GoodBye, 2019. Reflection for the year, on being neurodivergent, Frozen2 thoughts & update

** This post is a 47 minute read! **


LeonieBear says goodbye 2019

I’ll ramble about the year later in the blog post but first:


Outside shenanigan photos!

I’m just going to put these in because I feel like it and I’m a hermit ;D

Happy soldier decoration :0

Where is the Wario cap?

Entertaining video game movie 😀

I wouldn’t want this though haha. Though it was gone when I came by again :0

Apparently this is popular? I don’t know I’m old

The reindeer moves its head very slowly and sadly

No one wants to buy the Simon Belmont amiibos :’)

Uh this sneaked into the snacks aisle!


Leonie’s art from the past week

At this point, I don’t know if I should continue doing traditional pieces because I could do digital sketches instead that fits more with illustration work. Well this is fun though so I’ll do what works for me :<

#64 Hello my food

Chirp!

#65 Happy Rex!

#66 Linkle

I wasn’t sure if I should show this one on twitter but I’ve put out Zelda fanart out there before ;P

#67 Quiet time – Knight of Hearts

I’m slowing down & learning 💙
I don’t celebrate it but Merry Holidays full of love, joy and kindness with your loved ones & friends 🎄💝✨

I don’t have the right colours but you make do with what you got! That’s what’s fun about traditional work because you improvise! 😀


Finally saw Frozen II. I couldn’t find a poster so I took a photo of some merch ;P

I watched it for the wonderful animation, art, voice acting and wanted to see what else is there to the story really. Tangled is still better than Frozen as a whole in my eyes. But hey the first Frozen was okay and the second Frozen arguably has more better Broadway-esque songs.

I’m someone who enjoys well crafted animated films, packed with tight storytelling but I didn’t have much expectations for this one and I wasn’t surprised that there were some good bits and some not so bits. Highlight below to see the spoiler thoughts! [in dark grey]

