Monday, April 4, 2016

What You Didn't Understand About "The VVitch"

I finally saw "The VVitch" in theaters yesterday and I thought it was fantastic. Many people did not. Many people have made claims that it "made no sense" and that it "wasn't scary." There are a lot of folkloric (the movie is called "A New England Folktale," people) bits that were indeed believed to be the truth of witches and witchcraft by Puritans. Witches and witchcraft do and always have existed and there's always a disturbing line between truth and fiction when it comes to witches, particularly traditional witches (non-Wiccan) and whether or not we choose to use shadows in our craft. Indeed, at the time, any woman could be deemed a witch for speaking out or having an opinion at all. 

Thomasin is the central character, a teenaged Puritan girl who deeply wants to be loved by God and who has some resentment for her fathers pride casting them into the wilderness. Thomasin doesn't make her own decisions. She is not "the witch" that is causing so many bad things to quickly happen to the family because there is no singular "Witch" in the film, there are many, and they all work in tandem with Lucifer (not someone witches have ever actually revered but were and are still feared to) in hopes of freeing Thomasin from her Puritanical Hell. She does not begin the film as a witch and she loves her family. 

The family infant Samuel was taken under Thomasin's watch during a simple peekaboo game. Anyone who saw the trailer knows this. What follows is actually very disturbing, and many movie-goers did not realize how disturbing his demise actually is. The witch that is shown during this part is older, and blood of an infant was thought to be used to keep witches young (and many women who were pretty or young looking for their age in the times of the film were accused of using baby blood and then burned as witches.) The woman on screen doesn't cut the infant for a little blood for a ritual; she's seen grinding something (him, but not many caught that) up for all of his blood, and probably fat. She is seen rubbing it across herself and what appears to be a staff in front of the Full Moon. 
Why the staff? Well, the idea of witches flying on broomsticks didn't start with a cute beginning. Blood and fat of children and infants were thought to be used as lubricants for witches to vaginally take in certain hallucinogens via masturbating. "Flying high on a broom stick" has never been literal. 

There are many familiars in this movie. A familiar spirit, to witches, is someone who helps them on their path and in their craft and is very real. The rabbit in this movie plays a huge role in the symbolism and actual demise of at least one character. Rabbits do and always have symbolized sex and fertility and the feminine, which are the qualities that scare the shit out of this Puritan family about Thomasin. Her younger brother, Caleb, specifically has issues not leering at Thomasin, and not because he is a pervert, but because he is repressed and around no other young but developed females. The rabbit leads the boy and father deep into the woods, where the father injures himself (a minor injury but hit to the ego) in an attempt to kill it for food. Caleb chases it once more when he and Thomasin are in the woods together, after hearing tales about the red apples his mother and sister desired from back home, and he meets his own desire - a young, beautiful witch who kisses him on the mouth, cursing him. Puritans believed desire and temptation were only harmful to those who were not purse of heart, leaving them open to curses such as these. 
Thomasin's sexuality, and his, lead to his death after regurgitating the apple of the curse. From one side, it's because he was not pure of thought, Thomasin (and the mother) could not let go of the fanciful desires of England, which Caleb doesn't remember, leaving him open to the curse of a witch. From another side, the family desire to rid themselves of Thomasin and her scary sexuality leave them with another dead child.

The Raven doesn't seem to show up quite as much, but is another familiar, or better yet, an omen of death. The main role of the raven in this movie is that grief-stricken Katherine, the mother of the family, seems to hallucinate the return of her youngest and eldest son, but "Caleb" (dead from the curse after purging the apple) tells her not to tell father as the baby begins to cry. The mother did as mothers do, and take the baby to feed at her breast. 
There is no baby. She's breastfeeding a raven or, better yet, the raven is pecking her nipple off, adding perversion to and destroying the very life-sustaining force the mother has. This familiar of death, and this omen, takes the very milk meant for the baby - a life force. If that isn't disturbing and foretelling, not much could ever be. Katherine's mind is officially gone, and in her grief and loss of faith, she's lost every ounce left of her mind. 

