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My 5 year old son, C, is one of a kind. He is the most imaginative person I have ever met. He lives in a world full of magic, but visits our mundane planet to spend time with the people he loves (and for the chocolate). The sensations on this planet can be hard for him to handle. Some noises are so loud or distracting that he has to plug his ears. Some places that are so quiet that it makes his head hurt. He is afraid of the dark, but bright lights make him edgy (even if he doesn't realize it). His sense of smell and taste can be troublesome too. He's actually part wolf, and that makes him an extra good smeller and taster. Flavors and scents that might be pleasant to me are overwhelming to him. Worse than the smells and sounds on Earth are the crazy customs of Earthlings. They insist that you stuff your feet into uncomfortable shoes every single day instead of running barefoot as nature intended. Their silly human clothes have scratchy tags, tricky zippers, and pinchy spots, making it impossible to relax or to move the way he wants to. Plus? They have this ridiculous idea that clothes be divided into girls and boys sections. As if genetalia were a requirement for color preferences. Then there are the people, themselves. Impossible creatures! They don't understand him at all. Even though he mastered Earth language at an early age, he has a habit of forgetting it when he gets nervous, and humans definitely make him nervous. Maybe it's because he never really knows what they are going to do? They are endlessly confusing, and it can be hard to tell which ones are friendly and which ones are dangerous. Also, humans have WAY too many rules, and most of them don't even make sense. Everyone thinks they can tell him what to do, where to go, how to act, what to say, even who to be. Sometimes it feels like he has no control over his own life, and that makes him angry. I'm his mom, and I love him just the way he is. I always will. I don't want to change him, but I do need to find a way to make him feel more at home here on Earth. If only all of these humans would learn to loosen up a little.
By Ellen Raede (Danny's mom) Raising a son with Asperger's, we often had to celebrate in a different way. Here are three examples: 1) When Danny turned 12, we were on vacation in Seattle. To celebrate his actual birthday, Danny didn't want a party or special dinner, but instead requested a tour of Microsoft Headquarters. Fortunately, we had a business acquaintance whose son coordinated a fabulous tour of the campus. I really didn't understand all of the technical terms or descriptions of software – but Danny did! He was focused, happy, thrilled, and social doing something that he wanted to do. 2) Danny was raised Jewish, and that meant we celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at age 13. To prepare, he studied for months to learn to read Hebrew, learned some prayers, and wrote a speech about the meaning of his Torah portion. (A lot for any 13-year-old!) On his Bar Mitzvah day, he lead services, and then we had a celebration. We had just had the diagnosis of Asperger's, so I had a little better idea of what we should NOT do to celebrate. We shouldn't invite too many people. We shouldn't make too much of a fuss of him. We shouldn't celebrate with loud music. This was not the normal celebration of our community, but it was perfect for Danny. At the party celebrating him becoming part of the adult-community, instead of having lots of loud screaming teenagers dancing “YMCA,” we had a magician performing. Instead of expecting Danny to participate in any games, he was the judge. And, instead of him arriving into the room with full fan-fare, he sat on his Dad's lap watching close-up magic. 3) High School Graduation Day was perfect for Danny. My husband and I dreaded the thought of Danny having to sit through a few hours of speeches and a long line of students waiting to get their diploma. So, when Danny said he really didn't want to go through with the graduation ceremony, we were a bit relieved. But, we knew the importance of celebrating milestones, so we asked Danny for some alternative ideas. What he came up with was spectacular. On the day of everyone else's graduation ceremony, we drove the 1 ½ hours to Los Angeles, had dinner at an Italian restaurant where “picky-eater” Danny could be assured of finding something he'd like on the menu, and made our way to an outdoor venue to attend a symphonic concert featuring the music of video games called “Video Games Live.” Although my husband and I felt like we were in a foreign culture in unfamiliar territory, we were elated to see Danny very comfortable and happy and singing or humming along to every song. Celebrations are important but we quickly learned that we had to do things Danny's way. And, we had fun too!
