Actions Taken and Puberty

“Actions taken that get responses you don’t want.”

This was what Emma typed in response to my question, what should we write about on the blog today?

Emma proposed making one blog entry a week, possibly asking for readers to answer some of her questions, but before we could continue, she had a  few concerns.

“Would thinking about stressful times cause upset?”  she typed.

I said that it might, but we could put a trigger warning above with the topic so that if the topic was something specific, people would be warned and could stop reading.  As I said this to her I marveled at her endless compassion and concern for other people’s feelings.  Then I said I believed that sometimes it can be helpful to know you aren’t alone in feeling and thinking things that you don’t necessarily know others feel and think, at least this has been my experience.

We discussed the experience of going through puberty and how adults will often talk about their children and what they believe they are going through, but not about their own experience of going through puberty.  “Maybe we should ask people to share their memory of puberty and what was the most difficult part about that period of their life?” I suggested.

Emma wrote, “You can ask and please say that if this question causes stress to not answer and next week I will ask a fun question.”

“That is such a thoughtful and kind thing to say, Emma,” I told her.

Before we ask for other people to share their experiences with either of these questions, Emma and I asked Richard to talk about “actions taken that get responses you don’t want.”

Richard said, “I put work out into the world, like my book and I want people to enjoy it, but some people say all kinds of nasty things, or let’s say I wrote a blog post and my intention is to be helpful to Autistic people and advocate for them, but because I’m not Autistic and I am highly opinionated, maybe I write things that are actually offensive to the very people I’ve meant to help.”

I asked Richard if this had really happened to him or if the last part was hypothetical.

“It’s hypothetical, but I certainly am capable of doing something like that.  People can do all kinds of things with good intentions that don’t get great responses.  To me the question is – what if you do things that you think are going to be helpful to yourself and other people and they aren’t and they aren’t appreciated either.”

I told Emma I would write about my experience with both these questions, so beginning with the first – actions taken that get responses you don’t want.

Saying something that is taken in a way I didn’t mean, particularly if it causes upset, anger or comes across as offensive.  There have been times when I’ve said something and not realized it was offensive until much later, but there have been other times when I’ve said something or asked a question and it’s been taken as meaning more than simply information gathering.

Puberty…

One of the things I really love about this question is that it’s one of those topics people don’t often talk about, at least not with any personal specifics unless it’s about someone else (often without that person’s permission) or in small groups.  So here’s the trigger warning – if the topic of puberty causes you stress, stop reading, otherwise, please join in and share a memory or an experience of going through puberty.  What was it like?  What was most challenging?  Please keep this about your own experience.  If you want to remain anonymous, you can always send your comment to the blog email address:  emmashopeblog@gmail.com or you can DM us on Emma’s Hope Book Facebook page.

We asked Richard to start things off: (insert smiley face here)

“It was the late sixties and early seventies and I became obsessed with – when will I have cool looking sideburns? –  I remember doing drawings of sideburns and imagining what my sideburns could look like.  I remember a lot of thinking about sideburns. They were emblematic of becoming a man.”

Okay, so I can’t really ask readers to share if I’m not willing to do the same, so here goes:

One of the more troubling memories I have of puberty was when I began to develop breasts and wanting to have them because most of the girls in my class already did and I was taunted by the boys at my school for not having any breasts.  They would yell, “hey flatsy!” at me when they passed me in the hallway or whisper it to me during recess.

But I also hated that I was developing them.  I had both feelings at once.  There was shame about my body for not looking like the other girls, but also fear and shame that I would.  I remember lying on my stomach at night, thinking this might limit or reduce their growth, only to put small wads of kleenex in my “training” bra to see what I would look like once I had them.

The larger issue, though I don’t think I was aware of it at the time, was the conflict of growing older and being excited by this, yet part of me wanted to stay a kid. And there was terror too.  I was going to say “fear,” but it was more than fear, it was real terror at the idea of looking more adult like and less kid like, coupled with growing into a woman’s body and not liking the attention that elicited, which interestingly enough ties this answer to Emma’s first question about – “actions taken that get responses you don’t want”  and very much encapsulates the essence of all that was problematic and difficult for me about puberty.

We’re turning these questions over to all of you now…

1.  Actions taken that get responses you don’t want

2. Puberty – what was your experience or a memory of that time in your life?

PubertyBoy2

46 responses to “Actions Taken and Puberty

  1. hmmm good questions:
    #1 I think the most common for me right now is the actions I take in how I raise E elicit all sorts of reactions/comments whether real or implied that I’m not doing all that I SHOULD be doing for him as his parent simply because hes not highly medicated and doesn’t go to hours upon hours of therapies. I have to read and reread and remind myself why I don’t and that I’m not a bad parent for doing so.

