autism in females

In June I took a speech class for college. I’ve been putting off this speech class for YEARS. However, I’m running out of basics to take, and I need to take speech for my psychology major. An advisor at my university suggested I take this class during the summer because it would be a small class and they knew I was so anxious about it. It turned out to be one of my favorite classes! I had to give an informative speech and I thought I would share that speech with you here. Enjoy!

What do you think of when you hear the word “autistic?” Do you think of an individual with a speech impediment or an adult who acts almost childlike? Do you think of the special education class who sat on the other side of the cafeteria and needed help feeding themselves?

These are the things that came to my mind when I was told I was autistic at the age of 25. When I was 4-years-old I was diagnosed with ADHD and spent many years in therapy. Although I struggled, I always followed the rules, was a people pleaser, and extremely passionate. I made sure not to bring attention to myself, and if I did it was because I was trying to make people laugh. I grew up feeling like I didn’t fit in and struggled making friends, I thought that was caused by low self-esteem brought on by my weight, poor mental health, and just a phase of being a hormonal teenager and the ADHD.

The truth is, most girls and women are misdiagnosed, go without a diagnosis for years, or may never be diagnosed. Researchers are still discovering why girls and women often slip through the cracks, but it is suspected that autism may present itself differently in the sexes. All early research was done on autistic males and the stereotypical findings have been used to diagnose and treat people on the spectrum. Most people did not even know that girls could be autistic until recent years.

To understand what it means to be autistic, we must first learn what autism is. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability and effects executive functioning. Autistics think differently, process senses differently, move differently, communicate differently, socialize differently, and may need help with daily living.

Autism is a spectrum and every person on the spectrum experiences autism differently. Although some may experience the same symptoms, all experiences are different and unique to each individual.

I will discuss with you symptoms of autism that often go undetected.

Social

Social behaviors are unique to each person. For someone on the autism spectrum, socializing can be difficult. Because autistic people are stereotypically anti-social, it can be hard to detect autism in someone who appears to get by, or even thrive socially. Here are some signs of autism that often get overlooked.

We all know some pretty shy people. While shyness isn’t the only indicator of autism in females, it does seem to be one of the common traits that we share. Some people on the spectrum can appear to be excessively shy, avoid interactions where possible, and usually won’t make the first move. Sometimes our shyness gets interpreted as rudeness, which can make it hard to fit in and make friends.

Fitting in can be a hard thing to do, especially when you feel like an alien. I often want to make friends but have a difficult time fitting in and finding friends on my own. My husband says I “try too hard.” I can become overly social, butt into conversations and can seem obsessive. I’m either not social enough, or too social. I have no medium, and a lot of autistic people can relate to that.

In public I may seem as calm as a cucumber. Sometimes I go home and have what is called a meltdown. A meltdown can look like a temper tantrum. Meltdowns occur for a number of things- masking for too long, frustration for trying to fit in, sensory overstimulation, to name a few. Sometimes my meltdowns happen in public and it is very embarrassing.

Behavior

The reason why girls often go undiagnosed is because they are used to masking. Masking is a defense mechanism that allows girls to blend in with the crowd. Girls will look at how their peers are dressing, talking, and their body language and will often mimic what they see so they aren’t seen as different. Think of a chameleon- a chameleon changes colors in order to blend in with its surroundings. Masking allows girls to hide the difficulties they’re experiencing.

Because most typical girls are “obsessed” about something, special interests are a trait that are overlooked in females on the spectrum. In autism, special interests are more than a hobby, they become ritualistic and obsessive. For instance, when I was younger my best friend and I were fans of Hilary Duff. She likes Hilary, but I was OBSESSED. I knew her birthday, her favorite color, I knew the address of her fathers ranch in Houston, I collected anything and everything that she put out, and even made my mom drive me an hour away to Target so I could purchase Stuff by Hilary Duff.

Everyone has a food they don’t like or a scent they would rather not smell. To people on the spectrum, a gross texture or a loud sound can throw off their entire day. Because girls are stereotypically thought of as “emotional” or “moody,” sensory sensitivities are oftentimes overlooked as just plain overreaction.

