Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Autism and connecting with others

I was diagnosed autistic last year. It's not like it was that big a blow to me, I had been suspicious for only a few years prior. I'm writing this because I'm burnt out from family Christmas events and inability to draw so...I blog!

Lets cut to the chase. I have trouble connecting to others, not that it makes me some miserable loner, but that I'm just aware of my struggles. Everyone wants connection, but how does autism make it just that much harder?

 Autism and rudeness

I had a weird experience with an older man on the autism spectrum I talked to at a Meetup. He was insistent that I was masking around him. His concept of 'masking' equated to being 'insincere and a liar' rather than simply 'a face one wears in social interactions'. I politely retorted that this was how I act and that I open up when I feel like it. Well, with this guy, he felt like he understands autistic people, and feels like people owe him an authentic way of existing. He has no filter and demands others to scream, rant, and cry without one just like him.

Life doesn't operate that way. People put up barriersbecause it's fucking rude to ask someone why they're single or something along those intimate lines.

As an AUTISTIC WOMAN I have had to learn the hard way about these barriers. I have learnt through blow upon brutal blow, to not make mistakes. Been chastised for cutting someone's conversation off, or heck, for even not making eye contact enough with bad men on bad dates. There are a plethora of ways the 'normie' world expects anyone to act. I repeat, anyone. It's just that being on the spectrum means you really experience physical and mental suffering through changing your behavior. 

Changing involves, not stimming (pacing, drawing, fidgeting are the ones of mine that sound normal), trying to mimic the mannerisms (both bodily and vocal) of people who seem more successful with socializing. For me this involves distinctly changing how to hold myself, I tend to want to slump and fidget with the spinny ring on my right ring finger.

I know that it comes across as rude, and I know if I do this 'rude' behavior too often I jeopardize connections and may make people dislike me. This instinct has a primal origin, heck, you can't find a mate if you're kicked out of the tribe. 

Autism and the female experience

For autistic females, many of us say that our male counterparts get away with a lot more, and it is considered charming. Whereas an autistic woman is seen as an outcast, rude, weird and whatnot. Another example of sexist stereotypes that are unspoken, one saying that women are meant to be mature 'givers' and if we cannot fulfill typical roles such as being the mother or wife, we are invalid. We are witches. Unmarriable and undesirable. Hey, it's not that bad, join the club.

Being a female with autism is tough because it manifests in different ways. We're told it's because women tend to want to be socially harmonious often, so the desire to make connections overrules the underlying autistic tendencies to scream about Neopets. Shyness tends to be seen as more permissible in women, snoorrrreee. They are just stereotypes after all. Does gender really matter that much? Might some men exhibit the female traits? The preschool I went to in USA thought I might have ADHD and offended my mom. Well years later we got our answer, mom.


I didn't want autism to be this big part of my personality. I wanted the label maybe back in 2020 when I was experiencing grief, psychosis and transcending space-time. It felt insanely comfortable, like snuggling down into a nostalgic cloud of childhood. It was embarrassing how I acted all psychosis, but I couldn't control it. Still, I pursued an autism diagnosis and it turns out I do have a right to consider myself as such. I just don't emotionally resonate with the cushy label right now.

Autism and 'high functioning'

The outdated term 'high functioning' is somewhat offensive. It is meant to apply to someone like me, who can hold a job or conversation and pass as 'normal', whatever that means.

I still desire companionship. I can socialize successfully if I feel safe, wanted and am talking about a special interest. I can tell when someone is getting bored with me (I think). There are all sorts of ways that people have thought I wasn't autistic, but when they notice me begin to have a meltdown in public, that's the moment people realize Vela Noble is a bit odd. 

My meltdowns are a warning sign to myself and others. It says, she needs a break. She needs her headphones and Susumu Hirasawa albums and to go pace for a bit. She isn't making eye contact for a reason. She's saying emotional and blunt things for a reason. It isn't being rude, it's reaching a breaking point. I didn't know this trait was meltdowns until my dear mom fed me the hunch about autism in 2017ish. 

