Tuesday, 30 July 2013

My Favorite Names (Part 4)

For the fourth and final installment of this series -- or rather this list of names because I love making lists of names and maybe someone in internet-world will care -- I'm discussing the names ranked 900 to 1000 in the USA (the complete list is here).

These names are (obviously, they're ranked between 900 and 1000) rather unpopular in the USA but these are names I really like regardless of their popularity.

For male names, I like:

900 - Anders
903 - Thaddeus
904 - Brenton
906 - Clinton
928 - Cassius
929 - Truman
932 - Hugh
960 - Ross
969 - Turner
987 - Graeme
996 - Gilbert

For female names, I like:

906 - Azalea
908 - Ingrid
914 - Leona
922 - Dorothy
997 - Tess
999 - Jessa

And then, there are some names that aren't on the list but are awesome regardless.  These names are listed below.

For boys, I like:


And for girls, I like:


OK, that's it for now...

Monday, 29 July 2013

My Favorite Names (Part 3)

This is the third in a series of posts I've been doing simply because I have Asperger's Syndrome and I love names (everything about them) and wanted to see if anyone else in Internet-Land had any interest in me listing my favorites.

Today, I'm sharing my favorites ranked between 600-900 on the SSA's 2012 baby name list.

In terms of male names, I like:
603 - Dayton
610 - Joey
615 - Jefferson
623 - Neil
671 - Mathias
679 - Deacon
684 - Sterling
692 - Flynn
791 - Fletcher
794 - Theo
803 - Samson
810 - Callum
820 - Killian
831 - Fisher
839 - Seamus
856 - Darwin
860 - Brecken
894 - Bodhi

In terms of female names, I like:
600 - Liberty
605 - Lizbeth
610 - Isis
640 - Shiloh
658 - Matilda
668 - Meredith
691 - Beatrice
745 - Ellen
820 - Lilith
833 - Macey
843 - Temperance
844 - Aimee
883 - Juniper

I love that most of these names have such interesting histories that have contributed to their position on this list.  So many of these names are commonly associated with popular culture figures or characters in popular fiction or television and their presence in that medium have contributed to their popularity among new parents.  Shiloh, for example, hadn't made the list in 100 years until it skyrocketed to 788 in 2007 (and has since been hovering around 600 on the list) -- this, of course, is so incredibly influenced by the choice of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to name their daughter Shiloh.  Pitt and Jolie's Shiloh was born in 2006, so it's no coincidence that her relatively unheard-of name suddenly became popular the following year.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

My Favorite Names (Part 1)

This is my favorite website.  This, in fact, has been my favorite website for YEARS.  I can remember loving this site when I was 12 years old, sitting on our family computer at the kitchen desk, memorizing the top 1000 names in the USA for each year.

I linked above to the 2012 list, but you can access the entire archived list from here.  My mother doesn't understand the purpose of this list; she can't fathom who would be interested in it, other than me.  I don't think the Social Security Administration was thinking of an Autistic pre-teen girl in Canada with a great obsession with names who could stare at this list for hours and hours on end when it came up the idea to post it online.  Regardless, I'm happy that this resource is so easily accessible on the internet.  Because I like names, I like statistics, and I like lists, so this is pretty much the perfect companion to my Autistic obsession.

My favorites right now?  This is my list of favorite masculine names (categorized between 1-300 on th 2012 list).  The numbers correspond with their placement on the 2012 list.  I wrote this list out by memory yesterday and got a few of the numbers a bit off but I think I've corrected it.  I have other favorites, but they're all after 300.

2 - Mason
4 - Noah
12 - Matthew
13 - Elijah
40 - Gavin
41 - Wyatt
45 - Hunter
93 - Hudson
96 - Easton
131 - Jonah
147 - Sawyer
155 - Wesley
156 - Camden
166 - George
175 - Kenneth
189 - Calvin
192 - Abel
197 - Theodore
202 - Bennett
234 - Spencer
244 - Keegan
277 - Elliott
285 - Dalton
296 - Holden

Maybe another day I'll share my favorite boys' and girls' names between 300-600 and 600-1000.

But for now, here's the list of my favorite girls' names between 1 and 300.
2 - Emma
6 - Emily
14 - Addison
24 - Harper
27 - Evelyn
42 - Savannah
43 - Sarah
45 - Claire
76 - Alexandra
80 - Caroline
84 - Ellie
89 - Violet
90 - Molly
98 - Piper
116 - Kendall
135 - Eleanor
175 - Hazel
178 - Margaret
223 - Luna
235 - Tessa
247 - Athena
253 - Juliet
298 - Georgia

(I just included that cartoon above because I found it on Google and thought it was funny)

Next time, my favorites listed between 300-600 :)

(I've been doing this since I was 6 years old and NOBODY CARES about my name obsession, but I love it anyways so I'm going to.  Hopefully someone on the internet will be interested.)

Friday, 26 July 2013

My Favorite Names (Part 2)

I like names.  We've discussed that before.

