Categories
Life Love

The Last Post of the Decade

I know I said I was going to address the opposing viewpoint at the end of my last post, but… well, you’ve read enough of this blog to know how I feel about that. So, that would be kind of redundant to do so.

What I wanted to talk to you about tonight (it’s not quite midnight at the time that I’m typing this) is a bit of a personal story.

Earlier tonight, I was picking up a few extra hours at work during a musical performance, when a particularly emotional memory came to mind. I’ve mentioned to friends a few times about this specific memory, but it never carried the same emotional weight as it did tonight.

To explain, I’ve spent much of my life in a bad mood. This could mean anger or depression. This memory occurred during a period of depression.

I remember I was very depressed around this time of year in 11th grade, so it’s possible that this moment may have coincided with that particular bout of depression. A bit of context: I was depressed because I sought companionship through attempts at dating, but nobody seemed interested in me.

I don’t remember how it started, but one of my teachers knew I was depressed and why and somehow got the entire class singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Being in the depressed mood I was in at the time, I wasn’t participating in the singing.

At one point, while the rest of the class sang, this teacher (I should clarify this was a history class) turned to look at me and said, “Remember that, JD.” Or some similar line to that extent. I remember the subtextual meaning of that sentence more than how it was worded. And it means a lot to me, even to this day.

For whatever reason, this memory hit hard tonight. I just wanted to share with you what I’m feeling in this moment. I want to make it a goal of mine to pay it forward. That moment came at a time when I really needed to know I was not alone. That’s a moment of healing I want to focus on paying forward for others who need it in the next decade.

This decade was drenched in so much anger and negativity. We all could use some emotional healing right around now.

It’s not Journey, but maybe it will help someone heal a little when they could use it the most:

It’s not “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but it gets the point across.

Happy Winter Holiday Season with love. May you find peace with yourselves, within yourselves in the new decade. I’ll see you on the other side of New Year’s. Rock on, Spectrumites.

Categories
FAQ Life

Coming Out… As Autistic

A little bit of personal history about myself, but I’m curious to get your takes on it, as well.

There are many overlapping areas between ASD communities and LGBTQIA+ communities (forgive me if my alphabet is inaccurate, please), although I’m positive there’s more than I can be aware of as a single, white, heterosexual, male aspie. The point I’m trying to make here is that revealing one’s ASD can often times feel like coming out of the closet.

[Cue a bunch of tasteless Will & Grace jokes here!]

Aw, hell! I can’t resist. Here’s a gif of Jack McFarland:

I know… I know… I’m disappointed in me, too…
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)

Before you click away, I’m being totally serious here! Think about it:

You feel a certain disconnect between your own self-identity and the identity you feel the world expects from you. It’s not until you “come out of the closet,” perse, and reveal who you really are to someone, that you truly feel like you’re living your own life.

…And there’s always that nagging vulnerability that the people you’re coming out to are going to respond with some form of negativity. It’s a very sensitive issue for everyone. You know going into it that the public knowledge of your diagnosis will create extra challenges of its own. You don’t want to put others on the spot, but you want them to know, right?

So, I first really became aware of my ASD around 2002-ish. At that time, it was still clinically known as “Asperger’s Syndrome.” Keep in mind, this was an era before people really started paying attention to the prevalence rate of ASDs, and thus, it was considered a negative thing to be associated with. It wasn’t really until 2006, that I fully accepted that yes, I am autistic. I will always be autistic. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in and of itself.

At that point, I just decided to run with it. It became a very large part of my personal identity that I am autistic, and look at what I’m able to accomplish! Nothing “wrong” or “negative” about that, at all. After a lifetime of trying to hide my differences and “fit in,” I felt liberated that I could finally be myself BECAUSE OF my differences.

So in essence, identifying with my ASD was like I came out of the closet. And I’ve never looked back on that decision. I’d rather be hated for who I am than be liked for who I am not.

So, here’s my question to the rest of you spectrumites out there, reading this post:

Have you come out yet? What was the reaction? How did you feel afterward?

I’d love to read your stories in the comments.


