April 29th, 2014

Horseback, Fly, Ride

For River: Adventure

River: Let's go!

Even though I may be shy in conversation, I leap at the opportunity for adventure! So, one sunny day in DC, I hopped on board a little schooner with a smile. I was ready for training to become a member of the ship's crew! I didn't know a sail cover from a standing line, but I was eager to learn. I listened attentively as the crew showed me around and followed their lead as we washed the decks, hauled in the bumpers, and hoisted the sails. As we sailed down the river, I watched planes fly overhead, listened to the sound of the water lapping against the hull, and enjoyed the wide skies overhead. It was beautiful.

When it comes to experiences like these, my eagerness washes away any hesitation that I might have and I just fly! (Of course, I make mistakes along the way, but then I know what to do next time!) How is it that I can be so bold on these adventures and so...different the rest of the time? Why does the adventure feel more familiar to me than the everyday experience? I'm not sure. Is it my nervous system? They say that people on the autism spectrum are in a constant state of anxiety because their nervous systems don't easily transition from "alert" mode to "rest" mode. They say that autistic people can be very calm in emergencies because they're used to operating in that state, as everyday life feels like an emergency. Am I really this hyperactive all the time? Do adventures simply provide an opportunity to be my natural self? Or could it be that in adventures I'm just following instructions and observing as I explore; whereas, in typical life, there are no such clear instructions and explorations lead to awkwardness? Or is there some other explanation?

Well, I may not know the reason, but I know the reality. "She picks up her helmet and says to the droid, 'Let's go, G2-4T!' His binocular eyes turn to follow, but she's already hopped out the door. 'Wait for me!' he honks." 1/5/2013

(Tenth post reflecting on the video game "To The Moon")
Ocean friends

For River: Company

River: *sits with stuffed platypus*

Yes, me too :)

Plushie companions are a comfort. When I'm overstimulated and afraid, the plushie is near at hand to keep me company. It welcomes a hug anytime. It reminds me that I'm loved and safe. It reminds me that there are some nice things in this world.

I remember how happy I was when I could choose which plushie to take with me to church each Sunday. I remember how happy I was to get a stuffed Shamu when my parents took me to Sea World. Shamu came to the emergency room after I'd been injured in 1992 and Shamu watched Free Willy with me on TV on lazy afternoons. He still waits at home for me :)

I remember how much I wanted a stuffed kangaroo the Easter of 1995. My grandparents had to search far and wide looking for it, hehe. I remember when I found a stuffed Lobster in a barrel of lobsters in Connecticut and my parents bought it for me. Matt and I had fun trying to name him in the car. The tag said Rocky, but we decided to call him Conn Lobby (for Connecticut Lobster) or just Lobby for short. After the death of my boss, my Mom packaged Lobby up and mailed him down to comfort me *happy tears* And he was such a comfort! Lobby also traveled to Croatia and Japan with me, but he most enjoyed the Hutchison House in Gettsyburg :)

I remember how amused I was to see a stuffed squid at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I had to buy him. When I went to the Native American History Museum, the security guard took one look in my bag and said... "There's a squid in this bag." :3 yesssss! :D I recently found a photo from those days in Maryland that showed Dad and me on the couch with Bechtel the cow :) It was a happy birthday celebration during trying days in graduate school. Bechtel's restaurant has since closed, but I'll never forget the life-sized cow that decked their roof in downtown Lewisburg.

Then, there was Newport Aquarium, where Nathan and I went on our first date :) We saw jellyfish and sharks and a host of amazing fish. It was beautiful and I felt so happy - happy to be there with him. A sharkray followed us home, too, hehe. Nathan was very patient while I searched the whole store for just the right one. Sharkray still swims around my room in the evenings, looking on while we type our messages, watch Star Trek, and build in Minecraft :) Sharkray still remembers how I cried on her the whole flight back to DC last August.

Every time I travel, some plushie has to come along with me. I've seen college students traveling with pillows and stuffed animals, so I figure I can get away with it :P I'd bring one to work if I could, but that just wouldn't go over well! My doctor tells me that one needs to be professional in professional settings, but that one is free is their personal time. Ok, but... oh well. I still wish I could bring a plushie along! ^_^ (Actually, a plush Enderman did sneak into work with me one day. It was perfect timing, because I was left to lead a training session on my own that day on last-minute notice. Enderman sat on the desk and listened to me lead the class. He seemed only mildly interested^^)

Thank you, plushies :) And thank you to the people behind them - the ones who've always loved me.

(Eleventh post reflecting on the video game "To The Moon")