I really don’t think people who aren’t Autistic or who don’t struggle with sensory issues understand that when it comes to certain stimuli, those things provoke actual feelings of pain, nausea, disgust, discomfort, etc for people that are Autistic/have sensory processing disorder.
Take “picky eating.” I was labelled a “picky eater” even as a little toddler. I couldn’t eat sauce, tomatoes, or have my food touching other foods. People said stuff like “She’ll grow out of it” or “She’ll eat it if she’s actually hungry” or “Tastebuds change; she’ll like it when she’s older!"
But the fact was, if it was a food I couldn’t eat, I literally couldn’t eat it. I’d try to eat lasagna and start crying, and gagging, and I’d have to spit it out. Guess what? I didn’t "eat when I was hungry” if it was one of those foods, I just didn’t eat. This was especially an issue when I started going to school and daycare (I eventually got a note from my doctors that detailed my Autism diagnosis and sensory problems, so that the local kids center would provide me with alternative meals. They treated it the same way they did with kids with allergies, basically.)
Also, I didn’t “grow out of it.” I still cannot eat tomatos, sauces, and most mixed food dishes. Because I just can’t even make my mouth chew and swallow without gagging and spitting the food out. Just a couple months ago I went to grab some chicken wraps from the local taco place, and I asked specifically that they hold the sauce. But they didn’t, so when I took a bite I got a mouthful of pain and chucked it right into my napkin (gross, I know. I’m making a point here though.)
So when Autistic people, or anyone with a sensory processing related disorder, tells you that they cannot handle something-whether that means being touched, wearing certain clothes, being around noise, or eating certain foods-remember what I just said. That’s how it feels, when people willfully ignore our reminders and warnings about our stimuli and triggers. That’s what you’re doing when you touch someone when they tell you it hurts them, or make them wear that suit or outfit, or put sauce on their food when they politely ask you not to. Granted, overload is different and presents differently in everyone, but bottom line-you’re choosing to disrespect someone’s boundaries, and their medical issues, and you are hurting them when you force certain stimuli on them after they’ve asked you to stop. Just respect people, and don’t shame people for not being able to handle or do the same stuff other people can.
hey i just wanted to say that if you’re already scraping by to make ends meet, the holidays are really hard. and that puts pressure on you and on your whole family. and if there’s one thing i hope you know it’s that you don’t need to prove you love someone by buying them something. i know we all want to get the people we care about really fancy things. but i’m okay if you get me like a smooth rock you found by the ocean. i know it’s true of other people, too. i’d rather you hand me a diy picture frame from popsicle sticks than something you had to go into debt to buy, and i think any person who’s worth their socks will tell you the same thing. and on that note? everybody loves socks, and they’re pretty cheap. yes, it’d be great if you and i stumbled on enough money to actually afford things. but love, i’ve learned, isn’t about the buying.
and on that note? for those of you out there who find the holidays a particularly dark time… i hope you know there will always be someone willing to open the door for you. even when it feels like there’s no one. even if that door is a window you have to crawl through.
and for those of us who have more than we need, i hope we open those doors. if you notice someone who is going to be alone during the holidays, or who is usually depressed but for no apparent reason seems markedly happy and is giving away their things, please invite them over. hang out with them, no matter how awkward it is. sudden cleaning and long notes about how much they love you are also signs of suicide. with recent changes in insurance, it’s increasingly harder to find mental health care, so help a friend out (and maybe even yourself!) by figuring out who still takes the insurance offered so we can all give ourselves the gift of coping mechanisms, the gift that keeps on giving.
The Train AU takes place in a town much like the ones you would find in southern Ireland. I have family over there and the scenery is so beautiful, the train rides I took to visit all my cousins were some of the most peaceful trips I’ve had. I want you guys to imagine a place with wide open fields and close-knit neighbors. But also cobblestoned city streets with more places to walk than drive. I want you guys to picture warm nature and stone fences.
