Tag: relationships

“Married at First Sight” – Thoughts About Modern Relationships

I am watching a Channel 4 documentary called “Married at First Sight” wherein single people who are tired of being single for long periods of time and are looking for love, decide to marry people they have never met. Matchmaking experts match people together through biological, psychological and anthropological means. Throughout the show, the experts and candidates explain the difficulties of dating including too much choice, high expectations and other life commitments. Like newspaper articles about fertility, this show gives off a sense of panic fuel. If you are single or in a relationship of any length, the pressure to find a compatible person can strike fear into your very own soul.

I will not be specific about my own relationship in this post for the sake of privacy and relevance. What I will say is that I am happy with us and it is currently my longest relationship since I started dating. What makes me afraid the most is the uncertainty of relationships lasting. Sometimes it’s because of infidelity, sometimes it’s abuse, sometimes it’s dating for the wrong reasons, sometimes it’s a personality clash, and sometimes it’s simply growing apart. Even if everything is fine and you love each other, you can fall apart simply because your career can dictate what will happen and where you will live. The other fear is not really knowing how you know you’ve found your soul mate or “the one”. I do not know if these are real concepts or not, nor will I get into them. I do believe however in compatibility since that is based on logic. But could a person have compatibility with more than one person in any one time or throughout a lifetime? Luckily, things can become clearer as time goes by. If I wrote this article before my current relationship I would express my doubts over the existence of love in general. I used to believe that relationships were nothing more than a fusion of a need of sex, a basic foundation of friendship and a fear of dying alone. That has changed now and even if things end with the man I’m with now, at least I know it exists.

The main lesson we all need to learn is that we all need to stop putting pressure on ourselves and each other to have everything perfect at a certain time, especially our personal lives (we’re talking to you “needing to have your own biological kids before 30” articles). If we are just our relaxed, happy and social selves, we will have a better chance of finding someone. And if it takes a little longer, you’re no less of a person than those who got married at 27. (Same for those who got married younger than planned, you’re fine).
So whether you are single or with someone, do not worry about it. It will work out in the end.

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What People Don’t Tell You About Being An Autistic Adult

April is Autism Awareness month and every April, it has been my mission to raise awareness in ways people do not normally do so. Last year I wrote about the stupid and ignorant things people say to autistic people and here is the link to those who wish to read that post: https://collectionofclancy.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/dumb-things-said-to-autistic-people/ This year I have decided to write about the challenges many people in the Autism Spectrum Disorder face when they reach adulthood. The reason why I decided to do this is because with so many services to ensure more autistic children than ever receive diagnosis and early intervention a lack of knowledge and support to ASD adults who weren’t severe became painfully apparent. Many of these I learned for myself through experience.

  1. Third Level Institutions approach disabilities differently to school: Since universities and colleges are responsible for thousands of students every year, they are very experienced in dealing with students of disabilities including autism. Their support services are very extensive, and you ultimately choose what you need and when you need it, which gives you more freedom to deal with your problems than school did.
  2. Autism is always an extra factor in every academic decision you make. Applying for college, going on Erasmus year and applying for post-graduate study can be stressful as it already. However, people with autism must always take their condition into account. In my case, I am currently preparing for my Erasmus year in the UK. The university I chose was based on what was on offer, accessibility and distance from the nearest airport, subjects, my parent’s wishes for me not to go to America alone, my personal preferences, and of course what support services the university had for autistic people like me. Even after getting my place I will have to contend with registering with their support service as well as organising accommodation and subjects, which is annoying. Alan Rickman
  3. Job applications causes dilemmas. CV, check. Cover letter, check. Application, check. Interview attire, check. Questions, check. The problem, do I tell the employer or HR manager that I have autism? It is the big question we all face and sadly no definitive answer. Will you be rejected the job if you tell them mid-interview? If you get it, will they be angry you didn’t say it sooner? Do you get the appropriate help if you need it? Will you be seen as a valuable worker or the office autistic? Do autistic people ever get jobs at all? Seriously, I actually don’t know.    scissorhands
  4. Most partners will accept you for who you are. When you are single and without experience, you are scared no person will accept you or your autism in the romantic or sexual context. That is not entirely the case. Many partners are attracted to who you are as person and see beyond the condition. Unfortunately, you may encounter some who only see you as an entertaining clown and nothing more because of the quirks you cannot control. Those people do  not deserve your love nor your time.                                                             heart
  5. It is very easy to worry about the future because there is no information out there. Many people with autism worry about the future because they have no idea how to deal with jobs, whether or not your kids will inherit autism too, whether or not you are capable of raising kids, can you live independently, where you will go when your disability services are gone. I have gone through a lot of searches about autistic adults and there is very little out there, or it is negative, causing me to panic about the future often.
  6. You are not the only one. In my experience, it has been difficult to find people who are like me. They are either much younger than I am or they are at a different intellect. Luckily, through college and the services I am registered with, I have found people who are similar to me, which is refreshing and reassuring to know that I am not alone.

