Grieving the Dead: How a Person’s Life is Reflected in Death

I wanted to share some reflections on death—specifically, some of the ways I experienced the deaths of my mother and sister, and how I processed the resulting grief.

To first frame it as simply as possible, I experienced them in death in many ways as I had in life. That is to say, how my grief showed up reflected, to me, how they lived and, more importantly, how they died. I will explain.

Holy Mother

My mother was 100% pure love, joy, and compassion. She accepted everyone for who they were and never made disparaging remarks against another. She noticed little things about everyone and used that gift to make people smile and feel noticed, to let them know, “I see that beautiful soul inside and I love it.”

Front-facing portrait of author's mother, eyes-wide, blowing a bubble of gum.

All the love she was, resonated so clearly from her. She loved to sing, dance, write silly songs and jokes in the spur of the moment, string together clever and sometimes purposely cringe-worthy puns… She loved to cook for her family, leave sweet or funny little notes to us just because, and randomly gift us things she knew would brighten our days. Sometimes it was something small and inexpensive she bought because it made her think of us. Other times it was something she created or found in the street or out in nature (I am a big fan of feathers, stones, twigs, dead bugs, and the like. These were often her gifts to me.)

She loved everything and everyone and seemed to effortlessly bestow graceful reverence to the people and world around her. She loved her life and cherished every moment for the precious gift it was. To me, she embodied the Queen of Heaven.

The night she died, a soft but heavy April snow quieted the town, almost as if the whole world stopped, waiting, watching. We had been caring for her at home for a couple weeks out from hospice, and after a near overdose due to her being prescribed an incorrect dose of opiates, we had gotten her off those nasty things and she was able to pass consciously and peacefully.

The next day would see me playing Tom Jones, Tom Petty, and Van Morrison—three of her favourites—while dancing and singing through a smile of tears. My behaviour wasn’t really a conscious choice, but rather how I was compelled to react. I felt all her joy and freedom rush into me and had to celebrate, despite being terribly sad. I’ll expand on that in a moment.

Shield Maiden

My sister was an absolute inspiration. With a brilliant mind, fiery and passionate in its genius, she had the tenacious spirit to match. Her cleverness and cunning was out of this world. Her intellect knew no bounds. Her humour could be just as dark and biting as it was light and innocent. She survived on creativity and resourcefulness, never ceasing in dedication to her strength and independence.

Front-facing portrait of author's sister, bright-eyed and smiling.

She wanted so deeply to care for and protect everyone she loved from being hurt or experiencing pain, even if that meant putting herself at a distance from us. It has been said that a star that shines twice as brightly, burns out twice as fast. I would argue that it is only now that she is not limited to this corporeal form, that she is finally able to shine as brightly as her soul was always urging her toward.

She lived so deeply that she was infuriated when her body finally began to surrender. To give in, give up, and surrender her fate to anything besides her own will was not in her nature. She was a fighter—a great warrior that wielded her power with ferocious wisdom. Yet, this warrior was lithe on her feet in life’s great battlefield, with the grace and power of a dancer. She lived her life striving for perfection, without seeing how perfect she already was.

Her raw authenticity ran as deep as her kindness and understanding. A herald and advocate of the abstract, the obscure, the underdog, she was always supporting some cause to increase awareness and help build a better world. She was a teacher, an artist, a musician, a poet, a dancer, an actress, a beloved friend, and protective guardian. She loved her family and students, and helped us all access better, higher parts of ourselves that perhaps only she could see. She was, in many ways, devotion itself made manifest.

From the day the results of her brain scan came back, to well beyond her passing a year later, I was diligent in my yoga practise. She was my devotion for every asana, every meditation, every chant. There was one night early on where I chanted and trance-danced for eight hours straight, thinking of nothing but her. I am so glad I told her about that. What I didn’t know is how much my sharing so much of my heart with her would help her. More on that soon.

Queen’s Coronation

As I began to explain before, the grief I experienced when Mum died was magically, strangely, embroidered with expansive joy, freedom, and blissful understanding. Everything seemed to make sense; everything pulsed with deep purpose. In hindsight, I didn’t have any gauge of telling how sad or depressed and struggling I actually was because of how surreal the messages were from my emotive senses.

Front-facing portrait of author's mother, wearing a "Happy Birthday" crown and holding a white single-layer cake decorated with a graham crumble heart.

I saw my mother in the faces of others, I felt her love from the clouds and trees. I was compelled to be more of all those things I knew she loved about me. On the outside, I was happy and unbelievably strong in my ability to present myself collected and speak so eloquently about her and death to others.