Altea Academy is a private institution located in the modern downtown district of Finch (a made up town based on Dublin). The high school caters to talented and wealthy students and offers them a college preparatory education. Most of its students are child prodigies and scholarshiped athletes. The school itself is very reminiscent of Trinity University in Dublin. Due to its prominent nature, the school is known for being uptight, but its students are known for being quite troublesome. But since their students are regarded as the “best” the school rarely punishes them. If they did the child’s important angry parents would be breathing down the principal’s neck. The school’s football team is known locally and statewide, they have always dominated the competition.
Students of Altea:
Takashi Shirogane - Team captain and quarterback of Altea’s Black Lions. Shiro is seen by teachers as a straight-A senior and perfect student. But his friends and fellow students see him as tired soul. He stays up late to do homework and runs on nothing but willpower and energy drinks. He is constantly making bad decisions when his friends are not with him. Bad decisions include: Random piercings his current hairstyle, and regrettable tattoos. He is a huge space nut and can talk to you all day about the stars, their constellations, and their meanings. His affinity for stars has earned him the nickname Space Dad. He’s an Instagram legend thanks to his friend Matt and is sought after by every guy and girl in the district.
Katie Holt - A computer science prodigy, Katie was able to skip three grades and at age 14 she sits with her brother in the senior class. Due to the strict dress code, Katie was forbidden from wearing the men’s uniform and is constantly writing emails to the faculty about how unfair it is to deny her pants. She may look like she is diligently typing notes but Katie sits in the back of the class for a reason. She’s either hacking the school’s internet and database or playing video games, yet whenever called she can answer the question correctly. Unlike Shiro, the school knows Katie is not as sweet as she looks. Along with her brother, Keith, and secretly Shiro, she has pulled off countless school pranks.
Matt Holt - An angel in the eyes of teachers and best friends with Shiro. He pretends to scold his sister for her troublesome pranks when called to the office, but it’s all an act. Computer science and mathematics prodigy Matthew Holt is the face of several school adds along with Shiro. Due to his father’s strong government ties, the school can hardly punish his sister and thus could never touch him. Matt is Shiro’s lifeline making sure he studies, supplies him with Monster, and treats him to breakfast every once in a while.
Keith Kogane - A reckless punk in the eyes of teachers and staff. But a school icon none the less. No matter how many classes he sleeps through he always aces them. He’s on the football team with Shiro and has scored most of the school record-breaking touchdowns. He’s a golden boy at everything and anything and the teachers can’t do anything about his reckless behavior without incurring the wrath of his uncle, CEO of Galra Industries and Sciences, Zarkon. Keith’s parents died when he was very young. His mother’s brother took him in and raised him alongside his own son Lotor. He loves Keith like his own son and bought him the house his parent’s lived in on the outskirts of the quiet town of Creek.
(Lotor goes to another elite high school in Finch where the football team is co-ed. Lotor is the quarterback and captain and the girls he leads are hella strong. Their team is usually ranked third in the district and is constantly trying to one-up Altea. )
West Creek High is a local high school in the much calmer town of Creek, about a four-hour train ride from Finch. The school itself is a community high school, lots of local kids go here. It’s an old building with laxed old rules, and well-behaved students. The school’s pride is its football team, most kids go to West Creek just to make the team. They are ranked second in the county. In Creek, the streets are more for walking and less for driving. There is a local Somoan bakery that makes fresh pastries every morning and next to them is a cafe. The owners are good friends and together bring in business for both shops.
Students of West Creek High
Hunk Garret- A lovable sweet boy with a heart of gold and the body of a god. Hunk is the school’s famed linebacker, he’s a hulking beast on the field and could break a normal high schooler in two. But Hunk couldn’t hurt a fly and only joined the team for the scholarship so he could save his mother money. He helps run the local Somoan bakery with her and is looking to take over the business when he graduates. He’s best friends with Lance and has been since pre K. They have matching wristbands, the one Hunk wears is Lance’s favorite color while the one Lance wears is Hunk’s favorite color. Sometimes he and Lance stay up hella late playing video games with their online friend Pidge.