Death in the Friend Zone

Today, I heard a horrific story. It was about a drive by shooting which happened on Friday 23rd May in Santa Barbara in California, where 7 people (including the gunman) were killed, and 7 others were injured. The identity of the killer was 22 year old Elliot Rodger who had previously posted a video on Youtube called “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, explaining his motives. What were his reasons, you ask? The fact he never had a girlfriend. Yes, you read that right.

In Elliot’s video he rants about women who supposedly rejected his advances and unleashed a tirade about his ‘loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires,’ and blames women for preferring ‘obnoxious brutes’ to him, ‘the supreme gentlemen.’ Here are some of the quotes said in the video: 

‘I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl,’ 

 

‘College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it,’ He repeatedly promises to ‘punish’ women and lays out his plan for ‘retribution.’

‘I’m going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoilt, stuck-up, blonde slut that I see inside there. All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them,’

 

‘I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male,’

‘Yes… After I have annihilated every single girl in the sorority house I will take to the streets of Isla Vista and slay every single person I see there. All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure…’ 

Sadly, this case of murderous revenge for being rejected by girls is not the only one. On April 25th, a 16 year old high school student named Maren Sanchez from Connecticut was pushed down the stairs in the high school hallway before being stabbed in the neck, because she turned down his offer to be her date for junior prom which was to be held later that evening. The killer, 17 year old Christopher Plakson who is diagnosed with psychosis and faces up to 60 years in prison, the minimum charge is 25 years.

Why do these tragic stories cause concern? Because of the concept “the friend zone” . According to Wikipedia this refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. It is generally considered to be an undesirable or dreaded situation by the lovelorn person. It has been used as a plot device in many TV shows and movies such as the Ross/Rachel plotline in “Friends” and the 2005 film “Just Friends” starring Ryan Reynolds. Many people who end up in the friend zone (commonly men) find this frustrating because they often believe that girls only go after the douchebag boys, while they claim to be sidelined for being the “nice guy”. This “friend zone” concept is bad for many reasons (don’t worry anti-feminists, misogyny is only one of them):