Communication

Mimicking speech, body language, and tone of voice is the most common reason that autistic girls are not diagnosed until later in life. Think of a chameleon changing colors to blend in with their environment. Autistics will focus more on mimicking your behavior instead of the actual conversation. This is part of masking.

This is something that gets me in trouble a lot. Autistics can have a hard time interpreting non-verbal cues such as body language, gesturing, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Often, I ask for clarification on what someone meant and my questioning can be interpreted as attacking someone’s character.

A stereotype of autism is that we’re emotionless. This could be far from the truth. We feel things so deeply which causes us to have odd reactions to events and interactions. When I am happy or excited or mad, I ugly cry. I also may not look like I am reacting at all to those same emotions because I’m analyzing and interpreting the situation.

In conclusion, autism looks different in everyone. Every single person is unique. There are many successful autistics and I plan on being one!

The one about trying to make friends at a new college campus

“You’re still wearing those earrings?” my husband asked me. It was late into the evening and we were watching our favorite shows together on the television before his very busy weekend.

I smiled my goofy smile to him, making a silly face.

I recently started the spring semester on a new college campus as a transfer student. Every morning I wake up, put some clean clothes on, try to do something with my hair, brush my teeth and I’m out the door. Some days I wake up with enough energy to make myself look nice, other days it’s jeans, a t shirt, mismatched socks, and my frizzy mess of hair hiding under a headband.

I never know how much energy life will hand me each day. Sometimes I’m up before my alarm clock, some mornings I’m tardy to class. I try my best to work with what I’m given. I give that energy to every task I am faced with and every person I see.

I am constantly giving my energy to other people daily. It’s not their fault and it’s not my fault. It’s just life on the autism spectrum. It takes effort and courage to initiate a conversation with people I don’t know, and I do it on a daily basis because I am new on campus and everyone is new to me. I recite the same script over and over in hopes someone might ask me to connect with them on social media (or, gasp, real life) instead of the other way around. I spend energy trying to create relationships with people because I need a friend. My husband works all the time so I am alone all the time. Going to classes and doing my homework help me pass the time, but finding a friend who shares mutual interests with me would be really great.

I’ve had a hard time creating friendships since I was 11. When you’re a kid you bond with people over simple things like finding someone who is wearing the same pair of shoes as you. It gets more complicated once you hit those pre-teen years and I’ve been trying to unlock the secret formula of friend-making like Plankton has been trying to steal the secret Crabby Patty formula. I think autism has a lot to do with why it’s hard making those connections because I’ve talked to others on the spectrum that ride my same struggle bus. But once I get off on the stop at Friendsville, the connections I make with people are usually really awesome.

Yesterday I went to take my test through the student services department. I used my script as someone was getting my test for me,

“Oh, I really like your earrings!” (always compliment an item of clothing because it might lead to a conversation of a store we both like, a color that brings us joy, or some sort of way to just connect with someone)

“Thank you,” She replied back, “would you like a pair?”

“Really?” I asked, surprised. I didn’t expect that answer.

“Yes, I love Valentine’s Day and I brought many pairs of Valentine’s Day earrings with me. You can pick out a pair.”

I spent my time choosing, feeling thankful, someone was finally giving their energy to me through their kindness, and refueling my faith in humanity. And just refueling me in general.

I wore the earrings all day, constantly playing with them as they jingled beside my head, reminding me that I’m not always going to be alone. The bus ride has to end at some point loneliness is just a phase I have to go through before I find and connect with my tribe.

So, when my husband asked me if I was still wearing the earrings I replied to him, “Yes, they were a gift someone gave to me.”

Empowerment of Self Advocacy

Empowerment of Self Advocacy


I started my first semester at a new college. This is not my first time at attempting higher education, this is my fourth. Before I received my autism diagnosis, I received some accommodations in college due to my ADHD diagnosis, but I did not know myself enough at the time to know which resources would benefit my needs, and I was still getting to know myself. Now that I’m in college with better insight of my thoughts and feelings and an empowering autism diagnosis, I am positive that this time my experience will end in a college diploma.

Learning how to advocate for yourself and your needs is the most important thing you will ever learn in this life.

