I have trouble with beginnings.
For the first few years of my life, I wasn’t aware of this. For the remainder of my childhood up until some months after I started reading the activist (feminist, primarily, at that time) blogosphere, I was ashamed of this as a character failing. Afterwards, I denied it. I didn’t actually have trouble with beginnings, that’s a stereotype imposed on us for being autistic. I just don’t do things I don’t want to do.
No. I’m not going to hide from this any more. I have trouble with beginnings. The kind of trouble I have with beginnings is similar to troubles other autistic people have. Starting to do something is difficult for me. This can apply to the most mundane things, like cooking dinner for myself, to things I only need to do because I’m told to (like homework assignments) to things I genuinely want to do, like, for instance, starting this blog.
The way these things play out is influenced by exactly what the thing is, of course. For things like cooking, I substitute grazing for eating cooked food, and suppress my hunger until I can’t ignore it when I don’t want to cook, which can be pretty uncomfortable. Actually, I’m ignoring hunger to write this blog post right now. . . about ignoring hunger.
I actually enjoy cooking (but don’t enjoy the dish-doing that comes after), and I definitely enjoy eating, so my trouble with getting up and starting to cook usually takes the form of getting really engaged in something else, and more having trouble with ending that than starting to cook unless I’m really exhausted, too.
With homework assignments, it’s a completely different animal. It takes the pressure of a closing window of time (usually the night before it’s due, but if I’m busy that night then whatever else that is can replace it) to do the assignment; otherwise I can’t pull up the motivation to get started at all. Sometimes this gets worse, where even that night, I continue to put off the assignment for hours, doing other, trivial things (browsing Tumblr, playing solitaire, refreshing threads on other blogs and forums long after everyone else has gone to bed) just to not have to start an assignment I don’t want to do.
Usually this is proportionate to my not wanting to do it, but for some reason I pulled an all-nighter last night putting off writing a few slides for a group presentation (which actually prompted this post), and I don’t actually have any issues with this work or my groupmates; I’m doing almost exactly what I want to do with the people I want to work with. The only previous time I’ve come nearly as close to taking that long putting off an assignment was when I was actually burned out on taking classes in that subject and hadn’t noticed until then, and this is a completely different feeling.
Even things I genuinely want to do can be affected by this. I’d decided I needed to start a blog for more than a year before I started this one. For those who are counting, yes, that’s before I figured out I was trans. I have three rewrites of an introduction post sitting on my computer, that I hated the idea of. I hate introducing myself to nobody in particular who has no reason to care about who I am, so I’m not going to do that. It took volunteering myself to assemble the gender-questioning resource list (which I am working on, slowly, as I do other things) to get me to actually start this blog, and I sincerely wanted to start it, I just had no idea how.
So, yeah, I have trouble with beginnings, it’s probably an autie thing, I don’t think it’s a character flaw even though it does make things difficult for me at times, and I’m not ashamed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do some basic self-care I was putting off. After this song.