opinion

I’m an asshole, but I can’t help it.

I can still remember an interview I had with a tutor at the London College of Fashion – I was 21 and applying to be on their Makeup Artistry degree. The tutor asked me a question, to which I did not know the answer, so I replied ‘you’re the tutor, you tell me’ and suffice to say, I didn’t get an offer of a place on the degree after that interview.

You see, I’ve bumbled along my entire life, ruffling feathers. Something I’ve said will be taken the wrong way, misinterpreted or will be perceived as just plain rude. But the thing is, I don’t mean for that to happen. I’m not wired the same way as the majority of people – I have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Part of the condition means that I lack the ‘filter’ that non-Autistic (Neuro-typicals) people have – tact, diplomacy or whatever you like to call it – I lack. It is a part of what makes me, me.

Apparently, that makes me an asshole. But, at the age of 31 I am so so tired of having to talk my way out of situations that I find myself in, because my brain doesn’t connect the dots in the same way as the majority. I am sick and tired of having to apologise for saying something offensive – most of the time, I don’t mean to offend people, most of the time I don’t understand how people can find certain things offensive.

I am a big, fat asshole and I’m no longer sorry. I cannot help the fact that I have Autism and I am not going to apologise for my brashness, for my rudeness, for my belligerence (as a music teacher once said I was) I am wired differently. I say things how I see things and I’m incredibly matter of fact about things – I always have been that way.

So here I am, saying SORRY NOT SORRY for being tactless, undiplomatic or rude. If you know me, you know that I love fiercely, am passionate and I care deeply about the people closest to me. I want to look after people, take care of people and I am not a bad person. Yes, I put my foot in it all too often, but isn’t it time YOU made some room for us Neuro-divergents (people with Autism) who are just being themselves. Stop being so offended by something someone says and understand that the things we say come from a place of innocence and naivety not malice.

I do however, want to say thank you to the people closest to me, who over the years have experienced my lack of filter and have stayed put. They didn’t ‘unfriend me’ for something I said once, and they haven’t disowned me because I hate children (yes, I hate children) and they love me regardless. That is what I’m most thankful for that is what empowers me to keep being me.

Maybe, just maybe….the world would be a better place if we just let people be without trying to change them to fit into the Neurotypical World. Oh well, a girl can hope.

Signing off, Big Fat Asshole xx

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We’re engaged! (aka Fuck You Disney!)

My partner Carl and I have been together for nearly four years. He is my first long term boyfriend (my last relationship lasted just a year!) and we bought a house together in October last year. I guess it was only natural that being a woman, I’d be the one dropping hints about marriage.

We had discussed marriage quite early on in the relationship and agreed that it was something we’d both like to do at some point in the future, but Carl had said that he believes marriage is a religious institution so wasn’t too fussed about it either way.

Unfortunately for me, and most women my age, I’d grown up watching all the Disney ‘happily ever after’ fairy tales where the Prince rescues the Damsel in Distress and they get married and live happily ever after.

It dawned on me very recently, that I’m in a relationship with a man who wasn’t surrounded by the fairy tale romance ideal that is thrown down the throats of us ladies. He’s a man – he doesn’t watch chick flicks obsessively like I do. He doesn’t live vicariously through the Sex and the City crew or the Gilmore Girls like I do.

The ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ idiom is one that is true, at least for me. It was this realisation that made me stop and think ‘no, fuck you Disney, I’m doing this my way’ – So I decided to fuck every fairy tale and chick flick I’d grown up with and decided to move my relationship on myself. I asked Carl to marry me one night as we were sat on the sofa. I instigated ring shopping by saving my favourites to my Etsy account and asking Carl his opinion. When I found the ‘one’ I showed it to him and he gave me his card to buy it.

It wasn’t until we were lying in bed one night and he turns to me and says ‘give me back the ring, I want to do it properly when we’re in Marrakech’ – and he did. He got down on one knee, with the ring, on top of the terrace and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! But, I didn’t NEED him to get down on one knee and propose. I was happy being the instigator in the proposal, but he obviously felt like he wanted to propose to me too and that was lovely.

We’ve had a very egalitarian relationship from the beginning – we both cook, we both clean, we both make financial decisions, we discuss everything together. It seemed that we also managed to have an egalitarian engagement too!

I’m not saying, by any means, that ‘romance is dead’ or that I forced my partner into agreeing to marry me. By telling our story, I’m trying to diffuse the myth that a relationship (or marriage) is all about a man getting down on one knee. It doesn’t have to be that way – FUCK DISNEY, FUCK THE CHICK FLICKS. Also, fuck the ‘leap year’ idea that a woman can only propose to her man during a leap year – how the fuck does that make any difference!? Honestly!