  1. It is extremely sexist: The friend zone is commonly seen as “boy asks girl out but girl turns him down and only wants to be friends”. It places the blame on the girl, purely because she has no sexual or romantic attraction to the boy. It is wrong to pressure a girl into liking you and trying to kiss, touch or have sex with a girl without consent is sexual assault. Not only that, the idea of girls only going after douchebag guys is a huge misogynistic stereotype that needs to stop. 
  2. It devalues what friendship really means: If a guy is friends with a girl and one of them only wants to be friends, you must respect their decision, not stalking them, or barraging them with messages, or guilt trip the person, or verbally/sexually/physically abuse them. Because THAT IS NOT WHAT FRIENDS DO TO EACH OTHER. For many, they value their friendship with that person so much, they do not want to put that at stake, just for a relationship that might not even last. And for others, they realised they were better off friends than lovers (which happened to me) and it works out fine.
  3. It doesn’t take into account how love and attraction actually works: The myth of “girls only go after douchebags” is a common argument to rejected guys in the friend zone. That is completely wrong. Girls only go after people they are attracted to. You can’t choose who you’re attracted to, just like you don’t choose to be gay. Girls have the common sense to be attracted to those who are nice to them. Unfortunately, the nasty side of his personality rears its ugly head later on in the relationship and shit hits the fan. You are not owed anything to being nice. You are not owed a relationship for being a nice guy. When it comes to love, you have to be patient and let it happen naturally. 
  4. It shows how love is seen as self-worth for many: In this current society, we constantly see, hear and read things about how important love, sex and relationships are, and you’re not worth jack until you’re with someone. People are afraid to die alone. People want to love and feel loved. And many would sell their kidney to lose their virginity. It scares me how so many people use other people and love as a measure of their self worth. If they are single and/or a virgin, they feel that something is wrong with them. They question why they are the only person ever who’s single. (I actually thought I was too “ugly” and “retarded” so that’s why boys didn’t like me, which was wrong) This causes people to hate themselves, harm themselves, starve themselves, pretend to be someone else. The message I have is this: There is more to life than sex and love. Relationships do not define who you are or your value as a person. Do not rely on others to make you feel good as a person. Because it will cause you a lot of pain in the long run. 

To the families affected by the Santa Barbara tragedy and the family of Maren Sanchez: I wish you consolation in your time of sadness and I am sorry for your loss. Rest in peace.

 

 

What College Means To Me: A Look Back On First Year

Since my relatives decided to go there, I wanted to go to University College Cork. Seeing them go through their time living in the city I always felt that I would never get to that stage. That it was always out of reach. This feeling amplified when I got into Leaving Cert when I feared that I’ll have to repeat because I wasn’t smart enough. Or that autistic people never go to college, purely because I didn’t know anyone who did. Although I loved my six years in secondary school, Leaving Cert was hell and I did things I am not proud of. As I was getting nearer graduation, I just wanted to fast forward to September because I would be anywhere else and I would be happy because it wasn’t the Leaving Cert. On October 12th 2012, I went on an open day to UCC. I considered doing Arts because I wanted to study English. Looking at the other arts subjects and the college itself, I saw myself there in the future and it felt right.

I also discovered the course Arts International. It was exactly like Arts, except everyone in the course could study abroad in third year, no matter what subject you did. My brother went to America when I was in Junior Cert and my sister went to Scotland when I was in Leaving Cert. They loved it and as my mother says “it was the makings of them”. I always wanted to travel and I knew I’d need more time to develop as a person (which is also why I did Transition Year when I was 17).

I finished my exams on June 13th 2013. Two months later, shortly after my 20th birthday, I got my results. I got 435 points, which I knew was enough to get into UCC. The following Monday, the CAO offers came out. Arts International in UCC was offered to me and I accepted. I checked the number of points the course on the paper: 430. That made my success even sweeter. 

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I picked my subjects in arts: English, Sociology, Philosophy and Greek & Roman Civilisation. I moved into my college house a week before classes started. I got registered on the orientation day and got my student card. I met new people at my house. We had an orientation party. I got advice from my sister. Things were looking great.

 

I started college on September 16th 2013. My first class was Greek & Roman Civilisation. Shortly after, I met a girl in the UCC gift shop (which I’ll call her Mrs Potter). She was the first friend I ever made in college that stuck. We talked about Harry Potter and Korean dramas that day. I sat next to her in Greek & Roman since then.

 

I was a little nervous of what I had to learn, especially English. The timetable was misleading. I wasn’t registered to Blackboard. I joined tae kwon do and several societies (perhaps too many). I watched Iron Man 3 with a boy I liked in the sci-fi society. There was the Freshers Ball which was amazing fun.