We all have aspects of being autistic, yes. People get into their hobbies, stare at their phones a lot to avoid social interactions, make social faux pas, but autism is something more.

Even with us 'high functioning' people, it involves a lifetime of suffering and strange highs, obsession with things other people may not see the value in. It's also many painful memories of social ostracization in my youth in my case, it's also bigtime getting into unsavory situations due to being a 'naïve' female. It's in how I dress and my inability to care for myself or do chores the way others do effortlessly. People that get diagnosed at age 7 and live life in a cushy bubble wont get this. 

I still have my weird habits that show that I crave connection. The fact I put out a lot of videos onto Instagram of me talking, the fact I blog up a storm, my drawing is also communication, although it takes me a long time. 

This leads me to say...

Human connection is a random thing in my opinion. You have to keep trying, putting out feelers to check whether anyone else wants a friend. If you're an autistic person reading this and struggling with finding connection, remember that you aren't alone. It's not so easy to say that 'all autistics get along'. I no longer feel comfortable going to a local Adelaide autistic meetup, because I was insulted by male members and driven mad by the rest of them. It's painful, but I can't find comradery there, at least, not for now.

Friendships happen in mysterious ways, NT people can get you too! I'm grateful for the few (internet)friends I have. It was my birthday the other day and well, lets say, I don't feel so young anymore, but I feel my ability to grow and make new connections is forever blossoming.

Anyways, have a happy holidays! Over and Out.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

on being positive online

I guess I've sought validation online. Because I can always cheer you up, knowing someone liked your art, or something you said. I know a lot of people feel this way, or at least subconsciously enjoy it.

I've endured hideous depression since psychosis. Losing my ability to work, do my hobby and even just feel happy. I don't think many psychotic sufferers suffer well,...THAT MUCH.

I have noticed since leaving my salty-bitter WordPress that I feel more inclined to be positive, and put my best foot forward (online especially). We live in a digital world, and people are constantly assessing you based on what content you put out there. I've decided, my art is worth it, and to keep pursuing this good feeling I get through creating digital paintings. It's a change that's only happened in a week, and I'm desperate to keep it up, but it's a daily decision I make to say 'I will do my best art with what I have'.

Instacorn and the little refugee children
It was based off of this picture I drew at Margaret Tobin Ward, Flinders, SA.

I find it hard to be positive given what I've endured. People close to me are telling me they just want me to be happy, but I've had my life wrecked. What I am capable of doing is leaning into art side of things, just while thinking positively. 

I find my old WordPress posts acutely and absolutely cringe. It truly shows that I was suffering, that I was hurting beyond words and turned to angry attacks on the world to sate an insecurity. I am pretty self aware, unlike plenty of others. I just have wanted to change truly, to not be a burden on the ones I love, and to be able to look back on these hardest years of my life and say I found some beauty. I know who I don't want to be, someone that squandered life in depression because she let her intense life experiences get the best of her. 

Instead, I am trying to take my experiences and make the best art I can do. Some are based off of strange drawings I drew at Margaret Tobin Flinders or the Glenside precinct. Some are based off of visions I have seen, which won't be believed. Other are based off of real life things I did, but with a fantastical spin on things. Basically, it means too much to me to tell these stories, to explore the worlds I've been in, than to sit around and sulk. I mean, at least I'm capable of redrawing AI art.

Made by the Midjourney Discord thingy. Prompt was "Pinkie Pie and Remilia Scarlet eating ice-cream in a mall"

Based off the Midjourney discord art above

Life has dealt me some shit cards, but I'm trying to smile. I've felt like I can't fit in with other artists. That they will see I'm not 'good' and judge me. This fear has eaten away at me and made me afraid of engaging with people that otherwise I would want to hang out with. I put in the effort of reaching out to a few people and got responses. I am starting to heal. Starting to feel competent, in control and above all else, happy again. I don't want to jinx it, knock on wood I have no more accidents. Knock knock.