    #2 I don’t remember much about puberty except forever being the “ugly duckling quasi nerd” no matter what stage I was in. I eventually grew out of it in adulthood, but I still struggle with the social aspects of life. The main thing I remember is the utter embarrassment over all the icky stuff that comes with it…TO THIS DAY I still hate buying feminine supplies for myself and will hide them in the bottom of the shopping cart and even at home cover up even just the wrappers with TP so no one knows…you can probably imagine how bad it was back then considering I’ve had 20 yrs to get used to it.

    • oh this brought up so much for me as I read your comment…
      #1 – I remember feeling this way constantly! The pressure to do all that others seemed so convinced we MUST do was awful. And if we didn’t the criticism both perceived and self directed was horrific.
      #2 – I did the same. Odd that I do not have any problem purchasing toilet paper. However along these lines I also was never able to remember that I would get a period regularly and even keeping a calendar I was still caught off guard. I used to joke that by the time I began remembering I would be so old I’d no longer have it and that’s pretty much exactly what happened! 🙂

  2. I lose my speech sometimes, due to a rare migraine type. I started using AAC apps on my iPad, so I could still communicate clearly. The response I didn’t want? My husband thought I was being emotionally manipulative (until I said otherwise), and my family thinks I’m being a drama queen. Plus the same issues that I’ve read from other AAC users: can’t get others’ attention, conversation moves on by the time you get a sentence finished, etc.

  3. Thanks so much for commenting Ann. I will show all these comments to Emma this evening.

  4. I think this Q&A is a great idea, Emma! I don’t have anything to contribute for actions taken, but I’m happy to describe my experience with puberty.

    Puberty was a difficult time for me as a transgender person. Although I lacked the knowledge at the time to understand and describe how I felt, it was during puberty that I became more aware of my body and the growing feeling of unease and discomfort as it developed male characteristics.

    This was 30 years ago. There was no World Wide Web: if I wanted to research something there was our copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, or a trip to the local library. But I’d never even heard words like “transgender” so I wouldn’t have know what to look for.

    All I knew was that my body was changing in ways that somehow didn’t feel right. Hair starting to sprout on my face, my body hair becoming more coarse, my voice breaking and becoming deeper. I had been taught and so knew intellectually that these changes were supposed to happen. I’d been raised in the belief that I was a boy but, although I was unaware of it back then, my mind is female and this caused a conflict between the physical reality I saw when I looked at myself and my mental self-image.

    I never felt able to talk about this to anybody because I felt a great deal of pressure to attempt to fit in, to conform to the expectations that I felt other people had of me. Fitting in, adopting the mask of a character, became second-nature during puberty. It was during this stage of my life that I learned to suppress several of my autistic behaviors like hand-flapping because of the ridicule they attracted. I never did develop very good social skills but this was offset by academic achievement.

    This all appears unrelentingly negative, so I should mention that the effects of puberty were rarely something I thought about at the time. I was mostly concerned with school, learning to program our new home computer, and enjoying my other interests such as Lego and reading.

    Yes, puberty was the start of something that would take me the best part of 30 years to understand and finally open up about. But it was a small, slow start and had limited impact at the time.

  5. #1 – I don’t have anything that comes to mind for this one

    #2 – Dealing with the anger created by fluctuating hormones. I would be angry for no apparent reason and my mother never discussed the fact that hormones can effect mood.

  6. 1. “Actions taken that get responses you don’t want”- i work with a little girl who is autistic, and even though she is only five, i can see that she is a bit more mature than most of her peers at preschool. not too long ago, we “connected” by me copying some of her behaviors and vocalizations; it was kind of like me letting her be in control (she spends most of her day in ABA therapy), and she really seemed to enjoy it. one of our favorite activities was jumping. we would just look at each other and smile and laugh and jump together. well, just the past couple of weeks or so, a few times, she has started jumping, but as son as i start jumping with her, she will stop, sort of roll her eyes and give me “that look’ (like a little teenager). i’m pretty sure i’ve offended her. she’s much to mature to be playing with me. 😉 (they grow up so fast.)