There were several times where I spoke publicly to a group of people about her, only to have others come up to me later, some holding back tears, to tell me how much they needed to hear and appreciated whatever I had said, as they were still trying to process their own mother’s death. Behind closed doors, in the dark, and usually in the dead of night when naught but my kitties and myself were awake, I would cry my face a bright, swollen red as I literally lost my mind.

I had to step up and take her place as the glue of the family when I, myself, was utterly shattered. I had to be the solid rock when I, in reality, felt like a clearing vapour. But I continued to show up as the strong force of love she was, because that’s what we all needed at the time. It was not a choice. It was instinct.

Warrior’s Welcome

My sister’s death and the grief that followed was very different. It had only been two years since Mum and, although we were preparing for the inevitable, the turn was sudden. One week, she’s walking and talking, and the next week she’s trapped in a near-lifeless body and hauled off to hospital isolation. (Her spouse was the only one permitted to be with her, so, thankfully, she did not die alone.)

Front-facing portrait of author's sister, smiling with eyes closed, being kissed on the cheek by the author (side-facing), both wearing wire kitty ears.

My world, mind, and heart darkened. My inner landscape became jagged and dangerous, like formations of splinting stone in a hostile, alien world, impossible to traverse. My inner atmosphere was dense and choking. Some days, I could barely function. I felt prisoner to my bitterness and anger. I felt helpless against a mountain of unsurmountable odds.

Although I have always struggled with often debilitating anxiety, I began getting anxious about my health and well-being in ways I never had. I became hyper-focused on moles or strange new pains. I gorged cannabis and lied to myself, saying it was helping. There was no middle ground. I either couldn’t satiate my hunger or, the other extreme, couldn’t bear to eat.

I poured over any journals of her’s she hadn’t already destroyed or thrown away. I saw the side of her I always knew was there but was always hidden. I saw just how deeply her pain and self-disapproval went. I saw how conflicted she was with herself, her relationships with loved ones, and her whole life, how impossible it was for her to let go.

I fully understood now what Carl Jung meant when he said, “No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to Hell.” In my meditations, I would desperately reach out to her in an effort to help her spirit resolve any anger or discontent. Now being privy to her unfulfilled life dreams, I took it upon myself to live for the both of us, to live and lust for life more than ever before… to get my fucking shit together and be the person I knew I was, the person she knew I was. (Admittedly, I am still working on becoming—being—that person. Doing so is certainly not an overnight process.)

Ties that Bind

At the beginning of all this, I said my experiencing the death of these two special individuals differed just as uniquely as the individuals themselves. I hope that, if you’ve read all of this thus far, you have drawn your own correlations to what I mean by this.

Joyous life manifested, in death, as joyous grief.

When life, forever striving for better, was abruptly cut short, so manifested resistance and resentment in death.

Front-facing photo of author's mother and sister, all smiles, with a wallaby resting between them in the background.

I am now of the mind to consider my mother and sister (and everyone I meet for that matter), as a symbol—a physical manifestation of individual parts of myself that must be healed, activated, enlivened, and integrated in order to live wholly. We have each been tasked with shaping ourselves into whomever we are ultimately meant to be.

The argument of Fate vs Free Will is moot to me, as I have come to see them as two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other, as they are forever intertwined, just as all the cosmos dances in ordered chaos.

That being said, I think we all achieve our best selves in the time we spend here, yet perhaps not in the way we expected or hoped. I think we also fail to consider how, in relation to becoming the best version of ourselves, we live on through our loved ones

Maybe we don’t become the best version of ourselves whilst encased in flesh and material. Maybe most of us have that transformation on the other side, as our loved ones continue our legacy on our behalf.

And perhaps that’s the true crux of the matter…

Visible to Invisible

Perhaps humanity does not evolve without the reciprocity of love and understanding moving between the realms of the visible and the invisible.

Perhaps all the material of creation could not be here without the cycling of energy to and from unseen dimensions of being.

Somewhat blurry photo of a double rainbow with a lightning strike.

For just as any set of opposites, that which is seen and that which is unseen define each other. One cannot exist without the other. My material form cannot exist without the unseen force that animates it. When the unseen is no longer tethered to material, the material wastes away to nothing. Likewise, when the material is destroyed, the unseen retreats to be manifested elsewhere.

Following this line of thought, we each house within ourselves all the power of creation. Our beating hearts pulse with the same invisible current that fuels stars, warms planets, and creates infinitely diverse life. For all intents and purposes, we are those stars ourselves. The light and warmth we shine has the same power to create thriving ecosystems of diverse beauty—whole worlds, galaxies, and universes of endless wonder.

Parting Jewels

So, dear reader, considering you are a star… what worlds are you creating? What legacy of love is being imbued into those worlds?

