Filofaxes. They need to be pretty, right? I went back to using mine recently; this was due to giving up on my Moleskine planner, and needing something that was a lot less bulky. However, I like to make the insides pretty; for today’s post, I thought I would show you how I do that.

You will need:

  • One Filofax.
  • Post its.
  • Paperclips.
  • Washi tape.
  • Stickers.
  • Personal paper. (Ticket stubs, photos, bookmark.)
  • Inserts and refills.
  • Dividers.
  • Envelopes.

First of: I decided to have the three sections of Diary, NCTJ, and Information, complete with dividers. These required their own inserts; an academic diary on two pages, finance inserts, and coloured notepaper.
In the front pocket, I added a few things:

There are post-its (for to do lists, reminders, etc). In the larger pocket, I also added an emergency detail card (with the medications I take, etc), and a flyer from an NUJ event. (Because, yes, journalistically I need inspiration now and again.)
The dividers also needed some new stickers, hence the cats.

For a weekly layout, I use Washi Tape; the glitter makes me smile just that little bit more. It also covers up mistakes when logging appointments, etc.
There are also stickers; the purple one shown in this picture is available to buy on the Dorkface Etsy shop. But they are particularly used for Blogging-such as reminding me when there is a blog chat, or when to schedule tweets. The other ones are by Personal Planner; they remind me of occasions such as birthdays.

The last thing I would like to show you is this envelope, and how to make a small folder to keep things in your Filofax.
Essentially; find an envelope that fits inside the covers of the Filofax. Then; punch holes in it, leaving the flap open. (So, punch the holes at the bottom of the envelope.) And you can stick anything in it! This is where I keep stickers. I also have another envelope at the front of my Filofax, for scraps of paper.


Have you seen my guest post over at Philofaxy? And if you need more inspiration, you should see this post.

Over on Instagram in a poll, a post that was requested was “What’s in my bag?”, showing what I take with me on journalistic assignments. Now: what I’m going to show in this post is not a definitive list-as it is given to change. These are merely ‘the basics’

The Bag:

This bag was a Christmas present from my sister; however, I do not think New Look stock it anymore. There were various colours, but I preferred the black version, as it was more professional. (I even wrote about this bag for The Growing Up Guide!)
There are two pockets inside; one is a zip-up, which is where I keep things such as my door key, train ticket, spare money, etc.
But if you’re looking for an alternative; this bag from ASOS is a good alternative. 

Contents: 

The contents of my handbag has a pretty fixed number of things that go with me everywhere I go. This feeds into my nature as a person with Aspergers; it’s rigid, and helps me with a number of things, such as planning, blocking out sound I can’t filter..

In no particular order:

-Purse. Very self-explanatory this one; it has all of financial-related things in it! It is currently a little bit bulky, due to my tendency to stuff receipts, scrapes of paper, etc in it.
-Headphones. (Phone not shown.) Wherever I go, I have my headphones. They act as a sensory block for particularly noisy places, allowing me to travel as I please. (It also helps in preventing what could be termed a meltdown.)
-Filofax. I like to plan. This small ring binder keeps track of my deadlines, appointments, finances, blog post ideas, books to read, films to see, story ideas..
-Jotter. I virtually always take a jotter with me everywhere I go. It has a bunch of my scribblings, thrown together; interview questions, shorthand, lists, ideas..
-Tiny perfume bottle. This is more as a confidence boost, really.
-Pens and pencils. I have a fear that one day I will run out of ink… So, it seems that I keep an excess of writing implements with me at all times.
-Press credentials. Yep.
-Memory stick and door key. The memory stick has been with me since 2010, and it’s on the point of breaking; however, it carries important documents. The key is so I can get into my house.

Other ‘bags’:

I am a nosy individual, so whenever I see a ‘bag’ centred post, I usually click to read it. Cristina over at Criddle Me This wrote about her versatile bag; I would love to one day own the red version. Gala Darling has also written about her bag; it’s also bright pink!    And if you’d like another version of this post, look what I wrote for an Autism charity! 

What’s in your bag?

