Saturday, February 8, 2014

Let it Go

  Wow, Sorry guys, I know it's been awhile, but it's been crazy! Hopefully I'll be able to settle down some and be able to write more. I hope you guys will forgive me.  :)
  Today I am going to discuss the movie  Frozen. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know what I'm talking about. Chances are,  you've seen it yourself or you know someone who has.  Either way, you all probably know the basics of the storyline: Two sisters, the elder (Elsa) and the younger (Anna) happily live together until one day where Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her power over ice and snow. Anna's memory is wiped, and it's decided by their parents (the King and Queen) to hide Elsa's gift from Anna so Elsa won't hurt her again. The King and Queen die and the gulf between the sisters grows larger, and on Elsa's coronation her powers are revealed and she runs to the mountains, setting off an eternal winter. In the end, everything is resolved (I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it) and everyone is happy.
   But how did a movie with such a simple plot become so popular so quickly? It's nominated for two Oscars: Best Original Song (for 'Let it Go') and Best Animated Feature. Critics are calling it the best Disney film since The Lion King, calling it a 'Disney Classic' before it's even out of theaters, and it's breaking box office records for animated films (last I checked, it was in a top ranking of highest movies ever seen, along with Avatar and Titanic). But what is it about this film that touches the hearts of so many?
    Well, for me (and possibly you), it was the song 'Let it Go'.  It's sung by Idina Menzel, of 'Wicked' fame (she's Elphaba in the original Broadway production).  In it, Elsa, who has revealed her secret to everyone after so long, reveals that she feels like she's finally free. Though everyone knows, she can finally not be afraid of herself, and she no longer has to live in fear of who she is. She is free to finally be who she is.
   I literally started crying in the theater during that song. I felt like Elsa had put a lot of my life into a song. As an Aspie, we are coached to to be 'the good girl (or guy)', trained to try to hold back who we are to be accepted. Elsa is truly coming into her own in this song, just like we all should be. We should follow Elsa's example and stop trying to hide all that we are: we have every right not to hide ourselves. We are amazing, we can do great things. We are clever, we are smart, and we just need to give ourselves a chance to find it.
   In short, we, as Aspies, need to 'Let it Go'.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Making friends by being kind

  After my first two weeks at college, I am proud to announce to all that yes, I am still alive and doing well. It's been a crazy whirlwind of activity: orientation, classes, and trying to figure this campus out has been a little hectic to say the least. Due to that I have neglected my readers, and for that I am very sorry. Now that I am properly installed in college, I should have a lot more time to blog.
  Today I want to talk about making friends simply by being kind and nice to as many people as possible, and while hard, it is certainly worth the effort in the end.
  As a young girl, my mother told me about a classmate of hers in high school named Christy. Christy, sadly, was not a very pretty girl for the first three years of high school. She had a condition where her eyes were permanently crossed. To make up for this, she had to wear thick "Coke-bottle" glasses. On top of this, she also had braces.
  Many popular kids (not my mom) would make fun of Christy day in and day out because of her funny looks. However, oddly enough, this didn't let Christy down in the least. She was nice to everybody, even the people who taunted her constantly. She put her head down and worked as hard as she could at school to keep her busy.
  The summer between junior and senior year changed everything. Christy had surgery to get her eyes corrected, so her eyes were fixed and she no longer needed the glasses, and her braces came off over the summer too. When Christy came into school her first day of senior year, her classmates were amazed. Christy was beautiful! And what stunned them all was that Christy, even though she was pretty and could now get revenge on her tormentors, chose not to. She was still kind to everyone who had been mean to her, even though they did not deserve it.
  Christy became Homecoming Queen and still continued to be kind to everyone. She left high school with many friends, and the last my mom heard of her she was working in Washington D. C., happy and still being kind to all she met.
  Aspies, we have a chance to be like Christy. We can be kind to all: the hurt people because we understand how they feel, and the unkind people, because we know they might simply be jealous at heart and meanness never wins in the end. I encourage you to be kind to all you meet, even if they don't deserve it, and someday, you, like Christy, will be able to reap your long-deserved reward.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Brother's in a Relationship

  As many of you know, I have two younger brothers. The sixteen year old one, "Connor", has had a girlfriend for almost two years now, and she's amazing. She's smart, funny, and an all around great person. I consider myself very lucky to know her.
  However, it wasn't always this way. When Connor announced to us that he and "Erin", after months of being just friends, were going to become an official couple, I was nervous. What was it going to be like? Would Connor tell her about me? Would she understand? Would she even like me? To tell the truth, I was desperate for her to like me because Connor means so much to me, but I wasn't quite sure how to get her to like me. Over time though, I came up with some tips that worked really well when dealing with a sibling's significant other that I thought I'd share with you.

