Saturday, November 29, 2008


I have reached an epiphany: I've finally experienced a substantial amount of life.

While I still feel very immature, I'm finally consciously following my own path. This may be difficult to explain, but for most of my life,  I've felt as if I was merely existing: silenced, oppressed, too quiet to have my opinions matter. I feel as if, until now, my decisions were chosen for me by teachers, therapists, and parents, that I was just along for the ride and had to agree to their every command.

Now, my life is in my own hands. Instead of being dragged along, I'm motivating myself and making my own decisions. Though I'm experiencing life a little later than most people my age, I'm there, working on it, progressing on my own. It's exciting - and a little scary. 

I finally have a large pool of memories which I can draw from to learn from past experiences, and maybe even mature further. Before this point, it was as if I was watching my life in front of me - I felt completely separate from my experiences, as if I were a mere observer. 

I can finally become an active player in my own life. I still have a great deal of life to experience, but it's nice to know that I have control over most of it, and that I will gain further control as I travel through.

It's about time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The mind of a child.

These past few days I've picked up a new book: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. It's not something I would typically read (usually biographies or psychology textbooks for fun... strange, I know), but I'm really enjoying it. 

If you're not familiar with the story, Don Quixote is about a man who reads a lot of stories on chivalry and the medieval times, and decides he wants to become a knight. Everybody thinks he is insane because those days of feudalism had long passed, and because he employs such a unique approach in becoming a respected member of society. He gets into fights with windmills ("giants"), names a random woman as his mistress, and thinks that a bunch of sheep are an army trying to fight him. 

The whole book, or as much of it as I have read, is comical and silly, but the main idea it is trying to express is how society dulls down people, and how those with a childlike drive may stand out in odd ways. In spite of this, these individuals are the most fulfilled because they are following their intuition and not anybody else's.

Even if it means complete isolation and making fools out of ourselves, I believe we should all be like Don Quixote in trying to fulfill our idealistic dreams.  This is very much the way that children think - straight to the point and imaginative - until they grow up and are forced to conform to society's standards. It's a shame that this happens, because I'm noticing more and more that our culture, which is reflective of this world we live in, is watered-down and dull. The current counter-culture among teens and young adults doesn't even know what it's rebelling against, since everyone is essentially the same. Though we all try to be unique, who really is anymore? Likewise, adulthood forces the majority of people into cubicles and the same tailored suit. Even the artists out there have to appeal to a certain audience, it's really a shame. What happened to creating art to say what you want to say? Don't get me wrong; there are still those kinds of artists out there, but unfortunately these artists are becoming a rarity. 

This is really turning into a rant (which isn't want I'm going for), but people need to think like children, really indulge in their dreams, and not care what anybody else thinks. We should go back to those days of wanting to be a firefighter, an astronaut, a pop singer. What 5 year old wants to be an accountant? Think about that. Find out what your biggest dreams are and work at them! You'll be so much happier in the long run, believe me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bob Dylan's got it right!

This song is completely relevant, even today.
I'm sure you've heard it before, but I felt like it was necessary to post.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blend in, or stand out?

There comes a time in the life of a society where the individuals living in it experience a tension in how they respond to their society. Stereotypes and differences seem to prevail, and those experiencing these differences are often pointed at and laughed at. Many responses from this treatment result: the few unique individuals attempt to conform, are faced with depression and many underlying psychological issues, or they simply cannot live in the society they are placed in - they band together with those that are like them to create their own mini-society, or they fall off the face of the Earth. 

In a time of change, however, when these differences are exposed, people must fight back - show your differences, how they affect you, and from these actions change will result. New acceptance will arrive on many different levels. It has happened in history for many different groups, and in time will happen for those on the Autism Spectrum. I know I've been putting a lot of stress on this lately, but believe me: with time, it will happen, things will change.

How do we know, though, when to give up trying to blend in with society and show who we really are?

I was diagnosed with Asperger's just years after it was accepted as a condition. I was force-fed therapy and behavioral training which molded me into the almost-"normal"-seeming girl I am today. If I tell people that I do, in fact, have Asperger's Syndrome, 75% of the time they won't believe me. "You seem so normal! You're going to be fine! I don't know why you're overreacting over your social discrepancies because you're likeable and you blend in socially." 