Lydia x

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“People with Aspergers are so weird”. “Have you met anyone with Aspergers? They’re a bit cold and a bit weird.” “You’re so obsessional!” “You’re so Autistic”. “Why can’t you be normal?” “Why you being such a crybaby?” “It’s not so noisy in here!” “You have an odd speaking voice” “Loner” “Eccentric” “Bitch” “Friendless” “Stop rocking!” “Be quiet!” “You’re embarrassing yourself!” “That’s not normal.” “Ha ha ha, you’re like Rainman.”

One of the things that I have noted, since being diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, is that there is sometimes a notion of shame attached to being on spectrum. Nearly all of the comments above have been said to me at one point.

But why is this? Why are we made to feel shame? And why is Autism seen as something ‘shameful’, to be hidden?

Nearly all of the comments I’ve mentioned have been said by somebody neurotypical-as in, they are not on spectrum, and therefore are considered ‘normal’, whatever that may be. (I am not trying to blame all neurotypical people, though; there are decent people. It’s the minority that is the problem.) Throughout my time in education, the traits I have manifested themselves at the most odd moments; it was almost ‘the stick’, a catalyst for people to tease, to mock, to complain, to moan, bitch, whine. (One of these was even said by a teacher!)

That made me feel awful. I was upset, sad. And I use to dream that one day I’d wake up without Aspergers, without a diagnosis.

But here’s the thing; I do not think Aspergers Syndrome, or Autism, is something to be ashamed of.

From the point of a ‘high-functioning’ individual; my traits have allowed me to achieve more than I ever thought I could. (I have built this blog, written for publication, been a JDF recipient,  started an NCTJ course, met Brian May, interviewed Sir Harold Evans.) And I think that without Aspergers, I would not have achieved what I have.
I also think that hallmarks of the spectrum, as attributed to each individual, could be helpful for business; there is originality, good problem solving skills, ideas that go beyond what is seen as ordinary, decent planning organisation, etc. Why not utilise this more?

I will never be normal. But then again, I wouldn’t necessarily wish to be.

I dislike these new ideas of “curing” Autism-enough so that false cures are causing serious damage-and how Autism should be ‘hidden’. That is up to the individual on Spectrum to disclose diagnosis; yet, they should not be made to feel ashamed for it.
It may be an idealistic view for me to have, however that is not a crime. I was recently chatting to an interviewee, and this was a topic covered in the conversation after all questions had been asked. But it is almost to your own detriment to pretend that Aspergers does not exist; stereotypes are also, well, silly. (Seriously. I have had people talk slowly, loudly, to me. Because apparently I cannot comprehend what is being said.)

At the end of the day; people with Aspergers Syndrome are human too. It is their traits that make them them; they should not have to feel obliged to hide, or to suppress things such as stimming.

The notion of shame is tiresome, in this respect; it is also wrong on so many levels. Can’t we embrace the traits of the spectrum, just for once?

Lydia x

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This piece may not take into account the problems with friendships, eye contact, communication, stimming, sensory issues, etc; however, I have covered this at various points before.

“What’s in my filofax?” was a post voted for over on Instagram, and that is what I am going to talk to you about today.


I was given a Moleskine planner for Christmas; however, coupled with the contents of my bag, it was bulky, and meant that my shoulders ached.
This Filofax-size personal-was a promotional organiser, released to raise money for breast cancer charities. It is four or five years old, so it is a little bit battered. However, it sits nicely when opened-more so with age. However, I’m pretty sure it is no longer available to buy-you could probably get it on EBay.

On opening…

I have simplified the insides a bit more; this was to reduce clutter, and to increase my productivity.
In the pockets on the left: post it notes, an emergency card (if something happens to me, this has my medical information), and an inspirational flyer from when I was at the NUJ. (It advertises Harry Evans’ talk; I find it has an inspirational quality.)
There are three sections in all: Diary, NCTJ, and Information. (The dividers aren’t a full set; I also stuck a sticker over the top of the label they came with.)

Have to have tabs!

The diary is pretty self explanatory; I have a week to two pages, as they are big enough for me to write on. It also means that I can keep track of more-such as with a weekly To-Do list, reminders, etc. In terms of the diary, it helps me remember a lot: copy deadlines; Pilates appointments; when blog posts are going up; media events; talks; birthdays, etc.