    2. “Puberty – what was your experience or a memory of that time in your life?” – this is a really neat and weird thing: my first period, i had a strange feeling something was not quite right, about an hour before it started. not cramps, or anything like that, just a “gut feeling”. for the next twenty years, i never had my monthly period without dreaming about it the night before! crazy weird, i know, but also fortunate, because i never had “accidents” or surprises like some girls do. the worst thing about puberty, for me, was feeling like i couldn’t go outside and wrestle with the neighborhood boys anymore – but that only lasted a little while, and i was right back out there!

    • Ha! I’m really glad you were back out there and didn’t let being female stop you! It’s so much better for women and girls now than it used to be, even so, we have a long ways to go…

  7. Hi, these are good questions! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts.
    #1, actions taken that get responses we don’t want…well, I just think not knowing how things may turn out is part of life. I do things, I hope for things but I find getting responses I don’t want or didn’t expect does happen. I think the important thing is what we do after. Do we learn from this surprise & if so, what did we learn? Things just don’t always happen the way you think they might, that’s what makes us all different. If you try something that doesn’t turn out how you wanted, or thought, at least you tried and that’s better than not doing anything at all.

    #2, Puberty: I think that I was more worried about what others were thinking about me than anything else. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted, because my legs and hips kept getting rounder. So I paid attention to myself, but I wish I would have been kinder to myself and maybe spent more time realising all the positive things about myself.

    • “I wish I would have been kinder to myself and maybe spent more time realising all the positive things about myself.” ~ I think this may be a universal truth for just about all human beings!

  8. #1. For me the very worst is saying or doing something and getting no response at all! It feels as though I am being ignored, i.e not worthy of having anything to say on the one hand, or perhaps I have said something so bad, that ignoring me is the only way out. That bothers me so badly that I either shut down altogether and post no more or suffer days with a desperate need to hide. I do understand that replies are not always necessary, but I cannot feel that understanding.

    #2. Puberty brought so many strange feelings, too many to mention here, but one of the worst was being called deformed at school because I had breasts one could see, but did not find it necessary to wear a bra, while the ‘mean’ kids had nothing to show, but did wear bras. ‘Deformed’ loomed huge and ugly in my mind!
    (Ironically, when all those kids later went droopy, I still retained my lift because I did wear a bra :D)

    • Well there’s no way I’m not going to respond to your comment! Also – “I do understand that replies are not always necessary, but I cannot feel that understanding.” That is one of the best sentences I’ve ever read. I so, so get this.
      And thank you for answering the question about puberty. I am showing all of these comments to Emma this evening.

  9. #1 is hard and I really can’t think how to answer it.
    # puberty. I just remember so much embarrassment around it. I remember my mother talking to me about what we called “the facts of life” and periods. I thought it was all so gross I went to the toilet and vomited!

    • Oh my! I grew up in the days when the word “period” was just coming to be used regularly from a mother who had been told it was “the curse”. That’s enough to make anyone run screaming in horror.

  10. Such great, genuine responses!

    1. I try to be respectful of people’s privacy and not talk out of school. This has backfired on me on a number of occasions because people have interpreted it as being secretive and controlling of information.

    2. I was angry that puberty was out of my control – from when I started my period to how tall I ended up, there was nothing I could do to affect it. My period was accompanied by debilitating cramps. I would stay in bed tossing and turning in pain, and passed out twice. That made me angry, too. It is an anger that still exists on a small level 35 years later.

  11. Bigger On The Inside

    1. Oh, almost everything! So much of what I say or do seems to be misinterpreted by others, despite the fact that it seems totally logical to me. Social interaction is such a mystery to me, I’m never sure if I have unintentionally caused offence or made people think I’m upset or whatever. And, of course, I often can’t interpret other people’s reactions accurately either. It’s all very confusing. That’s why I prefer animals – you always know where you are with them!

    2. Puberty for me coincided (coincidentally) with some other stuff which meant that I grew up in a pretty horrible home situation. Plus, of course, I was autistic with no idea that I was autistic (and therefore no explanation of why I was so different and why some things were just so hard). All in all, it was a fairly horrible time, and I reacted and behaved in some of the ways you might expect. I’m sure if I had been younger, or perhaps if this had happened today instead of decades ago, somebody might have understood what was going on. But instead, everyone just presumed I was a horrible, lazy teenager and that it was all down to my hormones (as opposed to executive function disasters, sensory processing difficulties and the effects of what was happening to me at home). I try very hard to be accepting and forgiving about that period of my life, but I must admit I still feel very angry and bitter about it. Perhaps I am still just a hormonal teenager after all! 😊

    P.S. Emma, don’t believe anyone who tells you that you will stop getting spots once you finish puberty. That is one big, whopping global conspiracy of a lie!! 😄

  12. Some days I feel like #1 applies to literally everything I do. 🙂

    Trigger warning: self injury

    Puberty was when I started having adult-grade meltdowns and that was really scary because I didn’t like feeling so out of control and the hugeness of the emotions was new and overwhelming. Also the urge to self injure was new and hard to keep at a reasonable level. My parents had no idea what was happening either so they mostly took an approach of telling me I needed to stop being so emotional which was impossible.

