Poetry Packed Out: A Learning Curve (and a Thank You) into next month!!

First of all, I just wanted to thank all of you, my readers, for making this month the most successful month in all of the time that my SuperBlog has been “on the air.” It really means a lot to me to know that my voice matters to you all. Seeing records broken is one thing, but to know it’s because of all of you that the milestone was broken makes this all worthwhile.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t been a learning curve for me and that’s not to say that I’m still learning about blogging. So this acrostic is for all of my readers to say thank you all so much, it’s called fittingly Autism, because of what’s coming next month.

Autism

-for my Fellow Spectrumites, on the eve of our month-

Awesomely unique in every way, we are strong

Underneath our flaws; cracks. Details don’t get

Through us, we notice what gets in; out; dealing

In hope, trusting ourselves in our path. Detractors

Smile evilly, wishing us ill, never knowing; seeing

Mighty superhero that dwells deep inside us all.

Secondly, this month that I’ve taken off social media has given me ideas of how many ideas I have for topics for the Superblog, so those should be upcoming in the next few days or weeks. I’ll definitely be using these topics to empower and let fellow Spectrumites know that they aren’t alone and to help them all….

Shine On!!

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Letters for Lent: A Prodigal Lesson

(Writer’s note: Please note that this post was written on Wednesday, February 20, before I practiced my Lenten observance, one of which is being absent on social media, but the message remains relevant)

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the story of the Prodigal Son? It’s one of the stories in The Bible that everyone’s heard of, either the story, the expression or both, it’s something we use to explain how someone returns to an old way of life after so long in a world of self-indulgence, of riches, a life that seems like worlds away from where a person left.

If not, here’s the Cliff notes version:

Two sons are working on their fathers farm, one wants to see the world and gets his share of his fathers inheritance and does just that. Both the money and experiences are fleeting and at the end of the day, a plight comes and next thing the son knows, he’s working and sleeping with pigs. He wants to return home as a servant but his father sees him from a long way off and throws his arms around him and gives the son a party that could rival anyone’s Sweet 16 Party.

The other son, seeing (and hearing of) the party in question is mad and tells his father what he’s done for him over the years. The father reassures him that he appreciates it but he’s also happy that the other son had returned, since he feared him as dead.

The rest of the story is up for interpretation and it’s better for that because it allows us to make us question what we would do in thier position, do we side with the Prodigal Son or the Other Son? If it were written today, the story would be hard to see, although The Basketball Diaries puts the story in as good a context as it can. If you saw your friend become an addict, what would you do, would you enable them or try to help them stop?That’s pretty deep and it shows how much God cares about us, as the Father in the story.

Recent events regarding a late friend of a friends family have made me feel like the second son, even when I’ve been on the other side of the fence, but in the grand scheme of things (as well as the point of the parable) is that we need to look at all of us as precious people in God’s Eyes.

Why, one may ask? It’s only because then we can all really see the beauty that’s in the world today, a world that’s kinder, more considerate and more capable of seeing us all…

Shine On!!!

The Riddle of the Social Rubix Cube..

No, this isn’t a mystery to most, but to my fellow Spectrumites, it’s something that should (needs, perhaps?) to be addressed. It can be as simple as checkers or complex like chess, but fellow Spectrumites seem to fail (or flounder) in the face of this aspect of life that seems “normal” to those around us.

That “game” that I’m referring to is the social game.

I’ve heard countless horror stories of how misunderstandings were done to make simple mistakes feel like cataclysmic failures. The feeling of failure gets so bad that some of these cases led to people, Spectrumites and Neurotypicals alike, take their lives at worst; at best they feel like nothing’s going right in their lives. It’s harder still when we don’t get the chance to explain our side of the story.

Hopes are dashed when words are rash, as the wounds we feel cut is to our core. For Spectrumites, trust is part of how we look at people, but it’s easily broken with misunderstandings. Without trust, we don’t know whom are friends are, but we do feel shy, awkward and betrayed in some cases.

What this post is all about is asking to give us a chance, to learn; to adapt to the social rubix cube, laying out the rules in such a way that we understand, give us a chance to recharge if we need to. Only then can we be proactive and productive members in our community, one that with us all working together in understanding and compassion to help us all…

Shine On!!!