WARNING: MATURE CONTENT: DESCRIPTIONS OF NUDITY. What up guys, Growth Monkey here. Before I start, I want to preface this by saying that in addition to getting help, I'm also using this blog as an opportunity to work on my blogging skills for when I eventually start my own blog as a way to build a following for my own eventual online business. So feel free to react, follow, & leave feedback. Hygiene, Manscaping, & Defense Mode First of all, let me preface this by saying that I'm a man. So this pertains to male anatomy. Females may have different issues than I do, but I'm hoping that people of both sexes can understand what I'm going through here. So, I was shaving my pubes this evening. Which is actually the inspiration for this post. Let me tell you why: IT TOOK ME 4 HOURS TO DO, after all the breaks I had to (and chose to take). And I have something that I want to get off my chest after this shaving session: SHAVING MY PUBES PUTS ME IN DEFENSE MODE. Allow me to explain: Imagine having to do basically the splits, naked, bent over at the waist, for an hour, while trimming the hair off the area of the body that's the most sensitive to you (in my case, my penis, testicles, & groin area). And on top of that, you have to go super gentle, because the blades are so sharp that every time they even make contact with your groin area, you run a 1% risk of cutting yourself to the point where you bleed (I've done this an innumerable amount of times before). And imagine this too: you've done sex ed, so you know that STI's can pass through these small open wounds even if you're wearing a condom. Not to say that this should be an issue for me because I don't have a girlfriend or any romantic prospects (and probably won't be having them any time soon due to the current state of my life), but the idea of being vulnerable to STI's because you had a shaving accident is scary. Oh yeah, and if you don't cut yourself, you also have to deal with the fact that your voice can sound like it has an "echo" after the shave for 5-10 minutes afterwards because you were in that awkward position for so long. Regardless, I still do it. Every Friday night (Saturday or Sunday if that's not possible). This is because it puts me more in Defense Mode to be dirty than to be clean. Let me explain: in my 23 years of life, I've crashed on beds without showering or brushing my teeth or making my bed more times than I can remember because of the sheer amount of schoolwork I had to do during the previous day, or just because I'm plain exhausted. And when that happened, I always ended up waking up about 2-3 hours later (4 if i'm lucky) & never really being able to get back to sleep after that because my own rank smells bother me so much. Unless of course, I shower, brush my teeth, & just take away the smell. I've also noticed that lately, I start to feel this way whenever I crash on an unmade bed. And that's not counting the numerous days I've felt overwhelmed & just lied in bed sulking all day because I have untrimmed toenails & fingernails, or in rare cases, when I look like I have a homeless beard because I haven't shaved in weeks due to overwhelming workloads. Or when my armpits & pubes turn into jungles for the same reasons... it just feels a little uncomfortable looking at it after a while. So, in order to ensure optimal sleep quality for myself, I make sure that my the hair on my face, armpits, & pubes is trimmed every Friday night, that my nails remain short & trim, & that I've showered, made my bed, & brushed my teeth before bed. Because I can't stand the smell or look of myself otherwise, which causes me to not get into a productive rhythm with the other tasks I need to get done in my life. I know this sounds contradictory to all the stories I've heard from AE's YouTube videos on kids not showering or brushing their teeth in a week, etc. But I also believe two other things: If you've met one person with Asperger's, you've met one person with Asperger's. To feel good, you gotta look & smell good. And this Aspie, frankly, loves cleanliness, neatness, and tidiness on his body. I love being well-groomed & hate being unkempt. It's always been a thing with me: I can't stand being dirty. Maybe it's my mom's "hygiene freak" nature, or maybe it's just some sensory stuff left over from my early childhood that I just began processing once I understood what Defense Mode was & began to try to work to get out of it. But being dirty puts me in a horribly depressed mindset, while feeling clean, looking good, & smelling good makes me feel like I can conquer the world. But I digress: back to shaving my pubic hair. Because of the risks of cutting myself, I become squeamish whenever I know I have to cut my pubic hair. I can do it as part of