  • Good bits:
    • magical visual effects
    • the art!! Character design, environment design!
    • colour design of the movie,
    • Olaf’s story summaries actually got me to laugh at how silly the story of both movies are
    • the relationship between Anna and Elsa is what I still kind of care about
    • Kristoff’s wonderful, amusing, cheesy, cringey, 80’s heartbreak, boy band, rock ballad music video sequence for “Lost in the Woods” (a different great disney cover of it here)
      • it’s one of the best songs (if not the best for cynics like me) of the movie where he’s getting himself lost in the woods because he’s too busy making this memey music video haha.
    • the commander/lieutenant of Arendelle that got trapped in the enchanted cursed forest is a sweetheart and great. But pretty one dimensional. A lot of the guys are pretty one dimensional actually.
    • Elsa’s new 5th element dress is beautifu l- costume designs overall are great! Costume sales!!
    • The Next Right Thing” song with Anna/Kristen Bell was pretty great for the message – sad, well acted and is about depression, grief, feeling defeated, loss, being lost in the darkness, hopelessness, emptiness and taking small steps at a time. Kristen Bell is great for her acting chops!
    • I relate to Elsa and Anna in different ways
      • – one is going to do scary new things and is searching for a place where she finally belongs to see how far she can go
      • and the other is doing the right thing in small steps even when all hope and love in the world seems lost. Staying positive, brave and growing as a leader
    • with the 4 elements:
      • fire gecko/lizard was cute to hide the fact they commit arson indiscriminately,
      • gale the wind is cool for letter deliveries and for flying?
      • the water horse is pretty majestic and evil for trying to drown Elsa with its body down kick
      • rock golems/giants are chill, enjoy stomping and throwing boulders at people and don’t really have much sentience to them
      • Elsa the human is the 5th ice element I guess. The snowflake design and patterns of all the elements unified is cool
    • I like Kristoff more in this movie because of his song and how goofy, supportive, extra and genuine he is haha – and his song yes.
    • the songs are alright, safe, formulaic, predictable and amazing broadway vibes! They can just make this movie a broadway at this point. Unfortunately most of them are forgettable outside of the movie and are often compared to the first movie. I did go back to listen to a few tracks on youtube to refresh my memory.
      • I do like “Show Yourself” much, much better than “Into the Unknown” where Elsa’s finally letting all her hair down and is free to be herself. I think it’s arguably one of the best, emotional, powerful songs here as she reaches out with her mother and her lullaby towards the end. She learns and grows more to be open as herself, where she belongs. I hope I find my place one day too.
      • it’s just the loud, annoying chorus/ belting of Into the Unknown took over when the credits came in :’)
    • I wasn’t bored while watching the movie at least
    • a cute little kid was dressed up as Elsa in the cinema and then there was an ad, selling Elsa’s costume in the theatre haha
    • yes Kristoff’s glorious song and Olaf’s story summaries are my highlights and favourites
Just more cute things?
  • Not so good bits:
    • a lot of “where is this going?” The story is a mess. I wished they didn’t rush the movie and took their time with the story, especially towards the end and during the middle. An adventure was supposed to happen but instead they get trapped in an enchanted forest with themes of the Sámi people (indigenous people of Norway) getting assimilated and discriminated by more dominant cultures. They could have explored these themes of cultures more in depth.
    • It’s cool that they were trying different, darker themes in this movie but nothing was coherent. And I wasn’t sure what the message of this movie was, aside from the princesses’ own personal lessons? That we need to rebuild, make amends and work together?
    • the parents’ deaths seem so retconned into something different just so that this movie could happen and merch can be made. I don’t feel like I care about the parents too much because they’re gone and exist now to push the plot forwards
      • It feels super tacked on that the princesses are half Northuldra as well? It feels too strongly of plot moving it along rather than the characters themselves. But I’ll go along with it. It was predictable with the Queen saving the King when they were kids (because who else?)
    • emotional moments were there but it didn’t stick for me because of the story mess and I didn’t deeply care for the characters
    • it took me out of the movie at times where I thought I was too old for this movie. Especially the Olaf solo singing bits and scenes.
    • ultimately everyone is just a backdrop to Elsa and Anna’s self discovery journey – it’s bad when it’s super obvious
    • I got weirded out when it’s the same base 3D model for the Queen mother Iduna, Anna and Elsa at times, no biggie :’)
    • Why is their King Grandpa so silly/ridiculous that they would attack a forest tribe and back stab murder their leader in the forest? Especially if he’s so afraid and suspicious of the magical spirits?
      • Why did he spend so much money and resources for this dam just for power over them and their resources? When the leader was suspicious, he immediately decides to kill him behind his back to start a battle between everyone? What? How is this strategically sound? Why not ambush them in his kingdom instead?
      • Why did he put his son in the middle of this battle with magical beings in the mix?
      • Why should we care about this grandpa king and why is he afraid of magic and the tribe? There’s more depth to be explored here
      • Perhaps there could be some depth to him and that the sisters actually meet their long lost grandfather in the enchanted forest and find out his outlook and uncover his misdeeds that way (a review I read suggested this). Add further depth to the other members of the princesses’ family this way
    • there isn’t really an antagonist in this movie. Instead it’s the sisters learning, adventuring, separating and discovering themselves – a series of revelations. It’s fine but just not really done in a clear way
    • we’re just going along with the lore that water has memories I guess; it’s just convenient for the plot and the lullaby to move along haha
    • Anna was so annoying, overprotective and clingy with Elsa during the first 2 acts
    • why was Anna so jealous, insecure and out of character when she was with Kristoff and she said “oh you mean you’d do this with someone else?” What?! You know Kristoff better than this. It felt like it was forcing cliche tension between them when it’s clear that there isn’t much to work with.
    • Kristoff has a boring story and boring as a character now – all he has going for him was trying to propose to Anna and failing to get the words out. His song was great but within the movie it was out of place and tonally off. Kristoff is just suddenly gone after that for a period. Then he appears to save Anna later – what was he doing?? Can we learn and see how he’s suddenly not that fragile about love? We missed that tiny bit of character development after all the vague build up and jokes.
    • it’s great that Anna has some character development:
      • was protective, nurturing, sings lullabies as the emotional support, is shunned, saves Elsa this time, makes her own choices, deals with change, owns her own power, displays courage and leadership skills to do things herself
      • is more relatable compared to Elsa and stops being clingy with Elsa very quickly after her “death”? It was very glossed over and rushed towards the end to make things satisfying for her end.
    • Elsa tries to do all these challenges with the fire lizard, water spirit, pushing away her sister, facing ice spirit memories and making all these decisions all by herself without consulting anybody so that she can be the Avatar/5th element.
      • how she conveniently managed to get the memory of their grandfather’s real intentions to Anna before “dying”
      • conveniently Elsa freezes up to death but she doesn’t die and is revived. Ice spirit just decides that she can’t die because the dam and the curse is gone?? They knew that Anna is saving the day! Destiny I guess! Everything exists so that they both learn more about themselves!
      • I feel like Elsa as a character on her own is pretty boring without Anna. She’s reserved, quiet, introverted, is building her own confidence and searching for a sense of belonging (and I relate to those qualities). But not substantial enough for a strong character story arc in the way that they’ve executed it
      • what is her character? The only “wrong” thing she did is going too far? But the ice spirit intended her to die (but not really) in the void like forewarned in the lullaby? What’s the moral for her character arc?
      • She’s uncovering stuff about her past and growing powers as a fresh, new guardian I guess? Is she immortal now?
    • Story climax is now destroying the dam now that Elsa has “died”? It feels weirdly and fast paced and a mess especially towards the end.
      • Anna’s decision to fix the wrongs of her ancestors got dulled because Elsa came to save the kingdom and castle on her magical horse. The consequences and lesson about about being willing to destroy the kingdom, their privileges and take risks to rebuild the present loses its impact
      • it’s apparently because they can’t have you destroy this castle that they’ve already constructed in disney parks ;P
    • why Elsa did refer to “Do you want to build a snowman” with Anna, referencing pop culture?? It’s dating this movie! I always feel mixed with pop culture references and memes in movies as it brings me out of the story :S
    • if felt weird and unearned how the sisters are just apart now and Elsa’s just staying at her mum’s village instead – that was fast
      • I guess the message is that change is good? Find your strength and grow where you thrive best?
    • there’s a lot of plot holes but other people on the internet talk about it better than I can, I’ve looked at reviews even just to clarify my own thoughts
    • it’s obvious where during the movie that they’re trying to sell merch for the gecko/lizard, Olaf, reindeer and the princesses’ new costumes too
    • the fact that this time Elsa freezes to death but doesn’t actually die lessens the impact of Anna’s grief, heartbreak and depression for me. I didn’t actually feel sad because I know she’s not dead (Anna also “dies” and unfreezes in the first movie). The acting’s wonderful though.
    • the “Into the Unknown” song where the title of the song repeats 4 times during the chorus feels hammered into my head in an annoying way as they’re if forcing it to be the next best song.
      • I do like Brendon of Panic! At the Disco‘s version a little better.
      • everyone agrees it’s nowhere at the level of the Let it go song but there’s some who do like it. I do like the message behind the song, just too powerful with the belting in my ear :’) It’s not nice to my ears :<
    • Olaf was actually less annoying later in this movie compared to the first or the same??
      • He has a lot more screen time in this and that from a story standpoint, he didn’t need to exist nor his songs. I was waiting for his scenes to end during the first two acts.
      • Why do we have to listen to his facts, memes and existentialism?
      • He’s just there for the young kids who grew up with the first movie and to remind people that we’re getting older and mature. And that we will eventually die :’)
      • Why was he talking about experiencing his first negative emotions and about things not being permanent? And that love is permanent – is it really when it’s an active choice day to day? And then he doesn’t go deeper than that :S
    • So I guess Elsa lives in the forest now to be a free ice guardian with the other spirits and the Northuldran tribe while Anna’s stuck as the Arendelle queen instead.
      • Anna’s the one now “doing the next right thing”. It all feels sort of rushed. It feels forced onto Anna that she’s the queen now.
      • There was the “nothing lasts forever” theme and how Elsa has to leave eventually. But is this really what Anna wants though? Where was her desire and build up to be the queen shown? Everything was so centred on Elsa for her.
    • It feels like 30 or so of movie minutes was cut. Making movies is hard, is what I gathered from this.