Its True, It’s Extremely True!!

Whom do you know has a problem with pushing themselves beyond what you think you can handle? Whom do you know wants to give 100% (and sometimes even more?) to whatever they want in life, be it exercising, cooking, reading, watching TV, etc? I’ll be among the first to raise my hand on that, since I’m guilty of being in that situation. I have a tendency to push myself to extremes, just like Billy Joel’s classic song.

To them, including myself, I say to you this simple piece of advice: just relax and be yourself, but I guess I do so partly due to having to compensate for my autism, part of the mask I daily wear. The closest character that I feel a connection to on that front is Toph Bei Fong from Aang: The Last Airbender. Even thought she proves herself as a great Earthbender to Aang, Katara and Sokka, her parents only see her disability as a setback and have her only learning the basics, it feels condescending to her, especially considering what we learn about how she learned what she knows.

In my life, I have a tendency to notice things people might miss, like certain details, certain sounds that people might pass as normal that could lead to problems if not dealt with. I also have a keen eye for details. A trade off of that I know I need to work on time management, which I’m well aware of. That said, I’m willing to work on it and all my faults in order to be a better person in the long time.

It’s the same for all of us, I’m sure we all have things we need to work on,m; those faults that some might feel are annoying, weird or even odd. We don’t ask for much, though, all we ask is for accommodations for us, empathy for our quirks, compassion and understanding for us who need it in order for us all to grow, thrive and….

Shine On!!

18 Years ago, the World Changed

March 26, 2001, for Professional wrestling fans, it was considered a day of infamy, but one that we all knew was a formality, the day that the World Wrestling Federation (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment) bough chief rival promotion, World Championship Wrestling.

It was a monumental thing to think about during the Monday Night Wars, thinking that one promotion had to be victorious in the titanic struggle. Well, after six long years, the WWE finally bought WCW and it was a great day to be a wrestling fan.

Or so one could only hope.

Whereas they was competition back then, with the WWE going from family friendly to the iconic Attitude Era, with edgier content and making stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Rock and Mankind (or Mick Foley if you prefer.) WCW, in contrast, only made one star while building on the success of others, like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ric Flair and others.

ECW, a popular hardcore wrestling promotion that went into bankruptcy around the same time, had its homegrown stars, such as Tommy Dreamer, Mikey Whipwreck, the Sandman, Raven and Rob Van Dam. Whereas WCW’s booking and organization were micromanaged (creative control, ECW was much more liberal in their management

Since 2001, the game had changed in the wrestling world, for better or worse. While the Chris Benoit tragedy has had a ripple effect on it, there are times like recent wrestling events, especially the fact that women will main event Wrestlemania 35, (the first such an occurrence this will happen) makes the changes that have been made, the evolution the business has taken seem all the more worth it in the long term.

In closing, it’s wise to take notice that change can be a good thing or bad, depending on your own story, you can’t change the past, yet you can use the lessons to help you on your own journey, so you can grow and find a way, whatever that way is, to…

Shine On!!!

Letters for Lent: When Nuture and Nature Combine

(Writer’s note: Please note that this post was written on Wednesday, February 20, before I practiced my Lenten observance, one of which is being absent on social media, but the message remains relevant)

Have you ever felt like no matter what you do, how accomplished you feel, you feel unfulfilled at times? Like the only close friends you have are anxiety and depression, where being stagnant has become a way of life for you?

I know I sound like a Tom Papa skit from NPR’s radio program Live From Here, but here’s the point: I have. I’ve been there, before I moved into my current apartment, I felt unfulfilled, I felt lazy, I felt anxious and I deal with depression and I still do to this day. It feels natural to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re doing the right thing, even when all signs point that you’re right.

Here’s some good news I’ve learned in my life, in spite of all this: I’ve learned that we all grow differently, in different ways, but we all blossom at our own time. If you were to look at me now against who I was before the move, it’d be night and day, because I had to learn new things about myself. That’s not to say that it’ll be easy, as I’m sure it hasn’t been during the three weeks we’ve dealt with during Lent.

