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.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Things I’m Thankful For This Year

It’s been a rough month, but after taking a bit of a vacation, I can finally conclude my holiday with an encouraging post wishing all my readers and followers a Happy Thanksgiving!

While many times I constantly cry out for miracles in solitude, I try to thank the Lord for the blessing of each day as I take on life one day at a time. Thanksgiving is a time to take things down a notch, breathe in and out slowly, and meditate on all the things I am grateful for.

Cookies

Cookies are tasty, whether homemade or from Dollarama. I’m addicted to cookies. They’re sweet and give me a sense of everything making sense in the world after one or two bites into one. My favourite cookies are the chocolate ones that our roommate renting our basement makes that are soft and melt in your mouth. On a humorous note, I’m thankful I haven’t gone crazy yet during times I’m watching my sugar in-take or my weight and can’t eat as many cookies as I’ve wanted to in the past.

Buses

Sometimes I get really irate with Winnipeg’s local bus system. The buses are usually late, the satellite tracking app is constantly off, and many many times I can outsmart the automated transit route. Despite those obstacles, I’m at least thankful that I can get from one place to another in the city within an hour. Winnipeg is small enough to travel from place to place and large enough to house great restaurants, shopping areas, and coffee shops along the way.

Places to Walk Through in Winnipeg

When I’m not taking the bus, there’s a lot of things to see in Winnipeg. Great parks like St Vital and Assiniboine Park are filled with beautiful trees, duck ponds, a zoo, and great places to have a picnic and just enjoy nature. There are many places for people to ride their bikes and take a jog to exercise and lose some weight. I even walk around my own neighbourhood outside when it isn’t raining. Because of that, my doctor noticed I lost 10 pounds since the last time I visited him. That’s actually pretty awesome and I’m thankful I’m healthy.

Music

I’m particularly thankful for the invention of house, dance, trance, techno, and chiptune music. During hard times and lonliness in the early 2000s and in Brandon Manitoba when I lived out there, these overlooked genres of early EDM kept my spirits high, made me smile, and gave me energy to keep going through life with a tenacity that can’t be matched by obstacles such as credit card debt, friends that let me down, comments from haters in forums or social media, and situations in life that I just don’t like. My particular favourite artists to listen to are Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Avicii, and a whole slew of chiptune and demoscene artists that everyone reading this has never even heard of.

Musical Performances

I compose 8-bit music on a Gameboy. That may seem strange to some people, but I’ve had at least 5 performances sequencing music live with a couple of these little machines and a DJ mixer. So thank you to places like the Fringe, Canada Games, and my local open mic I visit for letting me share my unorthodox work openly. I hope I can encounter some new fans with those of you who enjoy what I do.

Survival

I’m thankful I actually live in a house with a heater and central air conditioning and not on the street going from hostel to hostel and asking for food. I’m thankful I have food I can eat even though it’s not in an abundance (we only spend $70 on groceries and eating out in a week). My wife is also thankful we now have a decent fully-repaired working shower. Otherwise, I’d smell like yesterday’s chilli.

Community

I’m thankful that I’m able to be a part of something bigger in places around Winnipeg like geek conventions where I can take pictures of people cosplaying, where other chiptune artists can hang out with me at FanQuest, where video game enthusiasts can bond and compete against each other over HALO or Super Smash Bros. I’m also thankful for small groups both at church and GeekdomHouse.com where we can discuss life and our favourite TV shows with theological and philosophical observations and without judgement (of the media we consume as well as eachother). I’m thankful I can be part of an acapella group. Even though my singing is nasty, I’m thankful God’s given me the ability to write music, and share it with them along with my minor role as a beat-boxer! Thank you all for including me! I am truly grateful!

Freedom

Of course I’m thankful for democracy, the right to vote, and an environment where I can respectfully disagree with leaders and still honour them. But after the events of November last year in the USA, I’m even more thankful that as a Canadian, I can express my opinions, blog about autism and Aspergers, and talk about my struggles without fear and in a fashion that my friend calls “no holds bar” or not holding anything back. I’m thankful that there are safe places to be myself and not to be judged. I’m scared to be 100% real, but I’m thankful I have the freedom to improve my communication skills.  Many people died or were beaten to a pulp to earn this freedom or to advocate for it. Being half white/half Filipino and struggling with a disability would have costed me a lot before I was born. I’m fortunate I never had to go through any of the physical pain just to be free.

My Wife

(sorry no image; she doesn’t want her face posted on my blog)

Over four years ago, I married a wonderful beautiful woman. She has constantly been there for me through the thick and thin. She has seen my struggles with Aspergers first-hand and treated me with respect and loyalty ever since we started dating in 2011. She’s honest, hardworking, non-judgemental, passionate, and probably one of the smartest people I know. She has set me completely free from having a “Christian us vs them” mentality towards other people and has helped me to love and accept the unlovable. We’ve had our differences, fights, and emotion and spiritual struggles. Yet we’re still together. I haven’t always loved her the way I should have, but I’m thankful that she still does things to make me smile and work towards another day. She’s the best thing that’s even happened to me and I couldn’t ask for a better companion, helper, and lover of my soul. I love you, darling.