I don’t think Frozen actually needed a sequel but that’s just me. I was hoping to be surprised with an actually good, cohesive movie but perhaps I’m not the audience. It was okay. I didn’t really feel that invested in their journey of self discovery but hey, there were some great emotional moments, interesting ideas, great animation, songs, acting and Kristoff’s silly song got me entertained ;D

Other entertainment rambles

I also watched the boring, terrible Star Wars Holiday Special. Why.

And Jojo Rabbit. I enjoyed it; was a bizarre, interesting dance between comedy and serious, emotional character moments. It was weird alright!

Also I finally finished the first Picross S game and every puzzle after several months of struggling!! Woo!! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into another timesink but I treated myself by buying both the second and third seasons of Picross! I think I finished twenty something from the second season right after getting it :’) Looking forward to a Murder by Numbers game 😀 Picross is chill and feels satisfying when you solve them.


Personal Ramble Time & looking forward to a more brighter 2020!

So to recap on 2019 happenings:

  • I did my first overseas vacation through my first visit to Japan. I don’t think I’ve publicly shared photos from this because I lost my job towards the end of the trip and that took over my life. Maybe one day I’ll do art based on my adventures there instead :’)
  • got let go of my first indie game artist studio job of 3 years but I’m grateful to have worked with the Mighty team for that long! Relieved that they’re doing fine now.
    • learned lots and gained a gaming buddy!
    • it was probably time for me to move on because I was burning out, I was better as a freelancer and jobs in the industry just don’t last if you don’t want to adapt into a generalist game artist (like me). I didn’t want to be a general game artist in the first place – I just wanted to help with what I can instead.
  • consequently mental health spiraled down and I needed to figure out what to do with my career. Still figuring that out as nothing is stable and clear.
  • have gotten gloomy and stressed out heaps this year as I struggled to manage constant uncertainty and self doubt. Lots of mental health and feelings to figure out.
  • managing my perfectionism and performance anxiety better but not there yet, it’s ongoing
  • freelancing had lots of dry seasons this year and lessons learned too. Especially when it comes to doing multiple revisions and iterations that stress me out 🙁
    • it’s hard to balance between solving the art problem while striving to make things clear with time, iterations, changes and scope. Something that’s a case by case basis really :S
  • became much more of a frugal, reclusive hermit and isolated from the industry and people. Most drift away, most catch ups don’t happen anymore, realising that it’s not likely to get any better and I should accept & move on
    • hey some wonderful people helped me along the way too, in both little and direct ways
    • I’m vaguely in online contact with 2 or so people now? And maybe passively with others through online lurking but I won’t count those :S
    • let’s say friendships are hard when you’re a stubborn homebody like me
  • feeling slowly and gradually better that I’m just not part of the games community anymore, not that I was heavily part of it in the first place. Social crowded events are draining and I don’t have much energy or interest right now. I’m a grumpy lady ;P
  • learning and reading about business stuff
    • there’s so much emphasis on being an entrepreneur and going for big clients, products, services and branding but I realise I just want to be better at art, be a “technician” for now where I just design and illustrate for myself and for people for a living :’) I’m not “out there” and in demand enough to be an entrepreneur right now.
    • the application is much more trial and error all the same so I just go with the flow, learn through experience and do my best at this point
    • many freelance artists are just dipping in different revenue streams to keep afloat like prints, patreon, youtube, merch, tutorials, books, products, cons, commissions, streaming and whatnot :0 Meanwhile I’m just focused on freelance work with the side help of Patreon because I greatly lack in the support of a substantial, engaged audience who would actually buy and support my work enough for me to survive from. Cannot rush these things and will have to keep trying different things when able :<
    • don’t do stickers and merch again until I actually do have demand. I have a bunch of stickers nobody wants to pay for ;P
  • later in the year I did some commissions and rare contract work when I thought all hope was lost with freelancing
  • learning that I’m somewhere on the autism spectrum since last year (undiagnosed so see a section below about it)
  • worked part time on voxel art again for a while as I don’t mind doing simple voxel art for others
  • watched streams, shows, movies, dramas and musicals
  • Link’s Awakening, Mario Maker 2, Tetris 99, Picross, Untitled Goose game, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Ring Fit Adventure and probably more I forgot!
  • got myself exercising where possible and Ring Fit Adventure has made it so fun to be active everyday (if able) and push my limits at my own pace 😀 Getting sweaty too and noting how weak I am :’) I hope to keep playing it, do yoga where I can fit it in and be more healthy physically and mentally in 2020!
  • fighting with self doubt and tolerating a grumpy toxic family member everyday; dealing with a bunch of tense family drama sometimes :’)
  • cooking basic lunch everyday now and being the manual dish washer continues. I’m just glad I don’t have bugs trying to get into my food anymore 😛
    • some cooking mistakes happened too haha
    • cooking on my terms is fun and chill though time consuming! Freedom to change things up is welcome though.
  • generally I feel hungry for different food and hoping to eat out occasionally when I’m bothered :’)
  • I cut my own hair because hair salons are pricey, woo! It actually turned out alright, even though I struggled to see the back of my head :0
  • public transport is getting expensive next year – nine dollars for a day if I were to go into the city!! Also summer here is apparently going to be pretty hot and bad (heatwave levels due to climate change) so I might just stay in during January and February, not by choice. Oof! :<

