Releasing a tame aspie into the wild

This information is designed to guide you but should not be taken as the only way to naturalise your tame aspie. Caution is advised in any situation where an aspie is released into the wild for the first time as their usual response to wide, open spaces full of nature is one of abject terror and incomprehension.

Your good intentions in rescuing your tame aspie have brought you to the goal you have planned for months: finally, it is time to release your aspie into the wild and hope they can fend for themselves.

To ensure this is a happy experience for you and as stress-free as possible for your aspie, please consider:

Training your aspie to feed itself

This can be a long process but is ultimately rewarding. Start small and guide your aspie towards bread and butter, then work up to jam. Buy cheap jam as you will lose a lot in misguided attempts to use a knife as a spoon.

Work up to cooking hot meals. These will mainly only be warm or incinerated for a while as your aspie is either too impatient to wait or forgets they are cooking.

Try not to rely on pizza as a foodstuff and introduce your aspie to using more than one pan/tray at a time.

Do not try leaving your aspie alone with a cookbook: contrary to what you might think, it will not encourage them to do the whole process from start to finish just because it is written down. More likely, the book will be ignored because the font is wrong and the pictures are badly contrasted and the instructions have no basis in fact.

Survival skills

Your aspie will be aware that the wild is a dangerous place. Try to persuade them not to base their instinctive reactions on Zombie-Feed 6 and Planet of Terrorrrrrr!

Equip them instead with a map of the relevant wild area, a quick link on their phone, a written note reminding them to use the map and the quick link and a gentle push to get them past the front gate.

Make sure they are aware of the usefulness of little old ladies in getting them where they need to go. Aspies are naturally suspicious of anyone else in the wild, but little old ladies are often the best first request for help as they appreciate being asked and love to give advice.

Do not let your aspie bring home any little old ladies they find in the wild. Life is complicated enough.

Getting around

Explain to your aspie about the useful but potentially terrifying power of public transport. Furnish them with another map, complete with highlighted areas and make sure they know which trains/buses not to get on.

When your aspie returns full of accusations against you because they have spent three hours on the wrong train/bus, try colour-coding your highlighted areas so they don't automatically choose the routes you told them to avoid.

When you have to collect them from Hambilam East at midnight, consider training them to use taxis.

Wild, romantic encounters

It's entirely possible that, once out of the confines of their tame environment, an aspie's attentions may turn to romance. This is only natural but does bring with it some significant challenges for the tame aspie.

As with Survival Skills, make sure your aspie does not base romantic encounters on those portrayed in their favourite video games. Instead, hand them a copy of Pride and Prejudice and hope for the best.

If your aspie tries out their own brand of romantic engagement, do be prepared to find yourself housing two tame aspies instead of one. Aspies have a tendency to run for home when going through new experiences and their new love will most likely follow. With any luck, you will now have someone to take care of you and your tame aspie for the next few years. If it doesn't work out this way, do be prepared to build on an extra room for all the gaming equipment.

Try and try again

Aspies going out into the wild are timid and fearful of danger. They need the security of home while knowing the wild world waits for them. Do be patient with the many returns your aspie will make as they learn to cope with new challenges. It is always better to welcome your aspie back then help them leave again than expect them to leave all at once and end up being eaten by wolves.

If all else fails...

If your aspie becomes stubborn and is determined to be tame forever, consider how important it is to live in the wild world. Has your aspie got it right? Should we live inside, where it is warm and safe and the internet is always on? Is this not better than the cold outdoors with intermittent wifi and internet cafes where people actually expect to socialise instead of just using the internet?

If your tame aspie has tried the wild and done their best, consider that they have become too accustomed to life where it is peaceful and safe. Leave your efforts on simmer for a while, then try again. It is always worth trying again because the next time your aspie might realise they do like the wild, it was just that you were doing it all wrong and now that they have a system, everything is fine!

And when they return again, with or without love, with or without little old ladies, with or without the shopping you have been waiting for since 11am, then open the door and smile as they clatter through. Sooner or later your tame aspie will go out into the wild again and this time they may remember the milk.

Put the kettle on in anticipation and enjoy your much-deserved relaxation. Right before your phone lights up with the Hambilam East area code.


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A sense of belonging.

