illustrated

True Tales: Owl Encounter

It was just an ordinary Thursday evening, or so I thought.

I was up to one of my usual activities: sewing. (Note: I may or may not be a wrinkly old lady trapped inside the body of a super attractive young woman.)

In the middle of stitching away my emotional pain, I heard a ruckus from the other side of my house. (Well, my parent’s house. I don’t own a house. I have no money.)

owl 1

owl 2

When you live in the wilderness as I do, you know that bird behavior is very indicative of the state of the environment. Meaning, if the birds are freaking out, something’s going on. And that something is usually a predator.

To my absolute and total delight, that predator happened to be an owl. A barred owl, in fact. If it wasn’t obvious from my owl hat that I’m really into flying creatures (especially owls) let it be known: I’m really into owls.

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The barred owl – the elusive animal that it is – is rarely seen, but often heard. They are known as the “who-cooks-for-you” owl, as their hoot sounds bizarre and more like a monkey on steroids than a majestic bird. Believe me though, this is a creature of pure elegance.

It was clear that the owl had arrived to reunite with me and connect spirits.

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Through years of practice and experience, I have essentially mastered the barred owl call. However, it is still a mystery as to why no owls flock to me when I perform the tune with perfection and grace.

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From what I could tell, the owl was really paying attention. His face said “focus and concentration.” He was into it.

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Suddenly, a bird flew from another dimension and BOOPED my owl friend right in the face!

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Though annoyed, the owl did not move from his branch. Instead, his expression changed from “mildly irritated” to “apathetic slow burn.”

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Meanwhile, I sprinted inside to grab my cheap pair of binoculars. If this was going to be an evening of  intense owl observation and possible spirit connection, I needed to be prepared.

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Just as I focused my lenses on the owl, it took off into the dense woods. My world, once warm and illuminated, was now dark and lifeless as Voldemort himself.

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Eternity passed – although admittedly it was only a few minutes –  before my owl friend reappeared. This time, he was on the opposite side of our backyard. I maneuvered my way closer in what could only be described as a “slow dash.” As in, I was trying to go as fast as possible while simultaneously moving at a snail’s pace, as to not frighten the owl. (In some cultures, I’m certain these same bodily movements are used to summon spirits and curses.)

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Momsy and Sister came outside to catch the action.

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In my mind, I pictured the moment to be intense, in a spiritual-enlightenment kind of way. It wasn’t like that though.

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A Few Days Later

A miracle was about to occur in my life and I was not emotionally prepared for it. Just a few days after my first owl encounter, I heard the familiar screech from the woods. I went outside with my binoculars, hoping to catch another glimpse.

I was not expecting what would happen next.

I spotted the owl on a low hanging branch. Suddenly, I heard an identical screech but from another tree! To my utter delight, two owls appeared on the branch together. My excitement was overwhelming.

Could this moment possibly get any better?!

As if the universe was hearing my informal plea, a THIRD owl made itself comfortable on the branch next to the others, who weren’t exactly happy to share the space. Nevertheless, it was a magical and remarkable moment for me. I have low standards for happiness.

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And that, quirksters, is the end of this story. Darkness overtook the sky, and I stood below a tree watching my winged friends until I could no longer see my own hand in front of my face.

It was a moment I will remember for a long time to come (but honestly will forget most of the details in a week).

xo kelly

 

 

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Public Restrooms: A Guide for the Sensory Sensitive

Picture this: you are out and about in this great, big world – away from the comfort and security of your own bathroom. Suddenly, it hits you.

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You gotta go.

Perhaps it was those two three cups of tea you had this morning. Maybe you ate a sandwich and afterwards, you remembered sandwiches give you tummy troubles. How unfortunate! Whatever the case may be, you know now that your destination is only one place: the public restroom.

Depending on where exactly you are, your public restroom experience will be either “pretty bad,”extremely bad” or,”oh lord have mercy on me.”