The twins are the ones who really take Thomasin's joking threats to their full force by repeating what she had said, and there was very little such nonsense as "playing around" about witches (or anything else as joy was frowned upon) with Puritan families. While Caleb is writhing and then dies, the twins seemingly fake their own possessions, a probable Folie 'a Deaux, or shared madness by the intensity and fear surrounding their brothers supernatural death and Thomasin's backlash accusation of them being the witch in the woods. The father boar the three of them up with two goats and during the night, a woman (presumably one of the many witches of the movie) is seen eating the flesh of the two white goats much as Thomasin threatened to eat the flesh of the twins.
 What really seemed to irk people is that they never see the twins die or know what happened to them. In the morning, the father sees the goats dead and only Thomasin left before his own demise, but where are they? Well, the ending of the movie should tell you it isn't a far cry from what happened to baby Samuel in the beginning. The blood and fat of children was used as part Thomasin's initiation into the coven, burned and used as lubrication to vaginally consume hallucinogenic drugs through masturbation. The witch who ate the gut of the goats took the twins.
I found this fairly obvious.

And finally, Black Phillip. Thomasin is finally in a position where she will make the first real decision in her life, and have agency over her own body and mind. She could stay at the farm and starve, she could try to make it back to the community alive to be tried for murder or witchcraft, and in the off chance she was not tried for such, she could be married off and reproduce, or she could wait for whatever is in the woods to kill her, also. But there was another option, a desperate one, and Thomasin goes to the black goat and only other survivor of the family and commons that he speak to her. 
He does, and he offers her to "live deliciously, taste butter, wear a pretty dress, see the world." These offers are all over the place and rather seductive, because Black Phillip is Lucifer. The Christianized version of Lucifer is a man with goat horns, much like the god Pan, and many other pagan gods that came before Christianity. Pan particularly was fond of hedonism and living for the senses and worldly pleasures, orgies, etc. Things Thomasin has probably never even dreamed of, having started the movie as a faithful girl and, despite her faith losing everything and everyone around her as they used God as a way to demonize her. She signs, removes her shift, and off she goes to dance with the other witches. Black Phillip saw something in Thomasin from the beginning that he liked, and he got his way.

And not only does she join and dance with the various witches, she levitates with them, and her face changes into a smile - a highly sexual one as her twin siblings provide fuel for their fire and a means for their levitation or their "high."
Her siblings blood and fat with hallucinogenic drugs inserted into the vagina while she has some form of an orgasm in the air because this was her most freeing, and arguably safest option in order to stay alive - and no one found this movie terrifying? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why I Hate Disability Inspiration Porn

Inspiration porn - you know, disabled person does something mundane correctly or almost correctly, non disabled person was nice enough to notice and not be an ass about it. I run into a lot of it because I have Aspergers. Ah yes, a guy with Asperger's who also dances to cope with it was *given* a job - not even interviewed like a normal person - because his friend wanted to make his dream of being a barista come true.  I've got something to say to people who love these types of "feel-good" stories so much but I'll keep it brief.

Okay, cool, lucky guy, nice friend, I hope he's handling the bent-for-him-specifically-demands of that job. I'm actually happy for him.  He gets to stim on the job, it's what he's known for, and he even went on Ellen.  If I was magically hired as a barista I would be spilling coffee everywhere and taking forever at the register trying to understand numbers, pissing off customers, and giving them the wrong thing thanks to mild face-blindness. And my dancing would be frowned upon. Apparently you can perform poorly on the job as long as you have a kind manager friend who gets you on Ellen so you can talk about how you were handed a job, which is something the average person can get without much thought. "Look how kind I am."

That's not how things generally play out when you have a disability, and here we are talking about Asperger's, and try to get a job. Many of us don't have a friend who manages a Starbucks. Many of us don't have in-person friends at all. Those who do work tend to be constantly berated by bosses for not thinking or acting quite as expected. I got in trouble because it took me too long to read numbers on a cash register or on a card working at Hot Topic. I got in trouble for not "following directions" that were never clearly given to begin with. I got in trouble for not folding in even lines. The manager never stopped scolding me to "yell enthusiastically at the customers" but when I pointed out it scared the customers away, I was told to do it anyway. I talked to the customers too much, not enough, was given the least hours of anyone... That was before my diagnosis and one day I left work, went on vacation and never returned. 