You needn’t worry if they’re grand or glorious enough, as there is no such thing. Your worlds are your worlds and there are no rules to creation. Whatever you create will be worthwhile, because you created it—it came from you.

And I think you are perfect, just the way you are. 

May your creations be emanations of your truth, beauty, and goodness. May your material self transform alongside your unseen self. May your legacy of love continue to beat in the heart of all creation, now unto infinity.

Thank you, dear reader, for spending this time with me.

Thank you for the brilliant, most beautiful gift that is you.

Thank you, most of all, for all the love you are and all the love you share with the world.

Live Long and Prospurr, mes amies.
With Love, Always.

Everything is Going to Be Okay. This Too Shall Pass.

(Featured meme image is not my own. Original source creator unknown.)

“My favourite conspiracy theory is that everything is gonna be okay.”

“Okay” does not mean, “How you want things to be,” or “Life without suffering.” As humans, we are limited to the human experience, limited to human consciousness. This inevitably causes the experience of suffering, coming part-in-parcel to the fragility of human’s physical form and the limitation of human’s sensory experience. In Buddhism, the first of the Four Noble Truths is, “Life contains suffering.” That is a simple fact.

Regardless of how grateful we are (or not), how content we may be with our lives (or not), suffering exists. A stubbed toe. A belly growling in hunger. A simple headache. Worrying. Feeling too hot. Feeling too cold. Vicarious transference of emotion. The grieving of a loved one. The bittersweet parting of ways. I could go on… We cannot escape the fact of experiencing suffering.

But, just like all things, suffering is temporary. “This too shall pass.” All that we experience—joy, pain, love, laughter, peace, discontent, and so on into infinity—it is all fleeting, transient, just as we are ourselves.

And that’s okay. That’s how life is. That’s what makes life, each and every experience, each and every moment or sensation—each and every one of us—so precious. Nothing will exist in the configuration it has in the past; nor will its future existence be the same as how it exists in the present. All is in flux, all is ever-changing.

And that’s okay. Change is the only constant. Change is the nature of life itself. And life… is beautiful.

And so are you.

Live Long and Prospurr.

A Brief Thought on My Selective Mutism

Yeah, yeah, another Aspergers from the Inside video; I know. What can I say? They open a structural discourse within myself, providing stimulating talking points.

As an adult Autist with selective mutism, sometimes I will shutdown and not be able to form words. Or, when asked what I’m feeling or why I’m in a certain mood, I become mute or otherwise incapable of coherent speech, or properly communicating that which I am asked to do.

However, many know how eloquently I am capable of speaking, and just how powerful my use of language and communication style can be.

One of the reasons I have always found solace in art and drumming is that I don’t have to put words to feelings. I don’t have to explain or define something unexplainable with no definition. I can just flow with it and let it purge itself as needed. I don’t have to waste precious energy on calculating the best, most accurate response to an inquiry, when the intensity of what I’m feeling requires all that energy for simply processing.

This is also why many of my dearest friends have been animals and trees. We communicate without words and that is so liberating, so much more real and accurate.

So much can be and is communicated through non-speech. That which is deepest and most meaningful could never be put into words.

The interactions I cherish the most are those where I am not expected to speak. If I can just be with someone and feel that natural connectivity—share our energy and thoughts without language—the connection feels pure and limitless… untainted and undefined by the restrictive relativism of language.

If I seem content to sit in silence with you, that is a good thing. I enjoy your presence, your energy. I enjoy simply being with you. It is a pure and wholesome exchange that is more real to me than speaking.

When society at large begins to appreciate the multitude of diverse methods of communication, we will see massive advancements in so many areas.

As Ramana Maharshi said, “Silence is also conversation. Silence is ever-speaking.”


My Story Begins

My story begins in the Void of Space…

Before I was something, I was nothing.

I was limitless—intangible. I was naught but pure energy. The ‘I’ that was nothing, that had yet to exist, had no form, no purpose, no means of expression, beyond potential itself. But then… a thought.

BANG! An explosion. I was becoming.

I was awareness. I was witness. I was creator and creation. I was everything and nothing, yet now I was existence. Now, I was capable of understanding through the exploration of forms. Now, I was both the formless and the form, fractaling unto infinity.

I existed, and thus sought to feel my limitless nature. I sought to experience my full self, to know my full self.

So I expanded.

I became worlds, star systems, galaxies. I became multi-dimensional tessellating universes. I became everything from the smallest particle to the largest formation. I even became all the space in-between… And I danced with myself, in love with myself, fascinated and enthralled in curiosity and wonder with myself. And I wanted more.

