Exile is Not The Solution to Social Problems

I’ve been seeing an astonishing number of concerning posts these days about people pushing what is essentially exile as a solution to a lot of our social problems.

Does an immigrant/refugee turn out to be a criminal? People say we should go ahead and kick them to the curb so they can go on killing people in another country. But should we do that instead of just locking said criminal up with the rest of the those who broke the law?

Does someone on welfare turn out to be a “leeche” living in Manitoba housing? People suggest we should shut down Manitoba housing and then ship those on welfare to every other province.

Homeless problem? Make homelessness unlawful and drop off homeless people all off at the border!

Seriously, this bothers me because I’m a disabled person who has to deal with people taking my quirks the wrong way because of Aspergers. This bothers me because I just barely avoid homelessness on some occasions because my so-called disability hampers me from getting a job. I just have to ask as tactfully as I can; “Canadian Social Media, what the hell is your problem?”

It seems like the nutty right-wing virus from kakistocracy has been spreading across North America ever since Trump and Trudeau took office. Maybe we should avoid electing people whose last names start with “T-R-U.” But that would be just as stupid a solution as what I just outlined.

Anyone proposing what’s in the above paragraph isn’t trying to fix any of our problems, or even wants to attempt to take these problems on as a humanitarian. All the bitter entitled second class wants to do is simply pass the buck or put the blame onto someone or something else.

The worst part of all this is that some of these posts are from those who call themselves Christians! WHY?!

It’s so easy to buy into a lie that just because we have a smartphone or an internet connection, we have the authority or even the ability to change someone’s confirmation bias.

 

First, here’s a big point for Christians to consider:

Regardless of any social issue politically speaking, Conservatives will eventually loose every single cultural war when they try to legislate and authorize their understanding of God’s morality unto others. I have personally tried to do this and have seen an entire decade of my life disappear before my eyes because of it. Christians who get pissed off because their country is shifting away from their understanding of God’s morality should read what the Bible says about idolatry. When we put nationalism before human beings, it’s equal to worshiping a golden calf. As the church, Christians need to stop spending so much time, energy, effort, and money calling out the speck in the government’s eye. Only after attempting and confronting planks in our own faces, Christians can actually take on humanitarian problems and have a greater impact on the kingdom of God they’re trying to build as a result. If anyone has read history books, accounts of the crusades, the life of Martin Luther, and has a completely clear understanding of how the New Testament church related to the Roman government, let them make a change in the world today. Do this and unity will prevail over exile.

Second, if you really can’t tolerate something, grow a pair and walk away:

Yes, I said it. I’m not just talking about the fact that we all have faults and fall short of God’s glory. There are some things where because of relationship dynamics, it’s not a time and place to pick fights or confront someone on an issue. There are times when because you don’t know the whole story, it’s best to walk away or focus on your own personal battles. Not everyone is cut out to be an evangelist, a counselor, or a hero. I’m not saying that we should let a rape or beating happen if it’s going down right in front of us. I’m saying that if I were to confront a homosexual couple making out in a church and I’m just another number who occupies a pew rather than a loving pastor or a respected elder in the congregation, that couple will never want to know Christ if I tell them to break it off just because it disgusts me (this is only the case if I was in the shoes of an intolerant Christian).  Online, it’s so easy to buy into a lie that just because we have a smartphone or an internet connection, we have the authority or even the ability to change someone’s confirmation bias. Offline, we think that just because we’re all equal in Christ, we have the authority to “lift each other up.” We don’t know everyone’s story or struggle or even if everyone around us is a believer in Jesus Christ or not. So unless someone is close to you, you have earned authority over them, or they’re a really good friend of yours, just walk away before you potentially emotionally or spiritually abuse them. This will essentially force them into exile.

Sidenote: I want this blog to be a comfort for those struggling with autism, but I also want it to be a place where deeper thinking and deeper conversations can be initiated. That is the goal, not the change a person’s mind, or make myself look smarter than everyone else, or to have my readers agree with whatever I post.

Christians really need to learn to turn the other cheek:

If an immigrant is more qualified and takes a position you were trying to get with years of university or college, turn the other cheek and look for another job while waiting for another position to open up. I let a friend take a web design job I applied for. We’re still talking today and he’s giving me tips to make this blog better and better. If a person asks for change and they do look like they’re down and out, buy them something from Subway instead, and then walk away while turning the other cheek if they try to take advantage of you. If a person is looking for work and has a hard time finding a job, help them find a place to volunteer and then maybe something will come up afterwards. I recently had a conversation about knowing who the poor really are. It’s tough to determine who in North America is poor just because the definition of privilege in subjective.  People may have money but some of them are poor in spirit. They need help as well. Maybe money may not be the right thing to give. Try giving your time, your resources, eduction, or if nothing else…just listen to their side of the story and do your best to thoroughly understand what’s going on from their point of view before concluding they’re a con-artist.