I've heard people complain about disabled employees in the store (in the case I'm thinking, a deaf woman)  saying "disabled people shouldn't be allowed to work because it interrupts customer service." Yes, really. Often the same type of people who want to cut SSI benefits. We show up to inquire about jobs. If we don't hold eye contact long enough, if we do anything socially off-putting and we usually do - it's over. We aren't handed jobs with no interview and if we get hired and it's not in a field we are suited to, we mess up. A lot. So stop acting like one guy being handed a job - he's not an idiot, he could have been interviewed - is so sweet and inspirational because he has Asperger's. He isn't an invalid. A lot of people have Asperger's and  lately I've noticed no one is getting their I'm-a-good-person-kicks by giving me a job. What's with that?

If you think one person with Asperger's getting a job is Ellen-worthy and worth sharing thousands of times, maybe we need to examine why it's unique for someone with Asperger's to be ab;e to work and stim. 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happily Never After - The True Story He Won't Read

April 4th, 2013 I met a guy. We met on a dating site since I'm not social and he was busy working, getting a masters degree, and seeming like quite a stable individual with his own apartment. He was almost 7 years my senior which was, in my eyes, good, because I was tired of dating guys who lived with mommy, had no job or education or future. I'd just been in NYC, I was 21, and it was time to grow up, I thought. His profile was vague, and so was he when we met. He "worked with sports, mostly womens softball and volleyball." This rubbed me the wrong way but he came across as professional. I, on the other hand, was an open book about having Asperger's and being a broke writer. I made it known that I struggle badly with eye contact.
We entered an official relationship the same day we met in person for a lunch date. He told me within a week he wanted to "play the role of hero in my life." Within two weeks he had said I love you. I was spending a lot of time with him, often sleeping at his house as mine was riddled with anger. We had similar values about family and where we wanted to end up in life. I was quickly falling for him. He never hesitated to let me know I was strong and quite bubbly for a person who had been through so many deaths and changes. I needed that. I felt safe.

I moved in with my new boyfriend at the end of May, right when my best friend moved back home after graduating, and right after that, my boyfriend went back home to Chicago to work for the summer and cater to his mentally ill mother, who'd I'd met, and who was quite upset that her "little boy" who was 27 was getting so serious with a girl. So I had his apartment to myself, while I took a college summer semester, and wondered what was wrong with the man I had fallen for. I'm a strange girl and while there's no such thing as normal, a baseball-loving goody two shoes must have a few cracks in their system to be attracted to an abnormal-psychology obsessed, serial killer tracking woman with Aspergers. My therapist and even family told me I was paranoid. 
After all, our only fight had been tat he told me he "needed space" so he could "go out for beer with a buddy" who turned out to be a woman who wanted him to break up with me. Oh, and the argument when his ex texted him (or he texted her) while we were up late drinking. Otherwise, things were peachy. I was just paranoid, right?

When he came back, we got into more fights, I started questioning if he liked me at all, but we worked beyond that. He proposed with a 6$ ring after buying a playstation 3 in the same day. The fact he called the police anytime I did anything he didn't like (nothing even violent or illegal) or the fact he told his mom every detail of our personal lives started to wear on me. After a few too many creepy comments about the females on the "sports" teams he did stats for, I was growing more and more wary. At the 6 month mark, I finally made eye contact with him, which was huge for me. He looked me dead in the eyes and said I looked creepy. I was thinking the same of him in that moment. We'd moved into a new apartment, and at Christmas, after making extensive plans with me, I could sense he was up to no good and it turned out he was secretly planning to go see his family in Chicago. I flipped out, rightfully so. How are you going to be two places at once? Why lie? Why make plans with me, or better yet, why not take me with you?
He let his brother - who I believe to be a psychopath - torture me on the phone for hours and his mother threatened a bizarre amount of things. I offered to pay for his car to be fixed, and when
 he got back, I'd be gone. And I meant it. But he stayed.

