I Work All Night, I Work All Day…

*hums ‘Money, Money, Money’ under breath*

Oh, didn’t see you there!

Sorry I haven’t posted anything long and decent for a while. I’ve just properly settled back into university life, getting into the swing of things. And I still have SO MUCH to catch up on before I can properly relax…

But I thought, for the moment, that I would live dangerously, and blog for a bit, catch up with my lovely readers, and remind everyone that I am alive and well (just…)

So, this past week…

Last Monday I had my second stand-up gig ever, with the Idle Playthings endorsed event Proving Grounds, so that was very exciting. I really felt a lot more confident this time around, having confidence in my material, the time slot and with talking to an audience. Some shameless ADHD/pansexual gags later, it became a pretty smooth night. I’m really pleased that I kind of swallowed my nerves to get that stuff done, especially as I’d had a serious hay-fever attack that day, causing me to look and feel disgusting, but it was so worth battling through it to get it done.

We also had a May the Forth Be With You party, involving Cards Against Humanity, alcohol and lightsaber fights in the university grounds in pitch black at 1am. I fell over during a weird rap-battle-esque duel with my friends, and really did in my toe, with gore all over the place (I’m being over dramatic, there was blood, but only destroying my socks), so had to limp back and get seen to. I guess it just reminded me of all the amazing friends that I’ve made since coming to university, as well as the fact that even that night I made a couple more friends, which is always brilliant!

The new academic building opened last week for student’s use. I had a seminar in their for the first time, and it did feel rather odd at first. But then I found the Starbucks (we have a freaking STARBUCKS!!!!!), learned that I like Caramel Macchiato (1 shot of espresso please, not two, that would be ghastly), and that I could spend all day working/procrastinating at tables with BUILT IN PLUG SOCKETS!!!! Welcome home, H, welcome home….

I’m gradually handing work in at the moment, at least one piece a week I’m aiming for at the moment. I’ve had extra study sessions booked in with the study tutor, and my mentor, they are happy with my progress, although I’m being nagged to work more outside of the sessions, so I am attempting to, but life always seems to get in the way…

So, I went to the Sleep Clinic in Bristol for my consultation a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve basically rooted the problem down to Sleep Pattern Delay Insomnia. Which, they explained, is probably either caused by my ADHD, or the ADHD is making it considerably worse. The only downside is that they don’t know how to treat me for the sleep issues until I’m finally being treated for the ADHD, which sucks. A lot. So I had to ring the ADHD clinic on Friday, and they said that even though my paperwork was faxed to them a month ago, that they’d only received it that day, and would meet on Monday to discuss whether I’ll be put on the waiting list for treatment…

So, looks like I’ll have to carry on muddling through then…

But on Wednesday I’m reading some poetry. I think I’ll read my edited version of Grey Hearts and Dancing Minds, a poem originally written as a prose piece, but seems to work better as a long performance poem. I’ll share it on the blog today, as I think I should start sharing more of my creative work on here, as not many people like to read on dA very much. So if you get spammed with lots of poetry in the next few days, that’s why. I’m nervous, as it’s a poem that’s angry, sad, passionate, everything that I’ve never allowed myself to be as a writer. But angry writing suits me, so I’m going to stick at it… 

I’ve also finally gotten my Irlen Syndrome glasses. I’m wearing them right now, and the world looks different… nowhere near as bright as I’m used to, it feels like someone has finally turned down the brightness levels of the world, so I can function without feeling blinded by everything. I can sit and write longer blog posts, stay outside longer, and generally enjoy myself without walking into things, or injuring myself…

Life is looking up, although it doesn’t feel like it right now. Damn studying…

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In Other News…

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This week just gone has been very unusual, as I’ve done things that have changed the way I view the world forever.

This time last week I was preparing for my debut into stand-up comedy. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, just to see how it feels to get up on stage and attempt to be hilarious for a paying audience. I entered the university’s ‘Battle of the Laughs’, which is like the traditional ‘Battle of the Bands’, but instead involves stand-up comedians rather than bands. The prize is to perform as headliner for the Summer Ball, in the comedy tent (we’ve only had this for two years, but we’re one of the few universities to have them), and last week was the first heat. I really enjoyed the rush I got when getting introduced as a stand-up by our lovely compare, and appreciated the laughter that I got from a few of my jokes. I didn’t get through to the final, but it was the experience that counted, and I’ve decided that I really would like to get some compare experience in next year.