Allura - The resident hottest girl in school, Allura is rather down to earth and sweet once people get to know her. She runs a fashion blog and dominates Instagram with gorgeous selfies. Although her father is the CO-CEO to Galra, and she could have gone to any school she wanted, she chose West Creek out of all the fancy prep schools. She thought the homier the neighborhood the kinder the friends. She became friends with Hunk and Lance because she frequently eats at Hunk’ s bakery. Lance is her wingman and always lets her know if a guy at a party is trouble. She currently has a crush on this guy who keeps showing up on her insta feed.He’s got a fringe of bleached hair and piercings. His friend’s feed is filled with pictures of the said bleached boy doing hilarious stunts and sweaty football pics. It’s a blessing.
Coran Smythe - Is the schools most eccentric and loved history professor. He somehow has a strange unheard historical fact for every era they cover in class and often judges the textbooks on getting certain events wrong or the author being completely off base. Not only is he a great teacher but he is also a great coach. He coaches the Creek Creatures football team. The mascot is some kind of cryptid, the current costume resembles Mothman.
Lance Sanchez - A straight-A student and all around excitable guy. He wants to be an astronaut, or a fighter pilot, or something to do with the sky. Lance loves the idea of flying and wants to get his piloting license when he graduates. Lance lives on the outskirts of Creek where his family owns a farm with horses, cows, and lots or sheep. So his mom makes him take the train to make sure he gets to school on time. He’s always been a little bit of a daydreamer and is often caught zoning out in class.
The train ride from Creek to Finch is an hour and a half, the train consists of mostly leisure cars where you can sit at a table and be treated to a snack trolley. Otherwise, you can sit in the many standing cars with minimal seating and more standing room.
What if, when Petunia Dursley found a little boy on her front doorstep, she took him in? Not into the cupboard under the stairs, not into a twisted childhood of tarnished worth and neglect–what if she took him in?
Petunia was jealous, selfish and vicious. We will not pretend she wasn’t. She looked at that boy on her doorstep and thought about her Dudders, barely a month older than this boy. She looked at his eyes and her stomach turned over and over. (Severus Snape saved Harry’s life for his eyes. Let’s have Petunia save it despite them).
Let’s tell a story where Petunia Dursley found a baby boy on her doorstep and hated his eyes–she hated them. She took him in and fed him and changed him and got him his shots, and she hated his eyes up until the day she looked at the boy and saw her nephew, not her sister’s shadow. When Harry was two and Vernon Dursley bought Dudley a toy car and Harry a fast food meal with a toy with parts he could choke on Petunia packed her things and got a divorce.
Harry grew up small and skinny, with knobbly knees and the unruly hair he got from his father. He got cornered behind the dumpsters and in the restrooms, got blood on the jumpers Petunia had found, half-price, at the hand-me-down store. He was still chosen last for sports. But Dudley got blood on his sweaters, too, the ones Petunia had found at the hand-me-down store, half price, because that was all a single mother working two secretary jobs could afford for her two boys, even with Vernon’s grudging child support.
They beat Harry for being small and they laughed at Dudley for being big, and slow, and dumb. Students jeered at him and teachers called Dudley out in class, smirked over his backwards letters.
Harry helped him with his homework, snapped out razored wit in classrooms when bullies decided to make Dudley the butt of anything; Harry cornered Dudley in their tiny cramped kitchen and called him smart, and clever, and ‘better ‘n all those jerks anyway’ on the days Dudley believed it least.
Dudley walked Harry to school and back, to his advanced classes and past the dumpsters, and grinned, big and slow and not dumb at all, at anyone who tried to mess with them.
But was that how Petunia got the news? Her husband complained about owls and staring cats all day long and in the morning Petunia found a little tyke on her doorsep. This was how the wizarding world chose to give the awful news to Lily Potter’s big sister: a letter, tucked in beside a baby boy with her sister’s eyes.
There were no Potters left. Petunia was the one who had to arrange the funeral. She had them both buried in Godric’s Hollow. Lily had chosen her world and Petunia wouldn’t steal her from it, not even in death. The wizarding world had gotten her sister killed; they could stand in that cold little wizard town and mourn by the old stone.