my weekly routine, but with all the breaks I have to take, it basically takes up a full day for me; half a day if I'm lucky. During that day, my parents get super pissed off that one bathroom is closed to them & I'm using alternative bathrooms (hello, we have 4 bathrooms & there are 4 of us; chill!), but then again, if I were to use my regular bathroom, I would get water everywhere, making my pubes even harder to clean. Which brings me to another point: cleaning up my hairs is hell because with how much I'm expected to be hygienic, I believe that I'm basically expected to make the bathroom look spotless every time I use it, especially because my pubic hairs supposedly carry "venereal disease" (according to my mom), even though I'm a virgin. Sure, I use a vacuum cleaner for this, but my parents are old people who sleep & wake up ridiculously early, and I've been yelled at numerous times for trying to clean up after myself while they're asleep. Yet, if they walk into that bathroom and see the mess my pubic hair has made, they snap at me & demand I clean it up. Basically, my parents demand that they have their cake & eat it too, which probably contributes a lot to my Defense Mode. Closing my bathroom door doesn't help as the sound of my vacuum cleaner just seems to travel through their walls, despite the fact that their room is on the other side of the house from my bedroom & bathroom. So basically, cleaning myself up turns into a walking through a minefield in high heels... in every way you can imagine. I've considered shaving during the day, but most of the time, I'm busy with other things: the only time I get a significant chunk of time to shave at all is at night. Anyway... a full shave & trimming just the way I want it, from when I set up my equipment to when I'm done, takes about 1 and a half to 2 hours if I do it straight through. The vast majority of that time is spent on my pubic hair. Partially because I trim my nose hair, facial hair, armpit hair, & pubic hair at every session, & I try to keep my equipment as clean as possible to prevent debris from accumulating & make my equipment last longer (which is much harder than you think). However, more often than not, shaving & breaks in between the shaving sessions where I go off & do other things basically take up my whole day. And it really gets to me because that's 1 day that could have been productive completely lost to self-maintenance. Basically, in terms of my hygiene & grooming, I'm in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. But I do it anyway, because I know that the benefits of staying clean (and the happiness & sense of freedom & sleekness that I get from it) far outweighs its costs. When clean, I feel like a lean, sleek machine. When "dirty" or unkempt, I feel like those homeless people I used to pass by every day while going to university in downtown Toronto. That said, my main coping strategy, at least at this point, is to just try to rush through my shaving as quickly as possible before my subconscious mind realizes what's going on & tries to stop my momentum by bringing back the fears of cutting myself while shaving my pubes. So far, it seems to be working: after breaks & clean-up, I seem to have kept my weekly shaving time down to about half a day. And I also do it much earlier than usual thanks to being unemployed: when I worked my accounting job, I would shave from 10PM-1 AM or so every Friday night/Saturday morning. Now, I start shaving at about 1 or 2 PM, and after eating lunch & dinner, and doing various other productive tasks while taking breaks to go to the toilet, among other things, I can finish at around 8 or 9 PM (like I did tonight). That's progress, but I still want more. I want to be able to be in & out of my bathroom, completely done shaving, straight through, within an hour and a half. It also helps me to listen to podcasts of guys that I really like to listen to because of their content, as well as old, familiar movies: I've gotten so familiar with these guys' voices that they honestly soothe me & help me to focus whenever I'm concerned with pricking my balls so hard I give them open wounds. Deep, slow, nasal breathing also helps... there are meditation exercises to help you cultivate this. Looking at it now, achieving my goal of shaving (or really doing any hygienic task) quickly, like a normal human being, comes down to changing the stories that I tell myself. Historically, the stories that I tell myself have been ones of discouragement: "how is it that EVERYONE can do (x thing that's supposed to be quick/easy, but is long/hard for me) but me?" "Why do basic tasks take you so long?" "Why does it hurt me so much when it doesn't hurt others?" But I can also tell myself encouraging stories: "When this is done, I will be the sharpest, cleanest-looking, best-groomed