I get that this isn’t always black and white, and sometimes a fight needs to happen if personal resources or a budget is put into harm by how much a person gives away. My point is that it’s better to understand where people of different social statuses come from before making a post that advocates a change in the way they’re treated. The unity that Christ is looking for is a culture that is centered around sharing the relationships and the blessings the rich and the poor can benefit from through the gospel. When anyone of any social class can share what’s in common with each-other rather than focus on differences (racial or any other dynamic),  unbreakable unity and friendships are established. It just goes without saying, yet reminders have to be posted or broadcasted again and again. It amazes me how people can take a simple commandment such as “love your neighbor as yourself” and complicate it with a whole bunch of grey complex issues such as unwanted racism, abortion, gun or birth control, and culturalism that can be tolerated. We all can build unity and avoid exile even though we can’t always agree on everything.

Lastly, instead of exile, let’s meet the people that are posted about where they’re at:

When a person is part of a vocal majority, it’s easier to speak. Sometimes the best thing a majority member can do as I said before…is just to listen.

Even if you may not necessarily sit down or hang out with someone who’s of lower status than you, there are a huge amount of ways a person can listen to those who are considered by society as “lower class.”

Instead of posting on social media about how “leeches” are stealing government money or how immigrants are stealing our jobs, how about getting the whole story by volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating to a food bank and personally delivering the goods? Instead of posting about how autistic children are over-vaccinated “wild animals” who need a cure, let’s celebrate milestones in their development such as their ability to say their first words if they can’t speak, or their ability to find something to be passionate about which will land them a great job. Instead of posting about how white people are racist and abusive, let’s post about solutions or environments where walls are torn down between minorities and “the white man.” This will solve many issues when it comes to exile.

I usually like to question a lot of things but this is one exception. The constant rhetoric of all these posts about exile is just a lazy and selfish way of actually trying to fix the problem. The reason that this type of social questioning will only result in a loop is due to the fact sooner or later someone else will also drop their problems from an entitled mentality on you. What will you as a reader of my blog do then if that happens?

The Day After World Mental Health Day

Today is the day after World Mental Health Day. I’m not sure why I missed it. As someone who struggles with mental health and a disability myself, you are not alone in the fight. The struggle to keep it together in these dark and uncertain times is real or very difficult, but we are stronger in unity. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It’s okay to cry. Asking for prayer in a safe place is a beautiful thing to do. As a matter of fact, mental health must be addressed more often. If it’s autism, Aspergers, tourettes, anxiety or depression; genetic or environmental, know that there is hope and that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Mental illness is as legitimate of an illness as a physical illness and should be treated just as aggressively and without limitation as a physical illness. Unfortunately, there are tons of degrading, tasteless, and crude things people post on social media targetting autistic people. I oftentimes see people using autism as an insult to neurotypicals with social issues. How can all of us assume that is acceptable? It is disgraceful and takes nobody’s feelings into regard. I wish people would think about how the autistic community feels when spectrum-based insults are tossed around in regular conversation. The prejudice and discrimination which was considered history is still very prevelant today. Something needs to change. Awareness of neurodiversity needs to continually be brought to the table.

If you are on the spectrum or struggling with autism or Aspergers and reading this, stand up, and show the world the strength that comes from what may feel like a burden. Don’t face their ignorance head on. Show them through your daily life the strengths of autism. As a result, they will see how foolish and how large their own egos are. There are more people that have understanding and compassion than there are of those that are rude and despicable. Remember how many people accept you. Look at the glass that is half full not half empty. You are too good to even listen to them.  Focus on the people who encourage you. If it comes to extreme cases, let them also speak on your behalf.

As people become more educated so does their thinking and acceptance. It will take lots of time. Be inspired by yourself and the influence you have (as little as you feel it is). Eventually awareness and understanding will help make a difference for yourself today and for many others in the future.

If you or anyone need someone to talk to, send me an e-mail, use my contact page, or chat with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and I’ll be happy to talk with you especially if it’s Aspergers related.

I Struggle with Aspergers Am I #Blessed or What?

