freedom

Page Eighteen, website outline

Living in a country that touts and flouts how free we are. But there are all kinds of freedoms, and there’s one extremely important one I have never, in fifty-seven years, been granted by my fellow humans: the freedom to be myself without constant punishment for being that self. Punishment takes many forms, from verbal insult all the way up to various forms of attack. Just for being me I’ve had an on-going stream of this stuff. Others have too. Especially others with Asperger’s.

Harping, like the chanting of Shakespeare’s three witches, all my life, on many themes that are apparently unbearable aspects of Anne Nakis’ selfhood:  too many animals  —  you don’t smile enough — you’re too negative — you’re not really an  atheist; everyone believes in god — you’re antisocial (by this they mean withdrawn, not sociopathic) — you don’t try to fit in…  and more. Almost everything about me, about who I am, is apparently either so annoying or so repugnant or so aberrant that anyone who wishes to throws in their two cents’ worth, and believes they have the right to do so. They have the right to mock, nag, criticize, punish. But I don’t have the freedom to be myself and be left alone about it. If you don’t like me, if I’m not your cup of tea, then just leave me the hell alone. Why do you have to hurt in some way?

All of this has taught me that it’s money in this country that buys you freedom to be yourself. I hate for that to be true, because I hate people making a god out of money. But the fact remains that if I’d been able to earn the money to buy my own home, no landlord and no other tenant could have bullied me the way they have repeatedly done for being myself, for being the oddball, weird, idiosynratic, creature that I am. No relatives and friends could have had much chance to do so, because I wouldn’t have needed them for any kind of practical help. I could have hung up the phone or slammed the door.                                    

To my mind, it is an ugly commentary on human nature to have to say in all truth that I have been alive for more than five decades, and have been allowed by only one person in one relationship, the freedom to be myself — without punishment or criticism. Everyone has nagged, or criticized, or insulted, or tried to remake me. And there have been many who have actively and viciously attacked me when I failed to allow myself to be remade in their image. I honestly don’t grasp, in light of all this, why there are so many people who do not understand why I don’t like human beings. Why do they think I would like humans, in light of this shabby (at best) treatment I’ve received from them? What grounds do you think I would have to be enamored of humankind?

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read…      Neverending solitaire  (asperger’s)…   Lifelines

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.


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shelter life, et cetera

Page Sixteen, website outline

I have thus far stayed in three different shelters in two different states, and have had two trips each to two of them. I cannot say enough bad about the two in Massachusetts. The one in New Hampshire was better by far. Five stays in shelters to date, and I bitterly hope that there will be no more.

If I had to judge by the two Massachusetts shelters, both run by an organization called ServiceNet, I’d say that shelter life is designed to be degrading, to rob one not only of even minor privacies, but of dignity and of adulthood. You become a child being ordered around at daycare or summer camp.

At the New Hampshire shelter, there were very few rules. We needed to be in by 11:00 pm, and we each needed to do a chore once a week. Otherwise we could come and go as we pleased during the day. We each had fridge space and cabinet space and could cook our own meals, and each clean up only after ourselves. We could shower and do laundry any time the facilities were available. It was almost like living in your own apartment, except that it was a room, and you had to share the common facilities with other people. I didn’t feel demeaned or demoted to child status. Nor did I feel very invaded, as I had a bedroom to myself.

Very different in the ServiceNet Shelters. In Northampton we were kicked out at 7:00 in the morning and let back in at 6:00 in the evening. They did have more open hours from 9-12 and 1-3 when we shelter folk, and anyone else who wanted to, could get in out of the weather, have a snack, etc. But our shelter bedrooms were kept locked during these hours, so that we had no access to our belongings or our beds, and my bed was what I needed most those days.

