Saturday, December 15, 2012

I've never heard silence quite this loud

   You're so confused. You look over your texts and try to remember the last things you said to them. You cannot find anything wrong with what you said, but now they are avoiding you for no apparent reason. You've tried reaching out to them, but they are avoiding you like the plague. What have you done wrong?
   Don't worry, you haven't made a huge unknowing social misstep. Actually,your friend's silence might not have anything to do with you at all. I found this to be true myself when my best male friend stopped speaking to me abruptly for five months. I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong. Finally, last week, he broke his silence. The relief was enormous, but his story was quite the learning experience for me.
  He explained something had happened to him, and he was so angry at what had happened, he didn't talk to me because he was afraid his anger would overflow into his messages and would hurt my feelings. He'd rather confuse me than have his temporary anger end our friendship for good.
  I took two things from this explanation. First, I had my best male friend back, and second, his silence had nothing to do with me. I had taken the wrong idea from his silence, that it was my fault, when it was because of me he was keeping quiet.
  If something like this is happening to you, don't worry too much. This person may be trying to not hurt you, and this is how they show it. Just let them know, via text or in person, that you are there for them no matter what. That they matter to you and nothing will change that. Be patient, their reconciliation with you may not be instantaneous.  It may take some time to respond to that caring, and their anger or frustration may not have abated yet. Be patient. Real friendships will outlast these little silences and will become stronger for it. Real friends stick around in these times, and so should you.

Sensitive Santa

  Last Tuesday in my local paper, there was an article on Sensitive Santa. This man professionally goes around to groups of autistic children and lets these kids tell him their wishes for Christmas. However, instead of being loud and surrounded by mobs of people and millions of brightly colored lights, this Santa has no line and is quiet so these autistic children will feel safe and not do a "freak out". This is an amazing idea that is enormously generous.
  A lot of my readers will understand the terror of going to see Santa, especially at a young age. There are a huge number of lights, and even worse, everyone and their mother show up and are talking and yelling and some are even screaming. It's a sensory overload that even the best Aspie sometimes cannot handle.
   I can relate. Without fail, every year, my mother troops my brothers and I down in our itchy Christmas sweaters to see Santa. I absolutely would dread it every single year.Without fail, there would be a ton of people there, and occasionally bad things happen like the year my youngest brother randomly got a horribly bad nosebleed and my mom left me in charge of my other brother while she changed the youngster's shirt. Naturally, I panicked because I had no clue what to do. There were so many people there and they were all talking and, well, let's say it did not end well.
     Here are some tips I have picked up in my seventeen trips to see Santa.
  • Come with a group. Let other people wait in line while you go sit somewhere quieter, then they can come get you when it's your turn.
  • Hum a tune to yourself, or talk to your friends so you are distracted from the lights.
  • Come with people you really like, and they can coach you through it.
These tips are really great if you must see Santa or do something else that's equally difficult. I wish you the best of luck.

Please pray for the children in Connecticut.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Picking Yourself Up

   My friend, let's call her Paulina, has been in love with a certain college since before she can remember. She went to all the summer programs, envisioned herself there, and was smart enough, a commended National Merit finalist,  to get in.  I had never seen anyone work as hard as she did to get anywhere.
  Naturally, when college applications came around, she applied to her dream college Early Action. This means, if she was accepted, she could not apply anywhere else or go anywhere else. Anyway, the admission came at 3:00 last Thursday.

  She didn't get in.

  Paulina was devastated. She couldn't even come to school on Friday she was so sad. How could they not pick her, of all people? She's funny, interesting, and accepted me wholeheartedly when I told her about my Asperger's. She completely deserves this, and they didn't pick her.
  However, Paulina isn't the type to let this defeat her. She's one of the strongest humans I know, and she is the one person who taught me not to let something defeat me, even if it seems like the end of the world, it isn't. Paulina taught me that life throws you curve balls that you will never be prepared for and life will knock you down.  From there you have two choices. You can choose to remain defeated and let it define your life, or you can get up, as painful as it is, and continue with living. If something changes your plans, your plans were probably not meant to happen.
  I feel like we, as Aspies, can take a lesson from my friend Paulina. People will be mean, people will tease, people may hurt, but that doesn't mean you can let them rule your life. Even though it sounds crazy,  do not let them bother you, because picking yourself up is a much braver act than letting those mean people or bad situations rule your life. You will win in the end, but first you have to pick yourself up.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

  It's that time of year again, turn on any sort of family station and there will be a holiday movie playing. Frosty the Snowman, A Christmas Carol, and The Polar Express are examples of some of these classics my family and I enjoy.
   But the one holiday movie I absolutely love (and know every line to, don't judge) is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I love all the songs and even the characters are pretty cool, even at eighteen years of age.
   However, I think it's the story of Rudolph that gets me every time, especially as an Aspie. For those who don't know the story, Rudolph is a reindeer born with a red glowing nose. Ashamed, his father tries to hide his nose, and when that fails, Rudolph runs away with an elf who wants to be a dentist and an explorer hunting for silver and gold. When Rudolph returns, he and his friends are able to save Christmas because Rudolph's nose cuts through the storm.
   I think Aspies are a lot like Rudolph. Many people close to us can try to hide our slight oddities because they just want us to be able to fit in. While they are well-meaning and have our best interests at heart, you should know that you aren't like anyone else. This may seem bad to begin with, like Rudolph thought it was, but your differences make you, you. And, while now, it may seem hard to believe, your differences will change the world and will be called on when nobody else can help. This may take time, so don't expect instant results. Be patient, for one day your talent will be needed when nobody else can help, and then you will shine like a light, bright for all to see.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

To my Readers

  Wow, guys, I am so flattered. Over 2,000 pageviews and the comments are wonderful and touching.  Some of you have started your own blogs because of this one and others can even find their inspiration here. Truly, I am so honored to be a part of your life.
  I really want to respond to you in person, though. So if you feel comfortable enough to do so, leave a comment and your email address so I can respond to you amazing people and your comments. If you are not comfortable leaving the email, I will try to address your question or comment in the blog.
  Thanks for everything, guys!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Who's Laughing Now?

    If you watched the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games this year, you would have seen a parade of talented musical artists from the United Kingdom.  However, there was one musical artist at the closing ceremonies who I truly believe deserved to be there. Her legal name is Jessica Cornish, but she is better known to the world as "Domino" singer Jessie J.
  Jessie J is no ordinary singer. If you listen to her album, it's a mix of many types of music that blend together surprisingly well. I have been a fan of hers since my brother introduced me to "Domino". I then went online and listened her entire album, which is fantastic.
  However, there was one song on the track I could not stop listening to. "Who's Laughing Now?" is the story of how Jessie was bullied as a young girl because she was different. For example, she says:
 
"Well they pull my hair, they took away my chair
I keep it in and pretend that I didn't care
Hey Jessica, you're so funny
You've got teeth just like Bugs Bunny"
  All these mean people used to bully her simply because she was different. However, when she describes what happened after she became famous, it nearly made my chin drop.
 
"Oh, Jessie, I saw you on YouTube
I tagged old photos from when we was at school
Oh, so you think you know me now
Have you forgotten how
You would make me feel
When you drag my spirit down?
But thank you for the pain
It made me raise my game
And I'm still rising, I'm still rising, yeah
So make your jokes, go for broke
Blow your smoke, you're not alone
But who's laughing now?"