A lot of times we use the word blessed lightly. Whenever an event happens to us that makes us happy, or we work hard and reward ourselves with something rare money can buy, our tendency is to post or tweet it out and drop the hashtag #blessed

Examples:

  • I just bought a car. #Blessed (I wish this was true)
  • Great date night with my BF! #Blessed
  • My new shirt from E-Bay just arrived in the mail on time. #Blessed
    Too #blessed to be stressed! (I’ve even used this one during busy work periods)

I struggle with Aspergers. I have many reasons not to use the hashtag #blessed. It is a daily struggle to support myself let alone me and my wife. Our grocery lists each week aren’t very long because of monetary lack. I have a hard time focusing on tasks which requires intense focus so I’m freelancing and out of work a lot lately. I have things that set me off on angry swearing tirades when I’m alone. I go for six months to a year of song-writer’s block. I need two days to recover after a social gathering. My wife is always tired when I sometimes need her to support me the most. Some of my immediate family struggles with their own mental health and I’m always nervous around them. Both our noisy neighbors constantly change because they rent the houses beside us and as a result our sleeping patterns are screwed up. We get the idea.

I’m not against the idea of using the #blessed hashtag. I just think our culture needs to use the word “blessed” in a different context. If we look at the world around us, there are more people that aren’t blessed compared to the ones who have the most comments or likes on their social media feeds after posting a picture of themselves with rum-punch on a Jamaican beach. Everyone suffers. Everyone has problems. What if we used the hashtag #blessed to show the existence of a spiritual strength? What if we used the word blessed to inspire others not to give up or give in? What if being blessed shows us that problems in the world can be overcome regardless of how big or small those problems are? What if blessing in struggle can show countries torn by war that there’s good in this world worth fighting for? If someone replies with the comment that they have hope despite what’s going on, that deserves the hashtag #blessed and a butt-load of retweets or Instagram reposts.

The word blessed reminds me of the beatitudes of Christ in Matthew 5 when he says:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Don’t get me wrong. If you’re literally expressing happiness while your reputation, wealth, and health are in bad shape or hanging by a thread, I will refer you to a psychiatrist. I’ll definitely ensure one close to me gets help if their suffering is a result of their own stupidity as well. If I had a choice, I would choose to  have the negative autistic quirks I endure destroyed by God. I would take that “blessing” over walking through life with meltdowns and sensory overload until I take my last breath on Earth. We’ve all heard these questions from somewhere; what do we do with our problems we struggle with? How can we learn from what happens to us when the world doesn’t work in our favour? How do we accept what is broken and live with what can’t be fixed?

Since I struggle with Aspergers, I’m for sure no exception to the participation of this obstacle course called suffering just because I’m a Christian. I need a reminder every time I have a meltdown that I’m blessed. I need a reminder I’m blessed even though I listen to someone who claims I’m indifferent for not looking at them in the eye. I need to know I’m blessed when a certain smell makes me want to puke. Someone needed to tell me in an old call centre job that I’m blessed even when I want to strangle the supervisor that makes me switch duties while I’m doing a repetitive task that makes me feel so content. I need to know that it’s a blessing to take a mental break or day off when stressed hard workers claim that excuses are for losers. My suffering might be different, but I need to know that the promises from suffering in the beatitudes (most which have come from Aspergers) will be fulfilled once I met the Lord face-to-face.

Thankfully, I’ve learned that even in the hardest and darkest times where the struggle with Aspergers is so real, I’m blessed because it doesn’t last forever, thanks to God’s intervention and people who love me enough to help me through hell on Earth. I believe blessing itself is the result of a fulfilled promise from Jesus Christ. Through His son, God has made many promises for His people. Regardless of suffering or things going according to our own plans, we are blessed if we believe, learn from, and abide in relationship with the true vine that is Christ himself (beginning of John 15). There are many examples of #blessed promises where we can use the hashtag in context and humility.

  • I am free from condemnation (Romans 8) #blessed
  • I can approach God with boldness and confidence (Ephesians 3:12) #blessed
  • Regardless of my past, I can be forgiven and redeemed of all my mistakes allowing me to start over (Colossians 1:13 – 14) #blessed

Perhaps having Aspergers is a reminder of my need to depend on God to feel significant, accepted, and secure. Maybe having this neurological difference is a reminder that God made me a gifted artist and that the pictures I paint, whether it’s through this blog or my music, have to show the world who He is to fulfill His promises. And if He doesn’t allow me to excel or His promises aren’t working in my favour, I’m still alive and His grace is sufficient for me. To me, just to live and have an opportunity to show autism as a gift is a blessing itself.

My name is Aaron Parsons. I struggle with Aspergers. Am I #blessed or what?

Music: An Ideal Match with a Neuro-diverse Brain

Musical therapy is a generally misunderstood treatment method for an individual struggling with autism, yet it shouldn’t be dismissed while talking about alternatives. Strugglers with autism, who receive musical therapy, have the potential to change in personality and learning aptitude. Music associates with the non-verbal piece of our brains, making it an ideal match with a neuro-diverse brain. Look into this method of therapy if you’re searching for some assistance with autism and haven’t had luck with other methods of assistance.