I’ve also helped out at an Asperger’s Awareness training session with the financial team at university. I really appreciate the fact that various teams on campus want to be able to help students with autism and Aspergers to be able to get the proper support they need in a way that is comfortable. It makes me happier to think that people are starting to become more aware of how the disability can affect the day-to-day life of someone on the spectrum, and that they want to help in every way that they can to make the student’s lives a lot easier. Hopefully they will be rolling out the training across the board, so that all staff members of all departments of the university become more aware of autism and Aspergers and the issues they face. Speaking of issues, Josh sent me the link to a Youtube video, that I think you’ll all find rather interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDGvquzn2k

This is from Carly Fleischman, a young woman who has non-verbal autism, she communicates using a computer and speech software so she can explain what she needs/wants/etc. This video shows how it feels to be autistic, and the difficulties that you face when you’re dealing with sensory overload, and how it affects the world you live in, as well as how frustrating it is to be unable to explain what you want.

It’s an amazing video from a really inspirational person. It really shows what someone can achieve, regardless of their disability. If only other people could learn that we autistic people don’t want to be shut out from the world, but actually want to be given the opportunity to join in, and really make a difference, one that can change lives, for the better.

Also, next Thursday, I’m off to Amsterdam! My guidebook came through the post from Amazon, and I’ve flicked through it, getting more excited! The itinerary finally came through as well, so I’m so excited! I’m hoping that people will be able to come to the Anne Frank House with me, whilst one of my friends wants to go to all the places in The Fault in Our Stars, and to re-read the book, whilst I’m re-reading Anne’s diary. The only thing I’m dreading is all the actual travelling, as we’ll keep travelling from Bath to Amsterdam through the night. And I suck at sleeping on public transport. So I might have to ask for travel sleep meds from the doctor, as well as a letter from him to explain why I’ll be carrying sleep medication in my luggage. Oh my, so much to do before I leave as well, all the packing, the learning of some basic phrases, making sure my euro card comes in time…

I’m also going to partay! Yes, I’ve been invited to another Comedy Society party, and I’m really excited, as they always throw the best house parties, with Cards Against Humanity, Epic Rap Battles and other general awesomesauce stuff! I love parties, as long as I prepare myself in advance, like earplugs for sensory overload, making sure my handbag is packed, and that my phone is fully charged. It ought to be a great way of letting off steam after this really bizarre week that I’ve had

Other than that, it’s just a lot of catching up with work, writing and the writing of a comedy sketch involving material from my stand-up…

Party Survival Tips for AS Folk!

So, I’ve been really busy the past week, with so much going on. But last night was crazy, because of the annual Snow Ball (see what they did there, to keep things nice and secular). We all dressed up and even went into town to get our makeup done by the lovely ladies in Boots on the makeup stands. Then after some sort of pre-drinks party thingy, we all set off.

So, don’t get me wrong, I do love having a great time with my close friends. But parties are just a big struggle for me. This is when I really suffer with sensory overload, and also struggle with social etiquette. I know lots of people with AS struggle with this too, so I thought I would spend a bit of time quickly writing a post about party survival this festive season (and the rest of the year).

1) Pack your bag properly.

I have the usual things in the handbag I take to a social event, like my wallet, lipstick, mirror, phone, ID, keys to my room. But I also pack according to what kind of party I’m going to. So, for example, if I’m going to the Student Union where I know it’s going to be very loud, I pack my earplugs to help muffle the sound levels slightly. If lights are an issue (being too bright) I’ll pack some sunglasses.

2) Have signals/code words

I tend to feel awkward the most when someone I hardly know comes up to me, and starts getting all in my space and touchy feely. I also feel uncomfortable if I’ve had a bit much to drink, or if the music is too loud even with earplugs in, or I’m just feeling overwhelmed. So me and my two best friends have come up with clear hand gestures and phrases that I can say to them in a party situation to let them know I need a time out. They use them too with everyone now in our circle of friends, so it’s really useful, as I can just tap my elbow and have them come up with a socially acceptable excuse to usher me out into the fresh air.

3) Try to keep towards the edges

It’s best to stay out of the crowd, especially if you dislike being in one (that’s common sense, really). But being at the edges helps if you do need to make a quick getaway, as I’ve tried to escape from a big crowd before, and it isn’t pleasant.

4) Stand Up for Yourself!