    Wow, that was a downer. Next week I promise to share a fun answer to your fun question! 🙂

    • ((((Musingsofanaspie)))) Your comment is NOT a downer. On the contrary, it is so helpful to read other people’s experience. There is nothing so awful as feeling you are the only one who feels these ways and as a parent of someone new to so much of this, I thank you.

  13. I showed all of your comments to Emma and she just typed:
    “I valued all the thoughtful comments and thank everyone for taking time to answer my questions, particularly as I think memories can be upsetting.”
    I asked her, “Shall I transcribe this message you’ve just typed and put it on the blog and FB page so people can read it?”
    Emma typed, “Yes please, then they are knowing I am grateful for their experience and honesty.”

  14. A friend asked if I could point to resource for her autistic granddaughter (a little older than Emma) who was encountering and exploring ‘gender’ issues. It was then timely that Emma spoke to the issues she does here. We have some relevant initiatives on the ground here in Scotland, but it’s early days. Emma’s wise words are very welcome.

  15. I had a condition called PCOS – polycystic ovary syndrome, although I didn’t know it until years later. This meant highly irregular periods, and hirsutism. When I was 13, I developed chin hair. This is not unusual for this condition, but it was very traumatic for me. I was overweight, and feeling ugly, and my lack of social skills made me unpopular in a very cliquey school. This was an additional insult. Like I wasn’t a real girl, something I still struggle with almost 40 years later. Being infertile, another common result, and something I suspected as a teenager, hasn’t helped.

  16. For #1, I feel the same as Musings of an Aspie. It seems like no matter what I do and how careful I am, things come out wrong and people misunderstand.
    2. I hated puberty. I had a little teaching from my mother but I hated the changes in my body and it wasn’t talked about in our family. She basically made sure I knew I would be getting a period because she knew a girl in school who thought she was dying when she got hers. I started teaching my daughter good and bad touch etc. when she was two so she would hopefully be safer from predators (inside and outside the extended family). I also made sure I taught her things that were never taught to me and I have done so since she was little so she is more comfortable with talking about it.

  17. 1.) I find it very stressful when my actions provoke a response I don’t want as I am almost always blindsided by it and end up in tears. Sometimes even if the reaction to my action is unexpectedly positive it causes an intense emotional reaction that is stressful even if it is not bad.

    2.) Puberty was weird. On a physical level it was easier for me than other girls in that I was a late bloomer (which I was glad of) and even when things did start to happen there was no drama. No cramps and a light predictable period. A little awkward at first but not too traumatic. I was small busted until I was seventeen when I actually started thinking of boys as a part of my reality and then I suddenly grew three cup sizes. But the fact that I was following my own developmental curve physically as well as cognitively set me apart even more and it increased the bullying that I was already experiencing. But if it hadn’t been for the other kids, puberty would have been fine. I still love the wildly psychedelic dreams that come about four days before my period. My mum was pretty good at getting me through the physical changes. She was very matter of fact and never made a big deal out of anything and I didn’t seem to have raging hormones.

    • “She was very matter of fact and never made a big deal out of anything and I didn’t seem to have raging hormones.” Sounds like good, sound, parenting that all parents can aspire to, if we aren’t yet doing this.

  18. Thank you Emma for your great questions.

    For 1. Saying the right thing, or at least feeling like I was saying the right thing has always been difficult for me. I second guess myself and want to much to say the right thing, and then even when I think I am saying the right thing, doing the right thing, a friend would say something mean and point out that what I was saying, or things I did were not what friends did. I realize now that I was doing what many Aspies do. I was often addressing things like emotional hurts she would have with an action – do something – fix it – rather than have an emotional response which I think is what she was looking for. We are no longer friends and that is okay. I understand myself better now and realize that there were many things that I did that were what a good friend does. I realize now that picking good friends is important and in my wanting to fit in I had chosen someone who was more of a reciver than a giver. I’ve just been diagnosed (December 4th) so I am still learning so many things. : )

    For 2. Puberty. More of the fitting in kind of thing here too. I was a very thin child and teenager and would sometimes get teased about being a zipper or a beanpole. I did not develop for a long while and I so wanted to fit in and be like the other girls around me and my one closer friend that I would spend time looking at magazines and wanting to have the pretty long hair like those girls, or have breasts like those girls. I had none and would read the advertisements for exercises that the ad said would help me to grow a bust.