A month later he totaled my car and we found out I was pregnant. I was afraid and excited and we went to the first ultrasound together. He had proposed, but was hesitant to actually marry. We discovered our baby was a girl, and began making lists of names. Easter came and went, we decided on a name, and we finally planned a guest-less wedding in a city near my hometown in Louisiana. 
Four days before that wedding in May, after dreams and dreams and intuition telling me this is cheater, I went through his phone for the first time. He had been cheating on me - on AIM chat and email (WHO THE FUCK STILL USES AIM) - he had been telling another woman he loved her while I cooked Easter lunch and on the day we chose our daughters name. Those trips for work? He was chatting up some bitch. I went ballistic.

We got married anyway. Blame it on the e-e-estrogen; I was riding high on 2nd trimester hormones. I paid for the wedding. And swamp honeymoon. I didn't trust him but my mind was on my baby, my body, delivery, and how I was going to get the apartment ready in time for her arrival while he sat on his ass and played video games. He had no job. He was applying everywhere, and meanwhile I paid the rent with the help of family and my psych-article writing job which ended a month before she was born. I was focused on being a family. Finally the day came and my jobless husband drove me, blank-faced, to the hospital for my c-section. For that short time in the hospital while we bonded with the fabulous new baby, I felt closer to him. I tried and tried to breastfeed but the baby had a  latch issue so she got some, but not enough, from my body. I had failed, in my mind. I had post-partum OCD, so instead of being depressed, I had become a neurotic perfectionist. Breast feeding meant a lot to me, and so did losing weight. I tried tried tried, barely able to move after my c-section. 

6 weeks after she was born, 6 weeks of being a new mom and a lonely wife, I found out more about his cheating escapades, we fought, and a long chunk of horrid, traumatizing legal shit followed. He took the baby and hid her for 6 days but it was legal, and my family paid 7,000$ to get her back. We were officially separated; I had the apartment and he lived with some old bitch. Supposedly. That's also when he supposedly opened an OKCupid. He was.... Married, with a newborn, and on OKCupid. I rapidly stopped giving a shit if we ever got back together - I filed for divorce. With my specialty being abnormal psychology I was quickly recognizing his Psychopathic traits. Had I married a psychopath?

My confidence came back, I lost 90lb of pregnancy weight, and wondered if I should start dating. He said he didn't care but also accused me of fucking everyone. He moved into my new apartment, became verbally abusive as hell, calling me horrid names and intimidating me in between shifts at a chain restaurant. Then he got a job in Austin and, scorned by the only other person who I'd really taken interest in, I decided maybe a new place would help our marriage, the baby would be somewhere with better schools, and I needed the fuck out of my town. We have good times, we explore the city when we get a chance, I make him laugh, we show our baby new and amazing things as she grows. There is love in that.
Fast forward 7 months - tons of emotional abuse, I haven't gotten to drive my own car except for twice. I'm trapped. And that feeling in y stomach came back and low and behold I found his OKCupid on his phone - ten minutes after talking me into marriage counseling and maybe coming back to the bedroom instead of sleeping in the living room, he was trying to hit up at least 6 different women (who I now contacted) for hook ups or dates or whatever. He portrayed himself like I'd never existed, like he was purely single, and a real "fun and friendly guy and perfect father." I exposed it all online, and have been exposing his emotional abuse for almost a full year, because you can't call me the crazy one when I have cold hard evidence. He never hit me - so he did nothing illegal - but he has been abusing me since the beginning. Lying. Gaslighting. Cheating. Name calling. Using money without my permission. "Bitch, cunt, whore, piece of shit, no one will ever love you, I hate you, your job is over now that the baby is born, your death mother did a shitty job, you're useless." Come at me motherfucker - his mother is still alive - mine died when I was 16 - his had the chance to raise him to adulthood and created a monster. So I said it's over. 