Here is my list of male names I like between the ranks of 300-600 on the SSA's 2012 list of baby names.
301 - Rowan
307 - Lorenzo
311 - Beau
316 - Felix
318 - Brennan
332 - Grady
358 - Brooks
361 - Keith
386 - Scott
390 - Gideon
394 - Keaton
404 - Archer
410 - Atticus
416 - Davis
426 - Russell
466 - Malcolm
475 - Kendrick
490 - Sullivan
538 - Boston

And here is my list of female names I like between the ranks of 300-600 on the same list.
303 - Phoebe
316 - Veronica
325 - Mallory
334 - Heidi
339 - Ainsley
343 - Adelaide
352 - Bethany
401 - Scarlet
402 - Helen
419 - Cynthia
420 - Daphne
434 - Monica
435 - June
504 - Aspen
514 - Gwendolyn
579 - Virginia

The funny thing about me and names is that I love them in many ways.  I love the prevalence of certain names.  I love the etymology of names.  I like the reasons certain names are popular and certain names are unpopular and how those statistics are dependent on what part of the world the statistics are taken from.  I love the way each of these names have changed in popularity over the years.

"Phoebe," for example, was 433 on the list in 1915 but decreased in popularity until, in 1957, it was practically unheard of and didn't even make the top 1000 list for many years.  In 1993, before Friends, Phoebe was ranked 903rd in popularity in the United States and had been increasing slowly and steadily since it reentered the list in 1989.  However, in 1995, as Friends began to peak in popularity, it jumped to number 581 on the list and has continued to increase pretty steadily since then.

That's fascinating to me.

Jenny McCarthy & Crap People Say About Autism

I don't watch The View.  I'm not in their target audience.

But I recently learned that Jenny McCarthy is going to be a host on the show.  That's concerning because -- even though I'm sure Jenny McCarthy has an actual career in which she does actual things, all I have ever heard about her is that she staunchly believes that autism is caused by vaccinations.

This article -- appropriately titled "Jenny McCarthy's Pseudoscience Has No Place on The View" -- explains the conundrum many of us in the autism community are facing right now.

Basically, McCarthy's son was diagnosed with autism.  She believed it was caused by childhood vaccinations.  She's now an outspoken "advocate" about how her son has been "cured."  You can read all about that here.

In truth, there is absolutely no evidence that vaccines -- or anything, really -- "cause" autism.  Autism is just a thing that happens.  In fact, the myth that autism is caused by vaccines was deemed an "elaborate fraud" by researchers.  And yet, this is a myth that is still perpetuated by people like McCarthy, even to this day!

Spreading pseudoscience to an uneducated population is incredibly dangerous.  This particular brand of pseudoscience is particularly frightening because 1) Vaccines are incredibly important; and 2) This "education" about autism breeds nothing but intolerance toward Autistic individuals and perpetuates the notion that autism is something that needs to be "cured" or eliminated all together.

I hope The View doesn't let Ms McCarthy discuss this subject on national television.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

My Calming Secret & My Autistic Obsession

I like making name lists.  I don't know why.  I like it.  I just like names and it really calms me down to write lists of names.

In the last few days, I've written 328 lines that look like the above snapshot.

I know it's random.  I know it's weird.  But names calm me down.  I've been making lists of names since before I started grade school and I've always found that they ground me.  I can write a name list for hours and hours on end but now I'm trying to limit myself to only a few hours in the morning.  It's worked pretty well so far.  I'm not too stressed at the moment so I can manage that pretty well.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

"Autistic" is NOT an Insult

So I've considered linking to this article for a while.  When I first read it, it was kind of shocking to me, but also, unfortunately, not shocking enough.

The stories mentioned in this article have all had pretty substantial news coverage and I'm sure you've heard of them.

However, I'm still going to offer my two cents on this one.

In a song released recently, the artist Drake -- whose music, I'll admit, isn't my "style" and I've never really paid much attention to it -- uses "autistic" as an insult.  (The article linked in the above paragraph has the lyric in context of its verse in the song if you would like to see it -- I'm choosing not to post it here because it basically seems really offensive to me... it has a lot of words that I'd rather not use).

Um, excuse me?!  "Autistic" is not an insult!

I'm sure this, like the debate over the r-word, will have people crying out that using "Autistic" in this way wasn't meant to be hurtful and people should be less sensitive or whatever argument they're going to use.  But that argument is nonsense to me.  Because regardless of how it was intended -- I'm sure Drake wasn't purposely trying to insult a whole population of people -- I am offended, other Autistics are offended, parents of Autistics are offended, friends of Autistics are offended, loved ones of Autistics are offended...  The list goes on and on.

I think it's pretty well known that the r-word is offensive and I think most people steer clear of that nowadays.

But seeing "Autistic" as an insult really shocked me.  It really did.  Because "Autistic" is my identity.  "Autistic" is my diagnosis.  "Autistic" is such a big part of who I am and something I feel proud of.  It took me a long time to feel proud of autism and now that I do, it's like this line in this song could theoretically reverse all those steps forward that autism self-advocates have taken in recent years.  Using the word in this context really does "perpetuate the stereotype that individuals with intellectual disabilities are worthless and stupid" (to quote this article).