    All of those people who made fun of her now want to be friends with her because she's famous. But Jessie, instead of being bitter, thanks them for the pain they gave her because it gave her motivation to do better and write hits.
   I think we can all learn a lesson from Jessie J. Even though school was hard and the kids mean, it only gave her motivation for what she has accomplished. Actually she thanks them, so one day we will too. If you're going through a hard time, remember Jessie's lesson: hold your head high and one day they will be begging to know you and will regret how mean they were.
If you want to listen to the song, here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsxSxF3JKeU&feature=related


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Princess Sarah

   My grandmother came to America as a young girl and most of her family still lives in England. Naturally, that makes my entire family Anglophiles. We love everything in the British Isles. So, naturally, the Royal Family is also a major discussion topic amongst us. We faithfully watched the Royal Wedding last year and love William and Kate.
  But they are not the Royal I want to discuss today with you. No, I want to tell you about Princess Sarah Ferguson , also known as Princess Fergie.
  Back in 2002, she came to my state to promote her new line of chinaware she had designed. My mother took my two brothers and myself to go meet her. Being an eight year old girl, I was beyond excited to meet "a real-life princess".  So my mother dressed all of us in our best and we travelled to the store where she was to meet her.
  Unfortunately, the princess was swarmed with reporters and the man at the front told us to go away; the princess didn't have time for us. I burst into tears, I had been so excited to meet her.
  What we didn't know was that Princess Sarah had heard the whole thing and heard my tears. She stood up and parted the crowds and reprimanded the man saying, "Let the children come and meet me".  She brought us up to the front and gave us a teddy bear each and signed plates for all of us.  She was incredibly kind  and I will never forget that day.
   Since then, I have heard many negative things about the Princess.  I don't know if those things are true or not, but I will never forget how that woman who  could have turned us away instead made an eight year old's dream come true by simply spending time with me.  I can't see her in a negative light because of how kind she was to me.
   I think sometimes Aspies are seen in the light of Princess Sarah, and sometimes we make assumptions about people we do not know just because of what we have heard about them. The lesson I took from the Princess was never to judge someone because of what others say about them, because they may be an unbelievable person and you simply do not know them.  I know we, too,  are looked at in a negative light sometimes, but we can also take a hint from the princess: do not let it bother you, and hold your head high, because that way you will be the winner in the end.  I hope you can learn from Princess Sarah as I did, because it is truly one of the best lessons.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Voting

  As I recently turned eighteen, I now have a say in my country's government. It is important that young people voice their opinions. People before us have fought, died, and risked their lives so that we could have a say, and we should never just throw that opportunity away.
  The most important example of a group of  men who had this willingness to die and sacrifice themselves I think is America's Founding Fathers. I mean, even my British readers should give them some credit. At the end of the Declaration of Independence, they pledged one another their lives and their honor as gentlemen so America could be free. You have to admit that it took some guts to do that.
   The man who crafted these words was no idiot bumpkin himself. He was Thomas Jefferson: a brilliant, quiet, and thoughtful man who became America's third president. Though not one to stand in the front of a room and speak (he was rather soft spoken), he could write exceptionally well and that was why he was chosen to write the Declaration in the first place.
   A little known fact is that many experts today believe Jefferson had Asperger's Syndrome. It's not very hard to believe: a quiet genius who managed to double the size of America during his presidency. It would take an exceptional man to do that, and Jefferson did it. He was also far more casual than his predecessors: he often met people for issues in his bathrobe and slippers and walked to his inauguration.
  So, in this voting season, keep in mind Thomas Jefferson. The man fought for what he believed in in every way he knew how and became one of the most popular presidents today. I cannot not vote because I know a fellow Aspie fought to give me the right to vote, and I, for one, am not going to disappoint him.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Teenage...Vampire?

    Our culture today seems to be obsessed with vampires.  From the sparkling vampires of Twilight, the terror of Bram Stoker's Dracula, to the kid movies of Hotel Transylvania and The Little Vampire, vampires seem to be everywhere these days. And why not? They make great characters with interesting morals: in Dracula, Stoker makes his title character the evil bloodsucker who preys on innocent human life, yet in the more modern takes on vampires, they can be friendly, even reluctant vampires . It's quite the question: who exactly are these vampires? What makes them who they are?
   Sometimes, I feel like being an Aspie is a lot like being a vampire. No, no, we don't drink blood. That's not what I meant. I mean that there are a lot of representations about Aspies that are false out there in the world, so many people don't know exactly what to make of us because they are presented with so much mixed information.  Some people, for example, just lump Asperger's with autism. However, we are in our own special category with our own odd quirks and interesting ideas. See what I mean?
   While we may never know the correct 'definition' of an Aspie, like we will never quite be able to 'define' vampires, I think we can go out and try to help people understand. You truly can never know someone until you talk to them and start learning. I think the world could learn a great deal from us, but first we have to show them the correct representation of who we are. We are not the stupid, sparkly vampires of Twilight or the ruthless Count Draculas the world sometimes makes us out to be but the kind and often misunderstood 'vampires' who only want to be like you.  We can prove to be steadfast friends, loyal students, and interested intellectuals...someone you would enjoy knowing . Just give us a try.

P.S. If you have not heard of and want to see these movies (The Little Vampire and Hotel Transylvania) or read Dracula, I highly recommend them.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Opals

   If you go to the average jewelry store and look in the cases, you will see many sorts of gems. Sapphires, diamonds, rubies and emeralds are among the many you will find.
   However, there is one gem that you won't see very often in jewelry stores.  The opal is the birthstone of October, but it is hard to find it in stores. Some jewelers will even substitute pink tourmaline as the October birthstone. Why is the opal not a popular choice?
  Actually, the opal is one of the more interesting stones because of all the stigmas attached to it. The reason the opal is the birthstone of October is that legend says that if one wears an opal and  is not born in October, the wearer will be cursed.  Jewelers are surprisingly superstitious, and many won't touch opals because of the supposed 'curse' . They will swear it's true because it has happened to someone they know.
    Sometimes, I feel that Asperger's is a label almost like that of the opal. That we are almost 'cursed' to lead a lonely, friendless life. However, this isn't true, not in the least. Aspies are not cursed, and we can have friends, we just need people who are willing to work with us, and we bloom under care. So Aspies, don't worry if someone shies away because of the stigmas of who we are. They don't deserve your opal-esque brilliance.

Monday, September 3, 2012

You're not alone

   So I was checking on my page view numbers (couldn't resist) and I saw that this blog is being read all over the world and I have reached over 1,000 page views. I am so flattered and honored that you guys keep reading my blog. You are the best!
   But while I was doing a happy dance for my blog, I realized exactly what this means. People all over the world are uniting and reading my blog because of one thing: we all have Asperger's Syndrome. I remember when I was first told about my Asperger's at the age of thirteen. I was terrified and there seemed to be nobody to turn to, since Asperger's had only become an "official" diagnosis in 1994. Suffice it to say, nobody really knew about Asperger's and it was lumped together with other syndromes.
    It was never easy. In fact, there were times I seriously considered giving up. I would be sick of people not understanding and others who turned their noses up at me. But through it all, I decided to stay strong, like you should, and make the best of my situation.
   Looking at my page views today, I realized I wasn't and never have been alone. There are people out there just like me. We all have simliar stories because they have lived through the exact same situations that I have.
   Aspies: you are not alone. I know it may be hard now, but believe in yourself. There will come a day when all is put right. In the meantime, remember that you are not alone. We are all here to support you and we feel what you feel. We will always have each other's back, no matter what.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Titanium

   Last year, as happens in every high school, my class finally got to choose their class rings. As I go to an all-girls' school, this was naturally a big deal. What metal to use, black fill in(or not), what the side of the ring should look like, all of these choices were going through my mind.
   I knew I wanted a silver-colored band because silver goes with everything (one of the best pieces of jewelery advice I have ever received). However, I also wanted it durable because I am constantly running about and don't want to get it damaged easily. Anyway, I filled out the form and knew I got an alloy, and the ring came out perfect.
   Fast forward to the present. I was looking for something the other day and came across the box my ring came in and upon reading, my ring is a silver and titanium alloy.
   If anyone out there has heard the song "Titanium" you will understand why. Titanium is one of the hardest metals known to man. Its name echos of strength. Even in the song, the singer tells her naysayers "Fire away, fire away. Shoot me down, but I won't fall. I am Titanium."
   I think Aspies are a lot like titanium. We are shot down, fall, but we will always get back up again. No matter what, we are strong and resilient. And we will always be able to be strong, no matter what the circumstance.
    Aspies, be Titanium. I know you can be.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why entertainment can be beneficial

    My brother, who is fifteen, loves to watch TV. Whenever he has free time, he particularly enjoys shows like How I Met Your Mother and 24. My younger brother, who is ten, enjoys shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show. As into these shows as they are, I never quite understood it. These shows seemed boring to me, without real depth.
   One problem we as Aspies seem to have is the inability to recognise body language and facial expressions. It's not that we don't want to understand, it is simply that we don't know how. We love and cherish our alone time, reading, talking to ourselves, and thinking. As great as this time alone is, we cannot transfer it into our modern socializing. We don't understand what people mean, and it frustrates us.
   One way to help us Aspies learn body language is to, when they have free time, let them watch TV with real people on it. Aspies can watch these shows and get caught up in the plot, helping us focus on something other than school. Also, a TV show can show and Aspie how people react in a certain way and how they express it through their body. Then, when a similar situation happens in life, an Aspie can recognise it and respond accordingly. It's also a good way to start conversation for Aspies who need something to talk about.
   But, some will say, there is not anything good on! It's all boring and flat these days, how can I find a good show? Netflix, actually, can be very helpful with that. They see what you watch and recommend shows they think you will like, and some of the time, they are actually right. Listening to your friends' recommendations also help. Without my friends, I never would have found my shows that I love to watch: Doctor Who, Merlin, and Sherlock. I love them and recommend all three of these shows highly, and they have actually benefited from them.
   When you have time, try watching a show. You may be really glad that you did.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Anything you can do, I can do better!