I still love him. But he can't love me - you don't emotionally murder someone you love. We met in 2013 and it's 2016 and he has not read one piece of work I've published. He hasn't even read my blog posts. He probably won't read this! He has no idea how this is hurtful; I'm a writer, my books are my soul. You should be interested in your wife's soul. But I'm not a 21 year old girl anymore, I don't need to hear how strong I am, because I know. He forced me to know. People wonder why I don't "just leave" and what they don't understand is that I am a neurologically disabled person who has to be careful about rent and location and I may have to move our toddler and myself 5-7 hours away, with my car, back to Louisiana if I don't find a cheap place nearby within the next week. I'm not rushing because this is about my toddler, not just me - but we deserve the very best there is. We deserve the caviar version of love, not the artificially flavored shaken-up soda. I pack more and more every day. I'm going to view several places this week before I call it in and go back home. He's begging me to stay. Part of me wants to. Part of me wants to solve him. 

I'm the cooperative party in this marriage even though my dreams were shattered and I was betrayed. I take vows seriously. Better or worse, sickness and health, until death do us part. Well, bro, I'm not sure you were ever alive. And the girl you married is dead. Someone much stronger, a mother and an author and an advocate and an artist, has risen from the ashes of the life I built for you and you burned down. My baby and I will be good even if I never love another man again, though I'm sure someone will love me. I'm enough, my daughter is enough.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Your Aspie Murder Doesn't Matter Unless You're Trans

One week ago a human being with Asperger's Syndrome was murdered by police after calling for help because this person was suicidal. This person went viral a while back for having a meltdown on video showing their service dog comforting them and stopping the head-hitting that often accompanies any Autistic-Spectrum Meltdown. After learning about this sad news, I made a video which can be viewed on my youtube channel under the name DizzyDollie7. In this video, I refer to this Aspie as a woman, a she, a her, as the person was presented on much social media, the earliest news articles about the police-related death, and in the initial viral video. I did not know that Danielle Jacobs had decided to go by the name Kayden Clark and was a trans man. I was, you know, a little more concerned with discussing the unneeded, unwarranted murder of a fellow Aspie who had called for help. This pissed some people off and now the murder isn't about an Aspie having a meltdown, calling for help, and being shot in the stomach - it's about how sad it is we lost a trans man. 

Even though the murder is directly related to Clark's Asperger's Syndrome, and the law enforcement in apparently HIS town was familiar with him and the severity of his condition, news articles began pouring in about "Trans Man with Autism Shot By Police," and "Trans Man Murdered While Suicidal" and very little was actually said about the persons Asperger's Syndrome or the fact this person was murdered due to poor police training rather than the after thought of "oh yeah, this is the person from the video with the meltdown and the dog we all shared." Clark's life and death didn't matter a whole hell of a lot when all that was known was that the victim "had Asperger's and the police fired, killing them." Must have been a crazy loner psycho, so who cares?  But once people realized this was a trans man? WHAT a tragedy it became.
                                            requires quite a bit of contortion 

If I had known that Clark was no longer going by Danielle at the time of death, would my video have included the "proper pronouns?" Yes. I am supportive of trans people and have friends in the trans community. But I made this video before the news BECAME that a trans person was shot and killed while calling for help rather than that a person with Asperger's having a meltdown was murdered because of the symptoms of their Asperger's Syndrome. So instead of listening to my words about why this was wrong, what needs to be done, and that we need answers and better police training, people jumped on me and "had to cover their ears because I didn't use the proper pronouns." Really? A human being, an Aspie, was killed for being an Aspie and we're going to make it about the fact he was a trans man? And I'm the shit head for using, unknowingly, the birth gender rather than the preferred pronouns? 

Apparently our neurological, developmental (dis)abilities are meaningless to society, which is a huge point I make in the video. If we don't advocate for ourselves, no one will, and we will keep getting dragged to the trenches by people like Autism Speaks, people who say we don't "look Autistic," workplace bullies, and untrained law enforcement. Hate to break to to you but once you're dead, you're dead and no longer really have a gender. Those bits rot off pretty quick. Why does one marginalized group matter more than the other? One of which is a neuro-scientifically recognized syndrome, and one of which is defined by gender pronouns and while still discriminated against, irrelevant to the cause of this murder?
NT bandwagon alert. No one gave a damn about trans people when I was 12 and questioning my own mental gender because I couldn't relate to other girls. I did. But it's 2016 and remember, Aspies, if you get murdered, it doesn't matter unless you're trans.

view my terribly offensive video here

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Disabling All Over The Place - Asperger's