guy in the room, and people will be attracted to me for that, as well as the confidence I exude when I feel like that." "The only way out is through." "I take long on basic tasks because I like being clean & looking after myself & I pride myself on my hygiene." Through my adventures with cutting my shaving time, I've also learned that sometimes, the best approach to cure anxiety & deal with problems is to make like Nike and "Just Do It." Just execute on it as fast as possible, as soon as you become aware of the first synapse firing in your mind telling you, "I want to do it.". Because if you don't, your mind will rationalize all sorts of excuses as to why you can't do it, & you'll essentially think yourself scared. Trust me, as someone who has frozen up & missed literally thousands of opportunities to approach cute girls I liked because I was overthinking, I have a lot of experience with this. It's something I'm working on in every aspect of my life. But that's a story for another day. I hope this post helped some of you considering taking that next step in your life, but feeling scared to do so. Takeaways (TL;DR): Sometimes, you just have to execute as fast as possible. If you're too scared to do that, just breathe deeply as a way to regulate your vagus nerve until you feel calm enough to logically do it. Some Aspies love being clean, well-dressed, & well-groomed. I'm one of them. Don't worry if a task is taking you longer than it should. Take pride in the work that you do; chances are it's of much higher quality & care than that of your neurotypical counterparts. If a task physically hurts you or makes you feel overwhelmed, keep experimenting with its elements & tweaking it until it no longer does so. I now use shaving equipment & techniques that don't really cut me, so that's helped cut down my shaving anxiety by a lot. Anyway, thanks for reading. Again, feel free to react, follow, & comment.
WARNING: MATURE CONTENT. VIEWER DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED. OH YEAH, & THIS IS LONG. REALLY LONG. What's good, everybody? Welcome to my blog on life with Asperger's. Before I get started, I think I should let you guys in on a little background info. Who Am I? I am a 23-year-old man born & raised in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was diagnosed with Asperger's at 3 years old, and at the time, could barely talk or run, let alone make friends on the playground. Thanks to extensive occupational, sensory, & speech therapy throughout my early childhood, I was able to be mainstreamed in time to start kindergarten, albeit with support staff. My childhood was initially pretty good: as the "nice kid" who also happened to read & do math 3 grade levels above normal, & throw the biggest birthday parties ever (thanks Mom & Dad!), I made a lot of "friends" very quickly. It also helped that as part of my therapy, I picked up 2 extracurricular activities that I became very good at: piano (I am now officially qualified to be a teacher) and taekwondo (black belt). So that made me a kid with a cool, attractive talent, and a kid you didn't want to mess with at the same time. And despite being in what I now know as "Defense Mode" throughout my childhood, my life was great: my mom had a really high-paying job, so I got all the cool new toys, clothes, & video games for my birthday. I became obsessed with basketball and actually thought I could make it in the NBA (Raptors for life, by the way), and even created a fake persona that was the "greatest basketball player ever" that I pretended to be at recess. I even got NBA jerseys with my persona's last name on them & used to wear them to school whenever I got the chance. I also got obsessed with hip-hop culture (still am), but that's a story for another day. However, there were cracks that slowly started to reveal themselves: I was frequently bullied outside of school; first by my cousin & his friends, & later by the other kids at my taekwondo gym. They used to exclude me from social interactions, tease & taunt me for being "gay," "soft," a "pussy," or just generally feminine (which you'll later find out is the most ABSURD thing ever), & trick me into doing things where I came out a loser & they came out a winner. As my success grew, so too did the demands on me from my parents. My cousin is 9 months older than me, but my birthday's at the end of November & his is in the beginning of March, so we were in the same grade, & there was always this big rivalry going on between the two of us. This cousin went to one of Canada's most prestigious private schools for music starting in 3rd grade, & had grown to be an incredibly talented pianist & singer, as well as excelling in basically everything he tried effortlessly. My parents tried to make me compete with this