  1. Remember, sometimes they are as anxious for approval as you are. Be as nice as you can.
  2. Let the two of them alone, but if they invite you to join in their activity, it's fine to say yes if you want to.
  3. NEVER EVER take sides in a fight. Be Switzerland. It is THEIR problem, not yours, so they shouldn't ask you to judge or take sides.
  4. Invite them places. Ask if they want to come to a movie with the family, or even to dinner sometime. People really appreciate this.
 5. Compliment them. If the two of them are dressed really nicely for a dance, say "You look great." Girls especially like this.
  6. If your sibling decides to tell their significant other about your Asperger's, have them communicate to their significant other (or you could do it yourself) that if they have any questions they can feel free to ask them.

  I hope these tips help you, because after trial and error, I have found them to be quite true. I have found I actually rather like my brother's girlfriend, and we share a lot of the same tastes.  She's a fun addition to outings and is always ready for anything. She has turned out to be a good friend, and I hope you Aspies can learn from these tips and actually come to like your sibling's significant others as much as I do Erin.
"" Denotes a name has been changed

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Things

  In a few days, I will be ready and packed to leave for college. I will say goodbye to my family and friends where I live and journey to another state to attend University.  To say the least, I am scared.
  Those of you going to college, to a new middle school, high school, or even a new town know exactly what I'm feeling. Yes, it's definitely a terrifying prospect to have to deal with. Making friends seems daunting, finding your way around seems challenging, and heaven forbid if we have to talk to strangers.
  Yet, an older, more experienced friend of mine told me being scared is normal. Everyone freaks out in an unfamiliar setting. He told me several things that helped him in his first year of college, and as they are good tips, I am going to offer them to you guys going to new places, because they really are helpful:

  1. The first two weeks in a new place are always the weird ones. You're figuring out your surroundings, navigating through this place, and just getting a feel for the people. After the first two weeks, you will find a routine, and it will feel immensely better.
  2. I cannot promise you it will be easy, but I can promise you will eventually make friends. It may take some time, but do not despair, there are people just like you who are hoping for a good friend. Don't give up hope. 
  3. Talk to your teachers. Tell them you need help, lay it down for them, and they will go to great lengths to help you. They WANT to help you, it's actually their job.  Some may laugh when they read this, but I swear it's true, it's happened to me too often for me to write it off as a rare thing. 
  4. Join clubs. Go out if people invite you to movies or such. It's hard, I know, but that is how you make friends.
  5. If you don't know what to talk about, ask people about themselves. People love to talk about themselves, and it takes the spotlight off you for a bit. But don't be an interviewer. Input your own opinion occasionally. 
  6. Try new things. Be crazy enough to say yes. You may surprise yourself.
  7. Be yourself, don't wake up one day and realize you don't know yourself anymore. Live the life you want to live and the rest will follow.
   I hope you all found this as useful as I did. Best of luck to all of you off to new experiences. I hope this school year is full of blessings for all of you!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Spock Effect

Sorry it's been so long, guys! I've been really busy recently, but I will try to keep up with my blogging.

  Some of the greatest compliments of my life have been indirect ones. But one of the greatest compliments of my life came from my mother a few weeks ago after seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. She told me that she thought I really resembled the half-Vulcan and half-Human known to most as Spock.  I felt beyond flattered.
  To some, this is a surprising reaction. Spock, they might point out, is cold and seemingly unfeeling. He is an unbending rule follower who can sometimes come off as quite irritating.
  However, I feel I understand Spock and can therefore see him in a different light. Yes, he comes off as a bit cold, but that is because he has trained himself to keep his emotions in check, and emotions seem to run even deeper in Vulcans than they do in humans. His logic and rule following guide the Enterprise and reign in Captain Kirk from irrational decisions that could have dire consequences. In fact, without Spock, his brains and his ingenuity, I highly doubt the Enterprise would last very long. He is essential to Captain Kirk, not only as a First Officer, but as an extremely loyal friend.
   I think a lot of Aspies resemble Spock. We are children of two worlds, a touch of autism and a touch of the typical world.  We understand each and try to analyze where we belong in both. We seem cold on the outside, yet we are fierce rule followers and even better friends. We each steer our personal Enterprise out of danger zones so we can have successful missions and be able to discover the world and ourselves a bit more each day.
  Aspies, take heart in Spock's example. He is strong, intelligent, and able to get out of sticky situations. Think of yourself as part Vulcan when you need your strength and Spock will be there to show you how to be simply amazing.