I have remained active in the Asperger's/Autism and mental illness community since only a few months before I received my official diagnosis less than a year after Asperger's became suspected. At that time, I completed almost three semesters of college with nothing to show for it except angry family and a doctoral thesis that has - four years later, now - yet to see the light of day. I thought with every ounce of my existence that my intelligence was enough to get me through college and eventually to a doctorate in psychology. I was, of course, very, very wrong, and getting my official Asperger's and ADHD plus discalculia diagnosis gained me no help in college. To this day I have something like 12 credits. When I received my diagnosis, I was also given the score of my very long IQ test, which only further made me think my intelligence was going to save me. I continued making videos on Asperger's, psychopathy, and psychology in general under the youtube name of DizzyDollie7, where others confirmed (though unneeded) that I am intelligent and would one day make a great psychologist. 

My videos grew a small following and I began this blog - most of my videos were highly impersonal and most have since been bought where they are displayed on, as are most of the entries on my blog. I was told I come off as a bit dry and sciency, but that's how my mind works, and that's how I preferred to write; if any future patients did research on me, they would only find out that I was always, indeed, good at what I do. I rarely even spoke about my published novel "Euthanasia" or the two sequels I had completed by age 19. Even after a year-long break from the college world, I remained confident that I writing was a side project and by age 24 I would be working under a psychologist while I furthered my education. I wrote articles while I was pregnant, diligently, after bombing out of college yet again. Only after being taken off that job and giving birth to my daughter did I begin to realize that writing and art (I paint and I draw) might actually be my best bet for survival thanks to the bureaucrats who allow education to be more about participation in silly games than about actual ability and intelligence. College had somehow become a competition to make friends with others and join clubs all while underneath bright fluorescent lighting while annoying young human beings yammer and yammer about things that make absolutely no sense.

After all, I had panic attacks in the classrooms and followed directions so literally that I often had to call professors of any online class I took to ask them what the hell they actually wanted. College simply was no more. And now I had a baby and she became my top priority.  I took care of her, and while she slept, I wrote my fourth novel and painted paintings which I began to sell.I also continued therapy, which I had been in for over a year, and my online presence became decidedly more personal. I stopped watching my language, and I got a little bit more candid, though it admittedly feels like acting at times. I was back on the anxiety medication that I had been on before my pregnancy, and was having a horrific time with the idea of being the least bit social outside of my tiny family and occasional interactions at the store (and of course, my internet friends.) Basically, whoever I could deal with and could deal with my newly emerging and openly gregarious hatred for the mere idea of human connection, while also somehow seeking it out. 

My doctor finally talked me into, by gently explaining to me that the exact reason college had not yet worked for me were the reasons getting a job would be absolutely reckless for everyone involved, especially with a new baby, that I am indeed disabled. A neuroscientist had deemed it so far before I called it quits with college, quietly smirking at my friends with Master's degrees who were equally unemployed (including, for a while, my very neurotypical husband who watches me disable all over the place daily.) I filed for disability, they pulled my records, and a few months later I was one of those people who gets money for being unable to work. Disabled. Or as some like to call it, "lazy bad person who leeches off the tax money of hardworking people who are actually funding more war than they are funding my existence." Honestly, you'd be supporting me more if you bought a book than by paying your godforsaken taxes. 

Note I say I had to be talked into applying for disability, despite how obviously disabled I am once you're in my daily life. That means there was a sense of shame involved. Trying to make a living off of books and art was like trying to climb out of a well, and I'm still trying, because like most people with a disability, I don't actually like being disabled. People ask me what I do, and I tell them - I write, I paint, I research, and I raise my child. Seeing as their parents did not take the time to raise them correctly, the proceed to prod about my income. No, writing isn't enough to live on. I'm not famous yet. No, disability isn't enough to live on. Everyone comes out of the woodwork with "My friends aunts cousin's fishes owner has Asperger's and he got a job at Burger King," and I have to remind them that not everyone is disabled by their Asperger's and that I'm certain that guy doesn't want to blow his brains out when he gets home everyday. 