I wonder if you can conceive of how shocking and horrifying, — yes, horrifying, — these shelters were to someone like me. I can’t speak for any shelters anywhere but the three I stayed in, and in two of those, the people were as unlike me as you can get. Most were alcoholics or addicts. Most had arrest records and jail time under their belts. Homelessness was a cycle they went through periodically, when, for whatever reasons, they stopped paying their rent. They were uneducated. They were sneaky. They knew how to kiss up to shelter staff and act like civilized, reasonably decent people, but then I’d encounter them hanging out with each other on the streets when the act was dropped, and their true, ugly colors shone out. This was especially true of the inmates of the Turners shelter. When you take a person who for fifty-five years has lived in houses or apartments and has paid the rent; who is reclusive and has Asperger’s syndrome and physical illnesses and chronic depression; who has never been arrested or served any time in jail, and so on, and throw such a person into this seedy, lunatic fringe atmosphere, it is devastating. At least it was for me. Culture shock, and all sorts of shocks, and the screaming torment of no privacy at all. I lived in a state of constant, high anxiety, and constantly bit down on my internal screams, keeping them from escaping through my mouth. Constant pretending. Not ass-kissing, as the others were doing, just pretending that I didn’t want to murder every single one of them so that I could have some privacy.

~~~  And now it’s 2011. I haven’t stayed in a shelter for two years now. But all I have to do is think about my various shelter days for a minute or two and here come the pounding heart and the shaking hands, the tears and the inability to sit still.  Maybe staying in a shelter isn’t an ugly wound for every person who does it, but it was for me.

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And then there was living outdoors for two months, which, while it entailed more physical hardship than the shelters, was in certain ways much preferable to them. When I think about that time living outside, I get the same shaking hands and pounding heart and tears, but I also get something else: the memory of the beauty of nature, and of nature’s animals all around me. The geese, squirrels, ducks, chipmunks, and so many more that I lived with. I was living in their home. The dusks and dawns… seeing every minute of them first-hand, with no window-glass between my body and the sky. I fed the animals every day, wherever I was camping. I was in the natural world, a part of it, in a way that you can only be if you live outdoors. That particular part of my homelessness showed me that if I owned my own land, I’d make it a point three or four times a year to pitch a tent and live outdoors for a week or two. To remind myself how the outdoors really feels.

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read…   Spite and malice…   Braonwandering

read…  Mental hell

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 
 

grief, bitterness and rage

Page Thirteen, website outline

Yes, some of the unpleasant emotions no one wants to talk about, or hear about, or feel. Most people, when they feel such emotions as these, stuff them immediately down into the subconscious. There they create all kinds of ugliness, but since most people don’t pay any attention to what’s roiling around in their subconscious, and how ugly a lot of it is, they don’t care. But all this stuffing comes out in their behavior, whether they choose to accept that or not.

I do not stuff anymore. When I catch myself pushing something down, I do my best to drag it back up and look at it, so that it won’t make more mess in the subconscious, and so that I can live in my own truth. This is at times extremely difficult to do, and sometimes takes months. I do feel grief for the fourteen animals taken from me all at once. I do feel rage at all the individuals who got together and accomplished this abusive feat. I do feel bitterness regarding the amount of trauma others have visited on me in my life, and the damage it has done. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, or euphemize these feelings, or stuff them.

                                                                  

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My friend recently sent me this poem on bitterness, and once I read it, I remembered I had read it way back in high school. If Stephen Crane were alive today and trying to get this poem published, I bet no one would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Bitterness is passé and politically incorrect and socially unacceptable (as are rage and grief as well).

                                                 

                                                  In the desert

                                     I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

                                    Who, squatting upon the ground,

                                       Held his heart in his hands,

                                               And ate of it.

                                       I said, “Is it good, friend?”

                                 “It is bitter — bitter,” he answered,

                                               “But I like it

                                           Because it is bitter,

                                      And because it is my heart.”

                                                           ~~  s.crane

And so it is with me. I accept my bitter heart, my grief, my rage. I don’t try to eliminate or change these emotions, unpopular and castigated as they may be. They were created in me partly by the Asperger’s that so alienates me from neurotypical people, partly by my immune system that disabled me and kept me from working to get the money that would have kept us safe, and partly by the deliberately cruel actions of other people. And while I could not control being born with Asperger’s and with an abnormal immune system, those other people could have controlled their impulses to cruelty, if they had chosen to. They did not.

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read…   Spite and malice…   Lifelines…      

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

                     

education and intelligence

Page Ten, website outline

I have education and intelligence in relative abundance, and therefore, ipso facto, I was not supposed to fail. While other factors in my life and in my nature were definitely in the way of any doing well, these two things I had in my favor, and was supposed to make success out of them. I thought so, and the neurotypicals around me thought so too. It’s yet another thing that people find subtle and not-so-subtle ways to punish you for: you were one who wasn’t supposed to fail. And since you did fail, we will punish you, or at the very least devalue you.

I spent nine and a half years in universities, which gives me shivers to contemplate now, now that it’s long over. As Kurt Vonnegut said more than once: How the hell did I do that? Truly, looking back, I don’t know, because the thought of spending most of every day on a campus now makes me start a headache.