  I don't know if any of my readers recognised the title of this blog from the musical Annie Get Your Gun, but that was where I got the idea from for this blog. If you listen to the song, it is about a boy and a girl saying that girls can be equal to and even surpass boys in some things. While I agree with the fact that women are equal to men, I actually thought of Aspies (and kids on the autism spectrum in general) who can do things that other people think we cannot, even surpassing people's expectations.
   Allow me to explain. I have a really good guy friend who is autistic. Let's call him Mark. Mark is a high functioning autistic boy who  I have become very close with. He, like myself, is a swimmer and enjoys his routine.
   Like all autistic kids, Mark has his problems with sound, and many things seem intense for him. However, a few years ago, he was able to swim Alcatraz. This involves swimming from the former prison to the shore in a wetsuit with who knows what floating around and  many people around you. Not the ideal environment for an autistic kid or an Aspie, period.
   But Mark is different. He swam that race and, remarkably, finished. The thing people said he could not do he managed to accomplish without any help whatsoever, completely by himself. I call him the wonder swimmer not because he could do it, but because he proved all of those people wrong who claimed that because he was autistic, he could never finish. Mark did, and is contemplating swimming it again because he enjoyed it so much!
   Moral of the story: just because someone says you cannot do something, doesn't mean you can't. Mark went against all his naysayers and came out on top. So remember Aspies and autistic kids everywhere: don't let someone's opinion of what you can do. You can do anything if you set your mind to, even if it seems impossible.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Personality Wins

    A week after I was born, my mother brought me into the office so she could show me off to her coworkers. Naturally, most of them said I was cute and congratulated my mother. However, one woman was different from the rest. After looking at me for a while she turned to my mother and said: "My wish is that your daughter will be a plain Jane until she turns eighteen."
   My mother was taken aback. Who would wish that a child be plain for her most crucial years? The woman saw my mother's alarm and shook her head. "You didn't let me finish," she said, "I hope your daughter will be a plain Jane until she turns eighteen because then she will develop a personality."
   I want to find that woman and thank her one day. Not because she was  a great woman, but because she was right! People who 'peak' early on rarely have substance or something interesting to talk about. I remember one girl who had all the guys all over her explaining to our Geometry teacher how she couldn't do the homework of the previous evening because she was at the mall all night with her friends. The funny thing is, she actually believed it was a legitimate excuse.
    This girl had looks, but she had nothing to back it up. Aspies, I have been told by my friends, are entertaining and have good personalities. While these years may be difficult for us all, I have been told that pretty faces don't get one very far in life, but intelligence will. Aspies have intelligence and personalities that can (and will) get them very far in life. So while the popular and good looking may have everything now, just be patient aand bide your time. Personality wins out every single time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What makes you... Aspies!

   Before all the male Aspies out there groan with the "I-hate-this-song" undertones, let me explain.  One Direction (for those of you who don't know) is a new British boy band whose songs have become pretty popular. Their biggest hit is called "What makes you Beautiful".
  While the song gets old pretty fast with guys (and some girls), I think that it could also be directed to the Aspies from the world in general. Yes, I have heard that they are supposed to be for a girl, but this can apply to all Aspies. Just look at the lyrics:
You're insecure
Don't know what for

   To some extent, most people are insecure, but with Aspies it is pretty much social insecurity that really gets us . The song continues:
I don't know why
You're being shy
And turn away when I look into your eyes

    Okay, if there is honestly a line more geared towards Aspies, let me know, because this I find to be undeniably true. Looking into someone's eyes as an Aspie feels like we are being robbed of our privacy that we so value. However , the most important lines Aspies really need to remember are these next ones:
Baby, you light up my world like nobody else...
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know you're beautiful

   What Aspies really need to remember is that even in our darkest hour, we are beautiful. We are what the world may need the most of all. It is a true gift, what we have, and we shouldn't waste it. Keep in mind that one day we are the people who will light the world.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why good teachers matter

    Let's face it: teachers are unavoidable in this life unless you live on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. You must live with them for twelve or more years or until your formal education is complete. For this exact reason, it is very important to have very good teachers, especially for a person with Asperger's, where a teacher can mean all the difference.
   I am not saying that all teachers are fantastic. I know there are teachers out there who make a student's life a misery. When I was in fourth grade, for example, my teacher told my mother that I had no hope of graduating grade school and high school would be a lost cause and that I could never get into the high school that all the other girls could. Years later, she was proven wrong when I graduated grade school and got into the high school I wanted.
   My point is, not all teachers are great. But there is always that one teacher who you will never forget who helped you become who you are. My fifth grade science teacher, my eighth grade science teacher, my U.S. History teacher, and my Chemistry teacher were people who knew my difficulties and went above and beyond to help me, even though they did not have to do so. I have never been good at math, so my Chemistry teacher guided me through it and I am proud to say I made a solid A in her course because she was willing to go above and beyond to make sure I understood the material. My U.S. History teacher was the same, showing me I had a passion for history that was key to my success. My grade school science teachers were the same, guiding me through some very tough times.
    Wanting to be a better student makes teachers want to work with you through your difficulties. It's like my dad says: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". Showing that you are a dedicated student will make teachers go above and beyond, especially since you have Asperger's.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why I love being an Aspie

    In honor of my 50th blog (Wow, this is crazy), I have decided to talk about why I love being an Aspie.
  • The ability to rattle off facts about something I love and stunning everyone.
  • Being a member of an elite clique that includes people like Thomas Jefferson, Jane Austen and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • The ability to be able to think in a depth most people can't comprehend.
  • My obsessions. All of them.
  • Being different from the average person. Sometimes it is difficult, but it makes an Aspie memorable.
  • The incredible people I have met who have changed my life in ways they will never be able to comprehend. I never would have met them without being who I  am and am daily thankful for the blessing of knowing them.
  • This blog. Its help me to connect to other Aspies, and I am especially grateful for my readers. Thank you for everything.
   These are the reasons I love being an Aspie. And I cannot honestly say I would rather be anything else in the world. It makes me who I am, and helps those who want to change the world.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Too much stress!

     Let me tell you the state of mind I was in last Thursday night.
  
     It was the night before the APUSH (AP United States History) Exam. I am not in AP, but my teacher told me I was capable, I could score high on it and so I agreed to take said examination.
 
     That was not what was going through my mind, believe me.

      Raw, terrifying, panic was overriding my senses. Believe me, I had studied all year for this, but I felt unprepared and started freaking out when I realized there were three Treaties of Paris. Plus, I had never been exceptional on the mid eighteen hundreds historical information.
      So, to say the least, I was scared. I started worrying and explained to my mother how I felt inadequate. She sat me down with some tea and told me I was more than capable and I could do it. Then she suggested I call or text my friends who were also taking the test and talk to them and maybe we could quiz each other. I texted each of them and learned they were freaking out too. We all then got on Facebook and quizzed each other.
      That day, I learned so much. Other than the fact that my mother is a genius (Love you Mom!), I learned that I am not the only one, and everyone, not just Aspies gets that "I am alone in the world" and "I am panicked" feeling before a test.  Having someone to calm you down and friends who can quiz you and sit close to you during the test for comfort is the greatest thing ever. Try to find people who can help you and make you feel safe. And calm down,  it literally is not the end of the world, it's just a test.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, oh my!

