Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Friday, February 28, 2014

Forgiving Myself

One Reason I don't like to Mention I am Autistic

The other day, I was reminded why I hesitate to tell people I'm mildly autistic. I told my physical therapist last week after I melted and shutdown when she physically manipulated my neck. Thus, yesterday I mentioned my Aspergers. Her reaction was somewhat typical...she backed away from me, became physically more distant and completed avoided touching me at all.
 I could feel her distance and avoidance, as if (bad analogy) I was a dirty thing not to be touched or gotten close to. I detest that avoidance feel. It reminds me of my mother when I was younger. It makes me feel like a pariah, someone low caste and unclean. I can't blame my physical therapist, PT. Many people have that reaction when I mention it. It's like everything in tv and movies says "Autistics don't like to be touched."
Ah, but I do. Most touch I find affirming. Just don't start moving my neck around with my shoulders hanging off the table. Just don't clap me on the shoulders, or surprise me with an unexpected pat on the back. I know I have rules, but in general, touch is okay.
 This distance, this underlying feel that one is working to avoid getting close to me, that's very uncomfortable and makes me sad.
 Somehow, someway, I'll reintegrate okay touch to my PT interactions. 
 Physical Therapy is a difficult challenge, but I'm seeing great results.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I hate flashbacks

I hate the hidden projectionist, that sinisterly cowers behind the black curtain, in the film room amongst the round canisters of my life. I hate that everyday he spins the wheel of "yes" or "no". When the slot is "yes" and he randomly picks through the horrors of years, turns on the projector, sits back in his lounge chair and rolls the film....and I get to relive the most heinous, painful of experiences and feelings.
 I have no control over my life, my thoughts, my feelings, my day to day experiences. I never know when the crazed projectionist will spin his wheel, or what brand new, sparkling, forbidden memory will haunt me this day or that. I haven't even processed the new memories and pains from this weekend and now This?! WTF

Sometimes I get tired of remembering terrible things

Pushing People Away...the good wounded animal that I am

It has become harder and harder to write about painful experiences and feelings. Minus the skill of dissociation, I am left to my own instincts. Self-preservation tells me to "heal" and write about it, release it from the chained darkness. Self-preservation and inherent human nature tells me to avoid pain, run and hide.
 As I reveal, one toe at a time, I must retreat. Like a wounded animal, I fear that I am overexposed and in danger, as I am vulnerable and highly distressed. I vehemently push people away when I hurt. The more pain, the bigger the shove. I was taught that being in pain, if others noticed, more pain would be inflicted. Hmmm, guess you'd call that torture. Sounds about right.
 There never was comfort when I hurt. Quite the opposite. So I do what I've been trained and repeatedly done. I hide and shove. If I've been burned, I'd rather stand by the fire then anywhere near the coolness of a being with the potential for further harm. Damn, that sounds kinda messed up. One reason I'm detesting writing.....so much truth to process.
 I know I am in great pain. I wear it on my face, in my clothes, about my avoidant walk and downward gaze. Please, don't see how much I hurt. I won't allow anyone near, especially someone with open eyes.
 My level of trust...ha..it be gone. Pain, emotional pain....of losing, mistakes, right answer with heavy repercussions....is my center stage. The rest of the world has gone dim. I barely notice if it's night or day. Am I awake? Or asleep? It's as if I'm cocooned within an invisible, thick, smoggy vortex...and it's hard to see or notice anything outside of my self. Autism at its finest. The ease of withdrawal still saves me. I can't deal with anymore, right now.
 I push. I shove. I hide.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Alive Under the Rubble of Denied Grief