Before I go… Real quickly, I want to share with you some more Jack McFarland gifs that illustrate my point. You have NO IDEA how hard it was to pick just the one before. Here goes:

You tell ’em, Jack!
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)
We are easily amused…
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)
Some of our special interests are more special than others…
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)
But at the end of the day, we’re just as human as everybody else.
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)
Find peace with yourself, within yourself.
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)
Rock on, Spectrumites!
(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)
Categories
Life Love Work

Election Day Is Tomorrow…

…And we’re political, already! We missed you, Jon…

Aww… I missed you guys, too. I just wanted to check in and give an update on where my head is at the moment.

Spoiler Alert: This post might get a bit heavy…

A number of… situations, I’ll call them… are affecting me recently. For starters… Okay, you know what? I’ll ease you all into this. Let’s start with the least complex and build from there.

Election Day

After I processed the 2016 Presidential Election, I had posted on this very blog, an appeal for readers to, at the very least, attempt to get to know members of opposing political parties and, at bare minimum, try to understand why they felt the way they felt about their stances on important issues affecting Americans. From the events that have transpired since then, it appears my words had fallen on deaf ears.

We’re more polarized than ever before. My calls for unity are not to imply I at any point approve of any of the egregious attitudes the current administration has displayed over the past almost-two years. My words are to insinuate that domestic affairs facing vulnerable American citizens are not going to improve if we’re all too busy in-fighting to improve them.

In American society, citizens used to come together and discuss issues civilly and make minor concessions and compromises with each other, even though they may not entirely agree with each other on every issue. Although this meant that nobody got absolutely everything they wanted out of the solution they would then enact, it would provide a starting point to build upon and improve from over later incarnations of said solution.

Every man for himself

At some point–I can’t necessarily say it started with Donald Trump, but I have noticed this has become the relative norm at an alarming pace since he announced his Presidential campaign in late 2015–members of society stopped caring about what is needed for a healthy society to function, instead focusing on their own finances. Where the collective focus was once the benefit of the greater good of the people (in general), that focus has now shifted to an “every man for himself” scenario.

Education

When students owe $1.5 trillion in student loans and don’t even have $1,000 in the bank each month with which to repay them, and the Secretary of Education cuts all programs designed to help these students be able to repay these loans without overextending their budgets… Is this really the society we want for our future? We’re willing to keep voting for the people who would give billions in tax breaks to corporations who don’t use it to expand the job market, but we as a society deem this acceptable?

Healthcare

Say what you will about the Affordable Care Act of 2009 (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare), but that law gave the option of health care to millions of disabled patients who had been previously disqualified from having insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cancer, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Lupus, Osteoporosis, etc. The key take-away from this is people were previously disqualified from having insurance because they held a diagnosis for a condition they had no control over having, but the ACA made them eligible for the insurance they needed to pay for the life-saving medical treatments they needed for the first time in their lives.

Then came the current administration… For the first time since it’s enactment, the ACA had not enough defenders in the government to stave off repeal. When Donald Trump’s administration released the revised list of what it considered a pre-existing condition, it had included sexual assault–a criminal act involuntarily forced upon the victim–on the list. To this day, the administration has re-asserted its intentions to repeal protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.

Obviously, you’re interested in ASD if you’re reading this; you are reading this on a blog devoted to an autist’s life on the spectrum as written by said autist (Autist, aspergian, spectrumite… Whatever gets you through this post…). Chances are, then, you either know or love somebody with ASD who will be impacted by such a repeal or know of somebody with ASD who will be impacted by such a repeal. …And they will be impacted by such a repeal. …And at a prevalence rate of 1-in-59, you probably do know or know of somebody with ASD who will be impacted.

Vote. Period.

What I’m trying to get at here, is vote. I’m not going to try to tell you who to vote for and how to vote, but I am going to tell you to vote. Period. Vote like you have children whose futures depend on the choices you make now. Vote like you have people who are counting on you to make the choices you feel deep in your heart are the best choices you can make in their best interest. Ten years from now, will you honestly be able to tell them you did everything you can to give them the best life you honestly could? How about twenty years from now? Thirty?