Don’t let someone persuade you into doing something that isn’t comfortable. For example, I had a friend who dragged me into the crowds, and onto the stage which was full of loud drunk people, and made me dance whilst a guy grabbed my hands and kept spinning me. I didn’t want to say ‘no’ because I didn’t want to look like a party pooper, even though I was cowering in pain next to the speakers, but I do regret standing up for myself. It’s not fun having to say ‘no, I’m sorry, but that makes me feel uncomfortable’, but it is better than being in agony. Or, if they properly grab you, try and lose them in the crowd, and slink back to friends who will look out for you.

5) Don’t Push yourself

If you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. Just make sure you have a friend to walk with you, it’s never fun trying to get home whilst overloaded on your own.

I hope that helps a little bit. I know it might not always be the best advice, but these are just a few things I’ve learned on the way.

Lush Party!

For those who know me in personal life, you will know that I am obsessed with the cosmetic company Lush. They are a British company who focus on using natural, organic ingredients in their products. They are also a company that focuses on moral and ethical issues, for example, they don’t test products on animals, or use ingredients from companies that do test on animals. They source everything from fair-trade companies as well, so it’s good to know that the company isn’t just about sell, sell sell. I’ve always wanted to do a Lush event, and one day, I was invited to attend a Student Lock-in tonight, which was very exciting. I went with two uni friends, including my next door neighbour and a mutual friend.

We started the evening with a game of ‘Under and Over’ with their Whoosh Shower Jelly, with their Dirty Shower Gel added with water to make it harder. My team lost, which sucked, not that it mattered of course. We then went into groups, and then had a tour of the shop, with a brief consultation about the products. We then watched the making of a fresh facemask, Cupcake, and I popped some on my face (silly Heidi didn’t get a photo!). Then we were let loose to make purchases, and if you bought a certain amount of items, you got a goody bag with about £20 worth of stuff! It was a great night!

And, now, to show off my Lush Haul! (I’ll do a proper Lush post with all my products that I own soon, but I’ll show and talk about the stuff I got tonight)

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Here’s everything! 

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Here’s the first product! Jumping Juniper is a Solid Shampoo product, the argument is that it’s the raw product without all the preservatives or the packaging that isn’t needed. You basically use this like a bar of soap, lathering it up in your hands before washing it into your hair. I’ve used this version before, it’s pretty good for cutting through grease in the hair, as it has lemon in it.

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This is basically a solid deodorant, again, following the no packaging/no preservatives. You rub it carefully under the arms, like a roll on almost. Great for me, because of the fact that I can’t use normal deodorant as it makes me sneeze really badly. 

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Black Stockings is basically a block version of fake tan, as you let it melt onto the skin like a massage bar, and rub it in evenly in order to achieve a nice glow rather than the Tango style we are so used to seeing people bearing.

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Ah, Lust soap! I used to own the perfume of this scent, which I felt was a bit too overpowering. I remember everyone in my household getting a headache as it was such a strong smell, probably the jasmine. I’ll give it a go, to see if I prefer it as a soap compared to the perfume.

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Eau Roma Water, a really nice toner, you spray it like a mist onto freshly cleansed/scrubbed skin, before dabbing with cotton wool/tissues. The rose water and lavender is really good for soothing hot and bothered skin, so ideal for hot days.

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There is a reason Angels on Bare Skin is a Lush bestseller. The lavender calms the skin, and it’s so easy to use, ideal for most skin types. The almonds in the clay act like a gentle exfoliator as well, so you basically do two steps with one product! What’s not to like?

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My skin is a funny one when it comes to being a skin type. One week it is oily, next it is dry. I have to therefore use an all-rounder cream, and I love the way Imperilis feels on my skin, and adore the idea of the tiger lily used in the moisturizer.

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And, last but by no means least, my favourite free product they put into the goody bag. Last year Lush brought out its own makeup range called Emotional Brilliance, selling eyeliners and lipsticks, and named the shades after various emotions. I dare you to go into one of their stores to have a consultation! They have a wheel in there, which they spin, and get you to pick colours you like the look of, which reveals (in a strangely accurate way!) your emotional needs. they argue that makeup can involve colour therapy in order to make you feel better about yourself. I love it that the one I got was Strong. It really is a strong shade of red, and I really am a sucker for red lipstick. I do like to think that I have a very strong personality, as my friends will make me aware of. That said, I do need to strengthen my writing ready for the degree ahead, so perhaps this was a very apt choice for me. Not to mention I’ve wanted to have some Emotional Brilliance in my life, since it first came out!

So, that was my haul, as well as my experience of tonight’s event! Soon I’ll write a proper Lushy blog based on all the products I own, and why I love them!