    I am so sorry to all of my readers for not posting more often, but I can explain. As a junior in the Spring of her high school year, I am nearing my finals (very important!), and I am also taking the SAT, ACT, two AP tests and this very morning I took two SAT subject tests.
   Standardized testing is not anyone's favorite thing, but for Aspies, including me, it's really a struggle.  Math has never been my favorite subject and I tend to worry and freak out over all of these tests because most include some form of math.
   While standardized testing may never be your best friend, there are ways for Aspies to get around the freaking out part of it.  First, try to study for the areas you struggle in specifically. Getting a tutor also helps.
   Second, review things you struggle with the night before. I don't mean obsessively study and cram, I mean review basic things you may need to know, like the area of a circle or something like that right before you go to bed so you can sleep on it.
   Third, if this is possible, try to find someone to take the test with, someone who you are comfortable with. A friend of mine, who knows about my Asperger's, tried to sit close to me today, which was very comforting and helped me feel safe in a place where I didn't exactly know a lot of people.
   Try to use these ideas for standardized testing. They will truly help your comfort level and your score.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Help, Please?

   A few days ago, a friend asked me point blank why I decided to create this blog. I told her it was because I had nobody to turn to when I was diagnosed, and neither did my parents.
  
    When I was diagnosed as a nine year old, few people understood exactly what Asperger's was in the first place. My mother went into denial that I was even slightly autistic, because what parent wants to hear that their child will never be completely normal?

    At the time, my mother turned to the one person she knew who had a son with Asperger's. James (not his real name) was in the grade above me at my middle school. When my mother went to James's mother, who happened to be a psychologist, for advice, help, or heck, consolation, his mother told mine point blank: "James has never had a friend in his life, so don't get such high hopes for your daughter."  James was not as high functioning as I am.  He walked oddly and spoke with a high pitched voice.  I recall his mother telling mine she wasn't sure if James would test into the highly academic Catholic high school we were both hoping to attend.

    Well, long story short, we went our separate ways although we both did eventually get into that high school.  A  few weeks ago, I saw him at the movies with some friends and said hello.  He walked better and his voice had gone down and he seemed much to have matured into a confident young man.   He said he wished he could have helped me in middle school, but he didn't understand much himself.  He told me he had actually worked, just like I had, on schoolwork and making friends. He was so different and I was so happy for him. James had also become, since I had last seen him, a National Merit Scholar and is going to a prestigeous university next fall. This was the same boy who didn't think he could go to a highly academic high school!

    Moral of the story, Aspies, don't get discouraged because you are different. You will find a way to shine through the darkness.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: Famous Aspie

Hey Guys! I was watching some more Sherlock(remember, the one where the creator called Holmes 'Aspergerish'?) and I found this link. In this episode, The Hounds of Baskerville, Sherlock, John, and Lestrade are in Dartmoor checking over the case of Henry Knight. They have not gotten far when Sherlock inadvertantly insults Lestrade, which has Lestrade leaving the pub frustrated and ranting to John, and naturally, John brings up Asperger's. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iOr5Hix4QI

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Really Don't Realize How Special You Are, Do You?

     If any of you out there watch the show Merlin as much as I do, you will understand the title of this post.

     For those of you who don't watch it, Merlin is a series about the young wizard growing up in Camelot and helping the bratty Prince Arthur grow up to be the great king of the legend.  However, magic was banned when Arthur was born, so Merlin must hide who he truly is to protect Arthur, at all costs.

     In Season 2, Merlin meets Freya, a girl under a curse who has magic as he does.  By night, she turns into a monster who kills everything in sight.  Merlin successfully hides her and takes care of her.  However, when her captors almost find her, she and Merlin have a heart to heart and she says she's a monster and asks why he isn't scared of her.  Merlin tells her being different is nothing to be scared of, and that she is special.  He accepts her as she is, even though she cannot see the goodness inside herself.

     Some Aspies, I find, are a lot like Freya.  We consider ourselves outcasts, freaks, and in some cases, just wrong.  We hide who we are in hopes of fitting in and find we often find fitting in is not easy.  One Aspie I know was to the point of denying who he was, saying that there was no way he could be what they said he was.  Freak.  Loser.  Retard.

     But, like Freya, we all need intervention, especially if we start believing the lies society tells us:  that we cannot achieve what others can, that we are so different we will never have friends.  And (although it would be undeniably awesome) Merlin of the legend will not help us to confront our fears.  But there are others who will.  People close to you have told you that you are special, loved and cared about, sometimes we just don't believe them.  However, we need to believe them, because it is the truth.

     Because, like Merlin, our destinies depend on it.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on February 26, 2012.

A Trip to the Past

     If I could make a list of all of the things I love about the world, it would probably look something like this:
1. Family

2. Friends (family you choose for yourself)

3. My books

4. History

     There is much more to that list, but it is so true.  I love these, but today, I am going to talk about number 4.  I love history and have always been, if I may say so myself, pretty good at it (I know, I know, nerdy).  I have a list of people from the past I would love to meet.  If anyone has seen the movie Midnight in Paris that is exactly what I would love to happen.

     So, understandably, when a friend's mom emailed me a list of historical figures believed to have had Asperger's, I had an extreme fan girl attack. (Fan girl, by the way, is hysterical screaming and jumping for joy when something good happens, like two characters in a book get together).

     On the the list were people who have changed the world.  The man who coined "Fair is foul and foul is fair" (Shakespeare) is among our numbers.  Abraham Lincoln is also a possible Aspie (his obsession? war tactics).  There are many more, but sometimes, I wish I could go to them just to talk.  They have changed the world, and I would love to be able just to see how they survived and thrived in this world.

     There are people out there who are like you who have succeeded and soared.  Never be afraid.

Baby you're not alone

'Cause you're here with me

And nothing's ever gonna bring us down

That easily

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on January 15, 2012.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Freak the Freak Out

     Let's be honest, it has happened to all of us.  Blind panic because something went wrong.  Whether it was your parents picking you up much later than they said they would or having to recite something in front of the class.

     Believe me when I say I feel this way a lot.  This week we had to recite the Gettysburg Address in English class (AHHH!).  I knew it pretty well, except for the last few sentences.  When I said it, I got stuck on those last sentences, and I panicked.  I closed my eyes tight, my knees locked and I apparently turned white as a sheet.  Aspies sometimes get so focused on something that when it doesn't work out for us, we freak out.  A sense of raw panic overcomes us and our bodies respond by freezing on the spot or moving around a lot full of nervous energy.  It is truly terrible to go through.

     Getting so panicked isn't fun, so as Aspies, we must force ourselves to calm down.  Taking deep, slow breaths forces your body to calm down, and it will calm your mind down too.  Another way is to pep talk yourself: "It'll be fine, I will be fine."  It reassures you and forces you to think of something other than being downright panicked.

     Aspies especially need to learn not to succumb to the panic which overcomes even the best of us.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on January 7, 2012.

"Elementary, My Dear Watson"

     In honor of the new Sherlock Holmes movie, I have decided to write a whole post on the man.

     Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the guy who invented Sherlock) did not actually intend that his creation would become so wildly popular.  People soon became hooked with Holmes' crime solving, his personality, and, most of all, his skills of deduction.  Holmes could take several things about a person and deduce pretty much anything having to do with them.  When explained, however, he makes it seem like the simplest thing in the world.

     Movies, TV shows, and other books have sprung up dealing with the famous detective.  Because I was a bit bored a few days ago, I decided to look up a show about Sherlock Homes I had hear of called Sherlock.  Though I did not find the actual show, I stumbled across a website about the show where the director of Sherlock referred to Holmes as "Aspergerish."

     Thinking on it, I realized the man was right.  Holmes, if you read the stories, doesn't show much emotion, doesn't seem to have a lot of friends, except Watson, and has an obsession with crime.  Holmes is strongly an Aspie in many ways, and it's because he is that people find him so fascinating.  Holmes is respected and admired because of these traits.  People sometimes consider him the greatest fictional detective ever.  Sherlock never stepped down from a case and held true to what he knew and stuck to it.  He is a wonderful example of an Aspie.  So, if you ever feel unimportant or you find yourself thinking about not standing up for what is right, think WWSD? (What Would Sherlock Do?)

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on December 27, 2011.

My Aspie Support Group

     Sometimes, when I'm upset, I find myself looking back on the years I was a victim of bullying and remembering how I used to wish someone, anyone, would have held out their hand to support me, to tell me I wasn't alone.  That I was cared about.