If you’re like me, most public restroom experiences fall into the “oh lord have mercy on me” category. This is because not only do public restrooms suck all faith in humanity from my soul, but they are also SENSORY-DANGEROUS SPACES. What constitutes a SENSORY-DANGEROUS SPACE, you ask?

sensory dangerous spaces chart

Luckily for you, I’ve spent my whole life figuring out the best way to deal with public restrooms as someone with Sensory Processing Disorder. I will now bestow upon you, dear friends, the skills and swift tricks I have mastered to survive these dreaded moments.

1. Know your options

Before heading to your death in a public restroom, stop and think. Do I know of a nearby restroom which offers a BETTER sensory experience? Can I make it there in time? If yes, go there. Always know your options before making a commitment.

Within my first week of college, I made myself into a restroom expert of sorts. In my mind I created a mental map of the entire campus and all its restrooms. Each one had a rating scale of how sensory-dangerous it was. I carefully calculated the time it would take me to run from one class, across campus to use the least sensory-dangerous restroom, and back to my next class without being late. (It’s actually really sad that I had to run through this anxiety-producing drill every day at school, but beggars can’t be choosers….or something like that.)

2. Use your tools

If you’re like me, you keep an arsenal of sensory tools with you at all times. For my particular sensory needs, this includes: ear plugs, bigger ear plugs, noise-cancelling headphones, sunglasses, and a Wilbarger brush.

Much like preparing for battle, one must gear up before heading to a public restroom. There is no shame in this!

3. Go during safe times

If it can be avoided, use the public restroom at times when you will likely be the only one in there. Just one other person can reak havoc upon your restroom experience. Tread carefully!

If it is impossible for you to use the restroom during slower times, then option three is a total waste of time. I’m sorry I even created this option.

4. All about technique

So you find yourself in the restroom with multiple people doing multiple things. I’m talking about hand dryers, hand washing, toilets flushing, doors slamming, kids screaming, people talking loudly on their phones (which by the way, has me all “WTF talk somewhere else”), and many more!

Your tools can only go so far. It’s not about the tools you have, rather, it’s how you use them. It’s time to explore the Techniques for Public Restroom Sensory Safety and Survival, or as I call it: TPRSSS, (pronounced “te-purrs”).

Technique 1: Wash ‘n Go

After you’ve done the business, it’s time to rid yourself of those pesky germs. But wait! Oh no! The restroom is crowded with people using those hand dryers that sound like commercial airliners taking off. For this technique, wash your hands and RUN. Dry on your own time – those hand dryers will wait for no one.

RUIN YOUR DAY

Technique 2: Be aware of your neighbors.

Are your fellow restroomers about to flush and unleash a windstorm of sudden, loud toilet sounds? Be prepared and mindful of your neighbors. Don’t let an unexpected flush or door slam set you off into panic mode.

Technique 3: The Cold Shoulder

In a moment of haste, you may have forgotten to wear hearing protection before entering the restroom. Fear not! In this situation, cover your ears and use your shoulder to take the place of one hand when that hand is in use. Observe the following diagram:

bathroom technique 1

Technique 4: Run, Forest, Run

Move quickly. You are a cheetah in the fast-lane. Slow and steady will not win the race for you when you’ve got sensory issues in the restroom.

Technique 5: Mental Stamina

Here’s the situation: you gotta go, but the restroom is crowded and way too overstimulating for you right now. But you’ve been here before. It’s time for you to use your mental powers to convince yourself that you really don’t have to go at all. Need to pee? Not anymore. Why? YOUR MIND TOLD YOU SO. This technique requires time and patience, but once mastered, it may be your saving grace in a desperate situation.

BRAIN POWERS ACTIVATE

In conclusion, restrooms are a sensory nightmare. But, with the right techniques, you CAN survive the experience.

As I lay awake at night, pondering the insanity that is life, I imagine a world where people with Sensory Processing Disorder can use public restrooms with ease. I dream of quieter toilets, and paper towels for hand drying, maybe even less fluorescent lighting! Let us end the reign of restroom misery!

One day I will enter a public restroom less like this:

bathroom fear

And more like THIS:

make way peasants

xo kelly

Got any other sensory-related restroom advice? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Infants sound like goats

Jolly good news, internet friends: as of October 2nd, I am an auntie!