So with education and native intelligence, you will surely make something of yourself, which, translated out of the land of euphemism, means: You will make your own money. You will buy your own home. You will not be dependent on family and on government agencies for help. You will not be a leech, a parasite. You will satisfy our clichés by pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and standing on  your own two feet. And if you don’t, you are worse than others who fail who lacked the blessings of high intelligence and good education, and we will disrespect you all the more.

And so it has been in the years since I went on disability in 1994. No one like me should be poor, should be getting government handouts, should be living in shabby apartments and driving ancient cars. You should be successful, at least financially. Many people have said these words straight out, and many others have adroitly implied them. You were not supposed to fail, and we look down on you for having done so.

How would these words and implications make you feel? Like so many other actions and words from my fellow humans, they have made me feel worthless. Because I could not turn my brains and talents and education into economic success and independence, I am a failed and valueless and highly disappointing creature. And don’t misinterpret, please: I do not define myself as worthless in my own eyes. It’s in the eyes of others that I am such a nothing. And it is both demeaning and debilitating to be thought of in this way.

If you commit the great indisgression of being a financial flop in our post-modern society, and if you further stomp on other people’s illusions (dare I say delusions) by being a flop in the presence of talent, education, and intelligence, then you are truly open to any old person’s scorn, or abuse, or garden variety insults, and so on. You have violated the delusional cliché that in amerika, anybody who wants to, anybody who tries, can have their own personal slice of the pie, and if you don’t have the pie, then you didn’t want it badly enough. You didn’t try hard enough. This happens to be enormous baloney. It’s amerikan propaganda at its most insipid. It’s a crock. It doesn’t work for everybody, doesn’t hold true for everybody, and it never has. Never, ever will.

 

read…    Lifelines…   Braonwandering

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.


 

asperger’s syndrome

Page Three, website outline                                                                               

 

                             

                      “Asperger’s Syndrome is not a mental illness, and it’s
                       not a disease. It is a neurological condition that sets
                       us apart from most of the people on the planet in both
                       good and bad ways.”
                                                             ~~~  michael john carley
                                                                  asperger’s from the inside out     

I began hearing stories about Asperger’s on public radio in 2004. When I heard the first story, I felt it explained a great deal about both me and the way people had treated me in my life. With that first story, I was pretty sure I had it. There were many more stories about it on the radio over the next four years, and I only became more convinced that I was an Asperger’s person.

In the last two years I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject, and I remain convinced. I did have a diagnosis, but that diagnosis was arrived at in a way that can only be called bizarre, and the result reported to me by a person who is not any kind of clinician  (this is covered in more detail on the blogs). In any case, I believed this person when he told me I have Asperger’s, because I didn’t have much doubt of it anyway. But I was 55 when I got this diagnosis, and am 57 now. Very late in life to find out you have a disorder that has affected, very negatively, your whole life.

Asperger’s is a condition on what is called the Autism Spectrum, and is the mildest form of autism. Like all forms of autism, it can vary greatly from person to person, both in severity and in its symptoms.

In other posts on my journals I’ve quoted from Donna Williams’ book, Nobody Nowhere, and it’s appropriate to do so again. So much of what she describes in that book describes some of my own behaviors and attitudes, fits so perfectly with who I am and how I react. So, to that end:

    ” … simple things left such a long-term impact .” ~~ “… a world I found foreign and unreachable.” ~~  “Although I was intelligent, I seemed to lack sense.”  And quoting something said to her by one of her friends: ” ‘ One day you were talking to me; the next day it was as though we’d never been friends.’ ” These are reactions and behaviors I still have. In fact, when my post-traumatic stress disorder began to get much worse in my forties, so did my Asperger’s symptoms, which had previously been rather mild compared to a lot a of people with the syndrome.

Smiling

This has been a tremendous problem my entire life, and I’ve been castigated for it for 57 years now, by a great huge number of neurotypical control-freaks (sometimes I wonder if all  neurotypicals are control-freaks). I wrote a post about it once on an Asperger’s website (wrongplanet) and hoped that I would get some feedback from the other bloggers concerning their own difficulties with smiling, if they had them. But as I got no feedback, I have nothing to report about other Aspies and smiling. In my reading, however, I’ve come across more than once the fact that being not much prone to smiling is almost a defining characteristic of Asperger’s.

Not only am I not much prone to smiling myself, but I have very negative reactions to other people’s smiling. I very seldom see a smile, whether it’s given to me or to someone else, that appears sincere. Most of the smiling I see going on around me looks (to my eyes) either 1. idiotic  or 2. insane. I cannot take it seriously, cannot take it as genuine. And a little smiling news item that just happened: yesterday afternoon the insane landlady who illegally evicted me drove by me with one of her unusually psychotic, ugly rictus grins on her face. I would think (what about you?) that if she were a person with even an iota of conscience, that she would have enough of it to drive by me, a person she willfully and knowingly destroyed, with, if not a somber face, or a remorseful one, at least a straight face. You really should have seen this madwoman, victorious, sick antic she twisted her mouth into.

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read…   Mishibone…   Neverending solitaire

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

a website, a scrapbook, an unamerikan story

 Page One, website outline

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turners falls, massachusetts

thursday 21 january 2010

