Big shifts in 2019 – year in reflection

This past year was momentous. I discovered how precarious, and precious, health is. It overrides all other concerns and wreaks havoc on daily life.

It may seem a simple diagnosis, and a simple shift in eating. I am Coeliac. I can no longer eat gluten and my life is now dictated to by a strict diet of wholesome, well planned out foods and copious amounts of vitamins and supplements. No big deal right??

To me, it is. I no longer find any joy in food. It is simply a fuel. Food, is in fact, a poison at times. I have only had accidental gluten once since diagnosis and it was 5 days of hell. Right over the Christmas week.

I could go on about how my health had deteriorated, how much I loved my food and all the negatives, as I usually do. But the stark difference in life for me now is HOPE. I now have a spark of hope that life can be, and shall be, different hereon. I need life to be more in harmony with where I am, and where I plan to be.

Being diagnosed has been life saving. Not only for my body’s health, but for my spirit too. I see things in a remarkably clearer way, and my goals are simpler and kinder to myself.

Food is organic, lower carb from veggie sources, I eat more animal fats and no lactose dairy, grains are gone and processed foods do not enter my mouth. I just want my intestinal villi to regrow, so I can absorb all the nutrients in my food.

I had been living for YEARS on malabsorbtion. Luckily, I had been following a body building diet for a long time, so was able to stave off any more health issues.

The benefits have been many. My arthritis has abated substantially, I get no more hay fever, my periods last only 3-4 days instead of 7-8, my nails are slowly improving, I am no longer starving, my brain is regaining some of its potency and memory, my anxiety has halved and my depression is lifting.

I know what I want life to feel like. What I need to feel like. This is a start…

Faces all around me

Has anyone else noticed how many faces are now tired, cranky, angry, non plussed and/or straight out aggressive? I cannot go to my local shopping centre without encountering at least one person swearing at me, getting angry and using very aggressive body language WHEN THEY ARE AT FAULT.

Roads around the shopping centre have pedestrian crossings. Plenty of them. People assume they do not need to look as they step out onto the road and I need to slam my breaks on. I don’t bother tooting my horn any more to get their attention. I just accept they have right of way and hope I can avoid their angry faces and words. People have little sense of accountability any more. Anything seems to go. Not only online, as Ginger Gorman writes about in Troll Hunting, but in everyday instances like this.

I rarely smile these days. My resting bitch face tends to reflect all that happens in the real world. It indicates what an angry, agressive state of life we live in. My response is to live as much at home as possible and go online for any semblance of community. I do not want to have to walk amongst NTs and equally drained autistics any more.

But then, the main place one gets happiness and smiles these days is on Instagram. Staged, stylistic photos with peaceful looking 20-something yo women wearing the latest beige outfit. No, thank you; it is one arena I stay away from.

As an autistic person, I am really on the alert to people’s expressions. Hyper alert, in fact. It can take a while to sink in and for me to assess and react to expressions, by which time, the person is long gone and has either bitched about me to their mate or forgotten all about me. I have had mostly angry and cruel expressions on parents, teachers, partners and friends faces. I find it acutely alien and discomforting to experience happy faces and genuinely huge smiles. I don’t know how to react any more because my face has been affected by the wind changing. My face seems to be set in resting bitch face stone, BUT I can tell you that my heart simply yearns for kind faces. Those who laugh with me, look thrilled to see me and become patient when I am anxious or confused. Those who show me these faces and expressions are ones I pledge loyalty to and will move the earth for.

I do need to make a conscious effort to calm myself and return to a much more pleasant inner state. I no longer want to join this world as it currently exists. Especially in suburban Australia. I want, and need, a world, or at least a local community, with less aggression, less anger, less complacency and more compassion. It starts with me.

I drive away from the angry shoppers, the hate filled co-workers and tired shop assistants with a sadness that they must have very poisoned souls. I hope that the screaming and swearing mother from this morning doesn’t treat her children like that. Is she reacting to a communal flow on effect that seems to blight us as a community? Is she feeling as alienated and marginalised as the others, looking so passively beyond it all, nearby? Or is she a product of a domestic violence history?

I know we all are complicit in where we are and where we head collectively. I see a very ill society around me and part of me wants to walk away. I had more kindness around me during a 30 min lunch break at a busy Singaporean hawker centre than I do in a whole year visiting my local shopping centre 26 times a year.

I need to find the energy to somehow change how I engage with it all. Withdrawing altogether is not the solution. I need to try harder to act in ways I think kinder, more respectful and compassionate. I am currently at severe risk of becoming the angry dead too. What an ugly picture…

The Big Shift

I didn’t take any time off work this Christmas period. I had only the public holidays, but those few days gave me room to think and pause my life. I need times like this to regroup, understand and reflect on what I have and what repercussions I am facing.

