Adventures of an Autistic Adult

I apologize it has been so long since I have posted, but besides the obvious, nothing new has happened that I HAD to write about (at least nothing that would not break HIPAA). However, I thought I would dwell on a phrase I have heard several times since I started working at my new job. “This will be the hardest job you will ever have.”

This is what I have heard from bosses, coworkers, and everybody I describe my new job to. Of course, I did think about how hard it would be going in. I knew I needed a challenging bit of experience to get into grad school (which I will start applying for soon), but I don’t think it has really sunk in until now. Getting to know these kids and seeing what they have been through has been rewarding and terrifying all at the same time. Since I’m still considered “new staff,” I’m still getting to know them and learning how to interact with them. I feel like I am absorbing everything at a rate in which I could definitely see myself doing this for a while. However, that does not mean that I won’t be dead tired in the meantime.

After about three weeks of working as a program counselor for an adolescent treatment center (the locked unit), I’m starting to get how true that is. Every kid is different. There is not a set formula for counseling or working with adolescents. True, I will not be doing one-on-one counseling for about two more months, but the working with the group in general is getting a little rough. I have found I have had to develop quite a tough skin, which is happening slowly. When kids say snide comments, I need to let it roll off my back. I need to recognize when kids are trying to manipulate me. To many of them, I am the enemy, and that has not been my experience working with kids. At the same time, I have to keep several appropriate boundaries. No kid is allowed to call staff by their first name (even staff calls each other by last name). We can’t touch the kids at all. We can’t reveal anything about ourselves (which is a tad hard for me). While I agree these are a good thing, it can be a hard thing to get used to.

In short, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.

Anyway, other things are happening in my life. I have started and finished the entire Harry Potter series, and have just moved on to My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It looks to be yet another book that will either lead me to become an annoying hypochondriac, or to contemplate my own mortality. Either way, fun times. I am waiting with bated breath for the colors to change on the trees. I am preparing to apply to UT, and I am quite sure I will be going for social work instead of MHC. It seems like an easier route to go if I want to continue working. Whenever I am not working, I am researching, exploring, or hanging with Milan. We just found out it will be the two of us for the foreseeable future (details of this are probably unfit to post here since they will not be very nice) so we are now focusing on getting the apartment homey and live-in-able (yes, I know that’s not a word). It just sucks because I thought there would be a chance my rent would go down since we were splitting it by three, but no such luck.

Oh, and we tried the young twenties group at our church, which to me was probably going to be the starting point of our social lives here in Knoxville. The problem was that 90% of the people there were couples, and the subject of study for the next few weeks was about young marriages. WTF?!?! Milan and I were a tad miffed, but we are hoping that we can find small groups to get involved in where we can meet young people our age that can actually relate to us. It’s pretty frustrating I have been realizing how much I really want a man in my life. I guess it started when Lizz got engaged, but now that I am not afraid of someone holding me down, I feel like I am more inclined to start something. Here’s hoping God knows what He’s doing (I’ve only been here a month, after all), and I was a success during the speed dating thing we did before we left. Too bad I had to let those guys down since I was moving. Even without the man thing, I would like to make some friends. I like the people I work with, but I do not see myself hanging out with most of them. I guess it’s easier to slack in that department when you move with a friend, but I hope the slacking doesn’t continue.

In short, the only thing earth-shattering in my life right now is my job. Other than that, it is pretty quiet, while still busy and full of introspection.

I still have not figured out how to get pictures on WordPress, so I just decided to link to my Facebook photo album. I’m sure everyone reading this is my FB friend, but I still wanted to give those who might not have FB a chance to see them.


Okay, I’m taking a little break from Sara Groves’ music for now and going down a different road. I LOVE Anberlin, and I found a song by them I can actually be counted on the soundtrack to my journey in Tennessee. The song is “Godspeed” and it is pretty self explanitory (if you can understand the lyrics). What sounds to many like cryptic hard-rock poetry, I hear the call to arms for all those young people who look forward to growing up and changing the world in the process. It is essentially a counter balence to the Who’s declaration “I hope I die before I get old.” To me, it is a call to use my advancing age and status as a tool rather than a dread. It also should be a kick in the pants to all of those older folks who think their best days are behind them. I can do good things in this world, and I do not have to let age stop me. There are probably other meanings in this song, but my current situation has led me to extrapolate this one. Enjoy the melodies of those pseudo-Christian hard rock gems, Anberlin.