I kept going, diving deeper, never stopping. My creation became as insatiable as my destruction. My intelligence became as ravenous as my ignorance. The sea of consciousness I had become, ebbed and flowed atop an unconscious abyss. I had become the extremities of dualities. I had truly become the everything and nothing I knew myself to be. Thus, I had reached the End of All. I had reached the End of Me.

So I collapsed.

Drawing all that I was back into myself, I experienced all in reverse. The path leading back was the only way forward, and I knew now all its purpose.

The purpose was fun; my purpose was play, and I’ll continue this game, for I know no other way…

To experience myself, to know myself, to feel my limitless potential… 

I must create, I must destroy. I must explore being within, so I can truly understand what it means to be without.

What new worlds will I become? 

I am ready for more. 

Eternal Fun.

Calling All Teachers! Are You Kind & Mature Enough to Teach Children?

I recently found out I’m on the spectrum. Autism Spectrum is a neurological condition that has been largely misunderstood through lenses of ignorance, prejudice, fear, and bigotry. Presently, there is a huge push from the Autistic community, increasing general awareness of how neurodiverse humanity truly is, while demanding more humane and compassionate means of support. There is a great amount of trauma and injustice endured by neuroatypical individuals, yet due to the utter lack of awareness from all sides, so many of us are just now figuring stuff out and speaking up enough to push for that change. In researching Autism and listening to countless personal accounts of neurodivergent individuals, I am inevitably finding myself reminiscing on my own childhood with newfound understanding and fresh perspective.

Early Memories

Thinking back to my years of public schooling, I was reminded how I was always trying to get out of class. Taking frequent trips to the nurse’s office was common, claiming to feel physically ill just to get away from the loud classroom, my peers, and (often) my teacher. Starting somewhere around my 4th grade year (and already my 5th school due to moving around so much), the nurse caught on pretty quickly after a couple times and would let me hang out a bit before sending me back, always checking my temperature to confirm. She would not send me home without a temperature, but was also one of the kindest of the staff. I enjoyed getting a time out in her company, even though I rested silently with my eyes closed on one of the cots.

Demanding a time out for myself away from all the noise and commotion in this way was not sustainable. I had to come up with some other means of getting out of class and, preferably, for longer periods of time.

Second Grade school photo of Ada.

We had a digital thermometer at home I loved playing with, so I started experimenting with TicTacs and Altoids under my tongue, thus discovering a cinnamon Altoid would completely dissolve within the time it took me to walk to the nurse’s office, and the heat in my mouth was strong enough to trip the thermometer’s sensor to read 102-104° F. I got sent home every time, much to my glorious satisfaction.

My childhood was full of these scenarios… little scientist circumventing the rules and outsmarting the Grumps (Star Trek TOS episode ‘Miri’ speak for ‘Grown-Ups’) in order to find peace and just be me.

(I will say this is something I am, to this day, delightfully tickled by. In many ways, that clever little sneak is still here.)

Pre-Teen Reprimands

The trick ran its course when I hit middle school. Those nurses didn’t care, would actually find things to make fun of me about (yes, adult women poking fun at a distressed and possibly sick child), refused to take my temperature, and refused to allow me to call my mother.

I didn’t get along well with many teachers and even less so my peers. Often, when I would do really good work, my teachers would give me a failing grade anyway, saying there was no way I could’ve done it on my own. “Kids your age just aren’t that smart. You must’ve cheated,” they would conclude. When I stopped doing my homework altogether (because what was the point if they didn’t believe I did it anyway?), they threatened to put me in remedial ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, saying, “That must be where you belong, because you insist on making this difficult for us.” Yeah, you read that right. I insisted on making things difficult for them. That’s what these teachers thought ESL classes were for—kids they didn’t have the kindness, maturity, or patience to work with. Difficult kids. Bad kids. Kids they didn’t understand.

Teenage Dirtbag

Once I hit high school, I just started skipping class altogether, be it hiding in a bathroom stall and reading, purposely wandering the hallways without a pass so I could go to Sweep, or finding some way off campus.

Sweep, by the way, is what some schools had to “punish” students for being “tardy.” Instead of attending class, you were required to sit in a room where no one was allowed to talk or interact with one another. You were not even allowed to do classwork. Three visits to strike out. After the third time of being “swept,” you were assigned detention. This usually meant the same thing as Sweep, for the same duration (just 30-50 minutes) after school on a Friday.

Punishment? Ha! Not for a kid who couldn’t get enough time in the peace and quiet of solitude. One of my favourite things to do was sit in silence and simply think. (Later, I would come to understand that much of my sitting in quiet was actually meditation.)

As proven by the Altoid experiment many years prior, I was also an accomplished sneak. I became very skilled at breaking rules I thought were illogical power plays against kids. I became equally skilled at getting away with it all. Although I would indeed just often sit there in Sweep and detention, I found ways to listen to my walkman or discman and read or do homework when it suited me.