All the times, all the myriad but matching, twin-like times when you feel as if you are the odd one out and no matter what company you seek, sooner or later you will be separate from them. Those times when you have that sensation of wrenching, as if you have pulled away too soon even though you stayed in the same place; then realise the pull came from them as they moved away.

These lonely times, when it crosses your mind it might just be worth pretending forever so you can fit in and not be wrenched back out of place, they push you along and leave you eddying about on the edges of the great pond, brushing up against the side, no handholds, only the sensation that if you could look properly, like other people look, you would see the way out and the way in and know how everyone makes their journeys.

And then, the relief, when you come to the point in life when this part, this outside feeling, this looking through the glass and being on the wrong side, it slides away and reveals the truth: you are on the right side, where you are meant to be and you simply did not understand at the time. The fitting in is not meant to happen with people who make you feel as though they wrenched away and left you. The belonging is not an automatic response to thinking you ought to belong. True belonging comes from actually being in the right place with the right people, in being where you are meant to be.

It takes true courage to keep trying though, to endeavour to be the person who can still go on and meet others, speak to them, be open enough with them that they see the real you and open up in return. It can be so hard to keep at it when you have the memories of the times when they barely noticed you spoke and then turned away to the fascinating person entering on stage left.

It takes even more courage to believe belonging is possible, without feeling you also have to sign up to sugar-coated, meme-inspired, greeting-card-glittered beliefs of everyone being special to someone. After years of being invisible, sugar-coated gets you nowhere, which is why those of us who are steel-coated take a while to find where we belong.

It does come down to one unfortunately illogical truth: to come to rest at your safe harbour, to step onto dry land and not be the only one there, you do have to keep on having faith that this is possible. Whether it is possible thanks to other people or thanks to yourself, is all individual to your life.

Chance or a carefully laid plan to make it all work? The right job leading to everything falling into place or finding the strength to leave the wrong job and it being the right decision? There are as many ways to find your true place as there were to realise you were in the wrong one again.

Sometimes all you can do is let yourself be carried round on the eddies, trusting that they happen because of a greater current, swirling round our lives and the lives of others, hoping you find the right way and knowing that it is the same for everyone, no matter what the view from our eyes.


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Don't talk about the new year, talk about your new beginnings!

It starts innocently enough with fireworks on TV and people being ecstatic because it's the New Year and people have to be ecstatic about it. You 're allowed to dislike Christmas, being Scrooge is acceptable, but there is no opt-out for New Year.

It's the start of new and better things and we are all going to be new and better people. Hurrah!

It is a time to be really, properly sociable and greet total strangers as if we all live in a tiny, microcosm world where we have to get along or die (this one is true but not in the way New Year revellers think it is).

We have to be happy about the New Year.

We have to appreciate it.

We have to be positive.

As a back-handed compliment to the New Year, we are allowed to say the last year was complete rubbish, so long as we go right into how the next year is Our Year (I want to slap every last person who says this).

We must be revived overnight and see ourselves and our lives as glowing treasures at the centre of the universe.

And we must share it all with anyone who asks, no matter how little they really care about us.

Yes, for one night only we are all reborn in a secular frenzy of hope and visionary expectations. We go to bed as tired, used-up shadows of ourselves and wake the next day reborn. We may look the same and act the same but we are not the same! We are new for the New Year and we will be completely different, this time.

I am in favour of Grand Plans, readers, but I wish people would think of them all year round and reinvent themselves when it is a good and needed thing, not for the sake of a man-made date on a calendar. Become new! Become wonderful, glorious, shining. Become everything you want but do it on your own time, with proper effort and no extra push from the clock ticking past the midnight hour.

Do-over your life into a fragile new wonder because to not do it would diminish you. Do it because you are in love with your future self and need to meet this person or your heart will turn to stone. Do it now, when the dream falls like a feather into your waiting hands.

If you must have a new start set for you, then set it for yourself and say Tomorrow is a new day and I will become something other than I have been before. Or set the alarm for five minutes from now and then rush to meet yourself.

Take away the pressure to do it all at once because the planet turned and became January 1st. Do it when it is the right time, even if that means getting up in the middle of the night and rushing downstairs to start the day, just because the day cannot wait one second longer.

Happy new start, readers, whatever the time of year.


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