Welcome To The Pecan Gallery!

Exhibit A: The Blog

If you are seeking a discussion of the Carya illinoinensis variety of nut, I am afraid that this blog will not be of much assistance to you, for which I apologize.

What you will find here is, well, an experiment in advocacy and in writing.

My main areas of interest are disability advocacy (particularly Autistic advocacy) and mental health advocacy.  I want to spread awareness and acceptance of autistic and otherwise neurodivergent individuals as the unique and incredible individuals that they are, but I also want to acknowledge the challenges that come with this and offer what I hope are possible solutions to help lessen these challenges (or at least make those challenges easier to deal with). Bringing awareness to and possible prevention of suicide is also a very strong aim of mine. Because I’ve been there and it sucks, and the world could use a lot less suckage.

I am always seeking to learn as much as I can about as many things as I can, though, and I hope that I can share what I have learned with you.

I’m still learning, growing, and evolving. I invite you to learn, grow, and evolve alongside me so that we may together make this world as awesome as possible for as many people as possible.

Exhibit B: The Blogger

Who is this “I” that I keep speaking of, anyways?

Salutations. My name is Paula Gomez. There is also a model named Paula Gomez, a singer-songwriter named Paula Gomez, and a financial adviser named Paula Gomez.  I am none of these people (although I’m sure that they are all lovely individuals). I was born in February of 1995, making me [Gregorian calendar year you are current reading this – 1995] years of age (21 at the date this introduction was written; 23 now that I’m updating it). I graduated from McNeese State University in 2016 with a double major in English and Psychology.  I live in a magical and perilous land known as Louisiana (state at the Southern part of the United States. You know where Texas is? It’s the state to the right of that). I am a chronic abuser of commas, semi-colons, complex-sentences, and parentheses (as I suppose is already made apparent). I’ve succeeded at NaNoWriMo some years and failed others.  Occasionally, I’ll be able to trick myself into thinking that I like to exercise.

Oh, and I’m Autistic. Or have autism. Or am on the autism spectrum. Or [insert preferred terminology here]. Many in the Autistic community prefer “identity-first” language (“am Autistic”) for reasons described here by Jim Sinclair, although different people have their different reasons for preferring what it is that they prefer, and that’s cool, too.

The type of autism that I have is…well, that depends on who you ask. I’ve been described as having Asperger’s by some and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified by others; under the DSM V, I’d probably be labeled as “Level 1”.  I speak-–sometimes eloquently, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes too much or not enough. I test well on academic assessments and perform well in school. I injure myself when frustrated, sometimes forget to eat and/or bathe, occasionally run forward, jump, or dash around for what appears to be no particular reason, am almost always fidgeting with something, often cry when confronted, and have won awards for my writing. Not particularly large awards, granted, but awards. I struggle with suicidal ideation sometimes, but I’m generally happy about life and am often in awe of its beauty.

So there’s that.

So…why a pecan gallery? 

There’s an expression in the United States (Western World?) that goes along the lines of “No comments from the peanut gallery.” Historically, the “peanut gallery” was the cheapest row of a vaudeville/entertainment complex and, as such, would occasionally be bought by rowdy individuals who would heckle and tease the entertainer, sometimes with peanuts (The Straight Dope has a write-up on it).

I realize that my thoughts on certain matters pertaining to disability and mental health will be regarded by some as being “from the peanut gallery.” Maybe I can’t afford to sit where the PhD’s and acclaimed spokespeople sit just yet, but I hope that my comments provide you with something of value. Like pecans.

Pecans are high in Omega 3s and other healthy fats, which are good for your brain. I hope that this blog, too, will be good for your brain. Pecans are also a decent source of amino acids and, thus, protein, which gives you energy. I hope that this blog can energize you to think and, heck, maybe to act. Pecans are also a source of comfort for many, whether baked into a pecan pie or mixed into a sugary praline or roasted and seasoned. I know that this blog is no homemade pie or praline, but I hope that it can provide a bit of warmth and sweetness anyways.

So welcome to the gallery. I hope that there is or will be something here that pleases or benefits you. 🙂