The squishy bundle arrived early Friday morning, to greet and delight us with his tiny human-ness. His name is Liam, and here is a drawing I made after I first saw him:

burrito liam

The past several months have been a whirlwind of anxiety, laughter, and mostly anxiety while my family awaited his arrival. My younger sister, Shannon, was a cool pregnant person.

Many women develop strange eating habits during their pregnancy. My sister craved perhaps the strangest food combination: pickles and oreos. Yes, you heard it right. Often, the two foods would be consumed together. *shudders*

Months went by, often accompanied by Shannon’s hormonal rages and short bursts of loathing.

super preg

DESTROY THIS WATER

Five minutes later…

sorry i was terrible

KELLY WONT LOVE ME

After the baby arrived, I quickly became aware of the secrets of baby sounds. So mysterious, yet so informative they are! I’ve decided to use advanced scientific formulas and diagrams to show you, the people at home, exactly what baby noises really mean.

  1. Show me the poop

diaper cry

2. Not feeling it

dont feel like crying

3. Back in my day, I used to be comfy

body position cry

 

4. Is it time to panic? I’m panicking.

lost suction cry

5. A light, tropical breeze of sorts

special surprise cry

6. Whatever bro

funny sounds cry

 

7. Meanwhile, on the farm

goat cry

If those graphs don’t make sense, I honestly don’t know what does. I may have never produced more clear information in my life. The bottom line: newborn babies are squirmy little creatures and they often sound like goats. The sounds they make are varied and complex, like an ancient language. Perhaps someday in the future, the power of science can break down these cryptic coos to reveal extraordinary genius.

Does this not look like a genius to you?

liam bird

xo kelly

 

The Real Restroom Dilemma

Last summer, Momsy and I attended an Arts and Crafts Fair. After bopping around from one crafter to the next, we needed a bathroom pit stop. Luckily for us, there were actual bathrooms at this fair – not a porta potty in sight. Unfortunately for me, those bathrooms were very noisy, and included my least favorite thing ever: air-powered hand dryers.

At the bathroom building, I informed Momsy that I did not, in fact, have to pee.

I lied.

i lied

Was my bladder going to explode if the internal pressure was not released at that very moment? Probs not. But there was no way I was going into the noisy restroom.

I waited patiently outside for Momsy, watching women join the long line for the restrooms, then watching them exit after several minutes. The roar of the hand dryers, women talking, and the toilets flushing collided with the quieter sounds of the world outside as I stood baking in the bright sun, like a cookie.

Walking past me came a woman pushing another woman in a wheelchair. The woman in the wheelchair was missing her one leg below her knee. The pair were heading towards the restroom line.

Suddenly, a young volunteer working at the fair asked the woman, “are you headed to the bathrooms?

The woman in the wheelchair replied, “yes.”

The volunteer said, “oh, come this way, this the employee bathroom, but you can use it.”

The two women thanked her casually and followed her past a security gate and into another small building.

That moment resonated with me. The woman in the wheelchair was clearly disabled – anyone could see both the wheelchair and the fact that half her leg was not there. The volunteer did the right thing by trying to make life easier for her by accommodating her needs and allowing her to use a separate, less crowded bathroom.

I began to imagine if I had asked that same volunteer if I could also use the private bathroom. I envisioned myself explaining – in my awkward-while-trying-to-be-confident manner –  about my sensory processing disorder, and how the normal bathrooms were very uncomfortable – in this case, impossible – for me to use.

I could see her making that “ehhh” face, the one where she isn’t buying it, but she doesn’t want to look like an absolute idiot either. She responds with something along the lines of “well, you see, that bathroom is for employees only. I’m sorry but I don’t really work here. I’m just a volunteer, and I don’t think it would be allowed.”

the ehh face

If I was a true badass of disability equality and advocacy, I might say something along the lines of, “But I noticed you allowed that other disabled woman to use that restroom. I was hoping I could also be accommodated because of my special needs.”