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My Brain Works Differently

I have started working as a 1:1 respite worker for a child with Autism, among other diagnoses.
I spent a significant portion of my youth around Autistics.  I grew up around autism.  I know autism.  I am Autistic.
When my boyfriend and I get in arguments over little misunderstandings -- such as his use of metaphorical language that confuses me as to its meaning -- I remind him that my brain works differently than his brain.  I tell him "I can't possibly understand how your brain works and you can't possibly understand how my brain works."  I remind him that I think differently than him.
This little boy I work with now, his brain works differently than mine.  Our brains work similarly, of course, but our life experiences are completely unique of one another.  He is a great kid and he is a lot of fun to spend time with, but his brain is unlike mine.  Or, rather, sometimes our brains are completely in sync and other times, you couldn't possibly believe we are both diagnosed under the Autism umbrella.
That's the thing that's so impressive to me: the word "autism" describes such an incredibly broad spectrum of individuals.  And while I am so similar to so many Autistics, I am now seeing -- every day -- how different I am from other Autistics.  I am so incredibly aware, right now, that not only are neurotypical brains different from Autistic brains, but all Autistic brains are also unique.  No Autistic think exactly like another.  No two Autistics have the same brain.
My brain works differently, I'm aware of that.  My brain works differently than my neurotypical boyfriend's brain.  But my brain also works differently than other Autistics' brains.
We are all unique.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Autistic at Work

I love my job.
Or, rather, jobs.  
I have two jobs
I love them.  I love them because they keep me entertained, are sometimes fun, and - of course - because I get paid to do work I enjoy.
But sometimes, work can be overwhelming.
A lot of Autistics struggle in the workforce, and in that regard, I'd consider myself quite lucky.  I've never had too much difficulty finding a job I like; my difficulty has always been with balancing the stress of work with the stress of scheduling and the stress I already have (which is increased by the fact that I suffer from tons of anxiety disorders to begin with and difficulty with transitions is enhanced by my Autism).
I love having a job, but today - my first day off in a long time - is such a blessing.  The last few days have been horrible; I've been "blowing up" at everybody I know - even my boyfriend, who I love so much - and I've been really "short" with everyone.  I am so glad I have a rest and relaxation day to recharge myself and plan the next few weeks out so I know exactly what's coming.  

Thursday, 11 July 2013

My Favorite Way to Socialize

Scene: My boyfriend's living room

Characters: Me, my boyfriend, and his roommate

We're all playing video games.  I wouldn't say it's a common occurrence, but recently we've been playing Mario Party on the Wii.  It's a fun game and it's socially enjoyable.  I don't love video games, but the fact that this is basically a strategy board game played on a different interface.

This has become one of my favorite social activities.  I love spending time with my boyfriend but I do find time with others extremely stressful.  However, this is a great way to be social while also be distracted by something else that requires attention but isn't overstimulating.  I enjoy the game and I think the critical thinking  and strategy it requires takes up enough of my brainpower to keep me focused on the game instead of the socializing.

I absolutely have a hard time focusing on one thing.  I've always had a bit of a hyperactive mind.  However, for whatever reason, this activity is one that's currently working to calm my brain a bit and keep me on one enjoyable task.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Brand New Monday

This weekend was difficult; I worked between six and eight hours every day and had very little time to spend alone or with my boyfriend.
I love having a schedule, but it's hard when the schedule has to be condensed into the three hours between 6.00 and 9.00 PM, instead of something we can work at all day.
Church on Sunday was excellent, as always.  I'm really loving this new church community I've recently become a part of.  I love attending church with my boyfriend and his extended family.  I am really finding a lot of strength in my faith recently.
But now it's Monday and I have a long stretch of week in front of me with no respite.  I'm scared of the days that lie ahead.  I have become increasingly anxious in recent weeks, and while my anxiety comes in waves, I'm not confident that this ebb and flow pattern is good for me.  I either am in a high anxiety place or in a place where I have anxiety that I'll soon be in a high anxiety place.
I'm in a high anxiety place now because I'm afraid of the week ahead.
I'm scared of six hours of work today.  I'm hoping I can be successful.  I'm hoping everything goes well.
I'm upset with a woman I sort-of know for saying something rude yesterday evening that I just can't get out of my head.
I'm nervous because I don't know what I'm having for dinner tonight.
I'm nervous because I should make a doctor and dentist appointment but haven't had the chance to do so because I've been too busy.
I'm anxious about some school assignments I need to get done in the next few days, assignments I have absolutely no time for in my already-packed schedule.
I'm annoyed that I didn't plan my time better before this weekend.
I'm hungry, and I'm disappointed that I've been satiating all my 'hungry' cravings with store-bought chocolate chip cookies that can't be very good for me and aren't really that filling either.
There is a stack of laundry I have to do, but I'm not in the mood for it now.
For six hours today, I have to interact with people for my job.  Tomorrow, I work an even more social 12-hr shift at my other job.
And even though today is a brand new day, I'm still saddled with all of yesterday's anxiety, which seems to have been piling up for weeks and weeks on end.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Today is a brand new Monday.  This week will be better than last week.