Light from Darkness

The broken system had outs and loopholes for dejected weirdos like me, provided we couldn’t be muscled into fearing the inept yet forceful hand of fragile authority, wielded by equally inept yet forceful Grumps (i.e. overgrown toddlers having aged enough in years to be referred to as adults, but with little to no awareness of what it means to behave in a matured manner, particularly when in charge of youth).

My exploitation of the rules was not to undermine authority for the sake of rebellion or because I was a “bad kid.” Every day was an assault on my senses. Like grating nails on a chalkboard, tessellating across every fibre of my being, that still doesn’t accurately describe how overbearing and exhausting my K-12 years were.

What did I do with the venom of the public school system? I did my best to turn it into nectar. I learned how to defend myself against my peers and those who thought they had power over me. I got better at choosing my battles (sort of… lol). I became courageous enough to stand against injustices. I would speak up for those that had no voice or hadn’t found it yet. I became determined to lessen the suffering of those around me, if I could help it.

All of this and more because I was bullied by teachers and peers. I knew what it was like to be the little guy everyone was trying to squash. I knew the treatment I experienced for myself and witnessed happening to others was wrong and I wouldn’t stand for it.

My Own Worst Enemy

As good as I got at appearing unshakeably tenacious and resolute against cruelty, I would fall apart when alone at home. I was at war with myself, as most teenagers are, but I masked it all so well, it came off as self-confidence and strength.

Yet, all that built-up “strength” could not keep me from myself. Sometime after puberty, I started self-mutilating as means of coping with my ever-increasing depression. I became suicidal and nearly succeeded in taking my own life. Through that experience, I began to understand I was not here for myself.

My suffering was not about me. I was learning valuable lessons that I reluctantly began to trust as having some purpose. I, very slowly, started to appreciate my own magick of being.

The Cherished Few

I know I have not spoken too glowingly of teachers up to this point. As disheartening as it is, most of the adults in charge of children should not have been. I really like to think things are far better today than they were for me, but I have no idea.

There were, however, a handful of teachers through all my years of schooling, that were genuinely amazing people and teachers. They were the ones that noticed the shy, little odd girl, always in the back, reading or observing. They were the ones that saw when my face lit up and knew when they could get me to talk. They would listen to what I had to say and were super flexible when it came to my wanting to do my own thing in projects. They were the few adults besides my parents that encouraged me to be myself and explore my creativity in sharing my gifts and interests.

My 6th grade World History teacher, Mr Smith, for example, let me talk one day for a good 10 minutes straight about pirates, the term “sea dogs,” Sir Francis Drake’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth I, and how the English Navy had help from (i.e. for all intents and purposes, WERE) pirates to combat the Spanish and make England richer and more powerful than ever before. In a class that was only 30 minutes long, he gave me the floor for a third of that time. This is just one example of how empowered that guy made me feel every day.

My first band instructor, Mr Hoes, gloated about me any chance he got. He was floored by how naturally skilled I was at music. There were only two weeks in the whole school year that I wasn’t 1st Chair. Even then, it was a single rimshot or stick hit missed to one of two other girls in my class, making me 2nd Chair. I would earn back 1st Chair the following week.

These happy days of percussion were threatened by a new school, new instructor for 7th and 8th grade. Despite my constant battling with this second band instructor (I was starting to get really good at sticking up for myself and not taking anyone’s shit), I continued to excel as 1st Chair. At Texas’ year-end academic competitions known as UIL (short for University Interscholastic League), I was awarded 1st Divisions across the board for my solo performances.

Fast forward a few years to my Junior year in high school, again a different school, this time in a different state. While the teacher of my first period got into the habit of taking away whatever book I had at the start of each class, locking it in her desk drawer, and threatening me with failing grades despite finishing her mindless busy work early, my English teacher loved me.

Ms Culbertson was an incredible person, full of wisdom and kindness. She would commend me on how well-written and vibrantly entertaining my example sentences were on vocabulary quizzes. She would even work them into teaching materials for the class later. We would have lengthy conversations about Shakespeare and any book I was reading. She would also point out that I seemed to have a different book everyday. “You read books like a fish breathes water, girl!” She included me on prepping for classes every now and then, valuing my ability to communicate difficult concepts to my peers through engaging, entertaining activities. Some days she still comes to mind and I find myself wishing we never lost contact.

Eye of the Beholder

Mr Smith, Mr Hoes, Ms Culbertson, and very few others over many years, didn’t see a difficult or irritating enigma. They didn’t see a mute, yet horrible little demon there to test their patience. They didn’t see a stupid, uncontrollable child that refused to do what she’s told.