And then there's the "you're so smart." Yes. I know. And I fully believe my intelligence is tied directly to my disability. You have google, I'm sure you can quickly find out that if I have Asperger's, I am a socially inept, rigid, anxious nerd who cannot handle noise or lights or people and my brain might be shaped like a colorful puzzle piece. I often feel like I need an assistant just to drive me around because I cannot deal with interstates and then I might get more done out there in the big world. But that isn't happening because disability services won't provide me with an assistant -  I asked. (Kidding, maybe.). I can't do math but I'm about 97% sure that my intelligence has gotten me into more trouble than it has actually improved upon my life. So, I've become more open about my interests from my own perspective rather than simply that of a textbook, and, save a slew of swearwords...the perspectives are almost exactly the same. And my disability and I are okay with that.



Friday, November 6, 2015

The Childhood of Tobias Thibideaux

     Toby sighed quietly as they drove away from the house that would be no more. The chain on the floor where he was kept for punishment would be swept away when the house was demolished.
   Gripping Candice's hand tightly after she asked to go for coffee once at the Fer a Chevel hotel, he remembered his mothers words clearly, though their sting had faded and escaped through the last breaths of many young women.

   “I told you to get inside,” her sharp drawl grew stronger as she grew angrier. “I told you to get in out that yard twenty minutes ago, Tobias!”
   “Sorry, I caught...I was catching lightning...b-b-b.”
   “I don't give a rats ass what you were doing. Your father told you to stop bringing in them jars of lightnin' bugs and letting them out all over the house,” she screeched as she neared closer to Toby, the same height as he was although he was only ten. Her curly, dark auburn hair was pulled into a tight bun.
   “I didn't br-bring any in,” he defended, noticing his sister's eyeliner and tear-stained face as she leaned against the doorway where he had stood with Candice when they met with Adam.
   “Get on the floor,” their mother said. “Get on the floor now, Tobias!”
   Toby remembered dropping to his knees as he watched helplessly as Maybelle doubled over, crying.
   “He's a kid, mom!” she cried as their mother took the chain attached to the counters side and wrapped it around Toby's neck, only loose enough so that he could breathe. “Why can't you leave him alone!”
   “Go to your room before your father gets home,” she snapped, pulling a dog-bowl and water bowl from the cabinet as Toby stared at his sister from the ground. “He can't act right and you can' control that devil's tongue of yours.”
   Their mother placed the bowls in the corner by the counter, one filled with water from the sink and one empty.
   “You might can eat once everyone else is done,” she snapped at Toby. “You'd do right to make yourself at home in the kitchen. Filthy little animal.”
   His mother pulled two newspapers from a lower cabinet; this was routine, and Maybelle and Toby knew it. The papers were placed by the food and water bowls, since the chain only allowed for him to crawl halfway across the kitchen – not quite in reach of the dining table.
   He dare not stand.
   “Mom, I don't – I d-d-don't want to spend the night down here,” he said.
   “Shut your mouth!” she hollered as her foot hit his chin with one swift movement, and his teeth chopped into his tongue. Blood began to pour down his chin from his mouth so he crawled over to the newspaper, terrified of making a mess. “Dogs aren't going to talk in this house, by God.”
   “Mom, what the fuck is wrong with you?” Maybelle sobbed. “He's a kid, he's not a dog. Leave him the fuck alone!”
     In a house where swearing was forbidden by the children, Maybelle often had a problem controlling her mouth; she was punished with three hard slaps to the face. Toby kept his eyes downward at the blood as it pooled around on the newspaper.
   “Get in your room, now, you possessed little girl! Get up the stairs!”
   Maybelle let out a screech as she turned, giving Toby one last, helpless glance as she stomped up the stairs with the kind of rage only an angry fifteen-year old girl could emit.
   Toby stayed on his knees and waited for the bleeding to stop, hoping his father was too tired for the belt once he got home. He curled up on the cold floor and listened as Maybelle threw things around her room, terrorized by the routine of their lives as Adam sat comfortably in his room watching television.