    When my girlfriend started her period and I still had not several months later I lied and pretended that I had started. She was always asking me and talking about how grown up she was because of it and I wanted to be like her. When I actually did start my period a year later it was kind of anticlimactic because I could not tell anyone because they though I already had my period. My skin was pretty good though. I know lots of other boys and girls who had a hard time with breakouts (Acne) and I did not have that problem. I did not hate puberty but I did feel very alone.

  19. Shannon Jenkins

    #1 : My facial expressions. This has gone on as long as I can remember, though in the past year I have been given a DX of ASD. People always say I look angry or upset because of my facial expression (usually I’m just in deep thought!). Also, because I have always been very honest I get accused of being blunt to the point of insensitivity…. which is not my intention…. but dishonesty isn’t either.

    #2 Puberty was hard on me. I was in public school thru 6th grade, then homeschooled due to social issues & bullying. In public school, I was a minority…. one of 2 white students in a class with Hispanics & Black’s so I was teased & bullied for my different appearance. My menstrual cycle brought on horrendous migraines and what I now know to be sensory overstimulation (light, sound, touch made me feel like I was dying) but I didn’t know it st the time. It didn’t help that I was shy & had no friends to discuss these things with & my parents didn’t explain much…..I don’t plan on being so unsupportive or quiet when my autistic daughter & NT son grow up. 🙂

  20. 1. I’m surprised how often this happens with my published writing. With the academic pieces, the responses are often just people seeing things I don’t in the topic, which is awesome! and the point of academic writing!

    But when I publish short fiction, some of the interpretations of characters’ motivations or goals are just…weird. Especially when I thought I made it clear what the character’s motivations and goals were, and my editor thought the same thing.

    2. For me, the hardest thing about puberty was that my desire for/interest in sex kicked in very early. But, being a girl and being raised in a very strict and tiny community, I was told constantly that any sign of sexual interest or desire was Bad and Wrong and would Ruin My Life. It’s taken me a very long time (about 20 years) to start realizing that just because the adults told me to fear and hate my feelings at age 12 doesn’t mean I need to continues to fear and hate them today.

    (I do wish someone had given me a safe, non-self-hating alternative to dealing with sexual feelings when I was younger. There has to be a middle ground between “do whatever you think your body is telling you to do” and “your body and its feelings are evil and terrible and you should never listen to anything they say ever.”)

  21. Special Teacher

    Saying or doing something that gets misinterpreted or worse – laughed at – is my #1 trigger point. I will shut down or meltdown. I still have very vivid memories from early childhood of the feeling of everyone’s eyes on me as they laughed at whatever “silly” thing I had done and how I was dying (shutting down) inside. It has not faded with age, and I cannot forget that memory, no matter how much I want to let it go.
    I can’t even watch it happen to other people without the same reaction. I can’t watch any kind of drama or comedy on TV or in the movies without having to run out of the room, because I get too uncomfortable. I can’t stand surprises or mysteries… Anytime someone is purposely kept in the dark or misled and then there is a big reveal: it’s torture.
    It’s part of why I’m not big on insisting on social skills groups/instruction. They just sound like torture to me. I’d rather live with my sub-par social skills and the instruction and insights I can get from nice safe books.

    • “I can’t stand surprises or mysteries…” I suddenly had a flash of insight as I read your comment. I drive my husband crazy because I want to know the end of a movie before we watch it. He finds this bizarre and will say, “but if I tell you, that will ruin it.” But it doesn’t. I really WANT to know. The discomfort and anxiety I feel NOT knowing is awful and THAT ruins the movie for me. If I know then I’m better prepared!

  22. 1. Compliments. I’m prone to accidentally phrasing things I intend as compliments as if they’re insulting or backhanded. I lost my best friend in HS for complimenting her shirt in a way that implied she was fat and then being utterly uncomprehending of why she got upset with me (she was very sensitive about her weight).