Musical therapy is successful because it can be combined with learning social abilities. Music is an extremely non-debilitating medium for strugglers with autism, and many fun music lessons or exercises can be played to help enhance social and behavioural abilities. By encouraging eye contact while singing or playing the guitar, musical therapy can encourage those struggling with autism to excel in social skills.

The main way that musical therapy can help children for example, and more established autistic strugglers, is by assisting with the advancement of conversation-based aptitudes. Music is an approach to combine the verbal and non-verbal functions of the mind. Individuals struggling with autism or Aspergers may have different types of issues with socializing. Some non-verbal strugglers with autism can mumble, snort, or make other non-word sounds, while others belt out illogical expressions or cries. Still others pick up the ability to assemble expressions and sentences to speak, in spite of the fact that these ordinarily need feeling or clear vocal tones. This is true as I’m known for sometimes having a monotone voice like other verbal autism strugglers. Regardless of how talented an individual is with social skills, he or she can take an interest in musical therapy by applauding rhythms, mumbling along, or doing basic resounding of riffs or melody lines.

One thing many who know me have noticed is that autistic people are usually observed to excel at music (my usual humility just disappeared for a moment). A few, for example, have perfect pitch when singing. Others can play a specific instrument exceptionally well without need for guidance. Regardless of the possibility that he or she demonstrates no virtuoso musical skills by typical benchmarks, you may find that a person who severely struggles with autism has capacities in music that surpass his or her other abilities. A musical advisor can utilize music as an approach to implement this sort of learning with other education, not just as discourse improvement and social behavioural advancement as outlined before. Music can be used in addition to education as an approach to imparting feelings and create memory.

By utilizing these methods in conjunction with each other, musical therapy can work wonders with individuals who are autistic. Prepared experts can make use of music to show children struggling with autism and other audio nerds how to communicate in nonverbal ways, making it simpler for those struggling with autism or Aspergers to learn. Research the musical therapy choice to give yourself or your children with another decision while working with the strengths and quirks found in autism.

Socials and Meltdowns: Autism and Socializing

A sort-of meltdown at a social I attended a few months ago confirmed that my struggles on the autism/Aspergers spectrum really suck on a physical level (also, welcome to the early 30s Mr. Parsons). By the way, a social in Manitoba Canada is a provincial slang term for a huge kickin’ party to fund-raise for a wedding! Whenever I feel nauseated, the feeling becomes overwhelming and I go into an internal panic attack where I feel dizzy, loose focus, and have an urgent need to walk around or lie down.
My wife and I made the mistake of visiting McDonald’s after helping set up for the social. Right after dinner, I was burping a lot even after taking two Tums and this lump in my throat just wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t talk. I tried drinking multiple glasses of water. I still couldn’t say a word. I couldn’t cry out for help or call 911. The feeling of nausea amplified dramatically from the smell of the venue bathroom after voiding my bladder so I can take in tickets for the draw without being excused. For some of you reading who were at the social that night, I think it did have something to do with individuals I didn’t like who have attended even though I admit that it wasn’t. But really, I’m not exactly sure. All I remember was that I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom after said persons dropped in and I was having noisy fits of diarrhea. After the diarrhea finished, I had to lay down somewhere, there was no bed outside so I ran to the back of the venue where there was a field (this was in the country), and lied down on my back out there trying to relax and pace my breathing while praying to God for help when I could start talking again. I then texted my wife and she drove me home. She was asking me a whole bunch of questions and I told her to leave me alone as nicely as I could. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I’m just nervous being around party atmospheres this people who would potentially make me uncomfortable when they’re drunk. I once was used to that. I guess the party life just isn’t for me anymore.

Ever since I fully decided to accept my 2002 diagnosis of AS in 2015, I’m finding I’m having to sacrifice a lot of things I used to love in my twenties. I’ve sacrificed my love for a hyper-party lifestyle, hip-hop concerts, and unhealthy foods, cut down on coffee, video game marathons, and a constant need to socialize just to feel like I fit in and have a purpose. In a way it was worth it to take the mask off instead of acting like I was all that. It did come with a price though. I’m just about done my term with data entry. With students going to school, it will be much harder to find work outside of online freelancing. Thankfully, the events of the past week help to reconstruct my Christian faith from the ground up without mixing it up with the Americanized “name-it-claim-it” crap-tacular prosperity gospel.