     The house disappeared in the review mirror and the next day, it would be knocked to the ground. Though not a superstitious man, Toby thought that perhaps it would be best for nothing to ever be built there again. Candice was there with him and what needed to be done was done; Maybelle was gone, and he had been given an upgrade.
Though her wings were folded behind her back, and she was unaware of them as she glanced down at the missed texts on her phone, but they were waiting open the moment that he needed her.
   “Coffee is a good idea,” he confirmed as downtown Pierreville came into view., and Candice smiled.

This has been an excerpt from Killing Butterflies, a novel by River Endsley

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

HFA and the College-try: Ambition with no Degree

I didn't know I was on the Autistic Spectrum until I was twenty years old and in the middle of my second college-attempt after running away to NYC. It was a beautiful campus and the professors weren't idiots; they even had some respect and admiration for how well I wrote and how much knowledge I had despite failing at community college in Louisiana, when I had no idea what was causing my near meltdown-panic attacks when going to class, or what was troubling me socially. My ambitions included being a graduate by age twenty-three. I wanted to work in the field of criminal psychology - my specialized interest. Ideally  I would become a prison psychologist or a criminal research psychologist. 

I am now almost twenty-four and have either 12 or 16 credits, most of which are in English. I have not been back to college since I was twenty-two; I'm not working for the FBI and have no credentials other than published psychological articles. I am not a particularly lazy person, and particularly was not when it came to college. 
After receiving my diagnosis in NYC, I began to understand why - despite my lack of social anxiety - I had panic attacks when walking into class or even trying to find my class. CSI has the largest campus in the CUNY system, and my community college was one giant non-academically challenging florescent light. I had sensory overload and had to run from the classroom if I made it inside. The behavior wasn't new; I had frequent meltdowns and shutdowns in school before college but my sullen or rowdy behavior was interpreted differently. I can't filter the lights and sounds around me, nor the smells. It can be pure, unadulterated hell for clear thinking, even if I look like a fully functioning adult at first.

I did drop out, finally, as my ability to handle sensory processing and the confusion of being in a room of people - much less work with them - dropped through the floor. I sought help for my disability - Asperger's, ADHD, and Math Disorder (not to mention general Panic Disorder.) I received odd looks and administrators shrugged and told me I looked normal. Autistic students in NYC received more help but I left soon after my diagnosis was final; they had special pen and paper and were allowed to choose their seating. In Louisiana, they gave zero fucks. I resorted to recording lectures and even managed to record one professor insulting me for my inability to make eye contact or work well wit other students. 
And then I'd had enough.

I had been writing since age 15 and it proved to be a serious passion for me as I published my first book of three at age nineteen. The topics I write about are the same topics I wished to work in after gaining a college degree; serial killers, murder, delusional mental illness, and suicidology.
              I wrote articles online professionally and began video-blogging to attract the kind of people I wanted to work with once I got the ever-evasive degree. While I make no money doing this, it does fulfill a large portion of my Asperger's-driven obsessiveness.
                    I began making pen-pals in prison, and I am now working on my fourth and - in my opinion - best and most disturbing, personally progressive novel yet. Meanwhile, I see people getting pure shit published through major publishing houses as I search clumsily for agents and self-publish while shamelessly self-promoting my work on social media. These people are publishing fanfiction of their own work and people are buying it. 
                 It is confusing and bewildering and frustrating, but I will one day be a major author. I managed to write and re-write my fourth novel while becoming a new mother. I understand plot. I understand character development. Other than painting, writing may become my entire source of income one day. And as I watch many with Masters degrees struggle to find work and make ends meet, I'm okay with that.

Writing is easy but understanding submissions guidelines makes me want to jump off a bridge. 
I am not giving up working in the field of criminology and I am not against the idea of returning to college if I find a way to fund it after bombing so many times because of my supposed "high functioning" Autism. But for now I may have to use my ambition and passion in other ways in the field; no one needs a degree to collect data, to write, and to advocate for better mental health treatment. My passion can be part of every day life because I look at the abnormal psychological symptoms of everyone, everything, and I observe and report. I have internet and I can take pictures; with or without a degree, with high intelligence, that gives me power. I am not where I intended to be when I began my journey into criminal psychology and writing, but I may end up somewhere even better. So, thanks, rulers of academia, for not doing your jobs properly. 
I don't need a piece of paper to prove I'm not a failure.