I’m sure I’ve missed some things. Lots of troubling ongoing global and local news too but I won’t go into that here. A mixed bag where I’m just grateful I’m not completely doomed as I catastrophised!

Personal lessons I’ve learned and/or am reminding myself:

Learning how to manage my impatient, resentful, hurt, overwhelmed and lonely feelings better
  • focusing more on being compassionate and kind with people in my life rather than what’s “right and fair”
  • apologising, acknowledging and working with my weaknesses better too
  • making sure I’m aware, managing and dealing with the actual issue, negative thoughts & feelings rather than bury myself under escapism and denial
  • pulling back any reactive thoughts, words, feelings and actions I might have and think things over first. Spinning things a little so life is less discouraging
How I normally don’t express my feelings on the the outside (naturally I’m quiet, deadpan and slowly in thought) and I need to communicate them better
  • generally I’ll be mild friendly when I have the energy or when I am truly excited to express myself outwardly like that. People will just have to deal with my default, energy conserving, silent company ;P
  • It’s too draining to act more outgoing, expressive and friendly than I actually am. That drains me and is unsustainable because after trying to “perform like a friendly human”, I wind down and don’t want to talk anymore when it feels like I’m putting on too much of a persona :’)
That I shall cherish one to one moments and focus on good, kind people who enjoy doing quiet, mundane things with me <3
  • I say this because most people aren’t comfortable in not having conversations to fill the air and silence 😛 They need small talk while I don’t really need it, especially when I need time to chill, reflect and recover in between talking about stuff I am interested in ;P
  • relaxing and embracing the awkwardness is hard, I agree! I’ve been on the side where someone silently keeps scowling at me after I asked them a question and it feels like it’s my fault. I have to actively remind myself that I didn’t cause their negative feelings and give space to themselves.
  • personally I need time to just quietly think and/or chill – it’s not necessarily because I find you boring, it’s okay!
Social media supports it in a passive way but it isn’t how you maintain strong friendships.

Often interaction doesn’t happen anyway. I say this all the time but gosh it’s the default human interaction I have ;P

Seeing how some people move on from you and vice versa as you get more irrelevant to the industry and/or community is eye opening but hey nobody’s surprised ;P
  • I guess I’m petty because I don’t want to be actively disrespected, ignored, forgotten and rejected again by the same people. I don’t want to hang around people who makes me feel worse about myself. If that makes me rude for shutting such people out then so be it. Hey, we’re not actively in each other’s lives anyway and I have other better things to do and think about.
  • especially if they’re consistently hot, cold, avoid eye contact and not being honest :/ I just tune such people out as I don’t have the interest, time or desire for that drama and second guessing to take space in my life
  • maybe I’ve hurt people’s feelings unknowingly! Or simply by not being interested. It happens too. Humans are complicated!! Ahh!
If someone feels off about them,
  • it’s better to take a step back and take time to see what they do, how they judge others and how they treat people who are influential and beneficial to them versus those who are at a disadvantage (social-economical status, connections, wealth, fame, living situation, experience, knowledge, ability, upbringing, education, nationality, background, identity, etc) and not their words.
  • I do believe in the good in people. I cannot change them however, as they need to do the work themselves from a genuine place. All the same, trust takes honesty, reliability, kindness, time and effort to be earned.
  • I just need to stay away if I still feel hurt, unhappy, creeped out or uncomfortable around them
For one thing, you cannot force friendship. You cannot be friends with most people. That’s super fair and reasonable.
  • there’s times where there were a few peeps who were reaching out as friends but I didn’t feel the same.
    • I did feel guilty for not being interested and somehow I felt creeped out because I don’t know them well nor do I know their intentions as people.
    • it felt super uneven and unbalanced in social dynamics or it just didn’t feel compatible nor comfortable when there’s nothing left to say.
    • all the same I knew they needed somebody who wasn’t a hermit like me.
  • at this point, I usually need substantial online conversation and mutual respect, interest and trust before I make any additional effort (time, money and emotional investment) to meet with someone new ;P
    • it’s much more effort, expense and disruption on my end to head into the city, for a hermit like me. If feels like most social people are around the city for work or something but not hermit me! It needs to be convenient for me while not invading on anyone’s privacy.
    • please don’t come out of the blue to ask me to meet up when I haven’t built anything substantial with you. If you want to do some business talk then don’t mix up friendship with professional connection 😛
    • and of course I’m unsure and confused when I don’t even actively meet new people in person. I guess that’s reasons why I feel uncomfortable :0
    • usually I just don’t want to open up, especially when you haven’t earned my trust and respect yet. That or you’ve lost it.
    • of course there’s people who don’t want to hang out with me too. It happens when things aren’t mutual. It’s all good. I need to get over myself too! 😛
  • as you know I take ages to actually warm up, trust and respect most people. And I pretty much do mostly solitary, quiet things so I guess there’s little hope for me when it comes to friendships and relationships. This year involved a lot of acceptance with this and embracing all the good/bad/mundane parts of my hermit life.
How I’m more suited to being a freelancer, even though it’s lonely.
  • nowadays I don’t feel pulled into different directions between “social, professional workspace and existing in the same open office” and “I need to get into my solitary, focused, work zone”.
  • I don’t feel as super drained, tense and anxious because I have space to just be myself and do my work without interruptions. Still there’s some jaw strain ughhhh :<

Learning about being neurodivergent! [skip as this is long!]