Week 2 was not fun because I had laryngitis, which was painful and made it harder to socialise with new people. That week, I discovered the Mythological Society. They talked about myths in Marvel Comics. It was interesting. A few weeks later, I accidentally became first year rep for myth soc.

By October, my one friend Mrs Potter, I could only meet her at Greek & Roman. The boy I liked stopped hanging out with me. I was so lonely. That changed on the open day. Myth Soc had to promote themselves and I was roped in with the OCM (who I’ll call Pony Boy). We set up the stall together. We chatted, struggled to steal tables and we became friends. The following Thursday, he introduced me to his friend (who I’ll call Happy). I discovered that the three of us did Philosophy and we became “The Philosophy Three”. Happy also became my friend and I also sat next to him in Greek & Roman. 

Since late 2012, I wanted to be a journalist. I was encouraged to join Motley magazine by my mother. My first article was about selfies and Snapchat. When I saw it published for the first time, I was so happy. As the months went on, I did more articles, learned a few lessons and even got to interview Elyar Fox. The editor loved my work and even wanted me to apply for the editorial team. I fell in love with journalism and I want to do it for the rest of my life.

I took opportunities, talked to people through societies. I even rose up the ranks to OCM and Events & Equipment Officer in Myth Soc. I went to screenings regularly at Sci-fi. I attended two anime conventions: Eirtakon in November and Kaizoku Con in March. My small group of friends became even stronger after helping move in to my 2nd (and much nicer) flat. I had fun times, went to a few parties, watched animes, played Cards Against Humanity, hung out in McDonalds at 11pm, became a tae kwon do fighter, and worked hard when needed.

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College even made love my family more than I already did. I became more grateful for what my parents did to help get me here. Nobody expected a screaming 3 year old with autism to become this person in 2014. On my month off, I studied with my sister every day in the library and sometimes during the year we would eat pizza together and watch Graham Norton at her house or my house.

So the question is this: what does college mean to me? It means EVERYTHING! It made me more confident, happier and smarter. it gave me friends, experience, and this is the best thing to ever happen to me and I am so grateful for it all.  

One year down, three to go.

10 Things I’m Thankful For

Today is Thanksgiving in America and from my knowledge of it from TV and movies, there’s a big dinner and you’re grateful for stuff. So here’s 10 things I’m thankful for: 

  1. Getting into college: This is a big thing that happened in my life this year. I’m very fortunate to get into UCC and I love my life here.
  2. My family: Since I don’t see them as much anymore due to college and people living in other places. So when I do see them, I try to make the most of it and enjoy their company.
  3. My friends: To my old and new friends, I love them equally. Like my family, I also try to make the most of them when I see them.
  4. My boyfriend: He is a fantastic, smart, funny and caring person. He is so awesome it is glorious!
  5. College Dinners: If it wasn’t for them, I would starve. Thank you!
  6. My love of writing: If it weren’t for that, I’d have no poetry, no blog or no articles. And thank you to all my faithful readers! 
  7. Blackboard: This device for notes in UCC is my saviour for missed notes!
  8. The Internet: Because internet.
  9. My bed:It’s so soft and warm!
  10. Male British Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston are so pretty, lovely and awesome people who are amazing actors. I love them so much!

That’s it. What are you grateful for? You can comment under my blog. I want to wish all my American friends and readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

“Ketchup Bottle”

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As I commence to feast upon my long-awaited meal at the banquet, I am served with an unassuming bottle of ketchup. Transparent, glass exterior, filled with blood red sauce. It interests me (though I do not need it to make the meal taste good).

I turn the lid to open it and turn the bottle over. The sauce seeps out in droplets, one by one. “It is not enough”, I think to myself and I smack the bottle hard at its base. Just as I have enough sauce for my meal, the bottle shatters into pieces.

The ketchup explodes on my meal, and on me (exactly where my heart should be). I learn that I cannot leave the banquet hall table to clean my mess. I must learn to eat, despite my distress.