Not sure how I've managed to survive under the broken rubble of denied grief. I'm not even sure that I can fathom the true breadth and depth of what I've lost...what's been brutally ripped from me. I shudder and shake, holding my arms mightily against this crashing wave that promises to drown me in truth and awareness.
Most people wade in the waters of emotional awareness, water up to their ankles. Then there are the brave and curious, who can handle waves up to their knees. Rare is the mighty who dare wade up to their hips, feet, toes barely holding onto sand. Rarer still are the wise, the profane, the courageous, who actually see the tidal wave of water rising, rolling forth and do not run the other way.
It isn't easy to fully immerse in truth, the hidden, submerged reality and acknowledge the depth of ones pain, grief and loss.
I guess denying it worked for awhile, a few decades anyway. I wasn't ready to be willing to drown, to learn I could breathe.
There was no confessor to hear me. Without a mirror, I could not see.
I dislike whining and complaining. Who wants to hear that shit anyway?
It's a sad tale. Probably quite unbelievable to most. Surface dwellers.
I no longer deny...all that has brought me to this place, this rabid moment of awareness. Even as I write, a word, a sentence, a phrase, I Want To Run! I don't want my truth to be true. I feel the weight of the rubble...the childhood world that collapsed and buried me half alive.
See, even with all the abuse and neglect....it was my world, all I had, my everything. I had mother, father, glorious siblings, aunts who wanted to hang out with me, uncles to answer questions and give advice. Grandparents and great uncles to visit and go places with. Back then, I believed...that....at the very least...I always had someone...I always had a brother, sister, relative to talk to, hang with, go for a ride or shop with. I had people to call and visit. There were cards and presents at Christmas and birthdays. Hell, there was even cake, singing, a shared beer, letters in the mail. In my mind, my family, the good parts about having a family....was always going to be a constant in my life, forever. With all my heart, I always thought they'd love me some, smile to see me, look up to, come to me for advice, care about me as oldest sister.
Maybe that's why it took me till 27 to vanish in the night, never to return. In a big way, the pain of the continuing incest and humiliation was an accepted price to pay for having the couple of dozen family members who liked me, loved me, around. My personal torment was equally matched by my love of brothers,sisters, uncles, aunts and grandparents.
Still remember that night I left. I was drowning, highly suicidal, and deeply grieving the loss of my family. I denied it then, the thoughts of leaving them, on the two hour midnight drive....because I couldn't fucking handle the reality, the immenseness of the sudden abyss I had just driven into. I had to think only of me...not of everyone dear to me I was losing.


It hurts to acknowledge to myself how dearly and deeply I loved and adored my siblings. I loved living with my sisters in a rented house in Eastown...how we would buy crab legs, melt butter, spread newspaper on the floor, drink beer and talk. I loved how my sister, Joy, helped me find a job, drove me to and from work, asked me for advice, let me watch my niece, go for walks to the bar. I always thought she, and the other sibs, would always always be a part of my life.
When I moved from place to place, there was always someone to call to help pack. Sisters are great to go shopping with. I always had someone to go to the doctor, store or on a road trip with. I always thought of my siblings as built-in, forever friends. Honestly, I did. I meant something to them. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed helping with homework, giving rides, going to parks, zoos, malls and museums with. I felt so blessed to have over half a dozen sibs. I loved each and every one so very much. Being unable to make friends...having my built-in friends took on much much greater meaning for me.
To this day I am greatly pained....I grieve....it's like I have dug this grave...this grave where, in a sense, they are all now dead to me. I kinda knew my decision to leave them...that it was the end....but I refused to truly feel it until now. It's tough, it sucks to try and even describe how much I lost, in an instant.
I tried not to think about that which I could not change.
I don't know if my siblings ever knew how much it pained me to leave them. I think they knew how much I loved them when I was still living in my hometown. But when I left...did they feel abandon? Did they have any idea how much it hurt me to leave them so severely? Did they know how much I thought about them? Did they know I missed them ferociously and wished I didn't have to leave to save myself? Did they know I had to leave or die? Seriously, my own impending death was the only thing that could have ever dragged me away from being their older sister until the end of time.
Try leaving your ten greatest friends...all at once, irrevocably.
On that midnight ride...part of me didn't want to make it to the psych hospital, my destination. It would have been less painful to crash and burn, than to leave them.
God, do they know how much I loved them? How much I miss them?
An egregious loss of infathomable magnitude, I kid you not.
And I knew it was irreparable...even though I've harbored moments, irrational fantasies....where they still loved me...and I was able to love them.
Sometimes the heart breaks so loud
The tidal wave crashes
All the glasses break
Deafening
She covers her ears
Seeks comfort in a corner
Awash in the tears
The waters that used to be her life
Yes, I grieve



