I’m Erika, an East Tennessee native and Marine wife currently living in Okinawa, Japan, on our latest duty assignment. I have Asperger’s and am very passionate about neurodiversity. After years of living undiagnosed, I have embraced my newfound identity over the past few years and developed confidence coming into my 30’s. I share my experiences with not just being on the spectrum but also the often accompanying anxiety and depression I have dealt with on and off over the years in the hopes I can be a light in the dark for others who have similar circumstances and feel alone. Though I wasn’t always so steadfast in my walk with God, my Christian faith has helped me tremendously with finding a solid foothold at various points in my life. I’m grateful that this is one of them.
I have many other varied interests and have dabbled in web design, graphic design, traditional art, and creative writing, to name a few. I’m an advocate for early literacy and teaching a lifelong love of reading and learning. Shakespeare is my jam, and I’m a low-key gamer/nerd on the rare occasion I have the time to invest. Supernatural is my favorite television show in the history of ever. I’m a little socially awkward (understatement x 2) and not everyone loves my honesty-is-the-best-policy-even-if-someone-doesn’t-like-to-hear-it approach. I also have an irrational
fear phobia of sharks.
I am in love with East Asian cultures and languages, especially that of Japan, and have been since forming a fascination in middle school. In fact, this is our second tour in Japan because we keep requesting to live here at every opportunity! I have an uncanny ability to bite off more than I can chew while chasing my passions and have two undergraduate degrees to show for it: a 2-year program in web design/programming and a 4-year dual degree in English & East Asian studies. I’m now pursuing a graduate program in English & creative writing. I’m also a master procrastinator and rarely complete a program in the prescribed amount of time.
I’ve recently allowed myself to fully enjoy all of the things I have always loved but previously gave up or dampened down over the years in order to fit society’s ideas of normal and adult. Now I’m proudly all about Sailor Moon, unicorns, Disney princesses, and whatever else strikes my fancy, regardless of anyone else’s opinion on the matter. Life is too short not to be my authentic, autistic self – it certainly didn’t do me any good yielding to the world’s demands for all those years. This is me, and I’m not ashamed.
My husband Ryan and I (kind of, sort of high school sweethearts who happened to also be best friends) have been married for over a decade, and we have three neurodiverse children: Anya (9) is on the spectrum, Marie (5) is ADHD, and little Benjamin (3) is on the spectrum. The girls also have celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that mandates they avoid gluten at all costs. We have homeschooled all of the kids since the beginning for a myriad of reason, and I love sharing that part of our lives here for those who may be interested or looking for comradery.
I’ve been blogging since long before it was cool – the better part of two decades. Most of my archives here are private now, but I miss the internet of my youth where blogs were personal and contained snippets of the author’s life, ideas, and hopes. I’m making an effort to pick that torch back up. While I may Instagram aspects of our story with the best of them, this blog is not a business or a PR campaign. It is simply a creative space for me to be completely myself and share the things I like or the experiences that I have had that may be useful information for someone new to them. Sometimes it might get boring, others intensely passionate and divisive, but I hope you find something real here that you can carry with you on your own journey. We’re all figuring it out as we go.