I don't buy this bullshit. I know I'm good at faking being Neurotypical, but the truth is, I feel so different inside. I'm so critical of my own mess-ups and I always feel like I'm putting on such a facade, to what - be like everyone else? Believe me, I'm only doing this for survival. I only followed through with my parent's demands so that I would be socially proficient enough to get a decent enough job that wouldn't leave me homeless and starving. I want to make enough money to express myself creatively, and that's really it. It's embedded in my brain that I should care about catering to everyone else, but you know what? I don't give a fuck about impressing anyone besides those who will contribute to my eventual survival (or lack thereof). I've been trained to not socially fuck up, but I'm only following through with what society expects of me because I don't like upsetting people with rude comments. I don't care if you don't like me because I unintentionally said something rude, I only care that I made you upset, because well, I don't like making anyone upset, it goes against my personal philosophy of peace and how people should interact with one another. 

Basically, I only make you happy because I believe that everybody should be happy.

I just got out of my Art History class, where we've been talking a lot about Identity Politics and social change. This all happens in the scope of modern art. Let's look at artists like Adrian Piper, who emphasized being African-American when she could pass herself off as white, and Kara Walker, whose work consists of exposing social stereotypes of race in large scale, to the point where it can be seen as highly offensive and even disgusting (I'm not going to provide specific examples here; Google their work if you'd like to learn more). These women use art to work through their issues with how society percieves them; shouldn't everybody find a means of doing that? At the same time, if we expose our differences, doesn't that go against all the work we're doing in an attempt to neutralize them? 

So, if society is inevitably going to change to accept those with neurological differences, should we speed up the process and expose our insecurities and personal feeling about Autism by exposing these traits which society has taught us to hide; or should we conform, and show that an Autistic individual can be "normal" as well? 

I know a lot of what I'm saying here may be contradictory, but I just have to get it off my chest. I had the hardest time sitting through that class because so many thoughts were racing through my head and fighting with one another. It's something I need to resolve. I know we can't predict the future, but how should we deal with things when Autism Spectrum disorders get more exposure? Should we conform with the rest of society or embrace our differences? For those of you reading this, I want to hear what you're thinking, because this doesn't just affect those with Autism, it affects any group of people who stand out. This affects everybody, which is why I think everyone needs a valid opinion on it - we need to act in some way, I'm just having trouble deciding how.

Just a thought

Art represents certain aspects of the current state of our society. If we create more art about having Asperger's, will it create more awareness and acceptance?

This is just something I've been pondering. I want to create more AS-related art. Maybe it will help the idea of neurological differences cross more people's minds. Maybe it can help give way to some sort of revolution. Who sees the same way as I do?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Synrome" by Mark Segar

While looking back on my own life, I have learned to observe my actions with others, in an attempt to judge what does work and what doesn't. I'm sure many people on the spectrum do this, and it is a wonderful idea. Sometimes, though, we cannot objectively judge our own actions, for false perceptions of societal standards may get in the way. In this case, it is a good idea to get another person's opinion, but sometimes their perceptions are skewed as well.

This is why I would like to mention Mark Segar's book, "Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome". It is a basic outline for interpreting everyday situations one might experience. This guide is great because it explains what things mean, how to interpret sarcasm, what typical body language is, as well as many other things. Part of the beauty of this book is that it is written very simply, organized with Aspies in mind: bullet-point lists, simple grammar that anyone can understand. Both a child in grade school and an older adult will be able to gain something from this book, no matter what background or culture you come from.

Everyone can learn from this book, and use it for different purposes. I have been using it to reflect on past experiences to decode the behavior of others, in better understanding their actions, and in the case of a bad situation, knowing how to keep it from happening again. Other people may use it to learn how to fit in better, how to hold a conversation more fluidly, whatever they need to work on to make their lives easier.

I think everyone who has some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder should take a look at this book. It has helped me immensely, and I hope other people can gain something from it. The whole book has been put online, and can be accessed by clicking here:

Now happy reading everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Response, Part II:

I am especially happy about the outcome of this election. Finally we can be let back into a utopian-esque society that turned into the idea of American freedom. Our president-to-be is perfect in such critical times, because he represents the changes our society has undergone, and the growth we have yet to experience.