(Petunia would curl up with a big mug of hot tea and a little bit of vodka, when her boys were safely asleep, and toast her sister’s vanished ghost. Her nephew called her ‘Tune’ not 'Tuney,’ and it only broke her heart some days.
Before Harry was even three, she would look at his green eyes tracking a flight of geese or blinking mischieviously back at her and she would not think 'you have your mother’s eyes.’
A wise old man had left a little boy on her doorstep with her sister’s eyes. Petunia raised a young man who had eyes of his very own).
Petunia snapped and burnt the eggs at breakfast. She worked too hard and knew all the neighbors’ worst secrets. Her bedtime stories didn’t quite teach the morals growing boys ought to learn: be suspicious, be wary; someone is probably out to get you. You owe no one your kindness. Knowledge is power and let no one know you have it. If you get can get away with it, then the rule is probably meant for breaking.
Harry grew up loved. Petunia still ran when the letters came. This was her nephew, and this world, this letter, these eyes, had killed her sister. When Hagrid came and knocked down the door of some poor roadside motel, Petunia stood in front of both her boys, shaking. When Hagrid offered Harry a squashed birthday cake with big, kind, clumsy hands, he reminded Harry more than anything of his cousin.
His aunt was still shaking but Harry, eleven years and eight minutes old, decided that any world that had people like his big cousin in it couldn’t be all bad. “I want to go,” Harry told his aunt and he promised to come home.
I had purchased my first home in a slightly lower class area of town, which is pretty close to an even lower class area of town. (Think slightly ghetto a mile from absolute trailer trash.) I know most of my immediate neighbors, since most of them are pretty loud and I’d rather be friendly with them than have them be my enemy.
Some local kid likes to go around collecting trash in his free time. A real nice kid, does it for really no reason. Whenever I see him, I usually get him a drink, lemonade or soda so he can stay hydrated. (California is hot.) Sometimes I give him a few dollars, I offer the kid $30 a month to mow my lawn 2x a month. So, kid has a gig for small, but consistent income.
The kid takes a lot of pride in his work. He mows the lawn, pulls weeds, moves rocks out of the driveway, and just makes my place look extra nice, even though I don’t even ask him to do any extra work. This guy is great.
This goes on for a few years, kid is now a senior in highschool. Family is not doing so great, dad just lost his main source of income, and mom had accumulated debt which put a lot of stress on their failing marriage. Mom was abusive verbally and sometimes physically to both the kid, and the Father. But the kid keeps on walking, doing work, volunteering and being a real happy, up beat dude.
Despite his troubles at home, the kid starts buying lawn decorations. Mostly small, little gnomes, some decorative rocks, and bird bath, and he decorates my yard. It looks amazing, but I knew he must have spent a lot of his own money on that. I try to reimburse him, and he denies. He won’t take it. I know he needs a car, and I was about to get a newer one for myself, so I gave my mine for free. It really was the least I could do for this guy for everything he has done for me.
A few weeks later, a drunk driver T bones the kid, and he dies on the scene. I was devastated, his parents were devastated, and they soon after got a divorce.
They were fighting over who gets what, and the father discovers that the mother had a drug addiction she had been hiding. Straight out of left field. She wants everything they had, and she lawyers up to fight the battle. Due to the debt the mother had accumulated on the father’s bank account, he had really no money. And nobody knew where she got her money from. As sad as it is, it’s not my affair. Until she sent me a letter claiming that the yard decorations are rightfully hers, and that she will take them “or else”. Now, this is a problem.
I get it, you lost your only child. You’re in a lot of pain as a parent. But you were never a good parent to him. I was closer to him than you, by a long shot. So, I had a meeting with the father, and told him not to worry about the court costs. I decided I was going to fund him in court.
Long story short about their divorce battle, but he wins, and gets to keep everything, and even gets a restraining order on her. He then files for credit card fraud, and puts all the debt on her.
I heard from the father that she was recently arrested for driving while drunk, and was search and has a decent stash of meth on her. She is currently awaiting trial for that, while the father is living a life now relatively stress free. And I got to keep my lawn decorations. RIP Johnathan. You are missed.