

But that's the worst part because what if I don't? I mean, do I deserve this...is being denied closure my eternal punishment for not telling him the truth in the first place? And do people treat me badly because I'm such an easy target with the way I love and care for people I meet so easily and openly?

He let me down - after all these years, he shouldn't have...he knew better. And I know he doesn't deserve my tears if he would treat me this way, that's what people tell me at least. Yet, it isn't like that for me, because tears are the one way I've always gotten my feelings out. I wish crying would get rid of what haunts me and right now, I wish I could forget he ever existed.

But it won't because I would've done it years ago if so.

Yet, now is when I'm thankful for my autism, even if it means I'm socially challenged and emotionally immature, because of the way it's always somewhat protected me from the aftereffects of how others treated me, and in some ways still does.

Because today I will be disappointed and angry and sad, and then by the time of my trip I will enjoy myself because I worked hard for it. I won't let him ruin it for me.

Because that's me. I get up and keep going even when the people I cared about enough to love let me down, all while hoping that one day someone will know me well enough to not to, at least not on purpose.

Thanks for reading.

<3 Violet

Will autism be the death of me?

Will autism be the death of me? is a tiny bit sensational for the headline, but not far off from what I'm going to write about.

There is this article here that says this:

Now, a major Swedish study provides a wider perspective on premature mortality among people with autism. Neuropsychologist Tatja Hirvikoski and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute compared mortality rates of people with autism with the general population over two decades. Speaking from Stockholm, Dr Hirvikoski says that she was “shocked and horrified” at the results. Her team found that the mean age of death of somebody with autism was 54 – compared with 70 for the general population. For people with autism and a learning disability, life expectancy was a mere 40 years.

Why do people with autism die so young? For those with an associated learning disability, the leading cause is epilepsy: this kills people with autism at a rate 40 times that of the general population. For people with autism who do not have a learning disability, the key factor is suicide, for which the rate is nine times greater.

Think this is sad? I do -- and I've lived it.

The KEY factor is suicide in people like me.

And the fact is, I have attempted suicide twice in my life -- once at age 14, and again at age 20.

Yes, some of the thought is, well, I'm turning 31 this year. That's 11 years without an attempt...that's good, right? Obviously I haven't tried again...

But, it doesn't mean I haven't been tempted. It doesn't mean that in my darkest moments, in those times when I'm emotionally exhausted and devastated from trying to make it through another day, and everything has piled up to the point of excruciating pain in my head. Just because you don't see it or hear us talking about it, doesn't mean we aren't thinking it or haven't thought about it in the depths of our weakest points when surviving seems the most painful option.

I spent most of my life not knowing what was "wrong" with me and when I finally knew, it was relief. But the relief didn't last long because it turned a problem I thought could be fixed with therapy and medications into something I would have to find ways to COPE with for the rest of my life.

My post about exhaustion? Just the beginning of an issue that permeates every inch of my existence.

Most days, simply breathing is enough to keep me "in bed" all day. Doing anything beyond the normal daily basic activities end up being all I can manage, and the same joblessness that gives me the freedom to have my terribly bad days, is the same situation that compounds my problems. And other days, I get 2 hours of sleep in 24 hours and go and go for days on end with 2 hours of sleep each night, and of course, BOTH of these take an impact on your health and not in a good way.

I am going to disclaim anything beyond this point with this simple statement: just because this is what I've experienced doesn't mean everyone is like this, so this isn't personal...it's merely what I've gone through. Keep that in mind as you read.

First, we live in a society where anything that makes you different automatically puts you further down on a list of what someone wishes to employ for a job. Most of my life I worked fast food and retail - physically and mentally demanding work (contrary to what people think, it's not an "easy" job for 8 to 10 hours a day) for someone like me - and we won't even go into the fact that the wages were so poor that I practically starved to death trying to live on my own, because I could only afford to eat once a day. Then, when I could no longer physically handle it due to a car accident, I had nowhere to turn to.

No college degree (even though I attempted six times and technically have junior level amount of credits because I ran out of funding before I knew what the problem was and couldn't afford to change my degree into one I could actually finish) -- I was attempting to become an accountant, because I actually enjoy bookkeeping and taxes, but couldn't pass the calculus and stats classes -- math at that level is beyond my comprehension even with extensive tutoring I received. Basically, I had no others "on paper" skills, and slowly but surely following my accident in 2007, my ability to get another job dwindled to where it's at now -- pretty much impossible.

