How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

Posts tagged ‘Gratitude’

Grateful For the Fourth

image

May we all be grateful for our country.

image

Happy Independence Day!

Hello, Everybody! I’m sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time, but so many great things have happened in my life that I’m still trying to keep my head on straight! I’ll write about them later, but for now I’m here with a message for all of my readers here in the United States.

I wish all of you here in America a happy and blessed Independence Day. I’m grateful for all of your support and I’m grateful to live in a country that has always afforded me and my family the opportunities and options to grow, flourish, and find our own freedom.

Thank you for all of your support. May we all find our true freedom. Have a Happy Fourth of July!

Today’s musical inspiration is a young girl of 7 named Rhema Marvanne with a stunning rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. http://youtu.be/YrCvMTGs2u8

Advertisements

Random Bliss

DSC05792

Sometimes, you find random bliss in the most unlikely places. That recently happened when I was on DeviantArt and read the latest journal entry of an artist I follow. This woman who calls herself PixelKitties is known among some artists and pop culture geeks for being skilled with drawing and crafts, and possessing a very witty sense of humor. What was different about this journal entry was the candor, honesty, and thought-provoking words that left me speechless.

I don’t have time, inclination or the patience to tell other people what to do or how to live their lives. Policing my own self is a full time job. I don’t want to be anyone else’s moral gendarme. All I want is to be a good person and treat others with the same respect, understanding and kindness that I want to be treated with.

I don’t deal in stereotypes or broad generalizations or beating people over the head with the cudgel of my own personal beliefs. I have faced pain and suffering and discrimination and hurt and heartache in my life-just the same as anyone. I’ve done good things and bad, brave and cowardly, honorable and self-serving. I have been there, just the same as you. And because of that, more than anything else in this world, I believe in empathy and understanding, never condemnation. My past mistakes- and they are multitude- is today’s lesson and tomorrow’s regret. I dare not judge or begrudge others for their missteps along the way.” (May 22, 2014)

Reading these words was like reading my innermost feelings. I felt a sense of grace, as if God and the Universe were showing me that I wasn’t the only one who was felt this way in their core; a reminder that I’m not alone in believing in the best of humanity. I remembered to stand in the truth of my own flaws and mistakes, and remembered that even when I was bullied, I chose to rise above the role of victim. This is important for anyone, not just someone on the Autism Spectrum. I feel like we all need to be reminded that we are not alone in our hopes and dreams. Even on days when we feel secure, a friendly and unexpected reminder can bring us extra joy and contentment. Even the simplest of words can become a gift of unexpected grace and random bliss.

Read the short, but sweet journal entry here at DeviantArt: PixelKitties’ Journal Entry

Today’s musical inspiration is favorite of mine and it’s how I feel right now: Live High by Jason Mraz

In My Life

Every day is a gift & so are the people in my life.  -Anthony

Every day is a gift & so are the people in my life. -Anthony

People in my life have influenced me since I was born, and the impact has been good, bad, and everything in between. Truthfully, it’s often difficult for people on the Autism Spectrum to appreciate or even understand the influence others have on them; even some neuro-typical people may not realize it. What I do understand is that my outlook on life has been enriched in lots of ways. I could write many posts about all the people in my life, but it’s better for me to articulate what I know for sure through the stages of my Autism Spectrum journey.

From the time I was little to when I started community college, I experienced the highs and lows of learning to be in social situations. Where most neuro-typicals easily learn how to socialize, my social awkwardness kept me from having real friends until I was in high school. Then I was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at fifteen and began to understand just how different and special I was. I owe a debt of gratitude to those people who stood in my corner and helped me to discover an important part of myself. By knowing myself better, I felt like I could devote more attention to learning how to be a true friend.

When I was in community college and I transferred to a university, my world views were honed and developed, but that’s when my classmates became something more. Years before, I didn’t know how to talk to or deal with other kids in my class; the college dynamic changed all of that. Because I had a better sense of self and maybe because I wasn’t competing for attention from the teachers, classmates became the people I practiced learning about the workplace with. Working on different projects and bouncing ideas off of each other during class helped me discover that with the right partners and the proper motivation, I could be an asset to a team.

My closest friends and family are the ones who I can open up to and trust with my life. I’ve experienced disappointment, of course. That was because I used to hold some people in such high regard that I felt let down when I learned about their frailties and mistakes. Still, I learned that there are some people I can love from a distance in order to stay away from their negativity, as well as preserve my own sanity. Sadly, there are a few people in my life who are no longer living. Even though I may have lost touch with people, or lost their presence in this world, once in a while I still remember how they made my life a little sunnier with just their presence. They may not be with me physically, but in my heart I can still feel them.

I’ve realized that every person you meet comes into your life for a reason. No matter how large or small their impact, you are changed forever. It wasn’t easy, but I learned to appreciate every person who comes into my life, because I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. The gratitude I have cannot be put into words, but to know that it’s in my heart is worth the joy, pain, relief, and grace that I’ve found with this important life lesson. Now I ask you: who’s made an impact in your life? Have you learned to be grateful, even for the negative experiences? Where are you with your own relationships? I hope that you take time to ponder that. You might experience what happened to me and discover something amazing you never would have thought possible.