Vote because you can make a difference. If nobody voted, nothing would change. By not voting, you are guaranteeing that nothing will change. If you do vote, you have a 50% chance that the person you voted for will win and make the changes you want him or her to make. Isn’t that worth trying? Have we given up on each other as a society that much that we don’t even want to try to make life better in the future? And this is only one issue weighing on me, lately…

Thirty… 3. 0. …

This month will mark my 30th birthday–or as I like to call it, becoming six five-year-olds in the same adult body–and I generally get emotional at this time of year as I reflect on my life. This year is different for me for the obvious reasons.

Barren promised lands

If I had been fully employed by SAP’s Autism at Work program from the very beginning–as opposed to being brought on as an intern whose contract timed out after 21 months–I’d have had my first promotion right about now. Things worked out differently, as they had, and that’s not the case. I’m having a hard time in my mind reconciling with that. It’s just something I have to learn to emotionally accept… however much it still hurts and feels unjust in mind is just the way the situation is.

I had so many goals for myself by the time I turned 30, many of which I am not going to be able to accomplish in 18 days. I wanted to be employed–and appreciated in my work–with something tangible to show for it by now. That never happened. At least not with the being employed with something tangible to show for it by now part. I’m on the cusp of 30, and my resume is a small list of internships that ultimately led to more unemployment.

Dystopian prognosis

All I have to show for my efforts over the past 10 years are two degrees (a bachelor’s and a master’s), a failed wedding engagement, and thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. This is not the life I’d imagined for myself by 30. I don’t even get called in for job interviews, which doesn’t really surprise me given my lackluster ability to get a job offer in the past.

It’s not even a lack of effort on my part. Nobody ever calls me back, and there’s no contact information available for me to contact the hiring recruiter. As time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to explain to my family why I’m still unemployed. The current statistics, which suggest 86% of autists are underemployed or unemployed, don’t help my ability to find work either, but that’s little consolation at a time when the economy is supposed to be exploding with new job opportunities on the market.

Bringing It In for a Landing

This has been an exceptionally long post, even for me. I just wanted to check in and let you know where my mind is at, emotionally. If you’ve read all the way to the end of this post, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. As much as I wish my life had more… fulfillment… in it, this is what my life is at the moment. There’s not much more I can do to change my situation that I haven’t already tried.

No matter what happens tomorrow, I wish all of you the best, as I would hope you all are doing the best you can with what you have. May you find peace with yourself, within yourself, and I’ll try to do the same. Life’s a journey; enjoy it while it lasts, I suppose?

Categories
FAQ Life School

I’m So Excited to Post This, I Don’t Even Have a Title Picked Out Yet…

Okay, so maybe some of you have seen my recent string of tweets alluding to this post. If you haven’t, get on that. This is important. Also, just to provide a quick unrelated update on that WEGO Health Awards nomination, I was not a finalist, but I appreciate the endorsements I received. It means the world to me to have your support on that.

…But’s that’s not why I’ve assembled the Avengers here today.

Yeah… Sorry, Cap… Didn’t mean that literally…


Okay, so remember when I started the Writing Studies program and joked about it being “17th grade?”

Here, we go… What’s he up to, THIS time?

Get ready for this announcement…

I’m officially enrolled in evening classes to study toward my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University!

That’s nice, Sweetie… Wait! What?!

Oh, yeah! The semester started back on August 27. I should receive my Doctorate of Education in May 2022, only a full 15 years since receiving my high school diploma.

But… WHY? Why now, at the very least…

You see, the day I graduated with my Master’s degree, my mother turned to me and banned me from getting a Doctorate right away… at least until I could pay down some of the student loans I had incurred from my previous educational experiences.

I have been waiting four years to make this post. The least everyone can do is be happy for me…

We are! We definitely are!* We’re just curious what your intentions are with such a program.

*Jon hopes this part is accurate. He’s gotten too excited about good news before…

I know some of you are probably wondering what my intentions are with such a program.

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about what my role is in the ASD and Neurodiverse communities at large. What can I do now to make life better for these communities later? How can I achieve my goals while helping others achieve theirs? What’s my part in all this?

I know after working in a corporate environment like SAP, I want to do more good by helping more than just the bottom line. I want my ability to advocate to mean something by the end of my time on Earth.

That’s why I’m saying this here and now:

While going for my doctorate will provide me with a few extra letters at the end of my name and take my education about as far as it can possibly go, this is about more than just me.