Even though I was not formerly diagnosed with it, my psychologist last year agreed that I have mild autism. Or whatever terminology they use nowadays. All the experiences, struggles with crushes, friendships, people, my naive way of understanding the world and social environments that I have had up to now made more sense. It’s another, “oh I don’t feel as alone now!”

Much relief was felt as I’m understanding why I get easily overwhelmed with the outside world and other people :’) How I always feel like I’m adapting myself all over again and feel so emotionally drained with every new, complex, unpredictable person I meet. How I play as the overly friendly persona especially in earlier years to cope with what I thought was “pleasant social human behaviour” and then people feeling weird when I shut down and run out of energy and expression fast haha.

Overall I feel super reluctant to emotionally invest into new people. It’s a lot of emotional work and time to even open up .__.

How I’m not interested in most things and people thanks to my tunnel vision, nitpicky-ness and ignorance. But I’m open to just listen and learn! Hey I know my hermit knowledge is limited. People consequently think I’m boring and shy.

How I am slow with understanding what everyone else deems as “common sense” – subtle communication!
  • I assume people are speaking at face value and the best intentions at first, because why should I over exert myself trying to read between the lines? And stress myself over negative interpretations and impressions?
    • when I feel something’s off about you, or your actions don’t match what you say, or you’re just rude to me and hurt my feelings or I’m not comfortable around you then my brain loops in circles trying to figure you out and read between the lines :’) Something just doesn’t feel right and other times I don’t want to impatiently jump to conclusions.
    • still other people’s intentions, motives, cues and body language often goes over my sad, oblivious head :’)
    • I know assumptions can be dangerous and lazy so I try to hone my impressions the more I learn; it’s my way to cope and understand other humans
    • I’m just not comfortable, lazy and clumsy at communicating and reading nuanced emotions. Lacking in self awareness at times. It can be lots of reasons, in the given moment.
    • dealing with someone’s reactions and feelings is scary and uncomfortable too!
  • I do not like indirect, subtle communication as it’s confusing. Dishonest and misleading at worst when I feel like there’s an underlying agenda within someone based from my gut feelings.
    • unfortunately everyone and including myself does subtle things because it’s hard to directly express them. And face the aftermath and reaction.
    • no clue whether you’re sad or angry or tired or chilling – you need to be super obvious or I’ll just keep second guessing. I don’t fully understand another’s complex mind. Hey maybe you have a deadpan face like me too!
    • all the same I do wish that people can just tell me what they need, are clear on what they’re expecting and ask sometimes. Sure maybe my ego will be hurt and I’ll need time to process but ultimately I’m open to doing better. I don’t like it when people do things for me when I don’t know what I did wrong :< Don’t treat it like common sense please.
    • how do people handle this? When I’m feeling like I have enough, I just shut people out because they’re not being honest with me and keeping me at a distance anyway ;P
  • I try to be tactful and direct the more I respect I have with peeps and the more I hang out with them though. I have no time for subtle games so I tend to be no-nonsense and serious until I really warm up to you, understand you and your way of communication ;P Otherwise it’s: “Oh, you were joking. Whoops.”
Stimming

I think I stim by wrangling with my hands and fingers when I’m nervous, thinking hard and while talking to somebody? Or twirl my hair, jiggle my leg or at times I just move and step about. Things I’m not super conscious of. I’m a socially inexperienced soul so it’s been a while ;P

Overwhelm that happens with groups and people talking over each other

First I want to say that Hannah Gadsby is a treasure, since watching Nanette last year and a few other of her interviews left a lasting impression. This recent interview in particular about her autism diagnosis – on how she’s just overwhelmed when there’s a group conversation and how she’s deadpan with expressing her emotions – I relate completely. It’s super hard socialising for me too as I’m bad at fully adapting to others because it’s so draining and it feels even more alienating. I don’t like it when people talk over each other and there’s more than one person to talk to – I just tune out and go into super listen mode ;P

Yes I know that people aren’t being intentionally rude and that’s how lots of people communicate – even I interrupt when I’m in engaging tight knit conversations at times! But generally I just get overwhelmed, shut down and can’t participate anymore in social, talkative groups. My overstimulated brain’s just trying to conserve energy and figuring out what’s going on so I just don’t talk anymore unless I’m asked a question.

No thanks if I’m being pressured to mingle in social crowds…get me out of there!! Indeed, that’s pretty much conventions and conferences – it explains a lot why I feel so upset during those things! Leave me out of your noisy parties! I don’t want to stress and feel constantly abandoned and alienated. It’s super discouraging to feel so alone among so many people. Just enjoy it without me!

Let me know if it’s a one to one catch up instead! Or quiet, tiny group meeting where I don’t have to talk :’)

If I’m not in a social mood, I just avoid eye contact.

And that’s my default :’) I don’t have energy or patience to be social for hours so social experiences are limited. I probably get misunderstood plenty. I can exist and not talk at all within a social environment.