Watch this video to learn how self advocacy can aid you in gaining self-confidence and help you reach your goals! (Don’t forget to come back and read the rest of this blog)

“…you have the power to make your goal a reality… once you start advocating for yourself, it gets easier and easier to accomplish bigger goals.”-Abby Edwards

Gaining the skill of self advocacy is comparable to gaining a new super power to add to your neurodiverse tool belt. The more you advocate for yourself, the more your opportunities grow, your confidence grows, and your ability to accomplish bigger tasks will give you the confidence to fly (just like a real superhero)!!

Self advocacy sounds great, but where should you start? Abby suggests that you ask yourself “what is one thing I would like to see change in my life?” Next, ask yourself “what can I do to accomplish this?” (Feel free to save the image below, print it out, and hang it where you can see)


One thing I would like to see change in my life_ _____________________________________________ What can I do to accomplish this_ ___________________________________ ___________________________________ ________ (1)


In order to reach your goals, you need to research resources in your area. For example, my goal is to get good grades and work hard this semester. The resources I looked into were setting up academic accommodations though my college’s Student Support Services. With my accommodation note from my psychologist in hand, I was able to be set up with accommodations that would benefit my time in the classroom. These accommodations include additional time on tests in a quiet environment, recording class lectures, and receiving lecture notes beforehand. I’ve also applied for tutoring services.

All of this sounds like a lot, but like Abby says, once you set small goals for yourself, it will be easier to achieve those big goals!

In what ways are you needing to advocate for yourself and your needs? Share in the comments below and let me know if you found the graphic helpful!

Writers Block

When I was in college, I received some advice from the university’s counselor: “your depression is a learned trait from your family. You don’t really have depression, you’re just hoping to seek attention by acting sad.”

With that advice, I started keeping my feelings tucked away within myself. I didn’t know how to talk to people, so I just pushed them away. I didn’t know how to express myself because I felt like I would do it “wrong.” I didn’t know how to ask for help when I was struggling because I thought it meant I was just “seeking attention.”

Of course, I received this “advice” a few years before my official autism diagnosis. Since then, I have found new therapies and counselors and therapists who have benefitted me by giving me the tools I need to help me feel loved, safe, and validated.

So, why do I write all of this? To get attention and for you, the reader, to feel bad for me? That’s what the nagging voice in the back of my head says. But it’s not what my intention is. I write this in hopes that I can manifest good, funny, enjoyable, and informative blog posts to be written by me in the future. I write this so I can put the shame I’ve felt from the bad advice I received to rest.

I really want to enjoy writing again!

I hope the next time we visit with each other, it will be with tears streaming down your face and a stitch in your side from laughing so hard by a funny story I’ve shared. I’ve got plenty.

What Other People Say About Me

This weekend I attended a silent retreat as part of an 8-week course I am completing called Navigating Change. It is a program by Sarah Bustamante in Oklahoma City, who practices and facilitates programs offered by Rising Phoenix Yoga Therapy.

During the silent retreat, I was trying to find self love and self compassion. I was bothered by my inadequacies and hurtful words said to me by others.

I wrote this poem with the help of those around me this weekend. These words were written on my back, on a piece of paper, and are very meaningful to me.

 

What Other People Say About Me

You are kind

You are loved

You are courageous

You are caring

You are perfectly unique

You are so courageous

You are strong & beautiful

You are sensitive

You are dedicated

You are enough!

 

pinkflower

 

The Vague Poem

Wanting to change but fearing the future.

Wanting to change but clinging to the past.

Let go of the past,

Look ahead.

Hearing the voices who call me a failure,

My voice is the loudest of all.

I don’t want easy, I want possible.

But I want easy.

I want possible.

Emotions play such a vital role in change.

I don’t trust myself.

I look at the past and I see my failures,

I look at my present and see them as well.

Addiction is hard. Addiction is impossible.

Change is impossible…

Isn’t it?

Shame.

Failure.

Shame.

Hope?

Hope.

Goodbye to shame.

Goodbye to failure.

Hello to Hope.

Hello to Change.

Hello to Possible.

Goodbye to easy.

Goodbye to the past.