This is about us. This is about my role in an expanding, related set of communities interacting with one another.

Why study for an Ed.D.?

Because it can take my advocacy to all new heights I’ve never imagined.

Why now?

Because the longer I wait to do it, the less of an impact I can make on neurodiverse communities.

There’s no better time than right now to get out there and do what we can for each other… All of us. Together as a single web of communities.

The way I see it, we have two options:

  1. Continue to fall off the cliff and pray for miracles that aren’t going to come without people like us stepping up.
  2. Do something – anything within our power – to improve the lives of the neurodiverse.

I hope if you’re like me, you’ll choose the latter of the two options.


In the meantime, I’ve started watching Atypical Season 2. I’m about halfway through the second season, and I have to say, I’m very impressed by the effort Robia Rashid and crew have put into addressing constructive feedback from Season 1.

So, rest assured, I am working toward that particular episode of The Role Star.


While everyone waits for my Atypical review, I’m also working on a webcomic about life on the Autistic Spectrum. Announcing:

Coming Soon!

The Jack of all Tirades:

Jon lays out how he sees his life as an autistic adult in no uncertain terms.

Be sure to catch the webcomic as it debuts later this year.


Okay, I have to save some news for later posts, but I promise I’ll be back. I just can’t promise how soon.

Until then,

May you find peace with yourselves, within yourselves.

Rock on!

Categories
Life

Quick Pseudo-Update:

I’m going to have a much longer update out soon… I hope.

In the meantime, please take the time to read this VERY important shameless self-plug:

I’ve been nominated for the WEGO Health Awards for Hilarious Patient Leader!

I need you to go to THIS LINK and click on the ENDORSE button in order to send me to the finals. This is really important to me.

Thank you, if you did it! If you didn’t, was it the lack of new episodes of The Aspie Dialogues Show? Because that’s coming back in the near future. So, maybe you might want to click that ENDORSE button, after all… Just sayin’…

The longer update will have to wait until after my sister moves to Cincinnati this weekend. We’re looking after my toddler-aged niece this weekend while they get ready for the move… And their two cats… And our two cats… And I have a virus at the moment… And I’m slightly tired… Just like you guys are of this joke running too long…

My niece is stirring in her crib. Gotta go…

Categories
Life

When Does Empathy Border on the Pathological?

When last I wrote on the blog, I mentioned there might be a couple months without content due to the process of moving. Well, now I’m knee-deep in the process of putting stuff away in my new home.

I’m so excited, I could just scream…

So during a recent, much-needed therapy session, I revealed an aspect of myself that leads into today’s Million-Dollar Question:

When does empathy border on the pathological?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a quirk about my imagination that I’ve never told anybody about before said therapy session, which I personally feel borders on that fine line between demonstrating empathy and some sort of twisted pathology.

Now to note what my therapist said, she feels that it demonstrates a form of empathic thinking, but it still bothers me that my imagination runs in this direction.

Hold up, Jon! What direction where? What exactly do you imagine about other people? Do we even want to know? Is it THAT kind of thing?

Relax, it’s nothing like THAT. For as long as I can remember, I could see a happy stranger… it could be a random person on the street or a person in a commercial… Whoever it is, this person is happy… But for some sick, demented reason, my mind’s eye goes out of its way to attempt to imagine what this person is like when he or she is angry or otherwise upset.

That’s where I feel it becomes pathological. It’s one thing to see a celebrity and wonder what his or her daily life is like, but it’s completely different, and I’d go as far as to say unnecessary, to imagine a random stranger getting upset.

Even after my therapist did her best to convince me that it’s just my mind trying to understand others’ emotions better, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s not a pathological behavior. So, I’m opening the conversation to you guys.

What’s your spin on this?


Categories
Life

When It Was ’17…

It was a very frustrating year. I don’t think many people have such fond memories of 2017, in general. Politics aside, it was just a year filled with unbridled negativity, no matter where you looked.

But I don’t have to recap everything that happened this year for you. Instead, why don’t we look to the future?

I think we all had such stress and fear going into 2017 that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy fueled by our worst, darkest pits of our own negativity. I don’t want to say that it surely can’t get any worse than 2017 (mostly because that’s folly to try to guess the future), but this past year was pretty negative from the get-go.