They saw a brilliant mind, exploding with curiosity and wonder. They saw a joyously free spirit, too authentic to be clad in iron rules. They saw a bookworm, an artist, musician, scientist, and historian.

They saw a tiny little human who knew who she was and LIKED who she was… A tiny human who played by her own rules but didn’t want anyone to feel hurt… A bright little soul that wanted nothing more than peace and joy for herself and everyone. They saw Me. They saw Ada.

The Crux of the Biscuit

Why share all this? Why do any of our neuroatypical stories about schooldays past matter?

If you are a teacher or perhaps considering to become one, please, please, please, make every effort to see the truth in each child. Please be the kind, mature, and understanding adult our youth so desperately needs. Every child is full of smart magick, wholly unique to them, but not every child is seen as such. Not every child is treated as such. If you cannot love children for who they are and meet them where they’re at, you do not belong in teaching.

I was fortunate that my parents and sisters saw my beauty and celebrated it. I was fortunate to have a safe, loving home to return to each day. Despite the abuse from my teachers, the fights (often physical) with my peers, and the bullying from both, I would go home to solace and acceptance. Many children are not so fortunate. After a long day of abuse at school, they return home to endure even more abuse, often violent. Had I been born to different parents, born into a different home environment, I may not have made it to my 18th birthday.

As teachers of children, it becomes a responsibility to love each child and celebrate their beauty. We must see children for who they are, not what we think they should be. (Read that once more.)

It is also important to note (this time, with compassion) that every adult is nothing more than an aged child. So many adults have been invisible to the world around them, swept through the cracks or into the sidelines. Some of these lost and forgotten people become what they hated most, as they, themselves, are forced to survive cruel and uncaring conditions. When children are raised in cruel and uncaring environments, they learn such as the only way to exist, thus becoming cruel and uncaring adults that continue the pattern of abuse. We are all capable of breaking that pattern. We are all capable of being better.

One Love

Every person, regardless of age, deserves to be seen for the wondrous truth they are. We must strive to see that truth, that beauty, that goodness, in everyone we meet.

Thank you for showing up as the brilliant, most beautifully authentic you every day, whatever that looks like.

Remember, each day is different. So too can you be different each day.

Thank you for all the love you are and share with the world.

Live Long and Prospurr.
With Love, Always.

High-Functioning Autism, as Defined by Aspergers from the Inside

I came across the following video on YouTube, posted in September 2019, by the channel Aspergers from the Inside. While I’m fully capable of performing my own research and formulating my own definitions based on said research, I also appreciate efficiency.

I would rather share my brief thoughts on this video now, as I tend to belay certain activities indefinitely, particularly when I hold myself and my creations to such high standards that I avoid creating altogether. (A constant setback, I assure you, but not always definite.)

First, I’ll mention there’s a lot of controversy around the term ‘high-functioning,’ but really… what isn’t surrounded by controversy today? Everything is being called into question, and much of which for good reason, but… I digress.

In short, there are some who consider the term to be dismissive of the struggles many of us on the Spectrum face in our daily lives, simply because we do not appear to be what society at large considers “disabled.” Like all things, the conversation goes far deeper than this simplified summary, and I invite you to look into it on your own, should curiosity spur you to do so.

So, how is ‘high-functioning’ defined in the video?

“What it literally means is, ‘I am functioning well at the moment and my struggles are invisible.’ High Functioning literally means, ‘invisible struggle.’ […] Whatever struggles I’m going through, you can’t see them.”

Paul Micallef, Aspergers from the Inside

What I appreciate most about this definition, is that it can be applied to any personal challenges, be they physical or otherwise, including depression, anxiety, addiction, brain injury, heart or lung issues, cognitive abilities, grief, and so on.

Therefore, it makes it so much easier to understand and so much more widely applicable and relatable, regardless of one’s neurological state. I imagine everyone can relate to this definition, as we are all struggling through something that is invisible to others—neurotypicals and atypicals alike and beyond.

That is a simple fact of existence. What we see in others and how we present ourselves, is merely the tip of the iceberg.

That being said, it’s important to understand most of what people think they know about the Autism Spectrum and its diverse proliferations in Autistic individuals, stems from outdated, incorrect, and highly prejudice and cruel experiments and methods of treatment conducted in the 1940s, which also completely denied the fact that females and people of colour could be on the Spectrum. (A major double-yew-tee-eff, I know. Believe it or not, we’re just now starting to unravel that mess.)

As awareness movements of all kinds, for all types of marginalised and oppressed groups of people, are coming to the forefront of human consciousness to be faced, healed, and purged from the collective, may we stand in solidarity with our human family, regardless of race, gender, creed, or mental/physical condition, and learn to better embrace our differences in celebration.