I have come to understand I have allowed myself to fall head first into a victim mentality. I had hoped to be saved by someone and have them advocate for me. By reading up on tbe Men’s Rights groups, and the socio-psycho dynamics around it, I saw a corollation between them and myself.

It is very hard to articulate without access to a PC, as I am typing this on my mobile phone, but the crystal clarity in which I suddenly saw myself made me aware I need to change. And fast. I hate the image of myself others are seeing me as. I do not respect the woman I am right now.

So, I need to set myself an agenda; a goal. I am not sure I will be a mechanic for the rest of my working career, but time has surely come for me to utilise my survival skills to thrive. I am sick of being at the behest of my current situation. I feel I am sat upon by everyone else’s judgements, comments and expectations. It is not like me to let it accumulate. I must dump it all on the ground and determine my own life.

I know I need to travel, but I am increasingly scared of being alone and penniless as I age. The cruel reality is that I may well be. Yet, there is that bugging idea I am missing out on life.

I am more confused than ever, I suppose, but sitting in my own self imposed cell isn’t an option I am keen to maintain. I am not a victim; I am not a pessimist; I am not a door mat; I am not a loser.

I may not be aware of what I actually am, but I know there is more to me than sitting, burdened by others’ thoughts of me. So, I am going off all social media and working on my daily attitude and wiping all the muck off me.

It is a start. I have learned it simply cannot be like this forever.

Menopause, or Kate on pause?

Quite possibly both. I never really wished to hear about how dire and painful menopause was when I was younger. It seemed like it was a life time away for me. I still don’t quite know what happens, other than sweats, hot flushes and erratic periods. Nor do I want to know.

I can tell you, however that it has begun for me. Been in the perimenopause stage for a good two years now. My periods are not reliable, range in length and severity and my crying episodes are like I have been invaded by some Indonesian woman in love. I have never cried as much in my entire life as I have the last two years. I certainly seem to have no control over my emotions any more.

As usual, I am deeply ashamed to be like this. I am acutely aware of how I come across to the late teen and 20-something males at work. Part of me wants to scream, ‘Hey! I am really not like this. Honest!’. But I know it will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes.

Physically, I am blitzing this. I keep training, to ward off the aches and pains that come if I stop training. I have the odd white hair on my chin. I have fully embraced the grey hair. I love being hot and sweaty, so I don’t mind the sudden body heat rise.

It is the emotional rollercoaster I was not prepared for. Having always come across as a flat liner, boringly solid person, my new moody personality is a shock to my system. Anger rises quickly, I cry a lot and I seem to have a dark cloud around me constantly.

Time to inject Dede… Ciao.


People’s closets

There is something fascinating with what people hide in their closets. I am in admiration for those who hide nothing, yet there is that mystery in discovering what precious sadnesses peoole stash away. I am talking metaphoric, spiritual, soulful closets. While ancient sheds are fun to poke around in, modern closets filled with sex objects, dirt and taboo secrets are scary.

The quiet person in the corner of a party, hiding from the glare of shining social butterflies, usually hold inner treasures I want to be a part of. Mind you, said butterflies also have their closets filled to the brim, and they can be interesting to look at, but I want to compare notes with the dark moth. I find things I am open about are the sorts of things butterflies quickly stuff into their closets. I get impatient with such folk. I also don’t want to be looked down upon for being open about what is shameful for them.

I guard my dark dungeon of a closet with an iron lock that would keep anyone away. Plus, I have a pet spider keeping watch. Anyone who can pat my spider calmly and fish for a master gets to look inside. Not that anyone has wanted to. I am not even keen to look into my own contents. One day I might be inclined to do so; with the same light hearted feel I get in the aforementioned ancient shed.

But other people hold items I seek to look upon and marvel at. Some write, some sing, some collect dead beetles, others have an ear wax sculpture and a few just stare at clouds. There are deeply sadistic, masochistic type contents too, but a bit of resassurance helps to have these things dusted off for view. In doing this, I learn that my closet isn’t so horrid or shame worthy after all. Probably more boring, I suppose.

Everyone has their public veneer. Only some are gaseous balls that shine with nuclear power. There is way too much fool’s gold shimmering with faux brassiness. The dimmed light bulb makes enough pretense to give some indication of their dark to light ratio. And subdued lighting suits me best.

Hello Depression, my old friend!

Like so many people who rarely admit it, I live in a cloud of depression. My mind is wired to naturally be what is understood to be ‘depressed’. It is a state of being that is medicated, urged away, escaped and to be rid of; forever, hopefully. Our culture does not deem it normal to live with one’s depression. At best, it must be managed, as it is a pliable thing one can shape.