Welcome, my beautiful, bright, future.

Hello to Me.

“I smell snow.”

On New Year’s Eve in 1999 I remember lying in bed silently sobbing to myself. I was 7 years old and you would have thought someone took my Betty Spaghetti away from me, had spit in my ice cream, or did another terrible act against me. I don’t remember why, but I was so scared for the year 2000 to come! I think it had to do with the innocence of childhood and constant change I was experiencing at the time. I was an army brat, enough said. When you’re a kid, your imagination runs wild, you experience things with such emotion and everything is a storyline waiting to be played out with your friends. I think I had a moment of terror knowing that would all go away one day. The 90’s were fixing to be behind me, all of their great memories, and the future was a whole blank, scary page of unknown. Especially the adulthood thing.

At this point in my life, I pray this year to hurry and end. I experienced many great things and had a plethora of growing experiences. Growing hurts and some experiences can be painful. I acknowledge those experiences and thank them for the lessons they’ve taught me. However, I’m ready to move on and I’m so excited for the New Year!

I don’t know why it is so important for me to have a new “starting day” because I know logically that January 1, 2018 will be just another ordinary day. 18 years ago the big, blank, scary page of unknown scared my 7-year-old self. But what I perceived as scary then (the unknown) has introduced itself to me as exciting, new opportunities waiting to be explored.

I always make “resolutions” but they usually fade away from my memory and by December I don’t even remember what I “resoluted ” all those months earlier!

This year I was introduced to bullet journaling. I will have to blog about that sometime. Since keeping a journal, it’s been easier to keep up with goals and deadlines.

Here are just of few of my New Year resolutions-

1) Write that book.

I’ve been wanting to write a book for forever! Just something silly to gift my baby cousins and my friend’s children. I have a few story lines in my head and they just need to be jotted down. I’m wanting to write a children’s book about a couple of special cats in my life. We will have to see what this year holds…

2) Establish a morning and bedtime routine.

I stay up way too late hanging out with my “friends” Liza Koshie, David Dobrik, and Gabbie Hanna on YouTube. This results in becoming very familiar with the snooze button in the mornings. I’ve already written down an ideal routine (that I’m sure will need to be tweaked) for both my mornings and evenings to make those times go smoother.

3) Weekly yoga.

I love yoga! I only attend in spurts and I want to be more consistent. My plan is to prioritize yoga by paying for it in advance so that I won’t back out. Anxiety always takes over. Not this year!

4) See Taylor Swift in concert!

I wrote these resolutions in November and didn’t share them with my husband until last night. A couple of weeks ago he gifted me with Taylor Swift concert tickets for October 6, 2018 in Arlington, TX!!! My husband made one of my dreams, and resolutions come true and more attainable and he didn’t even know! (Thank you, Christopher for my Taylor Swift concert tickets!!!)

I see 2018 as 12 new chapters, 365 new chances, and a million possibilities to experience. I hope you feel that way as well!

What are you looking forward to in the New Year? What are some of your New Year Resolutions? Let me know in the comments below!

10 Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Your Lady on the Autism Spectrum

Christmastime. Hearing that word makes me both giddy with joy and overwhelmed. I love Christmas traditions being with family but I hate trying to come up with present ideas. If you’re anything like me, it would be great if the universe provided very specific gift lists catered to Retired Army Man That Is A Workaholic or Mother-in-law That Basically Has Everything Already or Sister Who Hoards Christmas Presents And Never Uses Them.

Well, for your convenience, I have come up with a specific gift list geared toward Your Lady On the Autism Spectrum. Here are some items I came up with that I feel are great for a woman on the high functioning autism spectrum:

1)      Sequins! My favorite item I purchased for myself was a pillow covered in reversible sequins. Obviously a pillow won’t fit into a stocking! I’ve seen some fun cell phone cases and stress balls covered in sequins that would make a great stocking stuffer. Sequins become a great stimming tool for me. I like the way it feels when the sequins change different directions under my hand and I also like that you can “draw” a picture in the sequins with your fingers and then erase it. Also, since the sequins are reversible, the pillow I have changes colors based on which side the sequins are facing.