There is no shame in a woman asking a man to marry her. Let’s break down the patriarchal dictatorship that rules our lives and say no to being the damsel in distress. I am not a princess locked in a tower, waiting for a knight in shining armour to save me. I’m a woman, who deeply loves her partner and wants to be legally married to him, to be his wife. Why does the man have to do the asking? In my world, he doesn’t.

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(Photos taken on the roof terrace of Riad Assouel in old town Marrakech, Morocco)

She said yes!!!

No, this isn’t an engagement announcement, before you get excited… This is a ‘my doctor said yes to putting me forward for female sterilisation’ announcement.

Let me start by explaining how much I do not want children…

I started life like a normal little girl; I loved playing with dolls and pushchairs, I loved playing family with my collection of Barbie and Ken dolls and I had already named my little girl ‘Pansy’ that I was going to have with my first boyfriend at the age of five –  Ryan Bass – Yes, Pansy Bass, that poor imaginary child, I am so sorry.

It wasn’t until after I hit puberty did I really consider having children. It wasn’t something I thought about at all, in any serious way. This carried on until I was around 23 and in my first sexual relationship. I have always been firmly on the ‘pro-choice’ camp but my boyfriend at the time was ‘pro-life’ which, now I look back, is another reason why I’m so thankful I didn’t have to deal with any pregnancies while with this Manchild.

My situation hasn’t altered much in the last 7 years since that relationship ended, in terms of where I live (still with my parents) and I’m no longer able to work, but I am in a long term relationship with a man; a man who teaches children for a living.

One of the first cards I threw on the table during our first date was that I didn’t want children and that it was non-negotiable. Thankfully for me, he was okay with that and he said he’s not fussed about having children either way.

In the back of my mind, I do worry sometimes that my complete lack of maternal instinct will someday impact on my partner’s ‘not so bothered’ status – I absolutely, utterly, do not want to force this lifestyle upon anyone and my choice not to have children is mine alone. I am unwilling to be responsible for any regret someone may have who ‘wasn’t quite sure’ later down the line if/when they then watch their friends have children and wish they had that too.  You simply cannot read people’s minds, no matter how hard you try, so a huge amount of faith and trust goes into a relationship, which isn’t easy!

You may have read previously that I have an inherited connective tissue disorder – possibly from both sides of my parents. It has impacted my life in a huge way and has changed my entire life’s plan more than once. The only time when me and my illness see eye to eye is when we talk about having children (or not!)

My body does not want to carry children, it has made that clear – it can barely carry itself, let alone an 8lb baby. I do not need to go into detail as to how my condition affects me, but I will say that I wouldn’t want to pass this condition on. It’s a horrible illness and I am not prepared to be responsible for a person with a lifelong illness, as horrible as that sounds.
I may get some responses of protest to that statement, but I honestly do not care what anyone else thinks about my view on disability. As someone who is herself disabled, I believe I am more than entitled to have this view on it.

I’ve written previously about my love of sex, travel and antiques and I stand by it. I am thirty years old. Next year, I plan to buy a house with my partner. We plan on travelling all over the world (if we can afford to save enough, whilst paying a mortgage on one salary!) and we like expensive furnishings. We can afford to be self-indulgent and selfish and I want to keep it that way. I love my life the way it is.

To me, having children is like a ball and chain. I personally don’t see any attraction in becoming a Mum. The lifestyle of parenting looks like hard work, that goes unpaid. I do not have a maternal instinct so the ‘love’ I’d feel wouldn’t outweigh all the negatives; the tiredness, the wailing new-born at 4 in the morning, the toilet training, the babyproofing… the list is endless.

My slightly older sister (by 3 years) has an 18 month old. I love him to bits; he’s hilarious and cute at the same time. I’m very much a proud aunt. But, I see what my sister has to go through every day and I thank my lucky stars I’m as free as a bird and I have no responsibilities other than washing my clothes and paying my £10 a month phone bill.

Earlier this year I spoke to my GP about being sterilised on the NHS and the first thing he said was ‘no chance’ because the CGC or whoever simply wouldn’t consider it; I’m too young blah blah blah. I went home with my tail between my legs and felt rather deflated.

I told myself, I’ll leave it for a few months, then try a different doctor; a lady one, hoping she’d understand more, being a woman herself.

As soon as we sat down, I started explaining about how my coil isn’t working for me and I’d like to explore more permanent options. I mentioned permanent sterilisation and she started talking about how often young women come and say they want to be sterilised and then they come back crying saying they want to be able to have a baby at 35.

I looked her in the eye and said I’m not one of those women. I haven’t wanted children since I was 16 and that hasn’t changed and it won’t ever change. She said to me that she could say yes on the spot… as if trying to call my bluff and I said ‘why don’t you?’, she looked at me blankly, paused, and then said ‘okay then, I will say yes, if that’s what you want’. I replied ‘Oh my God, really? Yes, please, I definitely want that’ and that was that. She briefly mentioned having to get funding for it, which I know will be the next hurdle.

But, in the end… she said yes and I couldn’t be happier.