     When I began making friends with other Aspies, I realized how my story was a lot like theirs.  They, too, wanted someone to talk to during those rough times.  One Aspie told me how he didn't really have friends until he met me.

     That was when I came up with an idea:  an Aspie support group.  A group of Aspies, or maybe just two, who are friends.  You can call them at any time about anything that is bothering you, and they will listen and help you through it.  You do the same for them as well.  When I tried this for myself, I did not anticipate what would happen.  That we would all become very close and tight friends who are always there for one another and will stick up for each other if need be.  They are my soul siblings and I don't know what I would do without them.

     Try to get yourself an Aspie who will support you.  You will be surprised how much they care for you, just like I was.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on November 27, 2011.

God Help the Outcasts

     I'm not sure if any of you out there has seen the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  It isn't as popular as many of the other animated Disney movies.  I haven't seen it either, but I really like the story.

     Now many of you are probably thinking "Why is she bringing this up?"  Well, when I was flipping through a songbook of my brother's (he's super into theater),  I came across a song from the movie called "God Help the Outcasts."

     For those of you who don't know, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is the story of Quasimodo the hunchback who is treated awfully because of the way he looks.  A single person, Esmerelda, the gypsy girl, shows Quasimodo kindness and it changes his life.  The song "God Help the Outcasts" is sung by Esmerelda as she wanders through the church where Quasimodo lives.  She sings:

God Help the Outcasts, The tattered, the torn

Seeing an answer, to why they were born,

Winds of misfortune have blown them about

You made the outcasts

Don't cast them out.

     When I was younger, I always felt like an outcast.  People would make fun of me and taunt me openly.  I just accepted it because I thought it was just my lot in life, to be like this.  However, when I got to high school, it was actually a different story.  I made friends who didn't treat me like a pariah, and I realized this is what true friendship is.

     Like Quasimodo, we all think we are alone, an outcast.  Remember, Aspies, you are never alone.  There is always someone there for you.  You are no outcast and never will be.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on November 6, 2011.

Born This Way

     In her song Born this Way, Lady Gaga tells of the importance of loving yourself.  Every time I hear it, I think of being an Aspie.  I mean, just think of the lyrics:

I'm beautiful in my way, because God makes no mistakes, I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way.


     We never asked to be an Aspie, but we were born this way and shouldn't be ashamed of it.  It's who we are and changing it would be wrong.  We have to love who we are even if it makes you seem like an outcast.  You have to accept who you are, warts and all, but especially the warts.  They make you YOU.  I know it's hard, but like Oscar Wilde says "Be yourself; everyone else is taken."  Being an Aspie makes you beautiful and you are no mistake.  You were born to change the world.  Go do it.

     Remember, you were Born This Way.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 22, 2011.

The Social Network

     We hear it everywhere, "Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!" or "Text me!"  The whole world is going digital and as scary as it sounds, it is actually a good thing for Aspies.  I can hear you now: "She's lost it.  The internet is not safe."  No, the internet is not entirely safe, but it is a good thing.  I used to be scared as well, but if you are very careful, you can have successful fun on the internet.

     I decided to try Facebook after a friend told me it would be fun.  Truly, it is.  I get to keep up with old friends and talk to my friends while I am on vacation.  I actually like it.  It isn't too bad.

     But why is it so great for Aspies?  Well, if you think about it, it saves us the trouble of looking someone in the eye, and you have time to think of responses instead of having to blurt them out and hope that they are okay.  It really is an advantage to us Aspies.

     I am not telling you to go get a Facebook or a Twitter account.  But it is helpful and I really enjoy it.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 17, 2011.

Why Aspies are Good Teachers

     I teach swim lessons at my club, and recently I was thinking about how Aspies make good teachers.  I mean, who hasn't had a mean teacher who doesn't understand the way you roll?  I know that I have had my fair share of teachers like that.

     I think that is why Aspies make such good teachers.  I mean, we all want that teacher who is understanding and kind and knows how to deal with us.  Personally, I try to live by the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have done unto you," so I try to teach like the teacher I want to have.  For example, I have a little girl in my class who refuses to put her head underwater.  I try very hard to talk her into it and to help her not be afraid.  Slowly but surely, she is starting to go under.  I listen to her fears and talk her through it and literally hold her hand as she does just that.

     That is the kind of thing I do and I think that's why Aspies make such good teachers.  We try to be the teacher we never had.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 15.

Socializing Through Charity

     A couple of days ago, my mother and I volunteered at our local soup kitchen.  I always like doing those sorts of things because they make me feel blessed afterwords, and I always look forward to them as social opportunities.

     See, the people there you must socialize with.  You have no choice, one absolutely must figure out what people need and what they want.  The people there usually smile and thank you for what you do.  It makes their lives easier and it gives you a new social opportunity.  It really does work.  You are forced to talk to people, to ask them what they want and to generally make their day better.  You will really feel good about it later as well.  That is always the best part.

     I would suggest Aspies try your hand at volunteering.  It's an opportunity and it's really rewarding.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 9, 2011.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Driving

     Since I am sixteen, I thought I could talk about this subject with some authority.

     Most people are extremely excited to drive.  However, me being me, I was terrified.  I'd heard a lot of scary stories about driving, so I was reluctant to learn.  Trust me, once you start driving, it's a lot less glamorous than they say.  You have to be hyper safe and very careful.

     I always thought that Aspies would all be very good drivers.  We are always paying attention, we notice things, and we're always careful.  However, as many people are fond of saying, you can be the best driver in the world and still get into an accident because there are stupid drivers out there.  But don't let that stop you.  Driving is like a roller coaster, it's scary but fun at the same time.  You live and you learn.  Driving is a part of life.  I wish you luck in the driving endeavor.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 7, 2011.

Thank You!

     Recently, I was reading an article in which pop artist Taylor Swift was being interviewed.  She was telling how she had been bullied when she was younger and how she refocused all of her energy writing songs about it.  She actually, in the article, thanked the people who had been so mean to her, because without them, her success would never have been possible.

     I think Miss Swift is onto something here.  I mean, being bullied is hard (trust me, I know) but it does give us something.  It gives us inspiration, I guess you could say, to prove all of those people wrong.

     Let me tell you something.  I was bullied badly in grade school.  However, I decided to turn their insecurity against them and instead take it to my schoolwork and everything else.  Today, I'm an A student and I have two Varsity letters in swimming.  Honestly, it's all thanks to those people who were mean to me in school. Without them to push me, I never would have done any of those things.

     One day, you will thank those people who were mean to you.  Trust me, you will.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 6, 2011.

Why Aspies Need Downtime

     Ok, so it's officially summer for me and due to that fact, I would like to talk about why Aspies really need to rest.

     People with Asperger's love their schedules.  Believe me, I live for mine.  However, when summer comes, it's okay not to stick to a rigorous plan.  We are humans, after all.  We need to rest.  We need to recover from the year and so much studying and other activities.  This is our time to read and see friends and do crazy and insane things!

     Trust me, last summer I tried to keep such a strict schedule...swimming practice twice a day, summer school, work, homework...; however, my body could not handle going into overdrive for so long.  I got really sick because of it and missed a whole week of school the next year and it took many months for my stamina to come back.  Your mind and body cannot handle a jampacked schedule year-round.  It needs to rest and enjoy itself.  So sleep in, read like crazy and enjoy yourselves because summer is here!

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 3, 2011.

Who Says?

     "Who says you're not perfect?"  Who says you're not worth it?  Who says you're the only one that's heard it?"  Selena Gomez asks people in her new song.  And she's actually right.  Everyone has a right to a beautiful life.  And even though people can be mean, who says that you should take their words to heart, because nobody ever said that that was true.  I mean, come on, it's like saying that someone can fly, you can't take it to heart because you don't have any proof.

     Take my advice.  I went through all of grade school believing that I was somehow less than the other kids because I believed what they told me.  It was awful.  When I finally got to high school, I couldn't believe that people treated me like I was on their level because I was simply not used to people treating me nicely.  It was amazing.  My friends now treat me like I am on their level and never make me feel bad about myself. They're much better than the kids at my old school.

     Aspies are really amazing people.  Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on June 1, 2011.

Animals

     Few people can look at a baby bunny and not go "aww!"  Animals are cute and adorable and can make a day much brighter.  Especially for Aspies.