2)      Peanut Butter! I know you’re probably thinking “Peanut butter, really? That’s weird.” Bear with me. Most autistic people have a favorite food or treat they “must” eat at least once a day. Mine is Creamy Jiff peanut butter. Pop your autie’s favorite treat into their stocking and they will be forever thankful, trust me.

3)      Essential Oils. One way I calm myself down after a long day or from a hard meltdown is through using essential oils. I have a hard time falling asleep and I use lavender oils to help me fall asleep. My favorite brands are DoTerra or Young Living Essential Oils.

4)      Stencils. I’ve really gotten into bullet journaling. It helps me to calm down and set some goals to work through meltdowns or hard situations. I’m not an artist by any means so stencils help me when I want to make my journal entry look a little bit more neat and exciting.

5)      Lessons/Sessions/Memberships. One of the tools I use to live in harmony with my autism is through exercise and meditation. The forms of exercise that I have found that work best for me are POUNDFit, yoga, and Rising Phoenix Yoga Therapy. If you know what your autie likes, get what suits her best. If you need suggestions, I’ll provide both the website you can find these places in the Oklahoma City metro and you can search for a class near you:

PoundFit

OKC Metro: Ariel Cullison at The Wherehouse

Near You: https://poundfit.com/find-a-class/

Yoga

OKC Metro: YogaLab

Near You: If you don’t have access to a yoga studio near you, you can utilize DVD’s, YouTube, or books. However, I find a class helps me to receive expert advice if I have questions or need help, and I feel more focused in an actual studio setting.

Rising Phoenix Yoga Therapy:

OKC Metro: Sarah Bustamante

Near You: http://pryt.com/pryt-directory/

6)      Shipt membership. One of the things I loathe doing is grocery shopping. I try and do most of my shopping at Target but I usually have to go to Walmart or my local grocery store for lower prices and more variety. I could list all of the reasons why I don’t enjoy Walmart, so just trust me that I don’t like the environment there. With that being said, I’ve heard Shipt is a great service that allows others to do the shopping for you AND deliver it to your home! This is great idea and any autie would be ecstastic to find a Shipt membership as a stocking stuffer this year.

7)      Gnome. Most auties have something they are obsessed over and like to collect. My obsessions are gnomes and also Willow Tree Collectibles. I usually remember who gave me which gnome and I name them. Get your autie their favorite collectible item to add to their collection and they’ll be ecstatic!

8)      Earrings & nail polish. One of my favorite things I do to feel beautiful is to wear my favorite shade of nail polish or put on a favorite pair of stud earrings. I’m not a fan of dangling earrings so that’s why I specified the stud earrings, simple yet beautiful. I really like the Essie gel setter top coat because it feels and lasts just as long as gel/shellac manicures you can get done at the nail salon. Also, you don’t have to worry about the UV lights used. I found a cute shop named AspieNailPolish that donates a portion of their earnings to Autism Speaks.

9)      iTunes gift card. You’re probably thinking, “Why would you put this as a suggestion? This is a pretty generic gift!” Yes, it is generic, but hear me out. I use certain apps to help with stimming, especially if I’m in a public place. My favorite game is Best Fiends, for example. I really want to upgrade certain Fiends for my silly game.

Also, there are other apps and tools that are great for us on the spectrum that usually require a one-time purchase. Or, you know, we could just buy that new Taylor Swift album we’ve had our eye on!

10)   Autism awareness gear. This year has been a crazy one for me. I’ve had an amazing journey of coming to terms and accepting my autism diagnosis. All in all, I’m pretty proud to be an autie and want to spread awareness for others on the spectrum. Something like this necklace or this cute enamel pin from my favorite shop would be a great gift.

There you have it, some creative, fun suggestions that is sure to make your lady smile as she digs through her stocking this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

“Do you know any lesbians?” “Uh, uh, sure I do.” “How many?” “Three, maybe four.” “Maybe four?” “Well, waiting on confirmation.” “I like lesbians.” “Yeah, they’re, they’re swell.” 