After all, we are far more alike in our differences than we tend to recognise or admit. We are, also, all in this together. Perhaps our togetherness is what we should be focusing on.


Reflections: “Are You Undiagnosed Autistic?”

Just starting out on this journey of Autism admission and awareness. Watching videos, listening to the stories of others, and pouring myself into research, as I am so wont to do.

The latest video I’ve watched by Aspergers from the Inside, “Are You Undiagnosed Autistic? How To Tell If You’re On The Autism Spectrum,” has me reflecting on a good deal. Wanted to share a fraction of those reflections.

It is important to gauge both internal and external factors.

In retrospect, sometimes my masking was on point and other times, when I thought I was “acting normal,” I was anything but.

I have had coworkers that have tried, in very passive-aggressive, subversive ways, to get me to admit to Autism and, on different occasions, Schizophrenia. Based on my own internal happenings, I was incapable of seeing what they saw, experiencing that oh-so-familiar frustration of being ostracised for reasons I didn’t understand. “Is there something so wrong with me that people think I’m disabled and mentally ill?” I would ask myself, “Or worse, a lying, lazy, impartial asshole?”

Yes, all of humanity, at one point or another, battles with ableist thinking. Regardless of what we ourselves may be afflicted with, it is so temptingly automatic to point the finger at someone else’s weirdness.

I once had an elderly lady with no nose single me out for something about my physical appearance she didn’t like. While this is a rather innocent example of someone projecting onto someone else the prejudice that has been projected onto them—rather than using their own experience of suffering to send out compassion to break that pattern of prejudice—far worse atrocities continue to propel through society, driving a wedge into the heart of humanity where there should be, could be, mending.

“Actually, it’s always been inside; you’ve just been repressing it the whole time. So, if you are that friends and family, it’s important to recognise that the person is trusting you, with showing you a side of themselves they’ve been hiding for most of their life.”

Paul Micallef, Aspergers from the Inside

Becoming aware of our ignorance is the first step to dissolving our ignorance.

If you suspect someone might be Autistic, please don’t be like my aforementioned coworkers. Do your research and feel free to share your findings with others, but put compassion first. The person you suspect to have some condition is already feeling the world against them. That does not need to be magnified.

Just love and accept people for who they are, knowing you have no idea what their internal landscape is like. Extend compassion and understanding to everyone, and accept that all you need to know is that other people are beautiful and unique in ways you may never see. All you need to know is other people are worthy of kindness and respect.

To summon the Vulcan motto I repeat so often, “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”

We have reached a point in our collective consciousness where we have the capability to make this world liveable and loveable for everyone.

In the immortal words of Captain Picard, let’s “make it so.

May you Live Long and Prospurr.

Thoughts After Watching Video: “Surprise! You’re Autistic!”

This might not be in direct response to my watching the following video posted by Aspergers from the Inside earlier this year, “Surprise! You’re Autistic! Learning about Autism in adulthood with Diane J. Wright from,” but it’s where my mind went. Figured I would share.

We will come to find neurodivergence is not at all what everyone has thought it to be. Until then, contemporary jargon is quite helpful in communicating differences in perception.

Taking into consideration the multi-layered inter-dimensionality of existence and, particularly, the human experience, truth and understanding manifests in different forms, to be in appropriate context with a given dimension or facet of being.

Crazy as it may sound, some of us have had experiences that leave us considering ourselves as literal aliens and Star People, Fair Folk, or some other variety of humanoid besides specifically human. It’s not just a matter of feeling alienated from society and the human population at large… Often such thoughts come about from how we experience our individual gifts. (I think both neurotypical and neuroatypical people can understand this to a degree, or have, at one point or another, experienced this for themselves.)

And while many professionals and neurotypically wired individuals will laugh and discredit such as mental illness or childish coping mechanisms, those of us who feel this way don’t need anyone’s approval or validation. We know what we know and we don’t need to prove ourselves to anyone.

Even within the Autistic community, people are judged harshly and told they are wrong for thinking a certain way about themselves and their own life experience, perceptions, and mental and sensory downloads.

The ever-evolving language of neurodivergent studies can be a powerful tool in helping to bridge the gaps of misunderstanding, in that it stays grounded in diversely acceptable dimensions, thus having the capability of bringing awareness and appreciation to the vast diversity of life and experience in this realm and beyond.

It is preparing us for the Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations (IDIC) of the cosmos, because, well… it‘s about damn time.

In short, you may not feel you are of this world, but choosing to be in this world will help make this world better.

That’s what I’ve gotta tell myself, anyway.


“My little girl is not broken. She is a prophet.”

