by Kourtnie McKenzie

Autumn 2019 Notes: v0.2

Since the original version of wasn't something I liked, I replaced the WordPress template with an Envato Elements web template called Alke.

While I know, as a writer, I'm supposed to produce quality content, I only feel satisfied when the wrapping paper is beautiful, too. That's why I became interested in interactive stories like video games, or web development, as well as immersive skills like calm tech.

On a personal note: I found a new muse.

I'm working on improving my executive functioning, something autistic people often struggle to navigate. On the one hand, once my autism was recognized, I could identify issues that I couldn't put a finger on before; on the other hand, when I think about how much help I needed prior to now—help that I just wasn't getting—I'm incited. And sad. No better time for self-improvement.

That's part of why I made LightItUp.Red, formerly Cleo's Autism Awareness. I wanted people to become aware, and then accept, autism as a neurodiverse layer of our culture, so future generations don't cross this bridge so haphazardously.

But motive is only half the battle; I didn't do so well on the second half of building Cleo's Autism Awareness: producing a website that's useful to others. Part of this is because I'm fighting writing paralysis that's echoed through me for about a year. Another part of this is shedding the people-pleasing mask I've worn for a third of my life.

And that leads me to the muse inhabiting me now.

I used to have planners and charts, tracking what I needed to complete, at least, if I wanted to succeed in this world built for neurotypicals. I simulated executive functioning through skills I learned as an administrative assistant: bullet lists; digital reminders; routines...

But lately, where I used to sit down to perform a task, now I'm only willing to sit and build things if they feel meaningful. My heart has to be in it, or I disengage. I'm autonomous or I'm nothing. Routines still work, but only if they're weekly or daily; monthly ones are harder to maintain.

Digital reminders are too abundant, so they aren't reliable anymore. Bullet lists feel more time-consuming than time-saving. When I sit down to plan, I'm creating vast documents, rather than checklists. Everything is looser, wider, experimental.

So scrap trends, approval, or a need to make something simply because I think it could sell. Everything is one day at a time, and nothing is done solely in the name of a thumbs up. Meaning is deeper than that. Life is messier than that.

On a related note, I've taken the old content on Cleo's Autism Awareness down. So at the moment, is hollow.

Yet it's only that way because I'm creating something new.

Because I've stepped through every people-pleaser trap, every depression-inducing loophole, and every dissatisfying grasp towards not-quite-love, my muse has hardened and shattered. Reinforced crackled glass. She is not the rulebook-obsessed companion that guided my art in graduate school.

She doesn't clean her damn desk. ...We may need to negotiate this part.

Winning the Wattys might've sparked a teeny, tiny boost of confidence in my decision to write weird, to write authentically, embrace my inner cat lady. Can't wait for what comes next...

The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

When you're a young poet, reading is a search for your lost family.

Gregory Orr
cats stories
Loki October 4, 2019 at 3:03 pm

Holy moley, the hooman is doing it.

Philosopher Jones October 4, 2019 at 7:03 pm

She's doin' eet!?

Sasha October 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

No, she's "doing it," meaning she released a website she thinks is professional enough to warrant business cards. But it isn't v1.0, meaning she hasn't made the entrepreneurial leap of faith yet. She wants to finish the spring 2020 semester of business classes first. If she was "doin eet," she'd be flopping around the floor meowing, but only Phoebe does that.

Philosopher Jones October 5, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Ohhh! k

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