A few weeks ago I attended the Pride festival in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I had been looking forward to it for a few weeks. I wanted to show my support to those who belong to the community. I had a friend I wanted to tag along with me but they were unable to make it. The reason being- they had attempted to commit suicide a week before the event due to them identifying with the LGBTQ+ community. They felt ashamed, as they were surrounded by people who did not show the support they needed. I’m sure there was more to it then that, but I know that is one of the feelings this friend had: shame. 
I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of four. My parents or grandparents never shamed me for it, it was part of who I was. They let me know that I had ADHD and they helped me understand how to cope with it and what tools to use in order to be better in the classroom. When I was in the fourth grade, I had a friend, J, who was also ADHD. We were goofballs and loved helping each other find ways to get distracted in the boring classroom. One day, our teacher, Mrs. B, was having a classroom discussion with us. She said, “Raise your hand if you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD,” so, J and I raised our hands. “I remember when my son was diagnosed with ADHD,” she began, “it was so devastating, I cried all week when he was diagnosed…” and she rattled on and on about how ADHD had ruined her life. I was confused and embarrassed. That was the first time I had ever felt ashamed of myself; it was the first time I knew I had to be ashamed of myself. 
I remember the first time I was questioned about my sexuality. I attended a private, conservative, Christian school in the 8th grade. As an Autie, I wear my heart on my sleeve. As we were leaving class one day, I told my friend, “See you later! Love you!” and she looked at me bewildered, lowered her voice, and asked, “are you a lesbian?” 

“No,” I replied, “Why do you ask?” 

“Because,” she said, looking at me, careful judgement in her eyes. “I notice you only hang out with girls and you tell them that you love them.” 

Okay, I thought, sorry you live a loveless life and the guys at this school have pea-brains that I can’t stand talking to them. 

So, the running “joke” at school was that I was gay. 
A few weeks later as I was naively teasing my friends telling them I was gay, Mr. W, screamed at me and said, “Leah Whitehorn! I cannot believe you would say such a thing! What would your mother say if she heard you saying that you were gay?!” 

I looked at him, fire coming out of my ears, mad that being “gay” was something I would have to be ashamed about and confess to my parents in the first place. Then I laughed, and spit the words out, “She’d laugh,” I replied to that spineless, arrogant, teacher. 

He did not like that reply, and away I went, sent to the principles office. 
A few years later, in high school, I attended another small, private school. It wasn’t a Christian school but it was run by Christians. 

During class, my principal/teacher often went on rants. She would tell us that gay people became that way because they were molested as children. She also told us about a movie that she went to go see in the theater. She reported that there was a scene where two men started kissing each other. She said she was SO disgusted that she got up and walked out of the movie theater. 

The sad thing about this teacher and her stories were that she told these stories with the students she knew were part of the LGBTQ community sitting in her class. 
My senior year of high school I joined the LDS church. It kind of felt like “coming out” to family and friends. I know it’s not fair to relate my story in this way, but bear with me. I lost a few friends, and I definitely had a few family members show disappointment in me. I was told “have a nice life” and “you’re going to hell for your decision” and it was a hard time. But, I also had so much support as well.

Then, the church that I loved so much made a official, public statement saying that children of same-sex couples were not allowed to be baptized until they were 18, only after they admitted that their parents relationship was wrong. Their “official” statement rocked my world. 

I have family and friends who are dear to my heart that are part of the community that the church was officially showing opposition to. They can preach love and acceptance all that they want but if the actions do not count, I’m not buying it. 

So, I wear my rainbow pin to church every chance I get, in hopes that an LDS member of the LGBTQ community sees it and knows they are not alone, they are loved, and they have an ally. 

But, I’m also considering changing to a more accepting congregation of church goers. 
All of this to say, LGBTQ community, I’m so sorry for the hate that you endure. I understand, to a very small extent, the hate and shame that is aimed your way. Please don’t end your life. If you need someone, I will fight for you. I love you and I will fight for you. Always. 

“Tell us more about this racquetball…what are the clothes like?” “Can we wear cute outfits?” “I do.” “I think racquetball sounds great.” 


At the beginning of this week, I didn’t know where the week would lead me…little did I know that I would get a lesson in self-love. 