     Studies have shown that animals can 'sense' when someone has autism or other special situations, and they instinctively know how to deal with them.  I must concur that this is true.  My dog instinctively knows that I do not like to touch him, so he backs off.  My cat, on the other hand, knows that I like her, so she's near me all of the time.

     I am not suggesting you go out and get an animal.  However, being close to one is nice and soothing, especially on frazzled nerves that can come from having Asperger's.  A friend's pet, or even a family one, can really help.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 31, 2011.

A Separate Peace

     To start off with, I need to say how I love this book.  It is fabulous.

     The book begins in a boy's boarding school during the years of World War Two.  There are two friends, the lonely intellectual Gene and Phineas, (called Finny), who is a taunting daredevil and very good at sports.  They are sixteen, "the key and crucial age," according to Gene, who is the narrator.  Gene convinces himself that he and Finny are in competition with each other, though the truth is that Finny really cares about Gene and wants him to do well, and he doesn't think of them in competition.  He is also so at sports and most other things, he wouldn't dream of it.

     Many things happen, but in the end, Gene realizes that he and Finny were never in competition and that Finny really cares about him.  They were just friends the whole time, never competitors.

     Aspies rarely have a need to compete with people, and we do know that, but sometimes, we, like Gene, get angry at other people's ability over us, whether it be socially or any number of other things.  Silent anger rarely does anyone any good, and in the end, it will blow up in your face.  Things will seem like a competition while there isn't one at all.  Be honest with yourself, nobody's perfect, so you may be better than someone at something, but they might be better than you in something else.  That's the way the world turns.

     You are amazing people.  Go out and be them.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 26, 2011.

Loving Who You Are

     Who doesn't have something they would like to change about themselves?  Whether it be what you look like, your past, or any number of things.  I can hear you all now: "She has no idea about what I've lived through."  And you're right.  I have no idea what people say to you or do to you, and I have no power to undo all of that.

     Lots of people get upset when they are teased about who they are, and then they try to change it, or worse, hide it.  Let me give you a word from the wise:  You cannot hide who you are forever, and eventually, the curtain will fall on who you're pretending to be.

     Being an Aspie is a gift, but a lot of people don't realize that.  They try to make us conform to their idea of 'normal,' which is wrong.  If we try to be normal, we'll explode.  You have to accept and love yourself for who you are, not what other people put you down as.  A dear friend of mine said once: "I'm on a mission to define myself the way I want to be defined, I will not be defined as what I've been labeled."  I thought he was completely right, and I try to live that way, loving myself and everyone around me for who they are, differences and all, but especially the differences.

     You are magnificent people, all of you.  So go out and be that way.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 25, 2011.

The Sword in the Stone

     When my friend, let's call her Isabelle, suggested I see an animated movie at sixteen years of age, I was a little shocked for a few reasons.  A) Isabelle does not like animated movies, and B) She is SO not the fluffy type.  I mean, she hates every Princess movie and whenever she is forced to watch them she gives this speech on how sexist the whole thing is.

     Anyhow, I knew that if she liked it, it was worth seeing.  So after about a week of begging, I managed to talk my parents into letting me rent it.  And guess what?  Isabelle was right!

     The story is, as many know, the King Arthur story, in which Arthur as a young boy, pulls the sword from the stone and becomes King of England.  The movie follows Arthur, (called Wart), as he is taught under the wizard Merlin and it depicts all of their adventures along the way.  While seeing this movie, it made me think of having Asperger's.  I mean, don't we all have our 'sword in the stone' that nobody expects us to pull out or conquer?  Things that seem almost completely impossible for us?

     I, for one, struggled in grade school.  My fourth-grade teacher told my mother that it was doubtful I'd ever graduate 8th grade at my private school let alone get into a competitive college prep high school.  I remember proudly smiling down at her from the stage at graduation as I received my 8th grade diploma, accepted into the top high school in the state.  My doctor then told my mother that I might not learn to drive, but I also pulled that sword in the stone out (although my brother is still too terrified to let me drive him yet!).

     My point is, guys, that you will face many, many people who will tell you that you cannot do something.  Don't get defeated.  You will and can overcome challenges and you are extremely qualified.  You CAN do it!

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 24, 2011.

   

In Which I am told to be Normal

     "Oh, being normal is vastly overrated" - Halloweentown


     Be normal.  What an impossible command.  Seriously, it's like being told to fly to an Aspie.

     A couple of times, when they were frustrated with me, my family and friends have snapped "Why can't you just be normal?".  They have no idea how hard we try, do they?  It's not like there's a 'normal' setting on us.  We are who we are, and we cannot change that.

     Recently, a friend asked if I could, would I become like everyone else?  In other words "typical" or "normal."  After a little consideration, I told her "No, that if I was changed I wouldn't be myself any longer."  Furthermore, who would obsess over my obsessions?  What would I do with myself?  Become boring?

     I won't pretend it's all rainbows and butterflies.  There have been times where I wish I could just be like everyone else, like in math class or at a social gathering, but this struggle makes me unique.  So, overall, I'm glad I have Asperger's, and so should other Aspies be glad, because otherwise we would not be who we are today.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 23, 2011.

   

Food, Glorious Food!

     Ok, so this may sound like a strange title, but food is a great thing.

     Now many Aspies struggle with math.  I myself have problems with it to this day and look forward to it with about as much joy as Jane Grey facing her executioner.  And, no, I am not being overly dramatic, as many Aspies can attest.

     However, I found some release from this problem when I started baking.  Suddenly, fractions were much easier, I swear!  You don't have to be the next Paula Deen to be able to make a batch of chocolate- chip cookies and baking really does help you understand math, especially fractions.

     Try baking with friends or even by yourself, (if you're allowed to!).  You'll find it is extremely fun!

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 23, 2011.

Disappointments

     Believe me when I say that life is full of disappointments.  Things that you never expected to happen.

     Personally, the year 2010 was the year to end all years.  A 13-year-old friend of my brother's committed suicide, my uncle had a heart attack and was left brain injured, a boy who is like a cousin to me overdosed on drugs and nearly died and that was only the first half of the year.

     I wasn't expecting any of these things.  My brother's friend was a sweet boy, my uncle had been a constant in my life since forever and the boy was also such a friend.  I couldn't believe it.

     I guess what I am trying to say is that you cannot predetermine life.  You can never predict what will happen and you can't undo what has been done no matter how much you wish you could.  Aspies try to be strong for everyone, but that's impossible.  Try to confide in someone, and remember, it is in no way your fault.  I know that seems hard, but it's true.  Remember to help if you can, and that you matter too.  Always remember that.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 22, 2011.

Courage

     Yes, once again, I am taking inspiration from Glee.

     In the series, the gay teenager is being bullied and his best friend, (and love interest), sends him texts every day with a single word:  COURAGE.

     Yes courage.  And like that character, Aspies need courage to face up to what is bad out there.  Facing up to bullies and everything else that goes wrong in life.

     Let me give you an example.  The other day was really bad for me.  Completely and utterly a failure of a day.  I was close to crying at lunch when a dear friend sent me this, COURAGE.  I literally could have hugged her I was so happy and thankful.  Now I have that as my opening message on my phone because I need it.

     If you are having a hard day, just remember COURAGE.  It helped me and will help all Aspies.  It is something we all need and should try to attain.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 13, 2011.

When You Say Something Stupid

     Oh man, I  could write a book on this topic alone.

     Let me set the scene for you.  You are in class, just discussing something, and suddenly you say something you thought was totally innocent, (at the time), but it turns out it sounded kind of mean or hurt someone's feelings.  You honestly didn't mean it in that way, but upon further reflection, you realize it came out like that.

      Well, what do you do?  You didn't mean it, but now somebody's mad at you.  I found myself in a similar situation this week and was clueless as to how to undo it because you cannot take back words.

     Then it occurred to me.  Just apologize.  You can apologize, but it's up to the person to forgive you or not.

     Try to apologize.  It probably will work.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on May 8, 2011.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"You Wanna Be a Loser Like Me"

     Please, do not think less of me because of this.  I know that some people think Glee is so weird, but it's actually kind of good.

     Anyway, I know that this may seem like a strange title, but believe me, it has a point.  Aspies are not losers, but a lot of people call us that.  Believe me, I've lost track of the number of times I was called a "loser."