cousin in every way, even forcing me into singing (I sucked at it & it quickly ended thanks to some good advice from my schoolteachers after talent show auditions). The same cousin, who by the way, bullied me frequently & used to refuse to do anything I was better than him when we were together by telling me it was "lame". Eventually, this got to the point where my parents forced me to study school & practice piano for 2-3 hours a day each, even during summer break. From 5th grade to my freshman year of university, I was basically forbidden to go out alone & hang with friends, or have friends come over to my house. And forget about girls. When I tried to convince my parents to let me give up piano in favour of basketball (which I really wanted to do), they used to yell at me & tell me, "Fine, but you'll study & do homework 6 hours a day in return." That I had to create a fake persona because I felt who I really was wasn't good enough. This is a problem I've had my whole life. Just before the 2008 recession, my mom lost her job & my dad's workplace had frequent strikes, so money was tight. This means that we could no longer pay for the babysitter who basically allowed me to do whatever I wanted once I got home, & instead I had to go to after-school daycare centres known as PLASP where the supervisors & other kids were total CUNTS (yeah, I said it, they deserve that word). Also, I started to develop crushes on girls, but I tried to hide it, resulting in me blushing, which EVERYBODY noticed. This resulted in me getting mercilessly bullied & teased to the point where I was getting in fights with other kids every day. But in an ironic twist, I used to be the one getting punished while they got off scot-free & ended up getting awards for their character. This culminated with me almost getting expelled from school halfway through 7th grade & being bullied so hard in a summer camp the summer after 7th grade that I used to cry every day at the front desk, begging my dad to pick me up (to no avail). And what's worse is that my parents kept me in these programs saying that they were "good" for me, & when I tried to tell them about the abuse, they would just blame me, or at best, tell me, "they're just jealous, ignore them." Which is ironic because that's exactly what they were doing to me. Fortunately, in 8th grade, my parents let me stay home alone for the first time, away from the torment of PLASP. I decided that with high school coming up (where presumably even harsher bullying would follow), I needed to change my ways & I wasn't going to just sit there & take this anymore. One day, on a summer camp field trip, I observed a girl I had a crush on sitting next to one of my bullies & basically fawning over him, & I asked him, "how do you do it?" He told me, "she's my friend." I didn't accept the explanation & got jealous of him, so I decided to look up on Google that night, "how to get girls without doing anything." On the eponymous wikiHow article, I read the first tip, which changed my life forever: "GIRLS ARE NATURALLY ATTRACTED TO THE ALPHA MALE." I then looked up on Google, "how to be an alpha male," and I found a bunch of books, videos, & Internet advice promising me that I could become an alpha male, telling me they were the "lazy man's way to easy sex & romance." Before I knew it, I had entered the world of PUA (pick-up artistry). Determined to never be humiliated & bullied again, I dove in headfirst to the extent that I could (didn't buy anything, & there was no way in hell I was asking my parents for those books) & tried to implement the body language, tonality, & lines they were teaching me, beginning in 8th grade. Thanks to PUA & puberty, I developed a new sense of false confidence (at the time I was deluding myself into believing it was real), & prepared for high school. In high school, using my newfound confidence, I became an Honour Roll student, football player, popular crazy kid who would hit on anything that moved, Kijiji salesman, & eventual Valedictorian. My grades were high enough that I got into one of my country's top finance schools. However, PUA didn't go exactly as I expected: I was seen as a "creep" in my high school for a while, was given death threats, & my family, to this day, thinks I'm a misogynist. I got a LOT of hate. Because my parents were still crazy overprotective & overzealous on my academic & musical achievement (remember the whole "no hanging out" thing?"), I couldn't go to parties/social events where I could really practice talking to girls. So, I ended up having to do it in school by default. Because of my parents' overprotectiveness, I couldn't get social media until 10th grade, which was exploding at the time. I missed the social media explosion, & as such, couldn't get a lot of followers & friends, & am still