So, I’m going to issue a challenge to all of you, dear NDs:

Let’s make 2018 a much more positive year. Let’s fuel this new year with the best we have to offer ourselves and each other. We can do so much better than we did this past year.

2018 is a clean slate; let’s see what we can do with it.

In keeping with my one of my promises from the video, how about we ring in the new year with a poll?

Categories
FAQ Life Putting the Pieces Together Challenge

The Great Schism of Autism

Hello, Dear Spectrumites!

I want to take some time today to talk about something that’s been bothering me for quite some time…

The Great Schism of Autism.

Okay, so what exactly do I mean by this?

“Jon, are you getting political again?”

Well… Yes, and no.

Yes, in that the outcome of this Schism will most undoubtedly affect how the collective voices of the Autism community as a whole will be heard by our mainstream societies.

No, in that this issue goes a hell of a lot deeper than that.

“Uh-oh. Jon used a bad word. He’s getting serious…”

Yeah. I am. Because, really, the Great Schism of Autism is hurting us all, and it needs to stop. Like, years ago. It needed to stop years ago. It’s still happening, and probably will continue to happen long after this post, but it needs to stop. Have I made myself clear that this needs to stop? Because, if I haven’t, it needs to stop, and it’s hurting the Autism community by not stopping.

“Settle down, Jon.”

So, what exactly is the Great Schism of Autism, and how is it hurting the Autism community as a whole?

To understand the answer to this question, we first have to understand how the Autism Spectrum (Yes, it’s a Spectrum, folks! Let’s carry this lesson with us…) is currently thought of.

Most people, even us at times, tend to think of the Autism Spectrum as this:

A one-dimensional line segment. Point-A to Point B. Low-functioning to High-functioning.

Over time, this has perpetuated the idea that there’s nothing more to an individual diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) than where he or she is placed along this line segment. This is the root of the Great Schism of Autism.

Now, here’s what I mean by that term. the Low-functioning end of the line segment doesn’t accurately represent the folks at the other end of the line segment, and vice versa. People, families, and communities affected by ASD don’t even agree on what counts as “real Autism” half the time.

“Wait… What?”

Prior to the release of the DSM-V (That’s the manual of statistics and diagnostic criteria psychologists widely use for diagnosing ASD, by the way…) in May 2013, many psychologists — and advocates, even — couldn’t agree on whether or not Asperger’s Syndrome should be included in the High-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. Ultimately, Asperger’s Syndrome was lumped in under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella in the DSM-V manual, but consider this:

What if it hadn’t been?

I wouldn’t have had my internship for the past 19 months without a diagnosis of ASD. I’d still be unemployed and living with my parents, right now, struggling to make a dent in my career.

To me, that’s a thought that’s going to keep me up at night, now that I’ve thought of it. And just when you think the DSM-V’s inclusion of Asperger’s Syndrome finally put the Schism to bed, we have our good ole’ pals, the Susan G. Komen of Autism, Autism Speaks to remind us that it’s so far from over…

https://www.autismspeaks.org/site-wide/cure-autism-now

Yeah, about that…

http://autisticadvocacy.org/tag/autism-speaks/

Guys! Hey! Take that outside!

I guess you can figure out what’s going on there, but beside quite possibly killing my taste for the color, “blue,” forever, let’s break this all-too-ignored, but public spat down and reflect on how this has impacted the Great Schism of Autism.

Autism Speaks stands accused of misusing donations that are supposed to be going toward helping the Autism community by funneling them into grandiose marketing campaigns for a “cure” and massive overhead costs.

This is problematic for an organization that wants to be the “voice of Autism” for the sole reason that by working toward a cure, they are marginalizing the audience they want to be the voice of in their marketing campaigns.

We’ll listen to your cries for help. Just as soon as we’re done wiping you off the face of the Earth!

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has responded by fighting against a cure, claiming that a cure is an unnecessary extreme that would ultimately be tantamount to eugenics (At least, that’s how I would put it…)

ASAN’s stance is that with proper accommodations and people just not being jerks, in general, anything is possible for a Spectrumite.