Grief...the common thread that binds




I am beginning to think that the common bond we all share, is grief. Each one of us understands the pain of grief. We have loved and we have lost. From our pet goldfish, that first crush, a competition, someone we've loved and someone we didn't get time to love enough. We get weighted down, sandbagged, remembering the pain of a childhood gone bad, our bodies taken from us by abuse and rape, the loss of family to disease, denial and dementia. Everyone has experienced grief.
  Maybe how we move on and deal with our grief is a determining factor in our quality of life, success, failure, happy or sad. Those...idealistic ones who say, "it happened, get over it" and fail to feel or express their grief or to acknowledge it in others, carry a heavy, toxic load and do a disservice to others.  If I don't feel my grief, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist...it just means I'm denying myself healthy expression of an emotion that ingested and submerged, destroys me from the inside out.
 Each one of us "feels" in different degrees. The loss of grandma may mean little to one child, whereas a second child is devestated. The pet goldfish meant nothing to Adam, but everything to Eve. The slap across the face, from mother, barely fazed Peter, but Paul still carries the pain of the scar. No one can judge anothers pain. We need to learn to respect what we feel. And what the person sitting next to us has experienced.
 What makes us human is our ability to feel. Why do some choose not to?
 To be part of humanity, I feel we are called, predetermined, hereditarily gifted with the inherent desire to help one another. Each feels grief...it's a given. We are aware of each other. If we choose to look, we can see others pain. The common understanding, the common bond...we are here to help each other through grief and loss, if we choose.
 Maybe I realize it, now, because I'm willing to feel all the grief that I refused to believe existed.  Maybe I believe that each and every person that reads this, understands even a bit of what I'm saying.
 We all seek love. We have all experienced grief. We have all loved and lost.
 Let's get honest. Let's be real.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Musings

I started physical therapy, PT, last week. The best part about it was that I got along with the therapist. The personal relationship tends to determine my success, where therapy and tasks are concerned. My neck pain diminished Greatly. I continue with some self-directed exercises. They worked for almost a week, but now I'm having some issues. Later this week, at my next PT, we will have to do some tweaking of the regiment. My use of pain meds is down considerably! I'm less crabby and irritable. My flexibility is improved, most days. My PT explained my issues and I actually have hope for the first time, that I an improve mobility and strength!
  My regular psychotherapy continues to progress. I'm feeling more stable, less anxious, started to trust myself more and maybe feeling a bit like trying this trust thing with others. I continue to have flashbacks with somatic/ physical symptoms. Last week I had uncontrollable, intense hunger for days and I didn't know why. During therapy, I discovered that my dad used to ....TRIGGER Alert!!!!! force me into performing sex acts with another child. And he would pay me in candy And often require me to do these acts when I was starving, thus I would be more inclined to do exactly what he wanted. It was a perpetrators tool. He used my hunger, with food as a reward to get me to do foul things that went completely against my nature. Once I was able to talk to my therapist about it, the unrelenting hunger went away.
 I can't decide whether I envy the other children my dad sexually abused, you know, the ones that have "forgotten", denied and surpressed ther memories of the abuse. I know who they are. I was there. Yet, I'm the only one remembering, dealing and openly talking about it. Yes, it would be nice having validation....but I have to respect where other victims are in their lives, recovery and reality. Maybe acknowledging the truth would be too devastating for them to handle. I cannot judge them.  I'm only responsible for my own healing and helping others who are speaking out and dealing.