unpopular on social media to this day. Thanks to being overly focused on achievement & productivity, I ended up burning out at the end of 11th grade. The fact is, I made it through 12th grade, university, & my first job basically on the fumes of my first 17 years of life, & even then, barely so. Because of all of this, in order to cultivate a popular reputation at my high school, I had to make up a ton of false stories about partying & sexual exploits, which were proven to be false towards the end of 12th grade (I was basically forced to admit it after some kids did some digging). And, worst of all, I GOT NO GIRLS & NO REAL FRIENDS. I had opportunities, yes, but either my own obliviousness/arrogance or my parents' overprotectiveness made sure I couldn't take them. A lot of girls would tease me by pretending to show interest, but then pulling back & saying "I have a boyfriend" when I tried to express interest myself. I even have had guys try to fight me. Because of all of this, as well as all my other previous trauma, & not being able to get therapy for it, I also ended up developing ADHD & generalized anxiety disorder. Anyway, in the summer between high school & university, my parents forbade me from doing Kijiji sales after I tried to sell a low-quality product to a guy & he ended up trying to fight me in front of my dad & my dad had to run him off our house. I was incredibly devastated, & so traumatized that I considered suicide, & couldn't make friends or transition to university properly. Sure, I still got good grades, but by that time, burnt out & traumatized as I was, I was also addicted to video games & basically a skinnyfat mess of my former self. I tried giving up video games & all my other bad habits between my freshman & sophomore year of university, & even got a life coach, but to no avail. My life coach ended up Red Pilling me, & I went mad from the revelations & became suicidal again. My suicidal thoughts are something that I feel I'll have for the rest of my life, as affirmative consent and #metoo have made me scared to death of girls accusing me of rape, & it being impossible for me to make money and/or survive because of it. Trust me, I've read the stories. It happens. I probably have tremendous social anxiety. At the end of my sophomore year of university, my grades had sunk so low that I was almost kicked out of university. It also didn't help that affirmative consent was going to become an official policy in my university by the start of my junior year, making even being in the same room as a girl a virtual death sentence for any guy, let alone someone with Asperger's like me. So, for my junior & senior years of university, I just shut myself away from everybody & focused on my grades, & grew to hate basically my entire school because I felt like I was on the outside looking in (I didn't make any friends in university). Thanks to this, my grades did improve, and I was even a borderline Dean's List student during my senior year. But nothing could take away the dark cloud of having what I perceived as my only escape from bullying taken away from me & being ripped into an even darker, deeper, more pervasive hell where everyone was the enemy & I couldn't escape. I also didn't work at all & was on disability throughout university. One good thing that came out of this dark period, though, was that I rediscovered my passions: writing, music, & basketball. I began to write an alternate history book on the Toronto Raptors (known as Dinosaur Reign) in which they become a dynasty by drafting superstars they skipped over in our timeline, & realized that I actually liked playing piano, & wanted to finish my piano teaching certificate. I was able to use these passions to self-medicate & get through the remainder of my time in SJW prison. After graduating from university, I found a job working as an accounts payable clerk in a different suburb of Toronto than the one I'm from, which allowed me to explore a whole new city, make my own money, & really begin to make my own moves in life. I started my job in July 2018, made a plan to save money to quit my job & finish my piano teaching certificate. Despite hating going to work every day because I felt like a slave, I managed to push through & quit my job in October 2019, & get my piano teaching certificate in January 2020. Currently, I am unemployed, & trying to look for work as a financial analyst/office tech sales representative/sales account manager in Corporate Canada. Why Am I Here? I first found this place in September 2017, at the start of my senior year in university, by watching AE's videos on the "Freeze Loop" and "Defense Mode" on YouTube. All of a sudden, I felt like my burnout & what I was going through in my life made sense & that somebody had finally put words to it. I punched