Next, perhaps, she would create some kind of excuse for her decision, like “I allowed that woman to use the other restroom because her wheelchair would be too big for the regular restroom.”

OrI didn’t want her to have to wait on the long line.”

Or maybe even, “She is in a wheelchair so she has a disability. You are clearly a fully-functioning person because I cannot see any visible sign of a problem. So you cannot use the other bathroom because you are a liar and you are trying to mooch the system. SHAME….SHAAAAAAMMEE.”

Was there a small chance that this volunteer would allow me to use the private restroom after I politely explained my situation? Of course. But that small chance was probably very, very small. And for some reason, I would end up feeling guilty asking for this accommodation in the first place.

The whole moment made me think about every person with an invisible illness or disability or condition. Our lives are spent trying to make the best of a world that doesn’t seem too eager to accommodate our particular needs. Whether those needs are closer parking spaces, equal treatment in school or at work, or the need to use a different restroom when one is available.

As a teenager, I used to wear brightly colored earplugs to visually remind those around me about my condition (aside from using them for hearing protection, too). Without them, I’m certain most people would have completely forgotten about my severe sensitivity to sound and things would have been more miserable then they already were. I used to jokingly tell Momsy that I wished I was in a wheelchair because maybe then people would respect and understand my needs once they saw a visual sign of a problem. How sad is that?

Would it be tacky of me to walk around with a massive sign drapped over my shoulders, reading: PERSON WITH NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION. MAY REQUIRE SPECIAL SERVICES?

perosn with condition

I wish I didn’t have to feel that way, but that’s how much of our society thinks of differently-abled people, and that’s how desperate I am to make things easier.

As we left the arts and crafts fair that day, Momsy and I talked about it. I said, “What if a mother and her young, autistic son asked to use separate bathroom and were turned down, even after the mother explained her situation?” Momsy replied, “They would’ve had to use the regular restroom and the boy would’ve been very upset in there, and the mother would be frustrated and tired.”

I mumbled something like, “that’s not fair. Life sucks. Can we get ice cream?”

tps

And so we got ice cream, and I peed when we got home (in case you were concerned).

The Attic

Some people have stairs leading to their attic. Some people don’t even have an attic. Then there are some people, like my parents, who had a ladder leading up to the attic.

The attic; a strange, foreign land of trinkets from years past, balls of tangled Christmas lights, and deadly creatures. My childhood fascination with such a space overwhelmed me. In the rare moments when the attic door was opened and the ladder would reveal itself, my insides tingled anxiously. It was as if I was staring into the vast reaches of outer space; the universe in all its complexity and mystery lay just beyond the top of the ladder. Green slime oozed from the edges of the attic, surely an indication of some other-worldly experience.

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I was enamored with the attic. It was terrifying and amazing; it was terrifazing. Amazifying? Whatever. My youthful spirit longed to know of its secrets.

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Soon enough, that fated day arrived when I would experience the attic. Dad needed to retrieve something in a box up there, and I saw my golden opportunity. This is it, I thought to myself, this is your moment.

With my emotional security blanket (which I named Star) tied firmly around my neck like a cape, I began to ascend the ladder.

How I thought it was:

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How it really was:

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As the wind began to pick up, I tightened Star around me and secured my grip on the ladder. Nearly at the top, there was no telling what awaited me. The anticipation was overwhelming.

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Alas! I had reached the surface to discover a world of boxes filled with junk I didn’t really care about, yet I was overjoyed to explore this new, vast wilderness.

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After what seemed like only a few minutes (probably because it only was a few minutes), I heard the call of my parents from the world below. It was time to descend the ladder and bid farewell to the new world.  As I crept near the opening from which I came, it occurred to me exactly how high up I was. The task ahead required me to turn and go down the ladder. Thanks to my sensory problem, this seemingly simple action became my equivalent of bungy jumping off the empire state building into a pit of blood-thirsty wolves.

attic 9

 

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With this revelation began a true anxiety meltdown in the four foot high space on the attic. No amount of coaxing or words of reassurance from my family below were alleviating my overwhelming panic. The prospect of having to go backwards down the ladder was truly disturbing and frightening to me. As an adult looking back on the situation, I agree with my childhood self for getting upset. This was a totally rational situation to meltdown over.