    2. On puberty: I hated everything about it. I hated body changes. I hated getting too big for my safe hidey-spaces, I hated no longer being the smallest kid in the grade, I hated how my nose and chin and teeth and feet all seemed to hit puberty years before the rest of me did (I wear a women’s size 8 shoe as an adult. I was a women’s size 7.5 by fifth grade). I hated getting cramps and breasts and hips. I gained a lot of weight before my puberty growth spurt, which I hit late (I didn’t break 5′ until 14), and so I got teased for that in addition to the other things I’d been teased for all the way through school. Periods were sensory hell when I got them, too – I had very severe cramps, to the point that I’d get so tense all my muscles would have that really strong burning feeling like if you clench them as hard as you can as long as you can, and I’d get nauseous. Some months, I’d be bedridden for two or three days. I grew up in a conservative family, so birth control pills as a possibility to lessen these symptoms was never brought up – when I went on them as an adult for asthma control reasons, I was amazed at the difference in my quality of life. It was never something even mentioned to me as a possibility for reducing how much periods were bad for me.

    To me, puberty was all bad and everyone around me seemed determined to try to convince me it was good and everyone seemed determined to ignore the fact that it was making me miserable, while celebrating all the ways in which it was wrong. My body was doing things without my permission and changing into something that, at the time, I felt was ugly and alien and not-me, and I hated it.

    Meanwhile, I was getting a whole bunch of new rules-that-aren’t-officially-rules that nobody would tell me about like Thou Must Wear A Bra, But Not A Sports Bra, Unless Thou Art In Gym Class (even though it makes more sense to just wear a sports bra all day on gym days and why can’t I wear sports bras if they’re more comfortable rather than the lacy monstrosities my mother keeps buying for me, anyway?). And I couldn’t find comfortable clothes anymore without shopping in the boys’ section, which I would then get made fun of from everyone from my mother to my classmates. And I hated the fact that they were changing the rules on me without telling me and without letting me know what the rules were in the first place.

    About the only thing I lucked out with in puberty was that I didn’t get acne at all. I had maybe a half dozen pimples a year, if that, for all of high school. That’s something I’m very grateful for, as I find them really, really uncomfortable.

    Coping with all of it was bad. I’d get rages and self-injure. I also fell into a deep depression during my later teen years, that I think started as a result of puberty.

    It’s not a time in my life I look back on fondly. I have no idea how anyone could’ve handled the emotional side of it any different, either. It was just a bad time. Though, I do wish someone had mentioned the pill to me a lot sooner – I cannot sing its praises enough.

  23. These are interesting questions, and very interesting insights from everyone in the comments. 😀

    Q1 – It is exceptionally troublesome to be misunderstood. My words are not always careful and they frequently have twists I was not aware of because words are their own path, not just the stepping stones I jumped to when I laid them out and paced over them in my own mind. With that I remind myself, intentions are not magic but phrasings aren’t a black box. So long as the sentence -can- be read in the way I intend I have done my job as a wordsmith correctly.
    However, I find my heart aches far more when I harm someone that I did not know I would injure.That is awful because if I had known more I could have prevented that pain.
    I remind myself often that if did not know ahead of time then learning is whats most important because while I can’t change the past I can always do better next time, but sometimes I still feel very guilty. You can apologize, but you can’t take back hurts, and I find myself wanting to cry a lot when I make a mistake.

    Q2 – Puberty was the start of being far more sick. My thyroid slowed and with my body under stress there was an uptic in my sinus infections. I developed asthma then too, running had made my lungs burn for years, but it became acute, barring some sports I enjoyed. (So I took up sports which didn’t require aerobic fortitude, thereby meeting a new friend. 🙂 )
    My depression worsened, in what was possibly a part of “normal” hormonal shifts (onset of puberty can be the start of depression for many, it was the deepening of my long term childhood depression.) I became listless, moody, and more easily at the edge of melt down, so I fought to avoid every adverse sensory experiences because one more thing was too many and having the wrong socks or pants for 8 hours at school was intolerable.

    Sexuality was interesting, and I was quietly curious about the kids taking risks for a mysterious gain I couldn’t understand. While I had crushes my peers felt a sort of “pull”. I thought I’d eventually “get” why, that something would click and I’d understand
    I wish someone had explained that some people do not experience sexual attraction, as it really made me feel more secure in my own skin once I knew why allosexuals all around me had feelings I do not. Turns out I’m a biromantic grey-asexual. If only I’d had those words at puberty.
    Would have been nice to know I’m autistic too. Save me all the anxiety of not knowing why I had sensory freak outs at “wrong socks” Heh.

  24. Pingback: “The Mean Voice” – Facts vs Feelings | Emma's Hope Book

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