  • but I *need* something to do!! Like a game or eating and things to learn :< Just tell me how to help out that’s not centred on talking to people 😛
  • or I can just sit there and chill if people aren’t creeped out by that haha
  • when it’s mostly strangers I run out of energy within less than hour and don’t want to introduce myself to people anymore repetitively. I’m pooped and get into a zombie state. Unfortunately I push myself anyway because it’s already rare that I get to get out at all :’)
  • how peer pressure and approval doesn’t really affect me. I don’t care about getting stuff I don’t need. I only get things because I want it too. I can’t pretend to care or be interested too long – I think most people can see I’m faking it and just mirroring them eventually
Small talk – no thanks.

I find my own day boring. I know that’s what makes it interesting and pleasant for some but not for me. Let’s talk about your day, or games, movies and deeper topics instead 😛 I think I get quiet, boring and give dead end answers when it comes to small talk.

I’m fine with not being “a joy to be around”. And when I’m exhausted with putting on a social, friendly mask, I quietly sit around until people initiate or it’s time to leave :0

I’m unapproachable with my deadpan resting face
  • especially when I’m lost within my own thoughts and mind. I’m not bothered to wear social masks most of the time. I’m just being myself and thinking things
  • when people ask me “are you ok?” because of my inexpressive face, I’m just overwhelmed, thinking, zoning out and tired usually. This is how I usually am when I’m not putting on an extroverted mask
  • I live in my mind so people assume I believe that I’m too good and arrogant for them apparently? But I’m not special, I just don’t want to talk to most people or I’m just chilling and listening.
  • people are scared of me I guess :S
  • for better or worse, I tend to keep social connections and experiences minimal so I don’t have to put on social faces on all the time. Conserving mental energyyyy
  • how I don’t have an emotional, bubbly, nurturing, warm, outgoing, charismatic, flirty exterior nature at all. I’m more of a low key, low-drama, blunt, internally emotional, independent, quiet butt who values freedom, personal space, intellectual & emotional connection, drive and growth.
  • when people expect me to emotionally express stuff often, I just awkwardly look at the ground and elsewhere instead. Touchy feely stuff is very awkward for me! I can write sentimental stuff in my blog but I can’t say soap opera, mushy words in person! I’ll give hugs if I’m comfortable around you though
  • I might seem insensitive with my underdeveloped emotional maturity. It’s just super emotional and energy-consuming to sympathise deeply with other people :’) You can’t force anybody to have certain feelings, just to make you feel better.
  • like anyone else, I’ve been hurt many times before so I don’t trust easily anyway
  • if I don’t show much emotions, I’m just not showing them to you with my barriers and guard up. I take a while to trust and open up and I don’t like being pressured to overshare in person, just because you shared (and/or you read my blog)
Having to be in control, standards and overthinking
  • how I need to be mentally prepared for adventures beforehand with planning – order and predictability is preferred but I’m not too afraid of change as long as it’s for the better
    • I’m not good with too much spontaneity all the same! I keep to my morning routine where possible 😛
  • how I have a fear of uncertainty and get stressed, have concerns and worry about how others think at times. I express my emotions more (at least in this blog) because I know that writing it out here helps me and other people are wiser than I am
  • I need to control my own environment and routine at times but sometimes you have to compromise!
    • I do get grumpy if my routine is stuffed up and I have to somehow improvise and compromise :< I get stressed out and make frustrated noises haha
    • addicted to planning but I enjoy planned unstructured time the best! I just doing what I can with my time and decompress
  • get obsessed, narrow minded and impatient with my goals and desires sometimes. But now I’m willing to do other things along the way, as long as I still get what I want and am productive. It depends.
  • I think too much and about possible outcomes
    • is it worth my effort? Attention? Dedication? Feelings? What’s the better solution? What’s acceptable? What will happen if we went with this path? Where did I go wrong? How didn’t I see this coming? Why were they ignoring me? Why did they lie? Why did they make this decision? Why do I feel alone again? Why do we have to do it this way?
    • people assume I’m feeling something negative when I’m just thinking lots haha
    • I’ll get into a loop if I don’t understand it. Seeking facts, coherence and clarity – at this point I might ask for help from someone I trust if I feel like I’m going nowhere and making life harder for myself
    • sometimes it’s just something simple; I need reminding that not everything is solvable and I have to let go and move on
  • I need to have some creativity in solving problems. I don’t like being led to believe that I have freedom and autonomy and suddenly I get reined in, just to execute someone else’s solution. A frustrating, disappointing and boring situation. I’ll have to make something about it interesting again :’)
  • I have delayed emotions and sometimes they come out in bursts, aside from menstrual mood swings. Striving to not bottle it up as they bite me back later with a depressed, unproductive, grumpy mood.
  • having plenty of tension and struggles with self worth and respect plus many internalised, impossible, perfectionist standards to judge myself against
    • taking refuge within my mind and self criticising myself first to avoid external judgement and to cope with being misunderstood
  • how I tend to work on things that make sense to me and are important to the project. I’m not keen on repetitive tasks that get overridden and I feel like I’m second guessing what people want.
  • how I deconstruct and rebuild things in order to understand it and go along with my own process. I have to “invent the wheel” in order to understand clearly for better or worse.
    • and then combine things in my own way! Too bad I don’t have the luxury of time when it’s for work :<
    • how I often ask what methods makes sense and works when problem solving
    • how after much listening, reading and research, I need time to figure out the answers on my own without social or time pressure too
    • I’m restless to learn more and I can’t chill for long. Silly perfectionism! Spending too much time nitpicking things that people don’t care about
    • application and implementation of knowledge in the external world is less important to me. The process of learning is the appeal for me. If something is interesting I get carried away learning about it and then after my curiosities are satisfied, I move on.
    • I want to hone myself to the best I can. I see flaws in myself and in others as I struggle with expectations
  • look at this list making ;D