It was during mid-crisis in the attic when I realized that the attic was a slightly creepy place to be. Looking around, it became clear to me that there was plenty of potential for evil creatures to jump out of the darkness and swallow me whole. Above me, giant nails protruded through the ceiling, as if a monster was clawing at the house trying to get me. (I later realized these were nails which held the shingles in place.) But things got worse. The beams supporting the roof were covered in some sort of gross, sticky brown substance. A Christmas tree loomed in the corner, ready to attack me with holiday cheer. An old toy doll …well, let’s just say she was the new bride of Chuckie.

I wrapped my blanket, Star, around my head like a veil. It was my only ally and source of protection in this strange and dangerous land.

attic 8

The minutes passed as my family failed to convince me to climb back down the ladder. I became a incoherent blob. As far as I was concerned, I was never coming down. This would be where I’d spend the rest of my sorry little life. My fate hit me like a ton of bricks.

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Suddenly, Dad appeared at the top of the ladder. Again, I assured him I would not be making the descent back to the mortal world. He managed to convince me to hold onto him and close my eyes. He held me and climbed down the ladder; it was the scariest 3 seconds of my young life. I felt like Carol Anne as she was sucked away from the demons of the underworld in that movie, Poltergeist. I can’t believe we made it down alive. To be able to live among my earth family yet again was such a relief.

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To this day, climbing any kind of ladder disorients my body and mind. The fear takes me back to that fated day in the attic. Will I ever be able to conquer this body-ladder coordination conundrum? Only time will tell.

attic 13

Also, F.U. to my sensory problems. Struggling to stand on a basic 2-step ladder is super embarrassing and mildly inconvenient.

xo kelly

My dog doesn’t love me

The following post strays from the theme of my usual posts, but I know you’ll read it anyway…especially if you love animals. If you don’t, well, what the heck is wrong with you?

 

This is my dog Sam:

Picture 6

He’s a bona fide oddity.

Sam is an 11 year-old shih-tzu/cavalier mix, and due to several unfortunate circumstances, he has lost several body parts over the years. Most notably, his left eye. (Yes, he is the perfect pirate doggy.)

Sam is also missing a toe, and a salivary gland. He’s covered in an alarming amount of moles and warts, but luckily he’s very furry. His one leg is crooked, and has been for a long time. According to the vet, nothing is wrong with it.

However, my dog’s bizarre list of physical flaws can not compare to his glowing personality.

samblog12

I am not ashamed to say that my dog is a self-serving, stubborn, morally corrupt, annoying creature. From the start, Sam has never loved me. He simply uses me for his own personal gains.

Taking him for walks consists of being pulled around mercilessly. If I want to change direction, I have to take a battle stance and face off until he gives into my will. But usually, he drags me to wherever he desires, with no consideration for my life.

samblog17

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If he’s not on a leash, I have to watch him or else he’ll take advantage of the invisible boundaries which have been established over his 11 years of life. He clearly knows what they are, yet he doesn’t give a flying crap about them.

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I am the person who gives Sam a bath. Sam smells similar to a frito – like the chip – but one that you would absolutely never eat. During the bath, he will slowly try to make his way just out of my reach, as if I don’t see him leaving. I spend the majority of my time pulling him back. He applies a variety of methods to get away from me.

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After I scrub the frito out of him, I have to dry him. While he’ll willingly sit on a small bench, he does not like the hair dryer for long periods of time. He resorts to a desperate crotch escape:

samblog13

 

Sam’s biggest peeve is food. Sam is perhaps the only dog you will ever meet who turns away from freshly cooked steak. Every meal for Sam is a chore for the rest of us, as he refuses to eat even the most extravagantly prepared dishes.

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Eventually, after shoving a piece of food into his mouth, he realizes that he has to eat – to, you know, survive – and finally, he eats. Slowly.

