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?

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 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.