This has created two camps:

The families of the Low-functioning Spectrumites (the Point-As), and the self advocates at the High-functioning end of the Autism Spectrum (the Point-Bs).

This is the root of what I mean by “the Great Schism of Autism.” The Point-As feel that all the resources are going more toward the Point-Bs’ end of the Autism Spectrum. They feel that Point-B doesn’t even count as “real Autism.”

Before you call me out on this, I’ve seen these arguments on the comment threads of Autism Awareness posts on Facebook time and time again over the past 10 years that I’ve even had a Facebook account. So many, I can’t even find the best five to put here to give you examples. Maybe, you have, too. Or maybe not.

The Point-Bs, in turn, feel like everything that’s offered to the Autism community is unavailable to them because they’ve already “fallen off the cliff,” having aged out of any governmental resources that would have been available to them by the time they reach the point where they could think about becoming self-sufficient.

“So, how do we even begin to fix this?”

I’m glad you asked.

I stumbled across this post several months ago, and I believe Tumblr may actually hold the key to starting to turn this around:

http://theoraah.tumblr.com/post/142300214156/understanding-the-spectrum

TL;DR:

Tumblr user, theoraah, theorizes that, rather than a line-segment, the Autism Spectrum is more akin to a two-dimensional color wheel that charts our prevalence of certain symptoms of ASD.

It’s a great theory, but I think it could go further than it does in its current form.

Meet the Aspie Dialogues Model of the Autism Spectrum!

We are three-dimensional beings; shouldn’t the way we think about Autism reflect that fact?

Rather than a one-dimensional line or a two-dimensional circle, I propose that the Autism Spectrum be thought of as a three-dimensional globe, latitude and longitude and all.

Where the grid lines meet, that’s a data point. And because of its three-dimensional nature, these gridlines carry depth to them all the way to the core of our Selfhood, or what makes us who we are.

The resulting patterns of these gridlines form a map of our symptoms and will vary subjectively from person to person. Because let’s face it; ASD is a very subjective neurodevelopmental disorder, and how it affects each individual will vary subjectively from person to person.

And by understanding this simple fact that there’s diversity within neurodiversity, we can begin to heal as a community and finally end the Great Schism of Autism, once and for all.

Will that actually happen, though? Probably not for a long time. People are stubborn, especially when their loved ones are at stake. I’ll be the first to admit that Spectrumites can be some of the most stubborn folks out there. I’m one of them, after all.

But it still needs to happen. Because as Benjamin Franklin famously once said:

“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

We need to figure out what our priorities are as a community before we can expect anybody else to take us seriously.

Once we determine what our expectations of ourselves are, we can then determine what our expectations of our neurotypical peers are and hold them to those expectations.

Thank you for staying with me this long on your Memorial Day Weekend. I hope you enjoy it and make the most out of it!

Be sure to check out the Late 2017 Putting the Pieces Together Challenge, and may you find peace with yourselves, within yourselves. Rock on, Spectrumites!

Categories
Life Putting the Pieces Together Challenge

Changing the Game: Late 2017 Putting the Pieces Together Challenge

So, I’m going to go out on a limb, here, and say that my prompt for the “Early 2017” Putting the Pieces Together Challenge may have been too polarized for what I wanted to accomplished.

That’s my boo-boo.

I know. Making this visual pun hurt me, too…

So, why don’t we adjust the rules of the game before we blow the final whistle?

Announcing:

The Late 2017 Putting the Pieces Together Challenge!

For all the updated dates and rules, please refer to the Campaign page.

Here’s the new prompt:

I want to know what drives you in this life. Is there a single motivating force you believe in or moral/ethical code you adhere to? When all else fails, how do you carry on? What gets you through your day and motivates you for tomorrow? Do you have any quotes, movies, books, etc. that inspire you to keep going?

I want this blog to be the source of a positive type of energy. By explaining what our “guiding lights” are, so to speak, there’s even the possibility that one of you can help another person out there who may be seeking guidance or a friendly voice to talk to.

Isn’t that what this life should be about in the first place? People helping each other, lifting them up instead of always putting each other down.

May we all help each other find peace with ourselves, within ourselves. Rock on.