P.S. I apologize for the scary video. Those who are prone to seizures should not watch.

I have been here for two weeks and have only written one blog. I feel like I have been very bad about this. Well, the reason I have not updated is because things have been crazy pretty much since I got here. At the same time, nothing has really happened. When I first got here, I had moved in and shopped for things that I needed. I had not had time to see the city or really get to know my new surroundings. There is only so much you can do driving around the city and seeing what franchises you can get to.

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At last, I am in Knoxville!! Milan and I moved into our apartment on Tuesday, and have been moving in ever since. Basically from last Saturday until now I have been too busy with moving and other things to blog. Now I finally feel like I have a free moment. I’m just going to give a quick recap of the past week.

The weekend before I left I was just catching up with both old and new friends as well as family before I had to leave. It was bittersweet, and I felt especially nervous and sad as we began our drive early Monday morning. There were three cars and four people, and we managed to get to Tennessee in one day (and in one piece). We then moved into The Reserve where I had a little bit of a meltdown. This is a lesson for all of you out there: NEVER move into a place you have not seen in person. I was not as in love with this place as I was with Kingston Pointe, but you win some, you lose some I guess. The place is nice and I like it to a point where I feel I could live here. The apartment is coming together right now, even though it still feels empty. I just need to get my piano together and pictures hung up or I will be driven crazy.

Anyway, the past few days for me have been spent exploring the city, shopping for things I need, and unpacking. I also had my drug test and physical for work in order to clear me. I am officially cleared to work…I just need my social security card. I also need to change my lisence to a Tennessee one so I can drive vans for Peninsula. I will feel much more settled in when I start working, so I am looking forward to that. I am not looking forward to waking up early for the next week, but that should not be the case for the duration of the job.

It still feels surreal that I am here, but I’m sure it will sink in once I can meet up with some Knoxville folks and work. I will be posting pictures tomorrow of the apartment and of the surroundings. Until now, I am just happy you all know that I’m alive and am doing well so far.

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. These past couple days have been slightly hectic. My first bit of news is good. Milan got the job with her church, so now she has two good sources of income coming in. She does have to be there by Tuesday, though, which is the day before I have to be there. So, all in all, me pushing my drug test and physical to Wednesday did not make that much of a difference. Still, I’m very happy for Milan. This way, she will not have to depend on her parents for her income anymore.

On the Lauren front, I don’t know what to think. I still have not seen any evidence that she is trying to make this happen. We called her this past Saturday to tell her the good news that we have gotten into Kingston Pointe, but she told us she couldn’t talk and that she would call us back. It is now Thursday, and still no call. I have a feeling she does not want to stress herself out and that talking to us would definitely cause stress for her. However, I think that excuse (if that is her excuse) is lame. Milan and I have now resigned ourselves to the fact that she really is not concerned about this despite the fact we have been working our butts off. We have also accepted she will likely not be joining us. She might say one thing, but her actions say quite another. Honestly, I would not love her any less if she decided not to join us. I would still be her friend and love her to pieces. It is the refusing to be honest with us and discussing her plans with us that is making me mad. If this friendship does crumble, it will be because of that rather than her backing out.

Speaking of Kingston Pointe, I might not be living there now. This morning I just faxed in an application for another apartment complex that is in a nicer area, has nicer accommodations, and is only slightly more expensive than Kingston Pointe. Milan found it while she was up in Tennessee doing her job interviews. At first I was annoyed because I was not fond of the plans being shaken up only a week before we were supposed to leave. I was also mad about having to pay more for aesthetic things that I did not care about. What I did care about was distance to my job, ease of access, and amenities. Even though the first two were not really fulfilled, the last one is pretty much equal to Kingston Pointe. This place is called the Reserve at Westland, and I guess this will be where we are going. I made the decision pretty quick because there really was no time to think about it. We had to decide ASAP so that we would know where we were going. Also, I knew that if Kingston Pointe did not live up to our expectations, then I would be blamed and resented for it. I decided it would be worth it to just go with the nicer place and pay a little more.I was nervous enough about the rent for KP and now I will be paying $25 more. I know that does not seem like much, but it still makes me a bit uneasy. That would be equal to my half of the cable/internet bill. However, if we sign a 12 month lease we get a $750 rent credit. That will ease the pain during my job’s probationary period. In case you’re wondering, no we did not (could not) consult Lauren on this, for obvious reasons.

