They’re telling you they can’t handle your emotions or theirs

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Someone’s dating profile tells you they don’t want any drama. A newly single acquaintance tells you they’re done with all the drama. You stumble across a collective rant in a Facebook group about dates who just want to cause drama.

They all appear to be drawing on a common understanding of what is meant by drama in a relationship. Fair enough, you think. Who wants that? Who wants to be with someone who causes trouble for the sake of it?

But what do they really mean by drama? I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought until after responding…


Sydney Mardi Gras through my daughter’s eyes

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In Sydney Australia, our annual Pride event is Mardi Gras, a festival with a spectacular parade as its centrepiece. By a stroke of good fortune, Mardi Gras 2020 went ahead in early March completely untainted by the calamity about to visit the globe. The organisers even managed to slip in a scaled down version of it in March 2021 thanks to an easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

I’ve lived through many Mardi Gras festivals. Normally I’ll go to the odd fair day or film, but I don’t get that excited about the parade. I’d gone to see a few but had…


Let’s stop pretending religion is benignly passed down to children

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Technically I’m Catholic. That’s because my parents signed me up to it by having me christened when I was still a bundle of screaming, pink rawness.

Obviously I had no say in it and I haven’t stopped railing against it. The methods have just become more sophisticated. Recently, I’ve looked into ways to unsubscribe from it. Apparently it’s virtually impossible to get yourself ex-communicated.

Despite my parents’ confident choice that Catholicism was the religion for me, I don’t identify as Catholic and always specify no religion on forms. I don’t even describe myself as a lapsed Catholic because that just…


One thing about the COVID-19 Pandemic that did not suck

author’s own image

This evening felt like the end of an era. As I was getting off the train, the electronic monitor delivered the news that passengers can now occupy all seats.

We no longer have to have a space between us.

I had secretly been enjoying being able to have a seat to myself on the train, safe in the knowledge that no other bottom was permitted to touch it. Their was one permission sticker on the seat and my bottom had claimed it.

It helped that fewer people were actually using the trains because many more days are being worked from…


Because I realise more than ever that it wasn’t my fault

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There’s a story I haven’t told because it was too bound up in shame and failure. I blamed myself for my legal career not heading on some imagined upward trajectory. I spent a long time ruminating over my inability to get it right and to cope. Ultimately I accepted that I wasn’t up to it, did a career pivot and moved on.

Almost 10 years on, I’ve forged enough distance from it that it’s now less about me and more about a system that needs fixing. And something that I had mentally archived now seems urgent.

I recently attended an…


It’s not just a hang-up about language

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“It’s a terrible name for what I have because it gives the impression that I function highly. I do not.” Hannah Gadsby.

There is so much information and insight about autism available now, yet so little is understood in the broader community. It’s not until you have occasion to delve into it that you get some understanding of the reality. Often this happens to someone when a chance realisation that they might be autistic sends them down a path of intensive research and self-discovery.

Many people would understand autism as being divided into high and low functioning. It’s a spectrum…


It could be right in front of you

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It’s about six months since I started writing on Medium and so far I’ve been reluctant to write about writing. Immersed in talented writers, I’m not under any illusion that I’m an expert. But I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t have to be in order to share your experiences.

I enjoy reading the insights of other writers on Medium and I don’t think there’s any limit to how much of it I can absorb because everyone has something to offer. It’s the same reason I love hanging out at writer’s festivals. …


Season 1 showed us what it looked like from a neurotypical perspective.

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The Australian series “Love on the Spectrum” on face value comes from the honourable intention of helping autistic people find love. Dating is the path to finding love, but as the narrator’s opening commentary informs the audience, socialising is something that autistic people find difficult.

The series is made by neurotypical people for a neurotypical audience and what they see is autistic people navigating their way through the confusing maze of dating conventions. The cast members struggle and there are awkward moments. The editing ensures that a narrative of awkwardness is woven throughout.

Though a neurotypical lens, the awkwardness is…


Can it support autistic people to be themselves rather than fit in with neurotypical expectations?

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The Australian reality television series documenting the dating lives of autistic young people is back for another season. As with the first season, the second is based on the premise that autistic people need help navigating the confusing world of dating. It’s about helping autistic people fit into a neurotypical world. It’s made by neurotypical people for a neurotypical audience. I’m here to give an autistic perspective.

Help arrived in the first season in the form of a dating coach, also referred to as a “relationship expert” and she returns for the second. The inclusion of the coach has attracted…


What we should be taking from the separation of Bill and Melinda Gates

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The public response to the announcement by global power couple Bill and Melinda Gates that they were separating has consistently been one of shock followed by sadness. It seems to have rattled people’s sense of security: If this model couple isn’t safe from marriage breakdown, who is?

I don’t need to know about what led to their separation. What is much more notable is the way they went about it. Their public statement that “after a great deal of thought and work on our relationship, we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple” demonstrated self-awareness and insight.

Justine L

A keen observer of life, here to put in my two cents worth. I write about neurodiversity, relationships and LGBTQ issues. justinetangerine999@gmail.com

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