  • being ambitious and independent! I have big visions but I realise the team needs to be on board and care as much as I do to make it work so I don’t bother ;P
    • I’ll probably do it alone if I could but I can’t. I also need to respect the leader for me to be on board with them.
    • just because most people says it is so, doesn’t mean it’s right
    • I need meaning, purpose and to feel capable and effective
  • being intense – I take things seriously too much at times :’)
  • closed minded – as much as I research, I do have my own biases and perspective. Open to be proven wrong with facts, insights and evidence from people I respect and trust
Relationships and friendships
  • how I believe that a close intellectual and emotional connection through compatibility, direct communication, acceptance, respect, mutual investment, comfort, shared interests/hobbies, affection and helping each other to reach each other’s life goals is most important to me when it comes to strong relationships and friendships.
    • space to be an introvert and independent too!
    • yes I know I need to ignore uninterested/unavailable people and actually spend time with people to find compatible people. Ironic since I’m usually the unavailable, hermit myself ;P
  • physical attraction and first impressions are secondary to the bond, affection, love, respect, joy, support, kindness and trust that grows stronger between minds and souls for a relationship (gosh I’m sappy)
    • but then again I have no experience with relationships/dating and I’m not a social or family kind of person. I’m usually closed up, oblivious, bad at flirting, the physical affection stuff and rarely open up for potential dating anyway.
    • I don’t want too much sweet talk as it feels too flowery, “too sappy to be true” and hyperbolic like the usual romance, fantasy movies. I observe actions and quality time more than words :V
  • life without drama, gossip and bullying please! Else I would rather be alone than in be in a non-functional/abusive relationship or friendship
  • how I don’t need huge groups of friends to feel accepted. Downside is that it’s lonely and I’m not physically strong to do everything on my own :’)
  • how I keep feelings and expressing love and kindness private with special people. Not great at “flirting” either.
    • I’m not that comfortable with saying and expressing “I love you” directly with people unless I fully mean it with certainty, security, trust, affection, support and honesty. I need a strong, mutual feeling of being special, cared for and loved.
  • I don’t really call out anybody at this blog unless I want to praise, thank or credit friends, people I’ve worked with and peeps I don’t know 😀 I don’t really want to call out family or everything else I do with people because privacy! :0
  • those in my special circle are rare and I selectively choose and allow them to be part of my life because they’ve earned my trust and respect.
    • takes several years for a friendship to become a close one ;P If I deem you worthy, I reveal more about myself but if I see any flinching or disappointing behaviour, I seal up. There’s been a lot of sealing up in past handful of years.
  • privacy is different depending on who you’re with:
    • people who are jerks to me – muted, blocked and/or ignored. Not in my life anymore.
    • strangers and casual acquaintances is surface level, polite
    • casual friends and colleagues varies depending on how well I know them and it’s usually seasonal, industry or workplace oriented rather than personal.
      • people who use business/industry emails and/or eventually stop responding to me
      • most won’t read this blog. I get a little spooked when people somehow know things about me and don’t tell me that they read my blog ;P
      • most become casual acquaintances again, people come and go with their own adventures. Effort is not made anymore and paths diverge!
    • good friends are closer, maintained and ongoing, no matter the season of life.
      • it depends on how comfortable and safe I am with them
      • I don’t know what’s happening with them still because their social media posts aren’t the whole story.
      • most won’t read this blog either, a few kindly do! <3
      • they usually have their own best friends, friend groups, loved ones and lives to sustain them
      • sometimes they become casual friends again and it’s sad but necessary to let go. Priorities and people change after all.
      • we’re able to talk about some things! I guess I’m impersonal :<
      • some I might see them once a year or more if I’m lucky ;0
    • best friend, partner (if I had one) and immediate family is a day to day/regular basis.
      • usually the most trust and respect here; there’s nowhere to hide ;P
      • they don’t read this because it’s too much info ;P
      • people who I can talk anything about and actually talk about important, current information, feelings, boring day to day things and issues.
    • me and myself! And not being “fake” with myself as I ramble some of my personal thoughts here.
Work related
  • how I see work as a business thing than a social thing – I’m more focused on performance, independence, freedom, respect than being too friendly and social at work. Too many hats to handle for me!
    • I don’t make time to do other activities outside of work either.
    • It takes years for me to even warm up to a few people sometimes ;P
    • still I do have feelings and there are times where I’ve been rejected multiple times because I tried to befriend people at workplaces in the past. There’s always a limit and professional wall where I’m just simply incompatible as a friend to most people. The reality is that I can’t befriend everyone at work and that’s too exhausting! No one’s to blame.
  • office politics and little friendship/team groups go over my oblivious head
    • all I hope for is to work well together for the project, keep it professional and then move on.
    • feelings aren’t hurt anymore since I’m a freelance hermit now with some distance :’)
  • how I tend to work alone or in small like-minded groups or I get overwhelmed. I enjoy being efficient and free from the expectations of others and not having to wait ;D
  • how I feel humbled to work and learn with the people I admire, respect and who are ambitious, patient, understanding, smart and kind
  • how I don’t enjoy the spotlight and I’d rather be behind the scenes. But I don’t want to be completely over taken, ignored and invisible by more popular, vocal people just because I’m under the radar. It’s a mixed bag.
  • how I’m fiercely independent, a perfectionist and often miss out due to my lack interest in social norms, promotions and opportunities – to my detriment. People in the past had to pressure and believe in me for me to actually do anything about it :’)
On energy levels
  • how I enjoy solitude to recharge, relax and I need lots of alone time. This makes me aloof and it probably makes people feel rejected, alone and excluded 🙁
  • I love my introverted isolation more than doing things outside to make things happen. Outside stuff is mentally draining so I do it sparingly and do it in a prepared way. Yes I know I can’t always be a hermit! :’)
  • when I’m alone, I’m just a blank, thinking, quiet, low-energy butt ;P
Autism Diagnosis?