Another change has come with moving our stuff. Milan’s dad said he was going to rent a trailer to tow behind his Yukon, which makes my life SO much easier. I thought I would either have to drive a truck and tow my car, or hire a moving company that paid an arm and a leg. This was back when I did not know Milan’s parents were coming with us. My parents can’t make it because my mom has to work (first day of school and she’s a teacher) and my dad is moving my sister into FSU. Having Milan’s parents there will be much easier for both of us. It will also be nice since I don’t have to make the drive by myself. Milan and I will probably switch off driving my car, and Carlin and Russell (Milan’s parents) will drive the other cars. I feel much more at ease now about this move, even though having everything settled and definite will quell ALL my anxiety.

I’m still worried they are going to find cancer or something when I go in for my physical. I don’t know. I’m paranoid like that. Anyway, that’s what’s happening and I hope you all continue to pray for us.

First, I wanted to give a quick update. Milan is now in Knoxville going on job interviews and exploring the city. She also said she will be looking for cheaper places, which I am a little concerned about. It would be about $400 each for us if we took the Kingston Pointe place, and that does not include all of the utilities (Lauren, PLEASE don’t bail on us), but we are also getting September free and a good amount of amenities. I am assuming they will talk to me before making a decision. To be honest, unless a killer deal in a great location comes my way, I am going to stick to my guns. I admire Milan for looking, but I seriously doubt she will find anything. I won’t be making that much money either, but the price we have is a lot cheaper than what we would be getting here in Florida for a crappy place. Let’s just pray that all this works out. The worst part is that I totally understand why she’s doing this. I am just uncomfortable moving into a place I have not seen yet. All three of us saw this place and liked it. I don’t know. I guess I ‘ll have to see what happens. I’m leaving in a week! Can you believe it?!?!

In this installment of “Sara Groves: The Soundtrack to My Life,” I will be showing you a song that is pretty much self-explanatory. As I step into adulthood, this is what I will be striving for.

As the title suggested, plans for this Tennessee move are coming together quite nicely. A few hours ago Milan and I got approved for an apartment at the place that was our favorite: Kingston Pointe. If you ever do look in that area, ask for Holly. She was great through this entire thing without being overbearing, and it took a lot of pressure off us. Whilea few of the places we looked at were a tad obnoxious about getting back in touch with us, Kingston was very cordial and understanding of our situation, and this was likely due to the personal attention we got from Holly. The units are on Kingston Pike and is about 20 minutes from my work. The unit we have is a two-bedroom that is very close to the laundry room, the pool, the fitness center, and the office. Also, these units are quite large and could definitely house Milan and I comfortably. Now all we have to do is fight over the master bedroom. I really don’t care who gets it, even though it would be nice to have that private bathroom. I might offer to do her laundry like Lizz was going to do with her roommate.

This takes a huge burden off me, since I was worried that I would be stuck in a dump until Milan could join me. Well, now I know that Milan’s plan’s are all but settled and we are on our way!! Now Lauren is the big question mark. We could definitely transfer to a three bedroom on October 31. Let’s hope (pray, wish, cross our fingers) that she joins us in two months. One factor (not the main one, but still big) is that the rent will be a hundred dollars cheaper if Lauren joins us in a three bedroom. I mean, we got a good special where September will be free, and August will be half price. That is great since I might only have to endure two months paying rent with an hourly salary since there will be a probationary period for my job.

There are still plenty of things left to do. Milan will be going up in a couple of days to look at some job prospects with her mom and go to an already scheduled interview with her church. She will then be delivering our security deposit and everything. While I’m still here, I will have to be looking at truck rentals, and get my stuff packed up. At first, I was not too concerned about my things since I don’t have a lot of it. Apparently I underestimated my pack-rat nature. My room now looks like more of a disaster than it usually does, and I am at a loss about how to transport everything. I am going to have some fun getting my bed and side table out into a truck. I cannot wait until all this is over and i can just start my job.

Anyway, as I continue on this blog, I have committed to include pictures as our move commences. I am beyond excited and terrified at the same time. Let’s hope I can get this whole thing to work properly. Anyway, I’ll probably be posting another Sara Groves song next since there will not be much happening in the next few days. Chao!!

My Achives