The Difficult Art of Effing Chill

Going for a walk is something that I have to make myself do, even though there are many times where I have enjoyed going on a walk in the past. It’s kind of like going to the doctor to get blood drawn. I’m nervous, get it done, think it’s no big deal, and then get nervous again the next time.

It is as unreasonable to consistently not want to do something you like, as it is to be consistently afraid of something that ends up not being a big deal.

On this walk, I stopped to watch some leaves blowing in the wind. They started flying to the north, before heading west, then north again, then east, then south. The wind, it seems, was incapable of making up its mind which way it would blow.

Within the context of this completely natural event, I did have a preference in that the wind should NOT be blowing any leaves or dirt into my face. Anywhere else, but not my face.

Every so often, I would get some dirt in my eyes, and would have to stop to get the dirt out. The changing wind would sometimes get in the way and make it worse.

“Boy… if only I could control the wind…”

The thought got interrupted with the wind delivering more delicious dirt particles into my face.

I returned from the edge of this little forest, back to my humble abode. I went inside, locked the door, and washed my face and eyes.

After drying my face, I looked out the window and watched the wind as it whipped up the dirt. It was so bad that my car, which I had washed yesterday, was already dirty enough on the outside that it looked as if I had done absolutely nothing, beyond wasting $7 on something that didn’t even last 24 hours.

I stood there, and began to appreciate being indoors.

If only I could control the wind.

In a way, by going indoors, I seemed to have done just that. At least, it might look that way at first. The wind still existed. It was still vicious and dirty.

I didn’t control the wind at all. What I DID do was control myself, by moving myself indoors.

Concerning myself, albeit philosophically, with controlling the wind got me nothing, except more wind and dirt in my face. Changing focus and concerning myself with controlling me made all of the difference.

I have concerned myself with things that I cannot control for a very long time. It’s not healthy. It is, however, something that lots of people tend to do. I do think that my Autism magnifies this issue for me, as it does with other things, like fear and pain.

Around this time last year, I was concerned with surviving in a situation where wildfires and horrible air quality was threatening life in Oregon.

In fact, it was precisely one year ago today that things started to get bad in that regard.

It got difficult to breathe at times. I had to keep the doors and windows shut and kept the air purifier running on overtime 24/7, hoping that it wouldn’t burn out or we would lose electricity.

There was a great deal of fear regarding what would happen. As everyone knows, this was ON TOP OF a deadly pandemic. There were tensions leading up to a very contentious election. Looking for work was horrible, and I had one interview that fell apart via video.

And earlier in the year, I had broken up with my girlfriend of 20 years [we’ll call her “C”], and had an old girlfriend move in [we’ll call her “A”]. THEN, C called and asked to move back. She did so with A’s approval.

As The World Burns: A, me, and C drinking white Russians. The view out the patio door tells the story of the outside.
Photo taken September 16, 2020.

With the bad weather, the living situation, and other stressors present, A eventually lost her mind, walking out one day and never returning.

The election went crazy, the job situation never got better, and the people who supposedly help people with disabilities find work are now complaining that my disabilities are getting in the way of them helping me. Oh boy!

What do I do about all of it?

Effing chill, dude.

I have complained on my blog before about certain things, people, and situations. Why isn’t this happening? Why are they doing these things? Why couldn’t this situation be better?

My complaints were many. What they had in common, besides being complaints, was that they were about things that I could not control.

Let’s take my job situation, for example. I’ve been struggling to find work. When you struggle to find work, and it doesn’t come about after a while, you tend to believe that maybe there is something truly wrong with you. You start to doubt yourself.

I stopped being upset about it, so that I could look at the current situation.

100,000 new jobs popped up in Oregon last month, and yet tens of thousands of adults are struggling to find work.

That’s when I realized that I’m not at fault. It’s not just me. It’s the situation. It’s the broken system.

Could something bad happen to me as a result of not being able to find work? Maybe. My situation is mine, and their situations are theirs, even though it seems that we are being blocked by the same problem.