Categories
Life

Well. That happened.

How about that World Series, right? I mean, who blows a certain win quite like that?!

Daffy Duck just wishes he had my swagger...

Too soon for that kind of light humor?


Okay, so I know I’ve been gone for a while. During that time, I’ve been battling some very personal inner-demons of my own.

But I’m back now, and I’m ready to give my best shot at helping at least someone try to heal tonight. I don’t count for the purpose of this post, so it looks like it’s gonna have to be at least one of you guys.

Ready? Here’s the best I can do…


A lot of people are scared right now. As an American with a disability (I remind you all that it’s not the ability or disability that defines us, it’s how we let it control us that matters), I’m pretty scared, too.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd place me at "Zoinks, Scoob!"
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d place me at “Zoinks, Scoob!”
Many people don’t know how to feel after what happened.

As an adult on the Autism Spectrum, it was hard enough to obtain resources before. What’s going to happen to me, now?

Okay, so some have some sort of idea of what their gut reaction is…

That’s a valid concern. After well over a year of statements that would seem to indicate that those with disabilities are somehow inferior in our President-elect’s eyes, we certainly have a right to be concerned about what’s in store for us next.

It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to feel hurt. It’s okay to feel afraid. Even if some doomsday legislation comes out of this, The Aspie Dialogues is not going anywhere, and neither am I. I’m around for this term, whether anybody likes it or not. Myself included.

So, where does that leave us, then? What do we do, now? What can we do, now?

We heal. We begin the healing process by learning from what happened. We regroup, and we try again and hopefully do better the next time around.

…And no matter how afraid we are right now, there will be a next time around.

We heal by putting the fear and anger behind us. We’re going to hurt for a while. And that’s okay. But let’s try to stay in control of our fear and anger. Because if we don’t, we become what many of us just spent over a year rallying against.

As I type this, some very upset people are rioting across the country. They have every right to be upset, but let’s try to keep our emotions to an appropriate, civil level. Violence, destruction, and hatred are all things many of us just voted against; let’s not become blinded by those things, ourselves.

It’s going to take some time, but we will heal. As a nation, as a network of communities, and as individuals, the pain from this very divisive, emotional election cycle was all too real. But it will pass. Even if Trump is the worst President of all time, just remember this: pain is temporary. Even if he gets re-elected in 2020, pain is temporary.

It may not feel like it right now because we’re still reeling from high anxiety levels from the election cycle, but the sun will still rise again.

When will the sun rise again? This seems like a really dark time for us, at the moment.

Tomorrow.

And the next day, and the day after that, and so on…

I know it sounds blunt when I say it like that, but it’s not untrue. The planet still spins around the sun, the moon still spins around the planet. Everything is still there, right where we left it on Monday night. And it will still be there in four years. And it will still be there four years after that.

One day at a time… 1,461 times in a row. We’ll all get through this. Together.

So, to answer the question from before about what to do in the meantime, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic that things won’t be as bad as we had feared. There’s been too much fear going around lately not to.

So, I’m going to believe in a better day yet to come, when we will be accepted for who we are and what we can contribute to society as Spectrumites.

I’m going to believe that the chaos of 2016 will return to peace of mind over time.

I’m going to believe that things will get better. And we’ll find that when they do, we’ll feel better on multiple dimensions.

What I want you all to do now, readers, is to challenge yourself:

Look deep within yourself, and find the kindness in your hearts and spread it to somebody who needs it more than you do.

Perhaps, you’ve been in heated debates with close friends or relatives for the past year and you feel your relationships straining over them.

Instead of yelling at each other about everyone’s faults, try communicating with them a desire to understand each other. Look to the positive qualities in each other that make life worth living.

Everyone makes an impact on each other’s lives. Whether we realize it or not. What that impact is is up to us to define.

A coworker of mine set his Skype status a while back with the following quote:

Life is about making an impact, not an income.

Admittedly, I don’t know where he got it from, but it’s sage and it’s timely for this situation.

And I know that a lot of people don’t like her, but I’m going to leave you all with this excerpt from Hillary’s concession speech on Wednesday that spoke to me:

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…And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks — sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives…

May we all find peace with ourselves, within ourselves and start to heal.