my pillow to shreds the first time I watched these videos because I felt like such a fool: how did I not know, or care to treat this? In hindsight, I was too busy trying to achieve because I cared too much of what others (specifically my parents & the blue pill mainstream media) thought of me. I would have registered for a membership & bought some courses, but my financial situation was messed up so I didn't do it. Fast forward to February 2020: I'm done my piano teaching certificate, & you think a guy as highly motivated as me would be pounding the phones & LinkedIn looking for jobs, right? WRONG. I ended up doing some combination of playing Madden NFL 2004 (one of my favourite childhood video games) & The Sims 4, & sulking & masturbating in my bed all day. And staying up until 2-3 AM every night doing it, despite my early bird parents yelling at me to go to sleep at 10 PM because I "needed to get my body back into a normal schedule." 3 weeks ago, I became sick & tired of living life like this, so I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself in the mirror. I began to ask myself, "what do you actually like to do?" My answer: "write Dino Reign. When I was writing that book, I was fully in the zone... I was truly happy in a way I hadn't been since childhood." Then I realized all I needed to do was do a little bit of that every day. So I started doing that as my self-care activity. I also installed Habitica & turned my Reminders on my iPhone into nice, gamified tasks where if I completed enough of them, my created character would "level up," giving me tangible, visible rewards for my progress in life (I'm currently a Level 13 Rogue). But still... I noticed that I wasn't applying for jobs. And my parents were yelling at me like crazy, with my mom saying "you'll be a homeless man for the rest of your life" and my parents yelling at me, "keep applying, keep applying. Send 10 resumes a day on Indeed & Monster & all the government job agencies & all the accounting job agencies." ANYONE who's tried to get a job since 2008 knows this: THAT STUFF DON'T WORK. Enter "Breaking Free." One day, I noticed an email (I'm an email subscriber) advertising the course, promising me independence. Free from my piano obligations, and armed with a tenable financial situation, knowledge of AE's basic philosophies, interest in learning more, & the desperate desire to escape my personal hell, I decided to buy. And now... here I am. Today, I still stay up pretty late (12-1 AM, 3 AM some nights) & get up pretty late (8-10 AM), meaning that calling employers back to follow up on my job applications is a near-impossibility. On top of that, I'm always looking over my shoulder, worrying about whether or not the actions I took for the day were good enough for my parents. I'm trying to care for myself by walking outside every morning, writing/researching info for a piece of my book every day, working out every day, & staying in touch with the few people who I actually consider friends & getting advice from them. I typically apply to 1-2 jobs per day, & spend the rest of my free time learning coding thanks to an IT job offer that will come through for me once I get my IT certs. Right now, I'm learning basic coding & C, but I will move on to Python & SQL later. I've learned to breathe deeply to calm myself down in times of stress, but half the time, I forget this strategy. I am heavily into self-improvement. I drive every day, mostly to get food. I just learned how to tie my tie & cut my own toenails. However, I still can't cook for myself or run a house independently. Honestly, I could care less about getting a job; I'm only doing it because my parents are on my back for me to do so, & I see it as my fastest path to independence right now. If it were totally up to me, I'd try to start my own online business selling either video courses teaching piano, blogging about my experiences, selling eBooks... you know. And I'd be spending the rest of the time working out, partying, talking to girls... etc. Just doing fun stuff. What Are My Goals? Moving out of my parents' house into my own place Living completely independently & developing the life skills to do so Starting my own online business & becoming a millionaire off of it Getting jacked (very muscular with low body fat; think like those lean, toned muscular guys with 6-pack abs you see at the gym) Getting a girlfriend that's beautiful on the outside & inside Making an awesome group of friends committed to self-improvement & achieving their dreams in life Finishing my book & selling it on the Internet Mentoring others with Asperger's to achieve their goals; becoming the Asperger's version of Tony Robbins So yeah, in a nutshell, that's me. I know that was long, but I wanted you to get the complete picture of who I am.