Live Long and Prosper

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dealing with Stereotypes

    Most of us have probably come up against stereotypes in our lives. Over time though, and through much experience, we learn that some stereotypes usually aren't applicable to everyone the stereotype concerns. For example, the stereotype that blonds are all dumb. I'm sure you, as I have, come across blonds who are not very smart and others that are very smart. My point is, a stereotype is not necessarily always the truth.
   People with Asperger's Syndrome have a lot of stereotypes that we have to go up against, many of them not so favorable. There are those people who lump us together with autism. While we are on the autism spectrum, we are very, very high on it and not necessarily considered 'autistic'. Many writers get this wrong, and represent Asperger's as a more violent type of autism, which is incorrect, which brings us to another point, representing Aspies as violent. Any developmental doctor can tell you Asperger's doesn't make a person violent, as writers and the media often like to represent.
   If a lot of people don't understand something and cannot see it in themselves, they like to lay the blame at the foot of something different about other people. When that man in Newtown, Connecticut, shot those poor children, many in the media quickly jumped to conclusions that the shooter must have Asperger's, when, in reality, the shooter was never confirmed to have Asperger's and several leading professionals say he probably did not. Just because we are different and sometimes even loners does not make us violent or insane, it just means we are different.
   People say things all of the time that are not true. Just because they say them doesn't make them true either. I am not going to sugarcoat it, Aspies, there are a lot of barriers for us to conquer and stereotypes that are how many in the general public. However, we are the future, and we can change things. We can show people that Asperger's isn't autism, and we are not violent or stupid, but rather we are different. We see the world from a different angle and can show the world how it can be made better if they just look at it differently. How can we start? You already have. You're changing your family and friends' perspective of what Asperger's is because you show them what it truly means to have Asperger's: to be truly liberated from being normal and yet wanting to show everyone else our world so they, too, can experience the wonder we feel. That is what it truly means to have Asperger's Syndrome.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On Being Different

  For those of you who have ever watched Disney Channel, I want to call to mind a Disney movie series from a few years ago. The Halloweentown movies centered around a girl named Marnie Piper and her discovering her abilities as a witch and constantly saving her grandmother's home, called, you guessed it, Halloweentown, where all the creatures of Halloween live the rest of the year.
  It's a really good series to watch around Halloween, but that is not why I bring it up. In the first movie, simply called Halloweentown, Marnie's mother, who is against magic, is arguing with Marnie's grandmother, who is a witch for magic. Marnie's mother demands to know why she won't leave the children alone so they can lead normal lives, and Marnie's grandmother replies with a quote I will never forget: "Oh, being normal is vastly overrated".
  I could not have said it better myself.  If you look around at other people who claim to have normal lives and actually take a peek into their lives, you will notice a pattern that reoccurs very often. People who are 'normal' usually have very flat, dull, and boring lives. They are average, need nothing and have zero drive to do anything in their lives. They have nothing and nobody to really care about except themselves, which is actually rather sad.
  Aspies, on the other hand, have something. We are vibrant, and truly live life to the fullest. Due to the fact our lives are a little bit harder than most, we have drive, some might even call it a need, to succeed. For those who are kind to us, we care about them and love them fiercely, even though we might not always show it. We inspire, we create, and we change the world every day just by being a part of it.
  No, we aren't normal, thank heaven we are not. We have things and people we care about and the drive to succeed and change the world as we know it. Without Aspies, the world as we know it today could not possibly exist. So people claim being normal is better, I ask you, how has 'normal' revolutionized the world? Believe me when I say I truly and honestly believe in the old and cheesy Disney movie quote "Being normal is vastly overrated."