Unless, I’m doing a musical performance or shopping, I’ve been trying to stay away from huge crowds as much as possible. It may just be a fear of man that just seems to be growing the more I browse all the angry crap on social media or see all the news. And yet I’m in Canada, a relatively safe country. Maybe I still have parts of my past I need to work through. Some people think I’m shy, but in reality, I don’t really have anything to say in times I really want to talk. It’s like my wit is a loading bar, and it constantly gets stuck or moves slower than other people’s wits. Or maybe I just feel like I’m a boring person unless I have my DJ equipment with me. The thing is, I love people and I do want to socialize, but once I’m done socializing or enduring a huge crowd of people, my internal battery is at 10% and it takes at least two days to recharge (going to work only makes re-charging longer. It can take up to 4 days). If I socialize too much outside of family, or become overwhelmed from huge crowds on a daily basis, I start to become paranoid, and may even call in sick the next time I have to go to work. Eventually, at one point I had to yell at my entire group of friends at one point to get away from me. They thought I hated them. It even took some time and a few Facebook posts to explain that I needed to some time alone because I was constantly socializing with so many people for a few days at once. And now that these effects started amplifying in my early 30s, I just hope this blog post will be a good resource for others like me who get drained from socializing to know that they’re not alone.

After these kinds of meltdowns occur, Bible reading and meditation always calm me down after a few hours and then I can assimilate myself back into life again. I’m at peace with who I am as a struggling Christian and as a man who continues to kick the bad quirks of autism in the ass daily. I may not be social for long periods of time, eat certain foods or handle certain smells or noises anymore. I will weep from time to time. I will need more sleep. I’m also considering taking the money I made and starting a business. With said business, I’m going to help people as much as I can with a mental health website featuring products from Amazon. With a separate blog, I’m willing to connect and give my two cents with those who struggle with autism, religion, mental abuse, and even some spiritual abuse that is tied to mental abuse. After October, I may not do as many live performances as a musician, but I will use my music to connect with others and share my story.

This is who I am.

Getting Stuck: Rituals, Routine, Obsessions, and Aspergers

Rituals, routine, and obsessions are a featured characteristic of those who struggle with Aspergers. This is unfortunately one of my weaknesses known as getting stuck. It is also an occasional strength when writing or talking about something I’m passionate about. In order to cope with anxiety and stress that comes from the crazy nutty world we live in, people like me can get stuck on passionate or trending subjects and repeat certain behaviours for comfort (I play with my hair, and when telling my wife it’s a stim, she says “What?!”). While some people who struggle on the spectrum may spend their routine intensely studying one passion, others may be somewhat neurotic about keeping their house or apartment tidy, lining up items in a particular order (I do this at work all the time), or even trying to control their environment so their routine isn’t disrupted or their fear of chaos and anarchy doesn’t occur. Does this remind you of anyone?

Some psychological testing states that the memory of a kid struggling with Aspergers may not be better than neurotypical individuals. Yet the behemoth of facts and maxims he/she memorized probably shows how much time and effort went into gaining knowledge on one or two subjects they’re passionate about compared to lack of knowledge of everything else.

Usually subjects that involve connection or that have inherent networks, such as maps, weather patterns, or airline schedules are particular matters that lead to an Asperger type of obsession. Although it is commonly thought that obsessions can be a strength which can be exploited in an educational environment, these obsessions can hamper how they cope with daily life. Individuals on the spectrum are more interested in how things work or how systems of code such as those in software are developed versus psychology (or how people work).

Here are some things I get stuck on and how I either use a metaphorical loop counter, or switch my focus all together.

  • Modular Synthesis

    Creating music with different synths is actually a lot of fun. When coming up with different sounds based on how things like waveform patterns are connected with effects such as delay, reverb and compression, I could write a book about this in this post, but check on the DAW Sunvox to understand what I’m talking about.
  • TV and Movies

    I love fandom, different television shows, and movies. Sometimes my wife gets annoyed when I constantly talk and talk about how all the MCU movies are connected. Luckily this is short lived when we both talk about music or movies we’re both into. Some of our Flash and Harry Potter discussions can get very deep in the rabbit hole, and she understands it’s a process to give closure to conversations I’m passionate about.
  • Injustice in the News (especially with autism)