WIP from a bigger picture.

I want to do the Global Game Jam Adelaide in 2023. I want to keep participating with making art and collaborating and doing fun things. I want to maybe even find work, as a Bachelor of Arts hasn't been exactly the most enthralling thing in the world. Oh, but am I ready to work? Friends have posed that question at me. Well, I can do these pictures as I've posted up on this blog and site. I applied for a job which I'll probably get ignored for, but I saw the work of other people applying and know my work has a chance. I can sketch relatively well somewhat fast and am slowly building up my 'sitting at a Cintiq all day' muscles.

Anyways, this has been enough, just thought I'd dump art and give my two cents.

Friday, December 16, 2022


 My brain has an issue.

I can't draw like I used to, for almost three years now.

Something broke after psychosis. Something that makes me faulty.

So I beg and plead and pray, but these illustrations are the furthest I was able to get to how I used to illustrate. My rendering, drawing and everything isn't there, it has gone somewhere far away never to return.

My aunt that mumbled something about me being 'grieving' under her breath when I had mentioned my art loss. I guess I am. It's dead and gone, my abilities.

I am suffering. People around me are massively inconsiderate of how much I am suffering. Still, I draw, because drawing was breath to me before. Drawing gives me an ecstasy that can't be achieved through other means. So I am in pain tonight, lost in these facts that I am broken, but want to continue to work on a picture I'm making. Because I found myself capable of doing these pictures. I felt true joy again in making these pictures, like something is starting to change. This transformation I've been begging for, that will see my brain 'healed'.

Nah. It's just a bunch of flukes. I would put in the effort of talking about these pictures, but am too tired and nobody is reading this anyways. So much for trying to be positive, goodbye.

Christmas wip...

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Feeling like you're healing

 As I said a couple of posts below, I lost a significant chunk of my artistic abilities post psychosis. Nothing I drew turned out high quality, it couldn't be further away from the intense, skilled artist I was used to before my accident. Forms were horrid, colors bad, everything was off in a way that people around me said they couldn't see. I could see. I knew. I wasn't artist ME anymore, or so I thought.

It's been two or so years, and I didn't notice any difference. Excluding going on about the sheer agony of this situation, I'll say the thing I craved above all else, was to illustrate again. To (digitally) paint to be more specific. Just like how I had before my psychosis. That wonderous style I had grown into where colors merged and danced on the tip of the Wacom pen. All on one layer, no fiddle farting around with lineart on my watch. It was the way I was born to illustrate, I had felt. I finally broke free of being a sad slave to layers and lineart. It had a massive power, to craft lines and shapes of color at the same time. It just damn looks better ok?

Post psychosis, all my drawing attempts turned out pitiful. Broken lumpy images, that I couldn't even verbally express to others what was wrong with them. People close to me were kind, saying I was still doing amazing work. But they couldn't see.

What happened to this yearning soul for painterly illustration? I sealed it away. In these tougher months I've done lineart, sketches, things I can manage because there are less elements going on in them.

What I desired, was an ability to express a scene. To not just draw a pretty-cute character floating in an Instagram square like I had been for months, but to ground them in a world. My world. A world of visions, apparitions and gods. Like the artists I was obsessed with, I wanted something more from a still image. I wanted images with every element thoughtfully cultivated, to craft greater emotion and imply meaning. 

That's where I am blogging to say, only in the last week, I have felt more confident about my art! Thing began to fall into place, forms looked better, colors seemed less hideous, dimension and atmosphere was somewhat there, everything began to have some appeal again, something which I had long discarded in my mind as being a lost cause for me.

Only last few days, I started trying out some illustrations that aren't stupid floaty Instagram characters, and instead have environments. I have been scarily surprised with what I've been able to make

It is not like these works shine as strongly as my older illustrations (up on site alongside newer things). Color wise, they are sound, but often there is a little something lacking. A disappointing feeling which much to my anguish, I've endured since my psychosis. 