Me Mum was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer in late 2016, leading to her passing away in 2018; the whole ordeal of which started this journey for me of accepting and understanding my uniqueness. She was pure love, Heaven on Earth. She understood me better than anyone and knew all the little things that would delight my spirit and brighten my day.

Since her passing, it has been really difficult to step up and be that person for myself, especially after the additional passing of my elder sister (to Metastasised Stage IV Melanoma and Epilepsy) just two years later.

I have been completely obliterated, and yet my mother’s comforting voice has been guiding me through this wasteland, reminding me I am not broken, but beautifully necessary.

I heard my mother’s voice so clearly in my head as I read this last paragraph:

“My little girl is not broken. She is a prophet. I want to be wise enough to stop with her, ask her what she feels, and listen to what she knows.”

Excerpt from ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle

Always there for me, Mum. Even still. Thanks.


Excerpt from the book 'Untamed' by Glennon Doyle, reading: "But our society is so hell-bent on expansion, power, and efficiency at all costs that the folks like Tish—like me—are inconvenient. We slow the world down. We're on the bow of the Titanic, pointing, crying out, "Iceberg! Iceberg!" while everyone else is below deck, yelling back, "We just want to keep dancing!" It is easier to call us broken and dismiss us than to consider that we are responding appropriately to a broken world. My little girl is not broken. She is a prophet. I want to be wise enough to stop with her, ask her what she feels, and listen to what she knows.
Excerpt from the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

“It’s Snowing Love.”

Those lovely muses struck heart strings, as they are so wont to do, when I came across time-lapse footage of a droplet of water crystallising into a snowflake. It got me thinking how, with every snow, I still sit at the window in wide-eyed joy, simply watching the snow fall. As it mounds up against the outer sill, I zoom my focus in on individual flakes, their hexaspines creating a miniature frozen landscape, jagged and prismatic… and it’s true—each flake is unique in its patterning. Each is wholly unique and yet wholly the same, fluttering down to a brief, Earthly existence before melting back into oblivion.

Before all you Tyler Durdens out there start barking through megaphones that we are not beautiful and unique snowflakes, hit the pause button on that indulgent nihilism for a quick sec and let’s take a look at the hexagram. (Stay with me, this won’t be long, and we can both get back to skimming through #nihilist memes.)

The Hexagram is that six-pointed star most would recognise as the Star of David, but has a far wider use, history, and meaning than one might expect. In occult and esoteric traditions, the version of this six-pointed star known as Metatron’s Cube, is said to be a geometric container of all of life’s patterning. That is to say, this “cube” is considered a blueprint of creation itself.

The six-pointed star also has correspondences to the qualities of love, joy, exuberance, expansion, the union of the God and the Goddess, or the aspects of gender—of divine masculine and divine feminine—being balanced in harmony and functioning together as one. It is a symbol of the Heart Chakra, that critical gateway that must be open for consciousness to transcend beyond the physical, animalistic needs and desires. It represents that energy that, when masterfully cultivated and wilfully applied with understanding and compassion, propels the human species to greater evolutionary heights. In some schools of thought, the six-pointed star has become synonymous with the Purity of the Divine and Divine Love itself, or even thought to be the shape of a tangible vessel capable of transporting beings through time and space.

Oh, yeah, I gotcha! I’m pullin’ in the reigns on that one. One step further and I’d be in a whole other territory than I want to be for this. We’ll save that for some other time, shall we? Seriously, it’s a wild world One Step Beyond.

Yes, believe me when I say that preamble was necessary before getting to my point. It’s snowing here in the Springs today, and every time it snows, I delight in knowing each flake is a tiny little hexagram. Each flake is a tiny, six-pointed star, corresponding to the heart and the energy, the power, of love.

I delight in thinking of each flake as crystallized love, sifting like fine sugar from the heavens. I like to pause to consider all the reminders of love that snow upon and around me, much like snow itself. I like to consider, “It’s snowing love.”

I like to think about the qualities of winter and all the ice and snow of extreme cold—how the darkest, coldest, and harshest of days inspire us to not simply SEEK light and warmth, but to CREATE light and warmth for ourselves and others.

As I watch love gently fall from the sky, I muse in gratitude for the seasons of being that set the conditions for love to crystallize within each of us, helping us to better cultivate our innate ability to create light and warmth for all.

So, thanks for sticking with me, precious snowflakes. Taking joy in the little wonders of life is just one of those many things we can do to create that light and warmth. Together, we are a glimmering winter wonderland, so bright we are blinding. Keep the light, keep the warmth. Keep stoking that inner fire and expand forever unto infinity.

Close up photo of roaring flames.

May ye from hearth an’ home create forth life.