    We all want to see a better world. When something really grinds my gears, my brain constantly sees the problem in my mind like a broken record that’s been scratched. Sometimes the only way to undo this is to ride it out and show me something else that is more important. And because of how emotionally intense some fake news sites are when I used to fall for them before 2015, I would be raving and ranting about them for at least a week. There was one point where I was confronted about constantly being stuck on a Trump issue. I can understand how it’s sensitive, but it’s a problem for me too especially knowing his crazy views on vaccines and autism.
  • BreakupsWe all know how painful break-ups can be. Looking back on when I was single, I found that whenever I’ve been rejected by a girl or gone through a breakup, it would take at least 6 months to literally get through the first four stages of grief. I would spend hours locked away in my room listening to the radio with tears in my eyes or constantly yelling at a TV screen while playing a video game. At one point in my teens, it actually took me a year and a half to get through the whole process of grieving one relationship failure. Luckily at that time, there was no Facebook or I would have posted about the pain every hour I was online.
  • Artistic IdeasWhen I have an idea, I just have to work on getting that particular artistic project finish. One of the reasons I love composing chiptune music is because I can easily focus on the composition as opposed to the simple sounds which take seconds to program. Usually it takes just under two hours to create a song. With longer projects where I do need breaks, I can’t seem to get another task done until the song is completely composed. My struggle with Aspergers probably is an indication as to why my music could be better than it actually is. However, if you do enjoy my music, gladly continue to support me.
  • Theological Disagreements (thankfully not so much now)I used to be a very closed-minded Christian until late 2015. I would constantly try to argue my point and somehow end up repeating the same exact statement I hold fast to over and over again rather than listen to the other side of a debate. In one conversation I had with a woman regarding arguing my point when it comes to abortion, I kept on saying verbatim. “I don’t care what the hell you’re saying. This is black and white. Abortion is murder.” I was stuck in my ways and I needed to learn that part of a healthy debate involves understanding where the other person I’m arguing with is coming from. Eventually she indicated that she’s uncomfortable judging a woman because of her choices but she understands where I’m coming from. It was actually a valid point. I can be against abortion and still accept a woman regardless of her past.

As a bonus, here are some of the repetitive things I’ve always enjoyed and even studied about constantly not just to figure out how they work, but just to take in and relax myself.

  • Hip-hop beats/electronic music/trance music/deep house
  • Records (yes, the spinning fascinates me)
  • Where Bible verses constantly elude to the same them or almost say exactly the same thing verbatim
  • Market Research Surveys
  • App Development
  • Platform Games
  • Experience Growth Patterns in JRPGs

Making Peace: Autism and Acceptance

I attended a geek/fandom-based bible study last year. It’s a small group full of Christians who are into geeky things. It’s pretty cool actually. We were talking about Pokemon, Jonah Chapter 4, and making peace that evening. I’m not a Pokemon fan but I have tried one of the early RPGs on a Gameboy and can see why it would be so much fun to get into. I thought of something when it came to making peace and acceptance of autism that evening but it came to me while walking home from the bible study rather than earlier in community.

While I brag hard about accepting autism as a part of my identity, the hardest thing for someone like me to make peace with is accepting the daily struggle. I deal with quirks that are incurable and there are times when I’d rather live as if Aspergers doesn’t exist. Last year, I have made peace with the fact that God doesn’t have to answer to me, although he answers my prayers HE feels should be answered. I made peace with the fact that God will somehow use Aspergers through me for His glory, even though part of me for a fact knows that this seems rationally ridiculous.

Religion tries to make Aspergers an obstacle or a “demon” to be dealt with. Certain sects of Christianity claim that autism and Aspergers is just a lie and something I can easily get over. These are wrong on so many scientific, psychological, and even spiritual outlooks. Real spirituality accepts what can’t be humanly changed, but relies on the wisdom of a deity to work with the gifts and the weaknesses Aspergers brings to the forefront (but not be a fruitcake like hyper-pentecostals and what not).

Some days Aspergers is a curse. In times when I socialize, I feel stressed and overwhelmed. Sometimes when I work, I want to break down and cry like a baby. Many other days Aspergers is a gift. In times when I create these blog posts, in times when I write and perform or spin music, in times when I pray and meditate, I feel like I shine, even when no one is watching.

I’m not sure how I can end this post. I’ve been praying the serenity prayer lately because sometimes I’m not even sure what to pray to ensure God’s will happens for some of my situations and not my own. So I’ll end with this; if you struggle with autism or Aspergers and am not sure what to pray, here’s the serenity prayer that you can use:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen. – – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Repetitive Homework: Autism and Repetitive Stuff

When I talk about Homework, I’m not talking about the subjects I’ve learn in school or college. The older I get, the more frustrated I am with schoolwork, especially when having to pencil in a part time job. College students all over America and Europe know exactly what I’m talking about. Homework is Daft Punk’s debut album and one of my favourite techno albums. The hit song “Around the World” is a classic repetitive four on the floor beat/bass dance groove with a catchy chant of the title song. Created in the 1990s, the current pop duo constructed their whole album using any kind of synthesizer they can find. They’ll use anything from a TR-909 drum machine to Moog and Modcan Modular analogue machines.