Still, I am very proud of these attempts! Something is changing, a little something that is capable of drawing harder than before. My "art brain" healing, perhaps?  I'll take every little victory I can get, as it helps pull me out of the pits of depression, bit by bit. I hope someday I can smile brighter, knowing I conquered this dark time in my life. 

I worry though, if I get up and leave my Cintiq, will this good energy/luck leave me yet again? Is it simply a bunch of flukes? I'm terrified, of this being inconsistent, of creating worse art sporadically because I am just plain broken. I've told myself I'm broken for this absence of art, year after year, for far too long. It needs to stop. 

I want to craft stories. Moments in time. No just boring stagnant flat characters. It's hard when you can't draw like you used to.


What has hurt the most is, people think being 'bad' at art is laziness. What they don't get is the way that 'brain trauma' can affect someone mysteriously. We haven't researched any of this garbage, it's stupid. I can work as hard as I possibly can, it hasn't improved by brute force. The more however, I have been telling myself I am loved and valid without my art, the more it seems to come back. I do believe in spiritual things, so a little bit of prayin' doesn't hurt. Maybe my heart needs the healin'. Maybe that's all I can do. That and blog to compartmentalize the feelings. Over and out.

Friday, December 09, 2022

New site up. Dreamweaver is cool

 I now have my own completely homemade website. 

 I am getting the feeling people will not be as receptive on blogger as they were on WordPress, but WordPress was made for people with zero interest in crafting their own website. Only a handful of blogs on my sidebar are active anymore. It is showing me posts from 9 years ago! Then how do I keep readers? Well I have the email subscribe doo-dad in the sidebar, I hope it works.

I would like to create a more constructive habit around blogging, where I try to dump my art and say maybe what can't be said on an Instagram caption.

Wounded Wanderer (seen left) gets a redraw. I like it.

CasRyu, a pairing that is dear to me.

I don't know what the heck to do with myself online. I loathe social media, and went cold-turkey off Twitter for a year, only then to dip my toes back in. I can't stand it. Same with Instagram, I don't even check anymore, just dump my stories and art and run. No joke. I don't check comments, because when it's so easy for someone to make a comment, it's meaningless. I don't check messages, because I have gotten some weirdos, and because I'm afraid of rejection from people that have seen my woeful times, and are keen to assess my behavior.

Basically, I am seeking an internet sanctuary. I hope my custom Dreamweaver site can evoke some of that early internet magic, complete with star gif background I saw both on Neopets and a Griffith essay page(Twilight Visions it was called I think). My content may not be as thought out as those Griffith essays, but it carries a spirit of quirky chaos which is synonymous with my self concept of me. 

It feels good to have a portfolio that represents your best, even if that 'best' means scribbled ward drawings. I represents a part of what I want people to understand, NOT just some poorly thought out pile of Instagram posts. 

This is step two in my internet regression, turning back to the ancient blogger. Lately, I feel myself begin to get stronger with every drawing. Things are going to be ok.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Revisiting an old blog

Hello Blogger. Dusting off the cobwebs out of nostalgia (and the fact blogger is free and I'm moving off of WordPress). So a lot has happened in these last few years. 

To abridge it in short, I worked for two companies from 2015-2020. First one was short, doing game art for an Adelaide company. Second one was up my alley more, doing storyboarding for animated shows! I moved to Sydney for a few years. Yes, it seems like I was really living the dream for a few years there, working with Dreamworks for Netflix, even remotely from my beautiful hometown in Adelaide, South Australia for the last two years with permission. I felt like my art was improving every year, but still the memories of Calarts and Pixar lingered in my heart. Yet not so positively really, it was a painful time in retrospect, due to things that happened to me in my last semester. I have met all sorts of awesome people during this time across Sydney and Adelaide, and even via zoom conferences with the Los Angeles team (which I got to meet eventually in LA!).