I’m not keen on getting an actual diagnosis as that’s unnecessary and expensive. I don’t need a list of questions to determine who I am. It’s pretty clear to me that I’m somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and that’s good for me.

I’m not actively looking for other people who have autism either because after lots of reading and watching Youtubers who have it in the past, everyone on the spectrum is dealing with different or similar experiences and struggles too. I am not keen on being an expert or be vocal about it either because I’m not interested in filling that kind of role in the public spotlight for others. Please do your own research because I don’t know everything and I don’t want this to define me. Anyhoo I’m just okay talking about it in this blog post as I work things out ;D

Consequently in the past year I’ve been learning how to adapt with my weaknesses and focus on my strengths the most. I’m not great at it but hey it’s a lifelong journey. I am super picky with who I accept as long term friends so I’m prioritising the few friendships I have in my life really. Always learning to be better within my limits/boundaries.

Huzzah

Finally I’m grateful that the few peeps I’ve already talked to about my undiagnosed autism are pretty cool and supportive about it! Thank you for accepting a little alien like me!! <3

One way I cope with it is to see everyone else as aliens. As that’s how it feels to me sometimes.


Am I still burnt out? Do I have regrets?

I’m still around 10% to 25% burnt out and get tired often, depending on how I’m feeling. I’m not as apathetic anymore about life and it seems like time has healed some of my jaded, gloomy, sad weariness and emptiness. Some of it.

I don’t have regrets because even if I do (yes especially the high school teaching career), there’s nothing I can do about it, I did what I thought was best at the time and it’s in the past. In terms of regrets this year? No regrets, I’ll live with my mistakes, decisions, awkwardness, discomfort, fears and missed opportunities thank you ;P

I do have the motivation to live and freelance at least.

I’m not quite there yet with learning, creativity, skill, career and my own art though as it gets pretty discouraging and intimidating when your brain talks yourself out of doing things when you see other artists doing what you want to do. I start doubting myself whether I’m actually going to enjoy the grueling process. Do I actually *want* to do this?? I’m slowly getting there as I strive to build hope in things again, despite the countless existential, doubtful feelings and fear of burning out again. I’m still healing wahh :<

This year I’m glad I have better communication and understanding with my brother and grateful that I was able to do some freelance work. Got to keep saving money like a scrooge because I don’t have stable work at all :0 ! Also super humbled I still have a kind gaming buddy to play with occasionally!

I’m going to live with my decision to do the best I can at character design and illustration, despite having self doubts nagging at me all the time :’) I should actually draw what I want!! See where I’ll go! Learning to let go of the past and to focus on the present and future ahead. Taking things in stride and managing my feelings and thoughts as usual.

Overall I think 2019 has been an okay year! Not super great, lots of downs and gloomy holes but I got to revert back to my homebody, recluse, quiet self and experience some personal lessons.

In the end, you have to be honest and look after for yourself. No one else is going to be there for you all the time.


Also Jennifer Scheurle published her Polygon letter, “Dear Player: I love you, let’s talk“!

It summarises her twitter threads in the past as a game designer and it’s a heartfelt piece encouraging compassion, kindness, understanding for each other through the love of creating and playing video games. And she kindly included her favourite art slides I did for her GDC talk in there <3 (I’m embarrassed and grateful though haha) Her update here with the feedback she got.

I think this artstation summary they send you is interesting! ;D

I want to keep leveling up in 2020! Taking a break! Let’s see how far I can go!

This means I’ll do more studies so maybe I should tone down on the long rambles and not bother doing self help notes. It’s super time consuming! That’s why I squished lots of my notes here in this blog because it wasn’t worth toiling over this in future blog posts when I’m not trying to be a life coach. I felt like I was procrastinating from what I really want to do :’)

Overall there’s been lots to juggle in the past year and my focus was all over the place. Thanks fears and doubts!

My main focus from here will be freelance work (if I have any), on learning and updating my progress at my blog! 😀 I’ll do personal art and cute characters where able! I’ll see how I juggle along the way!

I’ve run out of buffer with art so I’m taking most of January off with posting and taking a break off social media. So Patrons especially please note I’ll be pausing Patreon support for a month when the first week of February comes around for January.

And yes I pushed the blog post to Sunday mornings because last week I still had stuff to add during Saturday right when I was supposed to post too! Turns out after trying it out, I need to change the day so I have more time to add content and feel less stressed about it :’)

When I get back, I will play it by ear and switch between weekly and fortnightly where needed. Sometimes I need more time between posts to hibernate, learn and make art again! At the very least I’m striving for two fortnightly blog posts a month. Thank you for understanding as I change my schedule and juggle things :’) <3

Animal Crossing Sidenote: I hope to get a few friends on discord to arrange shenanigans for new Animal Crossing adventures too. Maybe! I don’t know how Animal Crossing works as a newbie. It sound sad but I hope to get friends I can depend on through this game :’)

Let’s go forward with hope, positivity, kindness and patience together!

Thank you so much for reading and your lovely support! Here we go as we continue this long journey for 2020! O_O;

Hope to stay cool today! And especially tomorrow in the 🌡️43°C/109.4°F climate ☀️🔥

Anyhoo I’m going to hibernate now ✨

Take care and all the best! ❤♫


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