Second - there aren't enough jobs for everyone (contrary to the "just get a job or two or three if you want to eat" people)...so the jobs that ARE available are either jobs people desire to have filled by those with at least a Bachelors, or the physically demanding jobs I can no longer perform. I have been turned down by job after job, entry level jobs, including call centers that train you! A job I applied for even though I struggle with being on the telephone with people, because the government told me "my hands still worked" and therefore, I wasn't eligible for disability! That's right -- they consider me basically disabled except for my hands...which is why I turned to publishing my writing, but even my hands struggle with working as I want them to sometimes.

I have zero help with every day living. Last year I made less than $7500 for the year from my writing and had food stamps; this year, I no longer qualify and it's not because I'm making a shit ton of money.

My writing is all the money I make and all I have to feed my son and I with, and I am lucky I can live with others so I don't have as many costs.

I am not living on the system; the system has abandoned me because I learned to cope the best I could growing up and now people treat me as if I'm normal even when I'm not. Because even with ALL my challenges, the fact I can COMMUNICATE works against me. I was told it's not the job of the government to help me get a job, they just say I CAN get one...somewhere, doing something with my hands, y'know. They don't care if nobody will hire you!

This is the future of autistic adults because services for adults is SHIT, and I will tell you, directly contributes to the desire to kill ourselves, in my opinion. There isn't enough housing or assistance to go around and when you can't hold down a job, when your inability to deal with certain things leads to job loss, when people think you're a loser because you aren't a productive member of society as an adult no matter how hard you try, why in the world would you think we wouldn't be suicidal?

Nobody wants someone to take care of them forever. None of us want to feel so helpless that we're trying and trying but just can't manage to 'do it the right way' and none of certainly want to be a burden to our friends and family because we 'fail to launch.'

People forget that autistic children turn into autistic adults...and nothing will get better until everyone understands that and do what they can to make life better for ALL of us. We aren't normal. Just because we develop coping skills doesn't mean we can keep up with this rat race called life. So so so so many of us can't go, go, go without eventually burning out and making things worse than they were before. We don't deserve to go hungry because all we can handle is part-time jobs, or one full-time job, just because many people think a person who didn't finish college is lazy or a bum or doesn't want to work hard. NOBODY deserves that.

You can't see our struggles on the outside. Much of it is internal and we're hiding from you, because it hurts to be judged constantly by how much we lack, instead of cherished for what we CAN do.

And yeah, sometimes...sometimes I want to die when I'm trying and trying and getting nowhere. When I've spent 30 years of my life SURVIVING and getting little to no joy out of struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head, making bad decisions because I didn't know any better and didn't have the emotional capacity to understand, all while trying to live up to the worlds expectations of the adult they wanted me to be even though I wasn't anywhere fucking close.

And truthfully, if it weren't for my son, I can honestly say I might not be alive today. It's hard though, even with him in the forefront of my mind, not to struggle with how much I just want my life to stop hurting.

People can tell someone like me to buck up, to get over it, to work harder, but it doesn't work that way no matter how much they wish it.

And if you haven't been there, you don't get it, but it doesn't mean you can't learn.

We're not selfish for those suicidal thoughts, either. Because we're human, and we want to have lives filled with love and success just like anybody else!!

Want us to not commit suicide or even think about it? Want us to live, to thrive, to have fulfilling lives?

Don't we want that FOR ALL CHILDREN AND ADULTS who are doing the best they can? Isn't every single person worth helping to make their life the best we can?

Support us, and others. Help us and others in any way you can, even if it is the simplest thing such as listening even when we're crying our eyes out and feeling hopeless. Understand we're not like you, understand that just because you can't see a problem doesn't mean it isn't there, and fight for the ones you love.

We all have the power to save someone's life today with a kind word and a helping hand.

Until next time,

<3 Violet

Got expectations? Lower them.

Got your attention with my title? Good, even if it's not completely accurate. ;)

This is gonna be a fun post today!

And by fun I mean I'm going to write something that might piss some people off. And that's okay, because honestly, sometimes angering people amuses me like nothing else.

Are you ready for my confession? Because here it is...

I read every single review of my book posted that I can find.

I don't care if someone 1*'s me or 5*'s...or whatever other number the reader chooses in between. Many times I will read the review, laugh or frown at the things written, and move on. Reviews of my books are, for me, something I can't manage to look away from. We've all been there - an accident on the side of the road has us craning our necks to see what happened.

Yep, reading reviews is like that a lot of the time.

I love blunt honesty. I don't care if someone hates my book, but I sure as hell want them to hate it for actual reasons that make sense.

