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  • Writer's pictureTobey Alexander

Coping Chronicles: Navigating Life's Twists with My Quirky Toolkit thanks to autism

So, picture this – I'm at this overnight work conference, knee-deep in work-related shenanigans, and all the while, my brain's doing its usual thing, plotting my book and screenplay. Now, I've got to be honest; my brain ain't a fan of detours. Like, I thrive in the constant rhythm of life, just like most autistics do. But, you throw in a curveball, a break from the routine, and boom – my mood takes a nosedive. It's like my brain's way of saying, "What's the deal, universe?"

Sartorial Chaos and My "Unofficial" Uniform:

Now, let's talk clothes. Uniforms? Absolute lifesavers in my autism world. I've got a job with a uniform, and it suits me just fine. No choices, no fashion dramas. But then, these events come up, and they drop the bomb called "smart casual." Like, seriously, what even is that? It's a social construct with no real definition. Cue me, packing three or four outfits, one of which is always a bit too much "me." And get this, I wore the exact same outfit this year as I did last year – my unofficial uniform to dodge the fashion pressure. Who says lightning doesn't strike twice?

Sweating It Out: My Socially Acceptable Self-Harm:

Now, let's get physical – literally. My coping superhero? Exercise. It's like my socially acceptable form of self-harm, not that I'm advocating for the dark side. Even when my body's begging for mercy, I'm out there training. I mean, I had Covid a few weeks back, and what did I do for my second workout? A casual 7km row, heart rate flirting with danger. Daily, without fail, I'm hitting a full training session, and let's be real, 361 days of the year, I'm throwing in a structured second workout. They kickstart and wrap up my day – the pregame and postgame of life.

Strolling and Rolling for Sanity:

Let's not forget the non-exercise exercise – walking. I don't count it as a workout, but you know, weekends roll around, and there I am doing two sessions plus a 5-10km walk. Don't ask me about the math; it just works. Walking or riding, it's another one of my sanity-saving strategies. Maybe it's the constant need to feel like I'm moving forward, progressing, or perhaps it's just me being me. But walking? It's like my therapy, my way of hitting the reset button.

Into the Mind Gym: Training Thoughts:

Oh, the mind gym, that's a whole different workout. Remember NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)? Yeah, I had that ages ago. One of the strategies was separating work from home. Now, instead of processing on the drive home, I let my brain do its thing while I'm pumping iron. It's like multitasking, but with sweat. Those few minutes post-workout? That's when you catch me at my rawest, my most "me." Try asking me anything then – you might just get the most honest answers.

A Pep Talk in the Mirror: Facing Fashion Fears:

Back to fashion dramas, because why not? So, there I am, standing in front of the mirror, contemplating wearing one of my own empowering branded t-shirts to an evening event. I mean, I designed them to be bold and empowering, but fear kicks in. Cue a short, sharp pep talk in the mirror – "Dude, you got this!" It's a reminder that even the quirky ones need a little self-encouragement now and then.

Self-Awareness and the "Hotel Hell Workouts":

Now, my coping mechanisms, they're like my own secret recipe. I know they're a bit off the beaten path, but hey, they work for me. Self-awareness is key, though. I can spot when things are going a tad overboard, and I try to rein it in. And get this, thinking of filming my "Hotel Hell Workouts" – not just for kicks, but to share with others who might need a quirky lifeline in the future. Because, why not spread the sweaty joy, right?

Celebrating Diverse Coping Styles:

In the grand scheme, everyone's got their thing, their quirks. Some folks can switch up their clothes with ease, but for some of us, it's a whole production. It's all about awareness – appreciating that what soothes one soul might stress out another. Our coping styles are like a fingerprint, unique and funky. So, let's celebrate the weird and wonderful ways we navigate this crazy thing called life.

In the Tapestry of Life:

And there you have it, my coping chronicles. These aren't just quirks; they're the spice that flavors my daily narrative. In the grand tapestry of life, they're the threads that weave the story, navigating twists and turns with a dash of resilience, a sprinkle of self-awareness, and a whole lot of playful quirkiness. Cheers to embracing the unique journey that unfolds each day! 🚀✨

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