 I adore my therapist. I really do. It isn't often I find someone that I can work with so closely, intimately, sharing my deepest, darkest pain. The past two months have been a living hell of dredging and emoting, violently, intensly, a plethora of long-held, hidden secrets and pain. I'm starting to feel some relief, some benefit, from the work I've been doing with her and within myself.
  I keep surprising myself by making good, healthy, spontaneous decisions. I'm starting to honor, like and respect myself. I'm learning to have fun and what fun is. Fun is a heart spark. I actually feel it, nowadays. Previously, I would engage in activities and things that I enjoyed, but being chock full of anxiety robbed me of the ability to actually feel good, to feel light-hearted and fun. In a sense, and I know this must sound strange, I am just now learning to have fun. I'm figuring out what anuses me and what makes me happy. Oh, another new feeling word in my vocabulary. I'm having moments where I actually feel happy. Happy is like a heart smile.
 I'm so grateful for my family. I see them as such wonderful, loving people in my life. I'm starting to feel less defensive, letting down some walls, getting out of my tornadic, enclosed chaos and seeing their beauty and love. I think I'm becoming more conscientious of their needs and I'm working on bettering relationships with each family member.
 I'm starting to be less afraid of saying what I feel. It's baby steps because I still feel quite naked and vulnerable without armor. So I do try and take it slow.
  I've been working, playing really, on my art again. It bothers me that everyone does not know I am an artist. I need to change that. Art is a big, visual, intergal part of who I am. It's part of my identity that I allow others to see. Must work more on getting my art out there.


  I'm reading again! I find that I am especially drawn to historical fiction. I recently stumbled upon "Seed of Mischief" by Willa Gibbs. It's exciting, enthralling. What a gem! I'm having a hard time putting it down. Beautifully written. Another new thing for me, enjoying a good book and having the patience and focus to sit and read!
 Lots of positives! Just wanted to share:)
Be well
Be happy

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Three Remarkable Acts....Part One

Remarkable: worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary




I am guilty of three remarkable acts this past week. Each day, since Monday, it seemed that the spinning roulette wheel changed, ever so slightly. I grew a few centimeters, parameters expanded and nothing was as it had been the day before. I found myself doing and saying things that felt completely natural...and were enormously odd.
 The first incident in which I realized that I had changed, was as I sat in the waiting room of the local mental health center, waiting for my son to exit his therapy session. There are two waiting rooms. The first, much larger one, seemed overwhelming with people, voices, the blaring television and the banter and interaction of too many bodies. I excused myself and sought out the small, more private waiting area. At first I hesitated, as there was someone nervously pacing in the room. I froze for a minute, weighing my options, then walked in to the smaller room.
 The anxious woman sat down, puffing a water-vapor cigarette, bouncing this leg and that. I proceeded to ignore her, to shut out all extraneous stimuli, pretending to be non-existent, I played a game on my phone. For a minute, my mind contemplated....do I continue to ignore this poor, troubled woman? Do I continue to be actively engrossed in the surreal and safe world of gaming? Or, do I take a chance, make a strange step in a virginal direction, and engage, talk to this human?
 I turned off my phone and asked her what she thought of the weather. I let down my walls, opened my ears and eyes...I may have even smiled a bit, at this complete stranger who occupied this space and time continuum with me. Normally, my usual reaction would have been to be afraid and guarded, even nary a month ago, I never would have allowed the shields to go down. But, it felt okay to do.
 We exchanged pleasantries, simple questions with mundane answers. Then I delicately pried further and she told me her story. She had troubles, big troubles, with medication and sanity. It was quite clear to me, that she was very much alone in the world. I get that. I understood her and where she was at, so I listened more intently, smiled more broadly, and offered positive encouragement.
 She continued to pace, at times, but the rapid movements didn't faze or scare me, as was my usual fare. The convesation lulled, hushed. Out of nowhere I asked her if she wanted a hug. No sooner had I stood, then this unknown, hurting being rushed into my open arms. I said whatever came into my head. "You are a good person. You're a wonderful person. Everything is going to be alright," I said aloud as I hugged her and gently rubbed her back. She cried.
 I can only imagine the months,the years, since anyone had genuinely, safely hugged her, wanting nothing in return.
 After a bit, she moved away and extended her hand, introducing herself formally. I took her hand warmly and did the same. I could see her tears of happiness. I felt very warm inside. Shortly thereafter, someone came in the room and ushered her to her appointment.
 I was grateful for such an opportunity, to make someone feel good, better about themselves and their current situation. I marveled at whatever caring force within me had changed in the past week.
I'm not who I used to be.
  That's a lot of info to process. I'll touch on the other two events later.
Be well. Take the opportunity to be kind whenever possible.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Underneath poetry