While the abstract sounds are what keep its fans, I love it for a different reason. Daft Punk creates catchy two bar phrases in their dance music. The repetition and syncopation of their music doesn’t bore me at all. My wife doesn’t like Daft Punk because of how repetitive their music can be. I explain to her why I love dance and hip-hop music with so much repetition without convincing her. I understand why repetition in music is not for everyone. It feels like a shot to the heart when I want to listen to music with repetitive phrases but neurotypes tell me to stop. They tell me to stop because they’re tired of repetitive riffs/arpeggios.

While my brain understands change needs to happen in life, my body and soul feel relaxed and tranquil while a nice looping sound or frequent motion occurs again and again. With enough looping of pleasant sounds or repeated actions, I’m stuck in euphoria. When that state of mind is interrupted by changing a task that’s unfinished, or switching to another track when one of Daft’s beats go on and on, I become overwhelmed with feelings of frustration, sadness, and anger.

I worked in a call centres for a long time. I enjoyed it because of how recurring certain duties were. It’s the same script, same tasks and same responses depending on what customers want me to do. What sometimes gets me in trouble is the change from one project to another without taking a break. In the past, I would become so disorganized with changing tasks that I would throw papers down in anger. It sucks that supervisors want change right now. Aspies need to be slowly directed into their new undertaking. City work can be so fast paced that it would be better for those with Aspergers or autism to live in the country.

I’m sure the reader of this post is wondering why Daft Punk and their album Homework are relevant to this post. I’m working in a job now where data entry is needed but task recurrences are absent. Before I go into work, I listen to Daft Punk’s Homework as a way to relax myself before each shift. Think of it as meditation, or doing my “homework” before each shift. Some people drink or smoke cigarettes to keep their strength up. I’m not here to judge these people. Please don’t judge me because I get high off repetitive dance music that’s not for everyone. I need “Homework” to make it through the school of “life with autism.”

Getting Over Shyness and Other Autism Myths

So I was talking to a person who I thought was a friend. We had gone back years. He saw how I grew and struggled with Aspergers Syndrome throughout the years but I made the error of not telling him until a slightly heated conversation we had. I still believe he saw how I tried my hardest at getting over shyness and how I surpassed other stereotypes found in autism while still pushing against my social awkwardness. While I don’t remember our entire conversation, our dynamic in our friendship had changed as most friendships do when people drift apart or when people get married. When we met again years later, he claims that I purposely ignored him. But when people have different lives, that’s kind of what happens, right? The truth is that I had a hard time keeping up with him. He was a social salsa dancer who wanted me to relax with others. Another problem I struggled with without saying anything is that in a large social group I have a hard time keeping up with conversations. In more complex social situations with lots going on, I need more time to take in the invisible social matrix and its effects that occur in a situation since autism slows me down. I may seem like I had lots of friends when we hung out, but in reality I felt alone. There was just too many conversations and people to keep up with. People with autism and Aspergers like myself need much more time to process conversations and to realize what’s really going on in social situations. Not to mention, we need someone else to expose certain elephants in the room. We’re not being ignorant and purposely blocking people out. We just have a harder time focusing with what’s going on. As a response, we’re delayed in responding to what’s happening around us and we only look like we’re focused on ourselves. If only my “friend” understood what the hell’s going on with me when I told him its autism, maybe he wouldn’t make such an outrageous claim of being purposely ignorant. Maybe he would understand that autism is the cause of my shyness rather than to tell me to just get over it.

Now that I’m past the ranting, here’s my point. People who misunderstand or have never had frequent exposure to autism see it as a devastating social disorder that prevents someone from ever being able to function in society.

There are many myths and even more debatable debunked hogwash about autism than I care to dive into, but this one is the most common. Many people hear “autism” and imagine children or adults who are permanently in their own world who can’t or have difficulty talking or interact with anyone else (AKA can’t get over shyness), who get pissed off for no apparent reason while throwing things around, and who will never be part of society of individuals who are properly neurologically wired. Autism is a spectrum disorder for a reason: autistics range from people who are have no ability to communicate in any way with others, all the way to people like myself who live ordinary, productive lives and just seem a bit unconventional to the rest of the world. Autism is a difference in the brain. It is not a disability. It contains a part of the brain that is wired differently. And no, vaccines have nothing to do with how it came about.

I, the writer of this blog, am living proof that autism has very few limitations no matter how severe or mild it can be. Even low-functioning autistics who need a caregiver can lead a perfectly happy life. There are also stories of autistic children conquering their quirks with therapy. Sadly, most mainstream organizations looking for a cure for autism are the ones who spread these lies by only focusing on what’s related to low-functioning autism. They’re almost entirely ignoring the existence of high-functioning autism, those with Aspergers like me, and autistic people who accept themselves for who they are without a need to be fixed or “cured.”