   If you listen to the song, "Loser Like Me," it talks about how a person may be teasing someone, but in the end, they don't really win.  For example, when one of the characters sings:

You push me up against the locker

But all I do is shake it off

I'll get you back when I'm your boss

     And that character is right.  Aspies should take advice from this song.  Being mean doesn't get you anywhere in life, and us Aspies are going to see these mean people again, but they won't be as formidable.  My mom's friend, who went to high school with her, told how 20 years after high school, one Christmas, she was waited on in a store by the mean and popular girl who had made their high school years unbearable.  The girl had been part of the wealthiest families in town in high school and she made sure everyone knew it.  Now, she was working in a store just like everyone else.

     So when someone calls you a loser, just remember, someday they are going to wish they had been a "loser" like you because you will rock the world.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on April 21, 2011.

You're Just Afraid of Things you don't Understand!

     Yes.  A lot of people are terrified of things they cannot comprehend.  I, for one, have an irrational fear of math because I don't understand it.

     Like when I hear the word "math."  A lot of people freak out when they hear the word "Asperger's" especially when it is followed by "Autism-Spectrum disorder."  My mother, for one, did.  She would tell me later that she went into a state of disbelief because I was succeeding in school, my grades were really good then and I didn't act like I was autistic.  (Later my best friend, and fellow aspie, told me her mom felt the exact same way).

     My parents were terrified for me.  They had heard stories of kids who weren't mainstreamed who got pushed around and bullied just because they had something they couldn't control.  My mother actually went to a woman whose son had Asperger's and the woman said "Jake (not his real name) has never had a friend in his life."  Well, that scared my mother even more, but not enough to tell me how "different" I was.  Eventually she did.  Then, she told my teachers.

     The teachers were worried at first, but when my mom and my doctor explained what Asperger's is, things went well and the teachers began to get it.

     Adults are afraid of things they don't understand so be gentle when teaching them that we are good people and there is nothing to be afraid of.

     Originally posted on confesssionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.org on April 3, 2011.

In Which I am Upset

      Something sad and devastating is happening to me and to all readers, actually.  Border's is closing.

     We are not supposed to love chain stores.  We are supposed to shun such places because if we don't, we will seem too average.

     Border's is a different story (no pun intended).  I practically grew up in Border's Bookstore as I'm sure of lot of my readers have.  Border's was the only place where I felt I could be myself.  I remember climbing the shelves to the top when I was younger and grasping for whatever book I wanted.  When I was going through hard times in life, there was always someone there to help me and to make me laugh.

     Border's introduced me to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy from Narnia.  They were always there when times got tough.  I met Oliver Twist, Fagin and the Artful Dodger through Border's.  I also met Jean Valjean (my fictional hero!), Cosette, Marius (Les Miserables), Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron (Harry Potter series), and countless others.  These characters were my friends when I didn't have anyone to turn to.  They were my comforters when no one else could reach me.  And through these characters, and a love of books, I also met some forever real friends who will stick by me forever.

     I love Border's and I am sorry to see it go.  So long, my dear friend.  You have taught me well.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.org on April 1, 2011.

The Random Act of Kindness

     A lot of people have forgotten it, but the random act of kindness really does leave an impression on people.

     "Yeah," I can hear you say, "I've heard all about that, 'a smile can make someone's day' thing.  It's a load of horseradish."  Not so!  It is as true as can be, and I will offer an example from my mother.

     When my mother was a young grasshopper, (a sophomore in high school), she was a really good student.  One day, she forgot her pen.  She turned to the boy next to her and asked if he had one to spare. He did, and he handed her a silver Tiffany's pen.  My mom gasped.  "This is from Tiffany's!" she told the boy whose name was Allan.

     Allan smiled.  "Yes"  he responded.  "Do you like it?"

     "Yes!" my mom said.

     "Do you want to keep it?"  Allan asked.

     "Really?"  asked my mom.

     "Sure.  Keep it."  Allan said.

     My mom kept the pen all through high school and college.  To this day, the "Allan pen" holds a special place in her drawer.  It really changed her day and she smiles every time she sees it.  Allan really made her who she is with that random act of kindness.

     Aspies should try these random acts of kindness.  They are a great way to meet people and make lifelong friends.  People really appreciate it.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on March 31, 2011.


What We Could Have Done

     "To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that." - Aslan the Lion

     You sure have done it this time.  Made a stupid choice that you desperately wish you could undo, but no matter how desperately you try to undo it, you just can't.

     Let me tell you this from personal experience.  Everyone has these moments.  I have had some of these moments where I was afraid and made some dumb choices.  Nothing serious; however, but there are some things I regret doing and not doing.  Not throwing a ball with my little brother and some of his friends.  Being a bit angry with a person who is almost like a cousin to me.   I wish I had talked to my friends and hung out with my relatives more when I had the chance.

     In 2010, a lot happened to me.  Several relatives and friends died and others became seriously ill.  Another committed suicide and another suffered a drug overdose.  I wish now, and I pray to God, that if I could have just one more chance I would change all of that, but I know I can't change what happened. It was out of my hands and I know it, but I still wish that somehow, it could be fixed.

      But remember, what someone else did is not your fault.  They are responsible for their own actions and this is not your fault.  I say this because for a long time after what happened to me, I was convinced it was my fault, and I bottled up my emotions and held it all in.  Aspies have a tendency to hold in a lot.  We try to "be strong" for everyone else.  If you've ever seen a soda shaken up, you know it explodes when you open it, and that is what happens to everyone.  You cannot "be strong" all of the time.  Nobody can. If you try, you're going to end up like I did, breaking down in the middle of the mall because you just can't hold it in any longer.

     Try to do something for a relative today.  Someday, you will be glad you did.

     P.S. I am sorry to inform of my Uncle Bill's mother's death.  Rest in peace Dolores.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on March 13, 2011.

How Do You Hold a Moonbeam in Your Hand?

    Yes, how do you hold a moonbeam, or an Aspie's mind, in your hand?

     Well, I can tell you one thing for sure.  It is completely impossible to put a cork on an Aspie, so seriously, don't even try.

     We are seriously smart.  And I'm not trying to brag.  It is simply a fact of science.

     I just need to tell you there are going to be people in this world who will doubt you.  People who will tell you you can never do anything.  People who will try to bring you down because of what you are and what you can do.  To tell you the truth, it's because they are jealous.

     Ha ha.  I can hear you say, jealous of me? they have everything, and I have almost nothing.  How could they be jealous of someone like me?  Well, let's see.  You're smart, you think of everything, the people you know really love you.

     You cannot tie down an Aspie.  Just as you cannot catch a moonbeam or hold the wave on the sand.  We officially are awesome!

     Originally posted on confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on March 6 2011.

Food, Food, Food

     Oh hooray!  One of my favorite topics!

     Ok, so I'm sure that a lot of my readers have probably heard of a gluten free diet, correct?  Well, if you haven't, it basically involves avoiding the wheat in foods.  Someone who is allergic to the wheat in foods has celiac disease.  Their bodies just cannot digest it, and they go through a lot of pain if they do.

     "Well," I can hear you ask, "what does this have to do with Asperger's?"  Well, some doctors think that a gluten free diet will help someone with Asperger's.  There have even been some studies that suggest it improves the symptoms for people with Asperger's.

     My best friend has celiac disease, so in her honor, I tried this gluten free diet.  Let me tell you I failed miserably.  I only lasted four days.  Plus, it really didn't do much to help me with my Asperger's struggles.  There are others who swear by it, but for me, it didn't really work.
   
     If you want to try the gluten free diet, go ahead.  If it helps...good for you.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on February 27, 2011.

To be Truthful or Not to be Truthful...That is the Question

     Don't get the wrong idea when you read this title.  I am not telling you to outright lie.

    Ok, so now that we have that settled, today, I am going to talk about white lies.

     Don't get me wrong.  It's not ok to let a friend walk out in an outfit that makes them look awful and you should stop them.  However, there are times that you can tell small white lies that will hurt nobody and will actually make someone feel good.

     Aspies have a tendency to tell the truth.  A lot.  Which is good, but it can also hurt someone's feelings. And I want you to not make that mistake.  Consider what I did once.  It was Christmas, and I opened my grandmother's gift.  With horror in my mind (and on my face as my brother would tell me later), I picked up the ugly sweater she had bought who knows where.