I cannot control my work situation. I can keep looking.
I cannot control other people. I can be the best version of me.
I cannot control American Capitalism. I can control my spending and participation.
I cannot control the broken American work situation. I can keep applying.
I cannot control the mental health of “A” or anyone else. I can take responsibility for my own mental health.
I cannot control what someone thinks of me. And I shouldn’t care, as it’s none of my business.
I cannot control the weather. I can put on a coat, or go indoors.

While I have NO control over many of the things in my life, the one thing I can control is ME.

One of my big struggles, as an Autistic adult, is responding to situations, instead of reacting. Reacting involves allowing feelings to flow freely, most of the time in a negative way. It’s like cursing someone who was driving poorly, when that changes nothing.

Instead of reacting, the best thing to do is respond. Responding means pausing and taking the time to acknowledge those negative feelings that bubble to the surface quickly. After that, it’s about having a thoughtful response instead of an emotional outburst.

The emotional outburst actually clears up or fixes NOTHING. It does achieve a few things, including adding stress to my life, as well as making me look bad.

Some of my outbursts are actually Autistic meltdowns. Some say that these are temper tantrum fits, but this is highly inaccurate. Rather, an Autistic meltdown is more closely related to a panic attack.

They only happen when a bunch of stress is added to an already difficult situation.

Being able to control my reactions, replacing them with responses, and gaining a handle on potential Autistic meltdowns will further help me to participate in a more challenging society.

As I write this, there are way too many “adults” who don’t behave like adults. They whine about wearing masks, about vaccinations, and other things that are not only OUT of our control, but that are also ADULT RESPONSIBILITIES.

Instead of being responsible adults, getting vaccinated, wearing masks, adhering to guidelines, and behaving like adults in society, they do things like what is in this video.

The human embodiment of childish arrogance.

Getting vaccinated was an easy decision for me, because I decided to view the pandemic as a public health crisis, instead of a stupid political fight. Only Fascists, such as Republicans and The Taliban, are politicizing this virus.

Wearing a mask was difficult. It might be my Autism, but wearing a mask felt like I was trapped in a coffin. At first, I could do it for maybe 5 minutes before the panic would set in.

I practiced at home and kept practicing. Today, I can wear a mask for over 2.5 hours, or maybe even more. I might be getting to the point that I prefer masks over having someone else’s germs ejected out of their face and onto mine.

I’ll close with this: The pandemic, the work situation, and dealing with society in general has not been easy for anyone. There are some people who have decide to make things worse for everyone else, while making themselves look like childish idiots.

I do not know the story of these people. Are they Autistic? I seriously doubt it. Regardless, they still have a responsibility to behave in public, in society.

I actually AM Autistic. Some professionals have also indicated that I may very well be frozen in time, at around age 16.

So, as a 16 year old with just over 4 decades of experience, my opinion is that grown adults should know better.

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Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

One thought on “The Difficult Art of Effing Chill

  1. Deep, deep, really deep. Respond, not react. Yes, you are spot on. Our grey tomcat hates our orange tomcat for no apparent reason. He’ll attack the poor guy without warning.

    Tonight I got so fed-up that I wanted to give Mr. Grey a good kick in the ass. Nope, did not do that. That would have been reacting in a totally violent way.

    Instead, I silently prepared the 3-storey cage we have. Put in fresh kitty litter, kibbles and water. Then the missus brought him and gently put him in the cage. Not a word was spoken. Peace at last!

    The mask issue, then. We have to double-mask over here, so even going to the supermarket is torturous. I mean, I can hardly breathe with one mask on. Now it’s two!

    I condition myself by double-masking whenever I’m outside, even when taking out the trash. When I’m driving alone from point A to B, I keep my mask(s) on; just to get used to it.

    All this has helped me tolerate double-masking for much longer periods nowadays. Reading about your experiences with masking certainly rings a few bells for me. Keep it up. Keep on doing the right thing 👍👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

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