In 2020 however, my precious mum died of brain cancer. It had been a short struggle of only a year from March 2019, before the condition worsened drastically and she lost the ability to move an arm, both legs and even to speak coherent words. My heart broke, to say the least. As as evident by this blog, my mom was one of the most cherished persons in my life, she was always there supporting me in absolutely every aspect of my life. She approached life with such stoic strength that always told me, when I was whinging, to "suck it up, princess". This unyielding grit was why she could watch her favorite shows and enjoy life her final few weeks, despite her situation being completely hopeless.

Centipede Doll

After her passing, I thought I was coping with the grief. I had been experiencing however, shuddering, shaking fear, my vision becoming blurred and a sense of being outside of my body, to name a few. Disassociating they called it. The GP gave me antidepressants for anxiety, but that wasn't the end of it. I experienced an acute case of Psychosis at the end of May 2020. Technically it was undiagnosed Bipolar Type 1 that made me predisposed to intense mania. After being hospitalised, tranquilized and chucked in a ward for 6 weeks, this incident threw my life off big time. To say the painful facts, it has impaired my ability to draw, or so I thought. I'm no longer working in animation for now, despite studios still messaging me. :( 

Healing is a long, long road. It isn't chronological in a straight line, but has many ups and downs. I tried to heal my art brain for the next 6 months, but it was excruciating. The next year in 2021, I experienced what they call 'mania' in May yet again. This time, it was different. I went on a sparkling voyage across Adelaide, guided by spectacular visions---but hey, I promised I wouldn't bring over my weirdness from my past blog I've used to document these last two years. 

In short, my thoughts on spirituality have drastically shifted. I'm no longer the hardened atheist I once was. It made me realise, I am going through these trials for a reason. This suffering will have a purpose, even if I can't see it in sight right now. I am lucky to have a super supportive family whom with money isn't an issue, and can keep a roof over my head as long as it takes to get me back on my feet. 

This whole incident has come with piles of shame. Not being able to draw like this below image anymore? When you've worked so hard your whole life? A fate worse than death, right?

Dark Plain March

I've done other things during my time out of work, like make a visual novel or two, or three. I've worked on my writing skills through these projects.

Anyways, I don't know if anyone does blogger anymore. It's free and serves it's purpose though? I thought it couldn't hurt to turn back to it, despite guessing that many people have abandoned blogging for social media. I for one, am a bit weary of social media. I want to return to the internet basics more and more, and thus am editing my main site to leave WordPress.

It has been the hardest, most excruciating few years of my life. These last 2, soon 3. I've scared away people I thought were friends and been burdened with unbearable trauma, pain that I truly know I can't expect most people to understand. Over and over. Three years running I've had nightmares happen to me, only inside some of the darkness I've spied glittering spectral imagery. Things that have convinced me there is a realm above ours. Things that fill me with cosmic hope. So although I don't have such an extensive LinkedIn resume to gloat about, I've crafted a portfolio of both wonderfully glorious and morbidly dreadful life experiences. I've really been living, something deeper than can be achieved through pretty picture drawings.
Crying in the Ward

After experiencing the brutality of people at Calarts, I was changed. I dare say with great agony, tainted. I hope I can return to this blog and remember the good times associated with college and high school. I have suffered from 'mental health conditions' since Calarts really. I don't want to ruminate on it too much, but positivity does not come easily to me anymore. Oh, I was so innocent and I let myself be hurt by the world. I'm a bit melodramatic as you may tell. 

I seek to be strong like my mom was. My memory of her is unbreakable. I don't think you ever stop grieving. I'm pretty sure despite my misery, if she was around she would be quick smart to say "toughen up sweetcakes". So I'll try.

This has been a severely abridged summary of these last 7 years. Man it's been that long? I just hope the future looks a bit kinder. 

Ps. I take it back what I said in my last post here. WordPress is not better.