     "Do you like it?"  She asked.

     "No. It's ugly."  I replied simply.  (Keep in mind I was five at the time).

     My grandmother looked mad.  And my mother made me apologize, but I didn't know what I was apologizing for...honestly.

     Long story short, she forgave me and has bought better gifts since.  However, I had really hurt her with that comment.  Instead, I have learned to tell little white lies that are helpful to every Aspie.  Now, if I get a gift I don't like, or already have, sometimes from friends and sometimes from relatives, I just pretend to like it, smile and thank them for whatever it is.  If someone gets me something I don't want, there is no obligation to wear it in public.  Just wear it once around the person who gave it to you.  If it is from a store, I say "I'm not sure this is the right size.  Where did you get it so I can get the correct size?"  Then you can return it later.

      So be careful with what you say and follow my example.  I think you'll find family gatherings a lot easier.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on February 19, 2011.
   

It All Means Something...And Yet Nothing to Me

     Wow.  I have a thing for song lyrics.  This is again from the movie Tarzan:


     It all means something...and yet nothing to me.

     In this song, Tarzan is singing about how all of these things that are new to him, that he'd never seen before, mean something to everyone else, but nothing to him.  He is slowly learning though.

     Aspies are also a lot like the Tarzan in that respect.  No, we are not raised by gorillas, silly!  I'm talking about the Aspie quirk where we don't understand people's facial expressions.  I mean, it's a maze with no way out.  It is incredibly confusing, am I right?

     Although I cannot give you an outright guide for reading facial expressions, (how I wish), I can give you a tip.  If someone doesn't seem themselves, or if they act like something's up, ask them what's up, or what's wrong.  They'll usually tell you.  If they don't, don't press them.

     Though you may not understand, you can try to.  And people will appreciate it when you try to reach out. They really do.

     Originally published at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on February 12, 2011.

   

Mean

     They can take you down with a single blow.  They humiliate and point out flaws like it's their job.  They make you feel like you want to curl up somewhere and cry.  It doesn't matter how hard you try, they just don't like you.  It's almost like a war, it's that hard.  You would lay down your armor, now, if you could just be friends, but apparently "that's impossible."

     Who hasn't had one of these people in our lives?  I had one who turned my best friend against me and humiliated me beyond belief within a matter of weeks.  Yeah, seventh grade was the worst year of my life.

     How does a person deal with this?  Well, it's really, really hard.  First, you have to learn to live with yourself.  Easy enough and now, I know this is going to sound crazy, but you have to forgive them for what they did.  It's hard to do, but you have to do it.  Eventually, being mean will get them nowhere in life, so they'll be stuck in a rut while you soar in life.  Keep that in mind.

     Then, surround yourself with people who you want to be like.  You know, smart, good people.  They usually make you feel all nice inside.

     Live, forgive and surround yourself with these people, and you will be happy.  I promise.

     Originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on February 4, 2011.

I Wanna Know...Can You Show Me?

     Ok, ok, I know that is a total Tarzan reference, but it does have a point.  In the movie, Tarzan, Tarzan is curious to learn about the world he never knew about from other people.  As Phil Collins sings in Tarzan's stead:

I wanna know

Can you show me?

I wanna know about the strangers like me

     Aspies are actually a lot like Tarzan if you think about it.  We want desperately to understand how everyone else works but to do that we need a teacher, like Tarzan's Jane, or else we have little hope. (Sorry, but it's true). 

     "Who are these teachers?"  you might ask.  Well, they are our friends who are our own age.  Yes, they are hard to find and even harder to trust, but once you have a good friend who is not an Aspie, you can get them to help you.

     My own friends try their hardest to help me out.  Whenever I don't get something in a conversation, they immediately jump in and explain it to me and usually bring me up to speed.  They help me get jokes and teach me how to act around other people, I don't know, so that I feel safer.  Take note, most of these people don't even know I have Asperger's, they just know I have some social difficulties and they are actually willing to help me out...a lot.  For this, I will be forever grateful.

     Try to find a "teacher" in your life.  You'll be glad you did.

     Originally published at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on January 30, 2011.

What Planet am I From?

     This is the question I sometimes ask myself when I don't understand why some people react the way they do to me.  When I was younger, I used to pretend I was from Narnia, and that was why I didn't get everything that was a snap to other people and why people didn't always want to be my friend.  Ok, Ok, I know, strange, but it seemed that way to me because I felt so out of place among ordinary people.

     However, I have discovered that although I am not from Narnia (sadly), I am from a group of people different than the ordinary human...extremely good and different people who are just sometimes misunderstood.  Among these people are many you may know.  Some are confirmed Aspies, others are just strongly believed to have Asperger's Syndrome.  Here are some of these grand people.

     Marie Curie, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Catherine the Great, William Shakespeare, Socrates and many, many more.

     Aspies can become great, worldly people if they are just given a chance.  Remember, you are just like these people, and you can conquer this world, just as they did.

     This was originally posted on confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on January 23, 2011.

Standing Alone...in a Crowded Room...

     Who has not been through this situation: You're standing along at a party, you know the hosts and a few other people, but that's about it.  They're all talking to other people who you don't know, and you would rather go through the nine circles of Hades than join their conversation.

     What do you do?  Well, there's always wandering around by yourself, (not fun), hiding in the bathroom, (also not fun), following the people around who you know, (seems a bit stalker-ish), or just praying that this party will be over so you can go home, (which I have a tendency to do A LOT).

     Parties were never super fun for me.  so I established a system with my mom.  I would stay for 30-45 minutes of a party, and if I was miserable, I would call home and say our code phrase "How is Nana doing?"  My mom would understand that and come and get me.  I'd say to the host, "Sorry, I have to go home.  Family thing."  That way they were not offended, and I got to be free.

     Establish something like this with a parent, so they know when to come and get you.  If you're having a fabulous time, don't leave.  Just party!

     This was originally published at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on January 15, 2011.

Look Down...Look Down...Don't Look Them in the Eye

     Yes, I know, I totally borrowed that title from the Les Miserables song "Look Down," but it has a point.  In Les Miserables, where this song is concerned, the common prisoners of the French government are singing about how awful prison is and how even looking their captors in the eye will result in a beating for them.

    I know how all Aspies sort of feel like those prisoners.  We feel like people we look in the eye can see everything.  It feels very violating, and the looks people give us, can make us feel awful...almost like a whipping feels to those Les Miserables prisoners.

     However, there are tricks to looking people in the eye that I think those prisoners learned after they were released.  You can look at another person's forehead, but this can cause someone to think that there is something very disturbing about their forehead.  Their eyebrows are closer to their eyes and most Aspies use this trick.  However, the one surefire way I know of is to try to look another person in the eyes so you can be able to tell your parent exactly what color a person's eyes are, like your new teacher's eyes or someone else you just met.  My mother tried this with me and it actually works.  As an Aspie, it feels like a challenge or a game I constantly play with myself.  And I now can look people straight in the eye... sometimes.

     I hope this works for you, and Happy New Year!

     P.S. If you want to read the book or see the play Les Miserables, I highly recommend it.

     This was originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on January 5, 2011.

The Difference Sports Makes

          Sports.  The very idea used to send a shiver through me.  I am an absolute klutz most of the time and in soccer, I fell more often than I scored a goal.  My parents first put me in soccer when I was four.  However, I spent more time chasing butterflies and helping the opposing team's players up after a fall than chasing the ball.  Oh yeah, my parents figured out that soccer was not my calling.

     Then I tried ice skating which was also not great because it's an advantage to be smaller to skate, and I am nearly five foot nine.  So skating was out as were tennis and running due to broken toes and ankles.

     Then I decided to throw myself into swimming as a last-ditch effort to find a sport that suited me.  I finally found it. I knew what to do and my success was not determined on other people, on a team, but solely on myself. Swimming is an individual sport.  I had finally found my calling...in sports, anyway!

      Finding a sport can be good for an Aspie.  Friendships can come from sports teams.  Not necessarily developed because of how good you are athletically, but mainly because you're thrown together a lot, and people bond from that sort of stuff.

     I hope you can find a sport because it truly is so much fun.

     Happy New Year to everyone!  Drive safe!

     This was originally posted at confessionsofateenageaspie@wordpress.com on December 31, 2010.