And Oddly Enough, Aspergers Itself

I’ve said it many times. Autism is just the fact that a brain is wired differently. Even with meltdowns and not being about to handle certain senses, my strengths also stem from the way my brain is wired. My programming skills come from easily being able to implement patterns and systems (and that’s not just in math). I can be honest without hesitation I can remember things long term, recite critical portions of conversation back, and notice small details that slide right past my wife and a few of my friends. I may not remember exactly how Bible verses are worded, but I can definitely recall contexts from what God has shown me through revelation. My so-called disablity is not scary nor does it need to be healed. It is a part of who I am. God made me this way, and I’m thankful for how he uses Aspergers to show Himself to others. I may not understand how God does it (maybe sometimes I even don’t want to know). I’m just thankful I can make a difference in the world around me, as quirky and as crazy as I can be sometimes.

Just Indifferent: Christianity and the Human Condition

I’ve realized something about myself that really needs work. I really hold a grudge against those with an anti-Conservative viewpoint. I used to hate Catholics and now I’m just indifferent. I hated how teenagers smoke drank and had sex with each other like bunny rabbits, and now, I’m having a hard time loving sinners and hating sin. In other words, I still struggle with hating people. I try to forgive, but it’s a process that can take decades. I used to throw tantrums when people censor me, now I don’t care if I’m heard or not. I watch TV shows or listen to music that makes me feel dirty and guilty afterwards, yet it’s not what goes into a man that is unclean but what comes out is unclean (Matthew 15:11). Now I’m at the point where I can watch anything except rape, cult rituals, and certain scenes in movies with people swearing in tirades. And yet, even I swear too much offline sometimes.

I’m a strange man, yet I believe in God. How can I live with such a double standard that’s so hard to even let God correct? In other words, how can I be human when deep down, I want to be a hard robot that can systematically walk away from my mistakes and move on? Who I am is in between what I want to be and what I am.

Welcome to the human condition. It’s worse with Aspergers. I may just have to keep incing forward, even if I have to crawl. If I keep looking at my mistakes and not forgiving myself, I’ll be stuck in them and honestly never be corrected. Luckily, I have a loving wife, siblings and a few close friends to keep me on track. I also think that blogging about this publicly keeps me accountable as well.

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.

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)

A Realistic Look at Entitlement and Suffering

I grew up in a culture of entitlement and not much suffering. My parents and teachers raised me under the impression that I was special and that God would give me the dream and legacy I dreamed about as a teenager.

After almost achieving that dream in high school but failing, I became attracted to pastors who fed on the entitlement of the rich and high class: AKA the prosperity gospel. I was attracted to pastors who would easily “usher in miracles and give his flock instant hearings or financial gain.” I was attracted to others who would name and claim their healing or better finances. I was attracted to leaders who had influence but manipulate people into a hyper-Pentecostal cults. These false prophets also feed on the entitlement mentality of victims looking for a miracle. And of course with having Aspergers,I really need a miracle to see my dreams come to past. Or do I?

I’m still working towards my freedom. But taking time to reflect on my past has made me realize that it’s better to depend on God through suffering than treat God like a genie or Santa Claus. I do wish my suffering was less, but I’m at the point of taking it one day at a time. I think that is much more of an inspiration than prosperity messages. People are sold to a gospel that is attractive and I wanted to be a celebrity with a gospel I can sell while seeing others change. The fact I never got there after a decade of trying shows I have something else I need to do. Maybe my story will just be a chronicle of finding myself. I guess the parts that will change others forever is that I’ll never give up my fight to find purpose in life.

Influences, Niches, and Inspiration

Last year I took some time to reflect while enjoying the wild that is the Spirit Sands south of Carberry, Manitoba.

I’ve realized something last year. Influence in community is really the only thing I’m deeply searching for, even though I prefer solitude as an artist. I just keep looking for it in the wrong places. I’ve always valued being heard and listened to, but in the end, it doesn’t get me anywhere. The truth is that I’m not a good leader as much as I want to be. I’m an inspiration. I’m a person who makes others think. I don’t change a person’s life. I show them doors to walk through. Pushing people to open those doors never ends well. Only an audience member can decide to succumb to the things I say or the example I lead.

After figuring this out, I’m not opposed to living a life in service to others without a dream. I’m not opposed to representing a small circle of people or small town who share a common goal. I think just doing my part on my own turf is all the influence I need to achieve the significance and community I’ve been looking for.

My wife and I were discussing how difficult life in Winnipeg can be just due to the pace and demanding mentality of the world around us. She wants to move back to a simpler life in the country just working simple well paying jobs and encouraging a small niche community. I don’t blame her. While I doubt this exists, I feel a desire to look for a life that can compliment my struggle with Aspergers. I’m at the point where there’s too much “noise” and “speed” in my life and I’m just scraping by. I need to live life that’s more quiet and as “properly paced” as possible. I’m not saying I should isolate or drop everything, but some of what I live for means nothing now and I have to let go of it over the past year. I think I can manage life better once I live for others almost completely. Perhaps moving into the country may not necessarily be the solution, but it will be a place where we can focus as a family and enjoy God’s beauty. After being refreshed, we would go about our work in our small groups where we fit, and just let things organically grow from there.