If a reader wants their hand held through every single book, making sure the characters state the obvious so the reader doesn't have to remember information from the first chapter when they are reading the 20th, my books are not for them. I treat my readers like the intelligent beings they are and want them to get things without needing to be told. Show, not tell, yes?

Don't like romance? Don't read my books.

The only promise I make in my books is, if they are romance, they will have a happy ending. THAT'S IT!

When I read a romance, I don't begin reading the book and automatically have expectations of the characters based on what I'm reading. It's not my story. I'm not the one writing it and I sure as hell don't have the right to say how it should end.

You're disappointed at the ending? I'm sorry, but how does it honestly ruin the whole story when it's more of a quiet shutting of a door than a flurry of excitement and big booms? Or vice versa.

First person is personal. Period. That means the person telling the story is the character or characters, and they make not speak correctly all the time or even part of the time. This doesn't excuse typos and obvious errors and straight up nonsense, but it does mean the reader should understand the way the person is speaking is intentional. If all my characters sound and speak the same, then they aren't individuals, are they? Requiring proper grammar and sentence structure from the character's voice ALL THE TIME takes away the character and just leaves someone with no personality.

Don't like first person? Don't read my books. Don't like two POV's written in different tenses from two different characters? You may not want to read my books, although this style is rarely done by me and when it is used, it's intentional. Like in Mate.

The reader is free to hate my book for any reason, as long as they understand how foolish they will look when they get things wrong about the book or storyline they are writing a review about. If the reader can't even get the details correct about the story, why exactly are they reviewing the book at all? Can someone even give an honest review of a story when they can't even recall the details properly?

If as a reader you end up reading a book and think THIS IS NOT FOR ME, that's fine. You should state that in your review. It's a completely legit reason, especially when you state it.

But uh, if you pick up a book that is, say, a stepbrother romance and it's right there in the title, then complain about the stepbrother aspect...what the FUCK did you expect?! Same goes for dark romance or erotic romance, books that have dub-con or non-consent or lots of sex, and the genre demands it, yet you read it and complain about that genre doing exactly as it's meant to. WHY the hell are you reading it if you never, ever like it?

Ever heard the quote, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results" or however the hell it goes?

Know what I think when someone complains about something that was made obvious? I think they're an asshole, flat out, who merely wants to be unhappy about something, anything. And I don't think this just about readers. I think this about EVERYDAY people who complain about things made crystal clear if they had just paid attention to what the hell they were doing.

And I know someone will be like "OH MY GOD, NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOUR BOOK" but if that's what you think I'm asking for in this post, you're one of the people I'm talking about with this post!

Somehow we've gotten to the point that the reader can say anything they want, up to and including insulting the author by remarking they should get a new job or how we're greedy, but somehow we're just supposed to hold our tongues. And that's bullshit.

I write serials. If you don't like it, don't buy my books. It's clear in the "part" used in the title, or in the description of the books, and I shouldn't have to EXPLAIN this over and over. I'm not greedy, not by a long shot. It's a method that sells books for me. I have full novels and guess what? My serials outsell my "whole books" by MILES. MILES. So every time someone reads one of the 'free' part one of a book of mine and complains it should be a whole book, guess what? It is and they didn't buy it!

And no, nobody is entitled to read the whole book for free. If they don't like it, there are plenty of freebies out there, so move on.

In that vein, do yourself a favor and stop one-clicking a book that's free without reading the description. READ THE SAMPLE most sites provide so you can see if the story is something you'll like BEFORE you buy it.

Might you hate it before the end? Yes. But at least if you read a bit of it before you buy it, you won't hate it from the first sentence and then spend time 'finishing a book I started because I always do'...who has time for that? Go read something you enjoy. Don't torture yourself and then take out your anger on the author because you forced yourself to finish a book you hated.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not angry, I'm just frustrated at this tiny slice of the world. We have so many books to read and yet people spend precious time hating on something they don't even understand or like, when they would've known or made an educated guess at their level of enjoyment by spending an extra ten seconds checking out the title they were buying.

And I'm making this post even knowing that I may be retaliated against for having an opinion about something I've seen way too much. Not just on my books, but on other books by different authors, too!

To anyone who wants to begin a hate campaign because of this, please do, and understand you look like an idiot when you do it. Because you're the one with the issue, not me, by the simple fact you would spend your time being a jerk-off behind a keyboard instead of finding something hot to read or even interacting with another person and having an orgasm that might release all that pent up frustration you feel. :)

I love my readers and I love my fans and I love gaining new ones all the time! But if you don't like my books or someone else's books, that's fine.

Chill out, go find something to read in a genre that you DO enjoy, and have a nice day!

<3 Violet