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…

Popping the Clubbing Cherry

I went clubbing last Friday night. I know, weird, huh? 

I went, because of the fact that I know that I need to try new things before I decide whether I dislike it or not, like trying new foods or listening to new music before I come to a judgement. This is how I know that I don’t like marrow, and dislike rap and RnB music. I now know also that I actually am mad about tuna mayo on a jacket potato, and actually like a bit of ska and mod (I blame my father in law for that one). So, I knew that people said good things, and because one of the girls in the halls I’m in is a promoter of a club, I knew I would get on the guest list, and should be perfectly safe…

It was fine at first, as I went earlier, whilst it was dead, to get a feel of the place. Then people started filling the place. I’m not claustrophobic of agoraphobic, but I could feel a sense of dread as I sipped my fake Malibu and lemonade (which was gross, by the way). I disliked the fact that people would just barge through without saying ‘excuse me’, men would be more than happy to have a feel of my bottom, and when a fight broke out, a bouncer tore past me, smacked me in the face and sent me flying into a group of girls who looked less than impressed to have a panicked autistic girl practically thrown into their laps.

Therefore, I have decided that clubbing is not for me, especially as I had two big panic attacks, which I haven’t had since I was at secondary school. I won’t get that night back, which sucks, but at least I know now that clubbing isn’t nice. Which begs the question, so many people with AS I know want to be able to go clubbing, but are unable to because of the loud music, bright lights, crowdedness, smoke, physical contact and unpredictability, and nowhere to go if they are feeling stressed.

So, I recon clubs should be able to do at least one AS friendly event a month, with a suitable environment for people to enjoy, with a reduced volume of music, rooms for people to ‘time out’ in, carers go free, dimmer lights, no smoke machines and a system where someone wears a wristband to state if they are happy to be approached by strangers or not, like a green one if they are cool with it, and red if not. Bouncers and staff in the club would also be trained in AS and how to cope with panic attacks and sensory overload in a sensitive manner.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  You can see the money in it, come on! Cinemas already have AS friendly screenings, and sometimes West End shows will put on AS friendly versions of productions. So why not in bars and clubs?