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While I am Sam’s least favorite member of the family, he’ll willingly grace me with his presence from time to time. Again, these moments are only meant to serve or satisfy him in some way, like when he’s trying to get a better view of the television.

samblog16

One of his favorite things to do is to slap my door with his paw as if to knock before entering. I’ll open the door to let him in, but he quickly wants to go back out. And so on, and so on.

samblog15

*2 seconds later*

samblog14

 

*REPEAT FOR 3 HOURS OR UNTIL SANITY IS LOST*

Other times, he’ll hang out with me in my bedroom or in my art room while I paint. I get fooled into believing that he’s suddenly taken a liking to me. I should know better. As many dog owners know, when a dog comes and goes quickly from a room, it is for one reason.

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The poisonous gases released from the bowels of my dog are so putrid, I feel as though I am drowning in liquid death. Is my dog trying to end my life? YOU DECIDE:

samblog22

 

Sam also isn’t the brightest pup around, although he does put forth a valiant effort to guard his precious property. Regrettably, anything on his left side goes unseen – literally, due to lack of eye.

samblog26

Here is an actual picture of Sam staring at walls, one of his more common activities:

unnamed-1

Here is an actual picture of Sam selfishly eyeing our birthday cake. Yes, you heard that right, “our cake,” as in, we have the same freakin’ birthday:

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Here’s an actual picture of Sam sitting smugly on a mattress, knowing that while the sheets are being washed, his stinkiness will penetrate the mattress fibers permanently.

unnamed

Amazingly, on a rare occasion, Sam does reach out to me to express his gratitude and love. Considering the fact that I shower him with affection and care 24/7, it’s nice to receive it back. I mean, he is pretty adorable.

Picture 1

“hahahah just kidding!” -Sam

Picture 2

 

I hope, dear reader, that your animal friend loves you unconditionally. Unless, of course, you’ve got a dog like Sam.

 

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oxox kelly

 

 

Occupational Therapy Adventure (for SPD)

Back in the glorious and confusing days of my childhood, I went to see an occupational therapist once a week to help with my sensory integration/processing disorder. His name was Frank, and he was a young guy who was extremely good looking (and now I CURSE myself because I never appreciated his attractiveness). I was obviously too distracted by the fact that I was 9 years old and more interested in the candy I received at the end of the session. Here’s a picture of Frank:

Picture 59

Alright, so that’s not exactly him.  It’s just a picture of a hot, shirtless guy I found on google, but let’s all pretend this is Frank.

————————— *————————–

Frank and I did LOTS of things in our short time together each week. He made me walk across a balance beam. This was to re-orient my vestibular system. I hated that. Frank would counter with some sort of ‘comforting statement’ like, “You’re only 2 inches off the ground.”

Picture 60

Not very comforting Frank. Your charm and wit didn’t amuse me.

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Then he made me stick my hands in some glue and junk. We turned it green using dye, because why the heck not? It is very hard to describe to people who don’t have a sensory problem how it feels to do something that bothers your sensory problem, like sticking your hand in an icky substance. All I knew was that it was more than uncomfortable, and it created ugly signals in my brain. Therefore, I hated that too.

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Sometimes he would suggest that I take a trip through the rainbow tunnel. You know the kind – a small, plastic tunnel that most children enjoying crawling through.

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Not me though. My sensory system interpreted small, unfamiliar spaces as threatening:

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Then we played a stupid game, Connect Four. (Though not as stupid as the game I wrote about in my last post, Operation). I hated this the most because the sounds of the game were sudden and unpleasant. “This game is the pits,” I casually mentioned to Frank.

Frank chuckled at my statement, rested his perfectly featured face upon his hand, and encouraged me to finish the game. I couldn’t wait to tell my mom that she was paying a man to watch me play games that I didn’t even like. UNBELIEVABLE!

At this point of my OT session, I was slightly irritated with Frank. His smiley-ness and optimism was all too much for one girl to take.

Picture 64

But it was not over yet. Before my OT session with Frank ended, he would spend the last several minutes doing joint compressions (pressing my joints in gently) and brushing. The brush looks like this:

Sensory-Surgical-Brush1

It’s kind of FANTASTIC. (Although, those without sensory deep-pressure needs may find the brush against their skin to be unpleasant or just weird).

