So as I am getting adjusted to independent life again, it has made me realize the need to do things that just are sort of unspoken and what should be routine. For many autistics, including myself, this presents challenges. It is just not on our “radar” and at times our hyper focuses are geared far away from what must be done and rather what interests us.
For example, something as simple as a basic hygienic routine can be put off for days if not noticed. If we do not have interest in it or it poses sensory challenges, then we are likely to stray away from it. I personally struggle with it especially sometimes I can have a challenge remember that I have to shave my face often because my facial hair grows faster then other males do. Yesterday, I was quite frustrated when I met my mom and she had to remind me to do it because I have a haircut scheduled in a few days. That, along with the sensory issues related to taking a shower, primarily because I struggle with tempering the water to a perfect temperature. Somedays, like today, I can be routine and know that I need to do it on a daily basis. I also have to give credit to the video produced by the Autism Connection of Pennsylvania for making it a bit easier for me to get into a routine and understand the importance of showering and shaving. In the end I know I feel better once I do it, but it is a struggle to get to the shower. Which, I shouldn’t struggle, it isn’t like I am paying the water or sewer bill, it is included in my rent.
Laundry is another routine chore that I oftentimes struggler with. Many people both on the spectrum and neurotypical struggle and is a less favored chore. For me it requires a roundtrip down and up the steps of my apartment building of 56 steps to put/move/take a load of laundry from my equipment. I paid for the laundry equipment, so it doesn’t cost anything, yet I struggle with the effort of doing it. I don’t know why, it isn’t like its pioneer times and I have to go down to the creek and bang it against a rock for it to be clean, a machine does it. Then you switch it to another and its dry and ready to be hung. That also is a challenge because of how things should be rather than be in a haphazardly hurry.
These few things as well as having a routine cleaning schedule are things that I should take pride in doing because they make the appearance of myself and my home much better and proud to be around. While it wasn’t that long that I went without shaving, a few days, I did it this morning and after that and a nice hot-tempered shower, I feel ten times better and happier about myself. Yet, it can be a struggle to a point because no one will know. This is where a autistic person can be perceived as lazy because of their simple inability to perform these mundane tasks, We as autistic individuals must make these tasks fun or make them interesting to the point we recognize that they are necessary and in the end make us proud of where we live and our bodies.
Life right now doesn’t come without its challenges, but we must take care of ourselves because we will fall into a continuous state of decline and as time gains us, it will be increasingly harder to pick ourselves up and do the necessary tasks that we need to do. It will be more challenging and more overloaded than just being routine with it and doing it regularly rather than when it gets to the point it becomes necessary for it to be done, then you will feel in a rush and never have the true aspect of having pride in your space or body. There is a plethora of online apps and tools out there to make your tasks become completed with ease. Within time, these necessary tasks will become habit and they will become second nature to you. Some things like showering and cleaning are, however they do not present themselves without challenges. Just focus on what you can and slowly, surely everything will fall into place.