why is my story unamerikan? the first answer is that  amerikans like to have stories about people who triumphed, despite having the deck stacked against them. the deck has been stacked against me since childhood in several very significant ways, and I have not triumphed. one of the things my story is is a story of failure, and amerikans don’t want that kind. everything must be horatio alger and bambi: the obligatory happy endings. nothing gets us amerikans down. we just keep truckin’ till that ole sun starts shinin’ again. to heck with all  that. didn’t I fall for that nonsense, and other nonsense like it, long enough? there are several other reasons as well that the true events of my life since 2006 are unamerikan , but I leave that to you. if you read enough pages, if you have a mind that can reason things out, then you’ll discover this other unamerikanism.

and the word story? there are stories that are fiction, and stories that are true. mine are true, with the exception of the single novel I’m putting on this website. you might choose to decide that some events I relate are not true, and that’s no doubt rooted in your own psychological longings for denial. but the set of your particular mind does not make a liar or a fantasist out of me. I’ve never in my life made up stories, except in the days when I was writing fiction. and I don’t imagine things. at times I misinterpret things, as everyone does, but I’ve never imagined events or people or space aliens or whatever. and if you find I misinterpret the words and actions of others more frequently than most people do, then the reason may lie in my autism, in asperger’s syndrome, and my great difficulty in grasping the indirect, tricky ways of other people’s minds.

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donna williams, an autistic woman who has written several books on living with autism, has these words about her view of the world as a child:

               the world seemed to be impatient, annoying, callous and unrelenting.

that’s how I also felt about the world as a child, and that is how I still feel.iIn fact, these feelings are stronger with every passing year. this quote is from her first book, Nobody Nowhere, and nobody nowhere is, vis á vis other people, what I’ve pretty much always been. I was someone to animals: someone lovable, someone of value (even if I am odd), someone they were always happy to see come into a room. it hasn’t been that way with human beings at all.

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and now March 2011, slightly more than a year since I started knitting all of my blogs together into a website. now things have changed yet again. I’ve changed my mind again about how I want to organize all this material. what can I tell you…. my life was destroyed, and that has changed me drastically, and for good. I’ve remained an internet writer much longer than I ever thought I would. I’ve remained this odd beast, an internet writer, whether I really want to be one or not. and I don’t, really. but I have no life — it was stolen. I have no animal family — they were hidden and killed. writing and organizing and doing images is a small anesthetic to the pain I live in daily. below is the most recent re-structuring.

the blogs that form the website:

 

                                       braonthree.wordpress.com  (you are here)
                                       braon
                                       braonwandering
                                       judah
                                       mishi  (asperger’s syndrome)
                                       sehnen
                                       mentalhell   (on blogspot)
                                       sehnen  (0n soulcast)
                                       small tales from rowley
 
two blogs of poetry only:
 
                                        shadowpoems
                                        scealta liatha   (fear not, poems are in english)
 
 
the books; ten little indians which may be turning into eleven:
 
 
                                        mugsy’s book  (a certain dog)
                                        lifelines       (autobio)
                                        don’t ask    (satire)
                                        spite and malice 
                                        all my stars   (animals)
                                        stolen stars   (stolen animals)
                                        neverending solitaire   (asperger’s)
                                        poison and snowflake trees  (turners falls)
                                        being toward death
                                        kaikenlainen    (a brother has died)
                                        lucked out     (a father dead a long time)
 
the eighteen-year-old novel:    the pygmies keep dancing
                               other novels:     dunvegan spell
                                                             she says
 
 
 
  
 
click here to new posts.
 

I belong to, and write in, a number of groups at experienceproject.com, under the name sehnen. follow on twitter: @ziidjian or @annegrace2.

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It’s going to take me approximately thirty-five years to write all the new pages that need doing for these books, and to move all of the existing pages from where they are now to their own new space. these projects are in part a way of living in the daily grief and loneliness and rage. and they are also, and this is the most important thing, a tribute to all the animals of my life, most especially the fourteen who were stolen, hidden, lied about, and killed.

I write bluntly and truthfully; sardonically and bitterly. the events since 2006 and the people who caused them are despicable to me. emotions are raw. I do not forgive these people, nor do I have any desires in that direction. if you seek positivity and airy new-age platitudes and happy endings — in other words, if you’re looking for the amerikan story —  then my website and my books are probably not where you should be. but if you love animals deeply; and if you believe that cruelty is not a fairy tale, but a true feature of some people’s personalities; and if you have any compassion for people whose lives have been laid waste by whatever forces, then maybe you can be a reader here. I appreciate sane, respectful comments. anyone is free to disagree with me on anything at all, in a civil and respectful way.

internet people seem to be hurry people. and information-hungry. and news-mad. none of that happens here, or will. this is slow here, this is about one person and many animals, none of whom are famous or important in the big, fast world. this is true life, true animals, true people, poems, pictures, satire, books. this is emotional. I haven’t yet found anything else like it on the internet, and I wish I could, because I would read it every day.

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The Scrapbook  Art I  ~~  Art II  ~~  Art III

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2013 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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