But who cares about those people, this brush is wonderful. After some deep pressure exercises, brushing, and joint compressions, I felt like a new girl. My hatred for Frank and his gorgeous smiling face seemed to vanish. Things got a little freaky:

Picture 68

Finally at the end of the session, I received my candy of choice and went on my merry way. This lasted for a few weeks or so, possibly longer, I don’t actually remember.

What I do remember is the absurdity of it all, and yet, my strange willingness to comply. I continued the compressions and brushing at home, but I don’t think that alone was enough to counteract the intense over-stimulation I was experiencing daily at school. Still, it was something, and definitely an experience I will never forget.

-xo Kelly

Drive-in Movie Nightmare

This post has nothing to do with what I normally write about. However, it is very awkward and typical of my life, so here it goes:

It was a warm Monday evening. My sister Shannon and I decided it would be perfect if we spent our night under the stars watching Despicable Me 2 at the local drive-in movie theater.

On the way over, we sang songs and danced merrily in the car. We are best friends. We GET each other. She is the peanut butter to my jelly; the cookie to my milk. It was going to be a most wonderful night….

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When we finally arrived, we decided to park our car right in the front row for maximum screen viewing.

However, moments later, I felt a sensation.
A pressure down below.
A full bladder.

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I confessed to Shannon the devastating news. She munched on her stick of beef jerky and laughed at my predicament. But this was no laughing matter.

drive in 4

I had no choice; I had to use the drive-in bathroom.

At first, I thanked the Lord Almighty that the bathroom was not a porta-potty. Maybe luck was on my side after all. I found the women’s bathroom was located on the side of a shack-like building. The roof was crooked and the red door was made for the citizens of Munchkin Land. Unfortunately, I was not in Oz.

drive in shack 2

The red door squeaked loudly upon opening. Immediately there was a step down into a small cave-like space. Further, another step down led to what appeared to be some small, blue wooden doors. The entire space was dimly lit by a singular pathetic florescent light. The ceilings grazed my head, the walls were filthy, and impending doom hung in the air.

The illustration below actually makes the space look good:

Picture 8

After my initial shock, I pressed forward. There were two stalls; I chose the one on the left. As I entered, I crashed into the toilet with my legs, turned around and shut the swinging door. However, I then realized that the door was also short in stature. I could clearly see over the door, and anybody standing outside could very easily poke their head in and watch me as I do the business. I knew I needed to get in and out fast before someone else came in.

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As soon as I had emptied my bladder, I heard someone come in. I dashed out of there like a cheetah. Faster than a cheetah, maybe. Like, if I was racing a cheetah, I would’ve won.

Back in the car, Shannon was still munching away at her jerky stick. Being my younger sister, it was her job to ask me the obvious and annoying question:

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Then it hit me: I forgot to wash my hands.

I was so terrified of being in there, I peed and ran out. Now, I was covered in the most germiest germs imaginable.

We searched the car like wild animals for any kind of hand sanitizer, or wipe, or something. Suddenly, Shannon thought of an idea:

deodorant

Yea right. No way on earth was I going to rub my germ hands all over her deodorant and feel any cleaner. Although, props to Shan for creative on-the-spot thinking.

So I went back to the bathroom shack of horrors and found the tiny sink. Again, made for the people of Munchkin Land.

Picture 9

Darn it all, I wasn’t there to wash my knees. I WAS THERE TO WASH MY HANDS.

I scrubbed my fingers and palms and again dashed out the red door, mortified that I had to go in there TWICE.

Picture 12

**Note: Ignore the fact that my outfit changed from black pants to pink shorts. I made these illustrations on two different days and apparently, I wanted a wardrobe change.

Where was I…oh yes, so back in the car, with my hands now clean, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the movie with my sister. Despicable Me 2 was really good and heart-warming and junk.