Underneath......Poetry

I am layered and faceted
Covered in veils and dust
Hidden deep within
The cavern of my self
Not sure I'd recognize
Who I really am
Afraid
To show, to see
To let on

I am wool and blankets
Armor and steel
Running water
Hot, cold, steaming, still
Who am I really
Scared
To reach out, touch
Show you me

I am temperance and rage
The bullied and the beast
Howling pain
What I feel
Forlorn
Hurt and alone
True

I am lost
Somewhere
Deep within
Beneath layer of rock, mortar and whim

 I am a mirror that repels
I am the truth that hurts and reminds
Killing denial sharply to the bone

I am the wisdom
You dare not seek
I am the nightmare
That walks in daylight
 Look away
Look away

I hide from myself
I hide from you
 I hide from masses
I am unlike you

I'm not who you think
Imagine or cajole

I wear an honest shirt
Under shields of grey

My past lives within
Seeking an open door
A cracked window
Putty that has come loose

My shackles bind
The ropes entwined
Weights of doubt
Drown and submerged

The table is set
No one comes to feast
Only observe
The linen
Stained
The bread
Stale
The wine
Spilt

Alone
In the house
Walls echo
Weep and bleed

The clock frozen
Upon
Her face
Arms and chest

Floors creak
Unable to bear
The weight
Of the silence
Of her years

The sofa unsat
A bed unmade
Slippers unused
The bathrobe hangs
On the floor

Untouched
Untethered
What's the difference
Tween a rock
And a soft place

White snowflakes
Hiding mounds of dirt
Break the shovel
Look away
Search not
Accept that the mountain
Will not yield
Undeserving of contemplation
Or to be climbed
Removed
Or melted

She wept
As the snow piled high
Caved in
From the sun




Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gift Giving and Everyday Life




I miss having family and friends to give gifts to. No longer do I attend family holidays, birthdays, weddingsm graduations and get togethers. I miss giving gifts. I enjoy making things for people and sharing my creativity and resources. I like the smile on a gift receivers face. I like making people smile and happy with just a small, thoughtful surprise. I missed the whole gift giving experience and everything that it entailed and meant to me. So, I found a valid substitute. I discovered a way to give unconditional gifts to people I know, acquainted with, admire and like.
 I started a face book campaign. I notified all my fb friends that at some point this year, when they least expect it and for no specific reason, I will send them each a small gift. Yesterday, I just felt really bad. Oh, it was a long, trying day marked with pain, tears and revelations. I figured it was the perfect day to start gift giving. So I stopped at the flower store and ordered a very small, brightly colerd arrangement to be delivered to a fb friend in town. Sure enough, I felt better almost immediately. Giving, brightening someone's day, makes me feel good about myself and lifts my spirits. If you get right down to it, its almost selfish in that I benefit greatly by giving.
  I've already got plans for another friend gift tomorrow, in addition to having two semi-concrete ideas of gifts I can make. I'm excited. I have purpose. I'm reaching out and saying, "I like you" to people on the periphery of my life. I travel no social circles outside of online interactions.
I'm happy I started this gift project. It engages my mind and helps me feel....well, somewhat connected.
 Other news, I've been quite busy with multiple appointments this week. I prefer one appointment due to the stress they cause, but this week is mostly days of duets, two appointments or have-to-dos each at. Yesterday it was my family doctor in the morning, a visit to the medical supply store and afternoon therapy. Today, I drove my son to the bus, mailed a package at the post office, picked up needed supples from the craft store and had to exchange meds at the Kmart because they filled my prescription wrong.
 I received my new, soft, neck/ cervical collar. Boy, I'm really liking the feel of support and gentle traction for my beleaguered neck. Hoping it will assist me in getting some decent, pain free sleep. I heard from the local physical therapy department. Later this week I go for an hour and a half assessment. I'm optimist the phsical therapy will help me keep and maybe gain some arm and upper body strength. My arms are weak from months of non-use to my neck issues.
 With my neck collar on today, I was actually able to send ten-fifteen minutes working on my art! Creating is another important aspect of my life that makes me feel good inside and out. Hmmmm, I keep writing about words like "happy, like, enjoy"...that's kinda new. I like it.
 So, more appointments this week. My neck s feeling better with the collar and meds. Both appointments with my doctor and therapist went very well. I'm getting a positive kick from my gift campaign and art....seems a lot of pretty darn positive things are going on. My mood is shifting and lifting.
 Just had to share some good good stuff!
 Be well:)