Can you see the scheduled blog posts for this week?

I like to make things pretty; glitter makes me smile when I look at it, even if it can come across as a little bit mawkish. I also use stickers; the blog specific ones are from Dorkface on Etsy, the others from Personal Planner.
The next tab Is about my NCTJ qualification. As a JDF recipient, I keep tack of my spending here:

These are standard-sized inserts from WHSmiths. (Newsflash: standard fits personal size, and is sometimes a bit cheaper..) They don’t seem to be on the website, for some reason..
There is also an envelope wallet, in order to collate vouchers for saving:

The last tab is ‘information’; a lot of general stuff is collected under this tab-mainly lists-which keeps my brain in order.
Whsmiths was also selling a stack of notepaper (standard size); as I was seriously lacking in this respect, I had to put it on the Filofax. Plus, it adds a splash of colour. (Again, not on the website; however, you can buy individual packs of notepaper.)

Some of the lists are:

-My “media calendar”. This notes the release of books, films, when concerts or events are, etc. Perfect for stories!

-Books to read.

-Films to watch.

-Blog post ideas.

-Passwords.

There is also a wad of extra paper for when I need to write something at the drop of a hat..

And finally; at the back:

Envy Fisher made this envelope. (Go and check out her shop!) In order to be a bit more original, I hole-punched it, and put it in the Filofax. These keep stickers readily available for me; the ones by Personal Planner and Dorkface.
My Filofax has such good benefits for me. Part of my Aspergers is that I need to plan, need to know when things are happening in advance; with this planning system, I can look at things quickly, and without having to create a fuss.
There are also some excellent Filofax blog posts; have you seen Gala Darling’s pink Filofax? She also wrote a guide as what you can put in it.

Lydia

X

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Whilst waiting for the train to get to my final Law Class, I was in a reflective mood. (It was cold, snowy, and my train was over half an hour late.) Anyway, I was in a whimsical mood: what is the ‘hard truth’ about having Aspergers? And what would I say to people newly aware that they are on spectrum?

A label does not mean a lot will change, because the issues are still there.

You will not suddenly wake up as neurotypical, the so called “normal”. (This is what I dreamt for a very long time; I’d wake up in a horrible black mood.) The issues/problems etc you have are still there; you just have a name for them now.

But it does mean that you can claim some academic support.

But that’s a completely different matter.

People will think you are deaf.

This may sound odd; let me explain. As soon as I said that I had Aspergers, a few people would raise their voice, and make their tone slow, making every letter crystal clear. “Helllooo , it is nice to meet you”. Funnily enough, I am not deaf; and I’m guessing you aren’t either. It’s patronising, so I tend to play them at their own game.

Once you have a diagnosis, it shows who your ‘real friends’ are.

Some people I knew really took issue with my diagnosis; apparently it was some big scary change that had utterly changed me! (When, no, I am still the same person.) Your real friends are the people who value you for everything you are. (Ugghh, how cringey!)

There are stereotypes along the way.

Blog post about this coming soon.

..And comments that are not worth the while.

There will be some people who make silly, occasionally bitchy, comments. But they aren’t worth your time.

From the bad things, the best things are made.

I had a bad time throughout education; this was largely due to my Aspergers manifesting itself, therefore not being understood. However, I think this was how some of the best things I have achieved happened; I got to set up a magazine, start a blog, attend an NCTJ course..

People like to ask questions.

There are a lot of questions along the way; being on spectrum is almost occasionally seen as a novelty. (My favourites were: “I’ve never met a female with Aspergers!” and “I didn’t know until you told me!”) There are a lot of questions along the way; answer with grace, and you’re pretty much alright.

By being yourself, you are smashing it. And you are doing so well.

It is hard to be someone on spectrum. But by just being, you are an doing so well.

You have to take care of yourself.

There are times when you have to say “enough is enough”-whether it’s a problem with misunderstandings, or you’re maybe being made fun of.

At the end of the day, the spectrum gives us so many useful skills-but that has yet to be fully realised.

Being on spectrum gives you some skills that make you stand out; utilise them to the best of your ability. They will allow you to achieve more than you may realise.

Lydia x

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