I'm sure my parents' generation, who lived through the civil rights period, is excited and surprised to finally see a president who is African American. Though I wasn't alive when all of this was happening, it makes me so proud to know how far our country has come, how accepting American society has become of those who don't fit into a specific mold. We are about to see our country progress in ways which had previously been unimaginable. I have no idea what will happen, but I'm thrilled to be a part of an ever-changing generation. I can't wait to tell my grandchildren about these leaps and bounds I helped society make when I was young, it will be so exciting to look back and see that we've accomplished so much.

Just think: if acceptance towards individuals of a different race has finally occured, next comes acceptance towards those who express their sexuality in different ways, and then... true neurodiversity. It's bound to happen, I just know it. I'm really looking forward to witnessing how we progress.

If so many things can be changed in a century, what can happen if you add another century? The possibilities are endless. It's a lot to wrap your brain around, but it will be exciting, fresh, and revolutionary when changes start to be made in the way our society perceives others. I can't wait.

A Lesson from Obama

In the most brutal of times, it takes a great deal of self-respect and confidence to combat any threats that come flying your way. You need to trust that what you're doing is the right thing, that you need to show your good side to everybody and smile through it all, in order to avoid becoming vicious to the person spitting at you.

I think we could all learn a lesson from Barack Obama. He's struggled through a tough campaign, with McCain throwing petty insults attempting to remove his credibility. Obama was mercilessly attacked by the media, but he held his head high through it all, defended himself when he needed to do so, and never once unleashed a vicious revenge cycle upon John McCain. McCain, in an incredibly weak move, tried to make his campaign seem as monumental as Obama's - by picking a woman - another first. Needless to say, his plan backfired, and we all know how the rest goes.

Obama was called all sorts of names - underqualified socialist, terrorist sympathizer, you name it - but he didn't let a single thing get to him. He smiled right through the fight, convinced that his decency would shine right through. You know what? It did. He did end up being elected after all, right? Those snide remarks certainly didn't stand in the way of him becoming our future leader.

Obama has taught us all a lesson which we should apply to our own lives: don't let the worst criticisms get to you, stay steady, keep your head high, and be as pleasant as possible, even in the trickiest of times. I've dealt with similar things in my short life (though not on a national scale), and I've learned that if you show your good side to people, then any rumors will be dispelled by how you treat these individuals. Nobody deserves to be humiliated, and if it does happen to you, then the person doing so needs to sort out some underlying issues of their own. If things get bad then it may be good to report this to a higher authority, but until then don't let it bother you. You will feel so much better with less to worry about!

In short: if you treat others with kindness, then you will be rewarded with kindness. If you treat others disrespectfully, then this is what you'll recieve.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


It's all around us. It fuels wars, feeds to our desires to hurt others, and subsequently, doesn't do us any good. Why, then, do we have to hate?

Apart from pure joy, I've always found strong emotions to be a little bit scary. Strong hate tends to run deep, is irreversible, and is capable of creating damage which cannot be fixed - all as a result of a few wrong words that are said. Silly, isn't it?

Few people in the world actually gain satisfaction from hurting others: these people need to be avoided at all costs.

In all honesty, where does hate get you? Nowhere! If you are the type of person to express dissatisfaction over everything, then you will bring people down; nobody likes this. If you spread rumors about others for your own personal gain, then not only will people not trust you, but they will question your intentions and you will repel them. 

Angst and apathy may seem trendy, but happiness, honesty and respect are traits that people want to have in their lives. Please bring these. If someone has done you wrong, then don't let the entire world know; make sure you deal with the person directly, and make sure the other peson does the same. This way, the problem doesn't have to elevate into something far worse that it could be.  If the whole world ends up knowing, then you are honestly making everybody suffer. People will make judgements that they aren't qualified to make (considering they will most likely be hearing one side of the story). I've experienced this at its most intense existence: not worth it.

Likewise, if you try your best to bring the most positivity, it will be reflected in your quality of life. You will experience the most happiness that you have ever experienced, and those that are close to you will reflect this happiness. Of course, people may get hurt when necessary, like during a break-up or when somebody is laid off from their job, but this is just life, not malicious harm.

Please, do me a favor, and stop talking shit about other people. It's a sign of weakness, and it's not worth the results. If you don't like somebody than you can keep it to yourself. Our planet has enough conflict, we don't need to add any more. 
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