Creating a Moral Society




I've often thought that in an effort to lower prison population, make a dent in alcohol and substance abuse, reduce the numbers of rape and childhoods abuse, that every child, every year, every day, should take a class at school entitled "Morals and Ethics, What is Right and What is Wrong."
Unfortunately, many children grow up with no knowledge of what is right or wrong. When mommy drinks herself to oblivion every night, when dad beats the kids and cheats on his taxes, when uncle John brags about his time in jail, children receive mixed messages. They can't see through the fog of family dysfunction enough to know how to behave or be a good citizen. They don't learn how to humanely treat themselves, other people or even animals.
Children learn what they experience. When there are no positive role models or good behavior to be found, children grow up imitating their parents, whether bad, ugly or indifferent.
Parochial and Christian schools have always been a huge step ahead, in that they teach kids right from wrong and the Golden Rule. They call those daily classes "Religion", but they are so much more than just learning about God. Students learn that somebody, some Deity actually loves them. They learn how to treat one another. They learn to find value in themselves and learn tools to become caring adults.
Our public schools, our dedicated teachers are horribly overburdened, but I can't help but wonder if one hour a day of morals and ethics would be worth shortening Math and English class. Teachers are already role models just by their daily presence in our children's life. How many of us can easily remember a teacher we idolized or thought highly of, to this day, because of their compassion and wisdom, their humor or the way they helped us?


Don't get me wrong, in a perfect society each parent would instill good and appropriate virtues in their own children. It should not fall onto schools to teach right from wrong....but I truly believe that it is the only possible way that we can change society from the bottom up. In a perfect world kindness and positive role models would abound.
This is nothing but a pipe dream post. I know families who do nothing but repeat cycles of violence, substance abuse and criminality. These children have little hope of ever breaking free.
I know many teachers whom I admire for their patience, knowledge and values. They are all underpaid, overworked and some of the most caring professionals that I have ever met. I have great admiration for teachers. The burden of teaching morals and values should not fall onto their already burgeoning shoulders. It should fall onto parents, extended families, churches and youth groups...in a perfect world.
I am grasping at straws. I see the moral decay. I read about people that think it's okay to lie, cheat, steal, hit, rape because it is all they knew at home.
I fantasize about solutions. I dream that I can make the world, or at least my little corner of it, a better, kinder place.
I know....it's just a dream.
My crazed, optimistic, impossible solution to what plagues us.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Amy's Aspergers Friendship Formula

Dealing with Cervical Stenosis, Neck Pain




Back about six months ago, I had some serious neck pain and swelling. X-rays and MRIs determined that I have cervical spinal stenosis. It's a rather chronic condition which has good days and bad days. It will probably get progressively worse, to the point that I will need surgery. I have been dealing with a recent flare-up these past few days. I lose the ability to use my arms and move my neck. I become fairly immobile.
 I've been trying acupuncture, anti-inflammatories, pain meds, ice and rest with limited success. I don't relish being high and doped up on drugs. Time to get more proactive. I've made an appointment with my family doctor for early next week. I want her to refer me to a specialist. From what I've read, physical therapy and possibly a neck support collar may help. I'll also contact my  massage therapist for cranio sacral work and massage. I will schedule more acupuncture, as funds permit.
 I'm starting to get very concerned about losing muscle strength in my arms. I really enjoy using my arms and hands.
 Currently, I can sit around with my iPad and read books. I haven't been able to shower in days. Im unable to lift my arms above my head or even to tilt my head upwards. I want to do things, but I have to honor where my body is at. My boys are learning to take direction, as they have to lift and move everything , from clothes to pots, pans and plates. I can still feed myself...Yay!
 Anyway, cervical spinal stenosis is another one of those invisible ailments. I look healthy from the outside, but I walk and move stiffly. I'm just sayin'