We as autistic individuals or Aspies may never be able to get over our so-called “shyness” or eccentric behaviour or awkward body language. We may even be seen as insane or dare I use the “R” word. And that’s perfectly fine by me. I’m at the point now where I don’t care how people see me. Ignorance doesn’t phase me anymore. I may constantly be “shy” around people. I may only be able to have a career if I work at home. Whatever! I’m proud of who I am. I can literally talk a ten miles a minute about something I’m passionate about. I’m a musician/DJ slowly but surely making a name for myself in Winnipeg and online. I’m married. I’m involved with my community, and believe it or not, I actually do have a job where I work outside of my house. If that’s not convincing enough that those with autism can overcome their quirks such as sensory overload or communication issues, maybe virality of more testimonies from others in my neighbourhood with Aspergers or autism is needed.

Rising Up: Autism and Awareness

Is autism or autism awareness on the rise?
Let’s talk and get right into it as there are a ton of factors to consider when discussing the two subjects rising up.

On one hand, any disease has the potential to undergo a similar process of awareness. Take cancer for example. It is possible cancer could have existed in humans for centuries. Yet, it’s easier for doctors to diagnose cancer, whether an increase in cancer has happened or not.

There’s another factor of a rise in mainstream and alternate media exposure centered on autism. To spot autism, we must be aware of the thoughts and actions of an individual. We can’t limit it to common differences either. Autism and Aspergers is a wide spectrum. Different cause and effects happen with different individuals on the spectrum. We can only diagnose by similarities, not absolutes. Parents may spot neurological differences but may sort through mountains of internet data. Sometimes, parents may take in facts about autism from a fake news source or a doctor who misdiagnosed. Because we have tons of online resources, and lack of resources offline (especially in mid-Western states and Canadian provinces), autistic kids are still classified as the “difficult / weird” kids. This can lead to trauma and abusive conditioning that can’t be undone. The awareness is there, but the compassionate empathetic experts on it who walk beside the neediest of autistic children and adults need to rise up. And unfortunately, I’m only one fighter of Aspergers who can speak for himself through this blog.

Then there’s a historical factor, the not-so-notable discovery of Asperger’s Syndrome. Before Aspergers became an official medical condition in the mid 90s, it wasn’t a big deal. The condition is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum and wasn’t considered severe at all. Autism was a condition deemed low functioning where individuals need a care-giver. Most people with Aspergers aren’t on either end of the spectrum and can live independent lives. What doesn’t make Aspergers an issue in itself is that Aspies excelled in a talent or field of study yet they are considered inept when socializing with other people. Aspies are eccentric, shy, or odd rather than autistic as they were not seen as low functioning individuals who need help from a caregiver.

There’s also the clear “moment” in time when autism became the diagnosis to look for. Only the low-functioning were deemed autistic around that “moment” due to lack of awareness. Later, doctors began to recognize that many kids had many neurological differences, but not all. As a result, the individuals are placed on the spectrum. Before awareness really took off, other doctors started diagnosing kids only because they are introverts. Because of all this, it may not even be a jump in the number of Autism cases. It’s a jump in the number of cases reported.

Many factors are to blame. From entertainment, the false garbage from Andrew Wakefield, depression, suicide, the rise of PTSD, and even crime-based media, people have classified all these as causes for autism or the rise of its awareness.

My personal theory is different. It’s the bravery that comes with expressing oneself behind a computer screen. It’s the advancement in social media, and new forums popping up all over the place. The advancing of technology is starting to connect everyone online. We didn’t have to add people anymore on MSN or IRC. We can connect on various forums or through game chat rooms. These places are filled with diverse individuals with common interests or hobbies. The cool thing about Facebook is that there are many kinds of people in a friends list that come from different walks of life. Some of them aren’t familiar with how online message boards and forums work. However, many social media users find that all users can share something that everyone has in common. One of my Facebook friends recently shared about something about autism on his feed. As a result, many of his friends came out of the woodwork. They started opening up about their own neurological struggles. This then resulted in a get-together where we shared our struggles in a focus group. Take away that technology and we’re all keeping to ourselves again.

Because of this group, a few of us with autism and Aspergers who can talk may have become more brave at expressing ourselves and being more social. I hope that change itself will cause others with autism to reach out to more of the neurologically accepted by society. As a result, autism and Aspergers, or the spectrum, can be more than normal or acceptable. It will be a language we can all relate to and speak fluently without autism or Aspergers becoming a flaw, weakness, or an issue.