Moral of the story…

Let this be a lesson to all: Empty your bladder before you leave the house, or you might end up having to pee in a dilapidated shack from Munchkin Land and then be tempted to rub your hands on deodorant. Not to mention….PSYCHOLOGICAL SCARS FOR LIFE.

xo kelly

Thunderstorms

For all you people who just love thunderstorms, I envy you. In my body, thunderstorms are the worst. Take all the worst things ever, put them together and wrap them up in shiny paper, and put a bow on it, and you have thunderstorms. If you’re like me, anticipating a thunderstorm is like preparing for the Apocalypse.  You have your gear. You have your rituals. You have your safe spot (usually the dog is in your spot too because dogs know what’s about to go down and they don’t mess around).

Let’s go over exactly why thunderstorms are so dreadful awful.

The most obvious problem here is that the source of the problem is uncontrollable. I can’t control the sky. You can’t control the sky. Your creepy uncle who collects miniature ceramic horses can’t control the sky.

Thunderstorms are evil in their ability to be wherever they want, whenever they want.

First, the sky gets dark and ominous. When has anything good ever come from being dark and ominous? Let’s see….oh yes, nothing good has ever come from darkness and ominousness.

notgood thunderstorm

After the initial stage, when the storm has warmed up and stretched, the real fun begins.

The sky flashes with a bright, blinding light. I for one am only slightly happy about this because it gives me a warning. At the same time, I’m startled by the light – especially if the room I’m in is dark – and thrown off balance entirely. Something like this:

lightning

Then – the worst part – THUNDER. It’s loud. It’s sudden. It’s everywhere. It’s merciless. Thunder, like all sound, cannot be grabbed, pushed, or shooed away. It’s just there, in the air, being a jerk.

Regular people –  those neurotypicals – just love a good thunderstorm. They love to love it, and they don’t understand why I don’t love it. They’re all like:

thunder fun

Those people suck. There, I said it. Meanwhile, I’m like:

boomcrack

As I type this, a thunderstorm is warming up itself in the sky. The lights are flickering. My left eye is twitching. But most importantly, it’s time to make some important decisions. It’s time to look at my choices.

choices

Choice A: My musicians earplugs. I never use these because they are painful and ineffective. This shouldn’t even be a choice… I don’t know why I included it. *facepalm*

Choice B: Orange wax earplugs. Both effective and less painful. AND ORANGE!

Choice C: Noise-canceling headphones. A+ for comfort, but I’ll give them a C- for effectiveness. Thunderstorms are too much for these devices.

Choice D: aka, the best choice. These are my ZEMS.  If I could, I would wear these babies everywhere.

The only way I’ve learned to fight thunderstorms is by wearing my ZEMS. God Bless my ZEMS. They are awkward as hell, but bless ‘em.

ZEMs are worn by people with large heads who work near loud machinery or airplanes. They are also worn by me, and I definitely don’t have a large head by any means. These ear devices look like headphones, only uglier. They take the sound that is coming towards my ears and say “NUH-UH SOUND. NOT TODAY,” and then sound is like, “oh, my bad.”

265-photo3

Above is a gentleman wearing his ZEMS. Nice job, mister. Way to go.

Choice E: My fingers. By shoving my pointer fingers into my ears, I can substantially decrease thunderstorm sound invasion. Further, my fingers make for good rapid-fire ear protection – perfect for those sudden moments of thunderstorm doom when there’s no time for making choices!

Choice F: Finally, we have choice F, meltdown/coma. F stands for failure, futile, freak-out, frenzy, and another f-word. When all else fails, my last choice is to just give into the thunderstorm and have myself a sensory meltdown. Choice F is not very effective, by the way.

So what’s a girl to do?

I often try to pretend to be a thunderstorm badass, but that can be hard to do considering badassery is probably the last characteristic I would pick to describe myself in any given situation. This is what I would look like if I was a thunderstorm badass:

nottodaythunder

…and this is what I look like because I’m not a thunderstorm badass:

blanket safety

Hiding under the thunderstorm protection blanket with my dog.

Speaking of awful noises from the sky, the 4th of July is coming up…like now. I should make a post about that because it’s Independence Day  the worst day of the year.