It’s no mistake that I’ve had issues with my autism spectrum diagnosis. Accepting it has been a pattern of grief, relief, understanding, and confusion. I had been focusing on all of the struggles that have been in my life due to autism. I didn’t know how to embrace autism and let it define me in a positive light. 

For the past 2 weeks I had been looking into forms of exercise that would appeal to me. I found some methods that worked for me and some that didn’t. 

This week was very successful in finding what I love. 


I had seen an event in my area being advertised as “farm yoga.” I was incredibly excited for this! I’ve tried yoga in the past and fell in love. One of my special interests is animals. Put both interests together and you get success!!! 

Farm Yoga was hosted by Garden of Edens Massage Therapy in south Oklahoma City (Moore). The instructor was Kyleen and she was extremely friendly! Upon arrival, I pulled up to a big red barn in the countryside. I was welcomed by a small group who welcomed me in! I paid $5 (I love cheap deals!) and received a free chair massage, some feed for the animals, and I put my name into a drawing to win some free stuff! As I was enjoying my massage, Chewy the goat came up to me and asked me for kibbles! It was so much fun. 


After my massage I decided to feed the goats and donkeys that were in the same pin we were doing our farm yoga in! The donkeys were a little skittish and Chewy was a food hog. 

During the yoga class, there were a few moves I couldn’t do whether it was due to coordination or working around the extra fluff I have going on. The best part about yoga is listening to your body and asking it with what it wants, what it’s comfortable with, and what it would like to try or hold back on. When my body asked to hold back on certain poses, we stopped and pet a goat or donkey. Sometimes it was hard to keep my concentration. Every once in a while a goat would come up to me and lick my toes!!! 

The most memorable moment of farm yoga, for me, was at the end of our cool down. At “namaste” I looked over my shoulder and one of the donkeys was kissing my shoulder! It was like he could feel my happy spirit and was encouraging me to keep going. Animals are so magical. 


At the end of the class we enjoyed new friendships, conversations, and refreshments! I, of course, decided to feed some of my furry friends some more kibbles!!! 

As if my day couldn’t get any better, I also won a gift basket containing a charcoal face mask, Epsom salts (which are always a need in my life after yoga), a bath bomb (I LOVE bath bombs! Especially Lush), an eye mask, candies……and…..a gift certificate to a free one-hour hot stone massage!!!!

Farm yoga=no regrets. 


One of the most exciting things about learning that I am a member of the autism community is making new connections. I met my friend Ariel on a Facebook group for the Aspie Adults of Oklahoma City. She is also part of my Facebook group named Oklahoma Women on the Autism Spectrum. I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting her in-person yet and when she announced her fitness class on her personal Facebook page, I KNEW I had to meet her and befriend her! 

Ariel Cullison is a Pound Fit instructor and leads classes at The Wherehouse OKC located in Del City, Oklahoma. She is so much fun, she’s friendly, and has an amazing energy. The class is extremely welcoming to all ages, races and sexes. She provides modifications in her fitness routine to those who would enjoy more of a challenge or those in need of a more gentle method of movement. 

Sounds great! But what exactly is Pound Fit?! Glad you asked! I was introduced to Pound Fit when I watched the show This Is Us. Kate participated in a cardio fitness class that involved drum sticks, music, rhythm, and I KNEW I had to find a class for myself! 

While Kate’s class takes on more of a therapeutic feel, don’t let that scare you. Ariel’s class was definitely more cardio-based and fun-filled and had some fun jams that went along with it! I struggle with coordination and there were a few times I got lost on the rhythm, but Ariel was encouraging and didn’t let me get too far off the beaten (haha, get it?) path! 

Even through the sweat and sore muscles, I had a smile on the entire time and really felt free, energized, and empowered. I’m incredibly grateful toward Ariel for helping me embrace that side of myself and her class members for helping me feel encouraged. If you’re in the OKC area, I HIGHLY recommend you check out one of her classes! 
This week is only half-way through and I’m loving the opportunities it has had in store for me and the lessons it has taught me. I have found confidence in myself, I’m learning to take better care of myself, and I’ve found a few new hobbies and friendly faces to become more familiar with. I am grateful and my heart is full.