The last 4 years have made me understand that I simply must try to find ways to integrate my depression into my life and my soul so that it is honoured and made to be productive. I am quite tired of trying to rid myself of this depression. It is like a dark skinned Sri Lankan trying to will away his/her dark skin. The solution is so simple – see dark skin as human and beautiful. Why can’t depression have a place alongside horsey, over the top Instagram happiness?

There are glorious aspects to depression. It causes me to be careful of my health, my soul and my work. Taking care is a good quality, right?!

I get to see inside fellow depressives and their fragile souls. A person’s vulnerability is their most precious gift. It requires trust and an interchange of tenderness. Not every one is that privileged.

Depression has been the creative force behind a great many artists and their works. J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series, Kurt Cobain spoke for almost an entire generation and Virginia Woolfe got us wanting a room of our own.

As I am in no way classically talented, or able to generate a market for the fruits of my depression, I need to find my own ways to weave my depression into who I am. I have wasted so much time, money and energy trying to eradicate my depression. It has been worse than futile; it has near destroyed me.

How does one do that? In my case, by taking inspiration from other cultures and finding out how depression gets legitimate air time in sanctioned ways. Russian men drink their depression into vodka sessions, Singaporeans go for comfort heritage foods, Malays cook their blues, Indonesians devote themselves to prayer and the British find solace in wry satire. Hindus have a pantheon of human like gods who get angry, feel joy and stuff up. Buddhists see any state of the soul as merely steps to enlightenment! It is all part of the journey.

So, why do we have this industry devoted to pulling us out of depression, keeping depression away and making us permanent residents of the state of happiness? I suppose this unnatural goal is much like the skin whitening, religious purity, diet and beauty industries. Constant reaching for an ideal that is imagined and largely unachievable for most of the population. It is a money spinner for many.

I have tried everything to numb, escape, deny, and kill my depression. In effect, I have really just done those things to a large part of myself. If I did these things to another human, I’d be up on charges. Many of them. To atone for my crimes against myself, I have decided to do self service; you know, like community service. When I am not at work, I am doing whatever I can to be self kind, self nurturing and allowing my depression to talk to me.

My depresssion loves to talk to me. It has so much to say. I guess it will talk for a while, because it had been voiceless for so long. It will get tired and need to rest. If it needs to sing, I’ll let it choose the music. If it needs to cry, I provide the sad movies. It takes so much less energy to let it be, when I can.

If I am fortunate, I might find a productive use for the depression. To put it to work would be fabulous.

I love more than others love back.

Some feel that autistic folk do not show emotion, cannot feel deeply or are unable to express love. I disagree. I know that when I love someone, or something, my whole being goes into that feeling. Sadly, what others see and experience does not match what is commonly expected as ‘love’. My kind of love ends up being wrong, incomplete, obsessive, unwanted or laughed at. I get told no one asked for my love, so I should just stop giving it, or accept it will be dropped like rubbish.


Kind mental health professionals tell me to divert my love to where it will be appreciated. I am running out of options here! After a life time of my love not wanted, I am no longer sure of where it might be safe to express it.

I have been willing to do pretty much anything for those I love. All I really wish for is an appreciative person, group etc, to welcome my brand of love. I can assure you it might be quirky and lop sided love, but it is wholesome, plentiful and well intentioned.

I love my work place SO much more than it loves me. I am keen to upskill, practice, work for lower wages, develop myself, use all my energy to make it a more progressive, successful business. It isn’t wanted or valued. At all.

I love Singapore and Asia with every cell in my body, but I have never found a way to make these places home. I had to leave Singapore and Indonesia because their governments had rules I could not match.

Unless someone or some group has a need for someone, they are generally not wanted. I may be wrong in that line of thinking, but I am certain most people work from this logic. That means I am not welcomed, no matter how big my love and my determination to apply myself out of that love.

I’d gladly do community and civic work in Singapore, contribute to its rich culture, take on customs and ethos in line with what is required of a Singaporean, but that means nothing without $2.5 million US to invest, OR being cheap labour to benefit a local company and accept revolting working conditions.

I have stopped loving for now, for I have no place to allow my love to flourish. I do live in hope, that one single day, someone might just say, ‘Hey, that love is AWESOME! Can I share it with you?’.

Goals for 2018/2019

* I must spend more time writing. It is the only viable outlet I have.

* Cut down on perfume. Hmm. We’ll see how that pans out.

* Keep a slightly tighter reign on my gluten free and dairy free food intake. I am sure it is contributing to hay fever attacks.

* Get to 2x my body weight deadlifts, do 5 full form pull ups in a row, bench 65kg for 5 reps, squat 100kg for 5 reps at parallel.

* Find more like minded souls.