Today’s musical inspiration is a wonderfully appropriate song by the Beatles: “In My Life”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zicw_dVwhfM

Happy New Year, 2014!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014, everyone! For my first post of this year, I want to wish all of my readers and supporters the very best in this new beginning. Instead of resolutions, I have ideas on how I’m going to make life great. I will be maintaining my current exercise & diet regimen, growing my relationship with my girlfriend, staying in touch with family & close friends, and helping to expand our family business. I’m grateful for your continued support; I wish you all peace, blessings, and a very Happy New Year.

Gathering Gratitude

A Happy Thanksgiving to all who have supported me!

A Happy Thanksgiving to all who have supported me!

Hello to all of my supporters! On this beautiful day, I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and many blessings to your families and friends. No matter what happens, any day that I wake up and live a fully engaged life is a great one. I hope that all of learn to feel the same gratitude that I have learned to embrace on my own journey with Autism. May we all be appreciative for what we have. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I give thanks for your continued support.

A Grateful Salute

May we all be grateful for our country.

May we all be grateful for our country.

A big “Hello” to all of my readers and supporters. Today I give gratitude and thanks to the men and women, past and present, who chose to enlist in the armed forces and to protect and defend this country. These noble actions have strengthened a country that has blessed me with the opportunity to discover who I am, and the freedom to be myself. I wish you all a happy and blessed Veteran’s Day. God Bless America, and Peace and Blessings to everyone!

Selfless Indulgence

Selfless indulgence with Yours Truly at the Farmer's Market.

Selfless indulgence with Yours Truly at the Farmer’s Market.

You know, sometimes the best things in life come from the darndest places. Have you ever had moments where you found something special without even trying? Have you learned to be satisfied with a special item or a small gesture? Did you feel happy inside because you did something good for someone else? Well these were all feelings I discovered while learning to be more aware and outgoing on my journey with Autism. This is very significant for me because it’s common for people on the Autism Spectrum to have difficulty learning new things. It’s also a challenge for Aspies to relate on a deeper level of human emotion, but this all depends on where a person falls on the Spectrum. When I was a kid, my difficulty connecting with people left me isolated and bullied. It hurt me so much and I couldn’t understand why, but with counseling I was able to develop strong emotional knowledge of myself and of human interaction.

I came a long way during my first years of community college. I had the same handful of friends I did in high school and we’re still in contact today. But with the freedom I found, I also discovered my addictive tendencies. The first couple of years were marked with poor diet, a lack of exercise, and an addiction to tv and video games. I was in the grip of mindless self-indulgence that came at a high cost. Fortunately, I was able to admit that I needed help. With support from family and friends I put more emphasis on my studies and less on my bad habits. I needed to learn how to replace them with better habits to keep myself healthy and in balance. Yes, everything in moderation is enjoyable, you just have to know your limits.

When I transferred to the university I felt a change come over me. I was focused on earning my degree in literature and writing and I knew it would help me make a difference in the lives of people on the Spectrum. During my three years there, I decided not to waste my time on binge drinking and late-night partying. I thought “what would I feel in the long run? Does this serve anyone other than myself?” The answer for me was “no”; I could connect with classmates more personally during down time on campus. When I worked in group projects with others, I was open to different ideas and gained satisfaction from indulging in different perspectives on one topic. I realized that a variety of views can enhance your personal knowledge and perspectives.

In my private time, I found a way to connect to people at farmer’s markets. For me, buying the handful of things I needed to cook my own meals was another way to connect to people; it was also good practice for my social skills. More than just a place to buy fresh food, the markets became a source of conversation, vibrant atmosphere, and music by local artists that I support with my applause and the occasional donation. My new habits became second nature; the more I practiced them, the more courage I would gain to tell my truth. When I graduated, I was ready to make a difference, but I wasn’t sure how. With my parents’ careful guidance I was able to create this blog so that I could share my story. The best part was the satisfaction of sharing the gift of my experience with others so that maybe they could see people on the Autism Spectrum in a whole new way.

Today I take great pleasure in small things. Farmer’s markets are still a source of delicious food, live music, and plenty of opportunities for me to be more social. I carry the same feeling over to the conventions I attend and the trips that I take; I used to have difficulty meeting people and networking, but now I’m a lot better at it. If you’re familiar with addiction, you know that you’re never cured of it, you just gain control and maintenance over it. By replacing my negative habits with more positive ones, I’ve learned to enjoy experiences. Whether it’s a special treat or souvenir I can’t buy anywhere else or a show I’ve been wanting to see, it doesn’t take much to satisfy me. I’m happier now that I’ve learned to give others my time and business and maybe make their day a little better. Little things mean a lot when you give and receive them gratefully, and that’s what I call “selfless indulgence”.

Today’s musical inspiration is a live performance of an Old School classic from Boyz II Men, “Little Things”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MmnvAyYbSo