Each Lent is all about growth, not just personal growth as it’s been about spiritual growth. We’ve all given up something that we really felt like we couldn’t live without, but think about how far we’ve all come since Ash Wednesday, how much we’ve learned about our Faith and about ourselves.

It really can be a challenge to change; to evolve beyond our programming to use a line from Star Trek: Generations. But at times, it feels natural to change as we feel like Data perhaps, thinking about how we can proceed. The only way we can grow is to take stock of our lives and find out what we need to shed, what we need to do to become a better version of ourselves, the person God calls us to be. Only then can we thrive in times of trouble, grow in our Faith and really..,

Shine On!!

Poetry Packed Out: A Fitting Cinquain for the Season

I’ve felt it and I’m sure most of you have felt it as well, especially Catholics whom are going through the Lenten Season. It’s all around us, just waiting for us to let our guard down so we give into it. It lurks in the shadows just waiting for the right moment to pounce upon us.

We all feel it calling to us each and every day, addicts try to cope with this, some fail while others succeed. It can follow us throughout our lives, hoping to pop up like a jack in the box.

What is this hidden demon, you might inquire, well, it’s temptation. I know it’s hard to fight it, but without mentioning it, we all know that it’s around. The brutal truth that we all must face is that temptation won’t go away unless we confront it.

I’ll admit that, during this Lent, I’ve cheated and gone on social media because feeling disconnected, while it’s a good thing, can be very difficult to do when you’re involved in self advocacy, when news seems so readily available (even if it can seem to be slanted at times.)

That’s where this latest cinquain came from, the feeling of guilt, of shame, of being honest with myself, but it also came from the fact that I’m not alone in my struggles. That’s how it is with me as I’m sure it is with all of you, so without further ado, my cinquain called Temptation:

Temptation

Temptation 

Urges, instincts

Envelops, taunts, hopes

To cause us all to never know true 

Satisfaction. 

The thing we all need to know and understand is that we’re not alone in anything we deal with. Support, love and friendship is always there in your time of need. So, never be afraid to be open to help and support when you need it, you might find that strangers you might not have thought to talk to may become your closest friends in time. When it happens, success will come your way and hopefully you’ll be able to pay it forward and help communities and the world….

Shine On!!!

Finally, Spring has come back to Saugerties!!!

Before I get down to this post, I want to thank you all so much for reading my “then vs now” post I wrote on Monday, I’ve had a lot of feedback from it , all of it positive and one was negative, but despite that, it really let me know that you all, my readers, really that the post and the Super-blog are worthwhile, so I just needed to take some time to say Thank You All So Much for your support, your patronage, and your kind words. It means so much to me..

Besides that, I feel like celebrating, I feel like there’s an extra spring in my step, in more ways than one, I feel like the cold is only a distant memory, that the flowers are due to come in any day and all this because of the fact that Spring is officially here!!

Truth be told, I’m not exactly a fan of winter, I like it fine, but I’m not a fan of the season itself. I know I live in the Northeast, but every winter, I feel the need to brace for the storm. It’s just an impulse I have built into me, like many defense mechanisms, such as fight or flight. I guess that’s primarily why I like the first day of Spring, mostly because I know that pleasant temperatures are on the way. I know that those who deal with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, will join me in celebrating this joyous day, a link from the Mayo Clinic is here for more information:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

The symptoms are the that the person affected may be:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Having low energy

  • Having problems with sleeping

  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight

  • Feeling sluggish or agitated

  • Having difficulty concentrating

  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty

  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

In the case of winter, they can also feel like:

  • Oversleeping

  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates

  • Weight gain

  • Tiredness or low energy

I must stress that SAD is a real disorder which can be misunderstood as the “winter blues.” If that’s the case for you or not, just know that the feelings you’re experiencing now are, like winter itself, only temporary, look at this as a way to know you’re not alone and that together we can all really…

Shine On!!

Poetry Packed Out: Drawings in the Sand

Boundaries are never easy to set, especially when family is involved, it’s never easy with friends either, knowing that you need space to recharge, even if for a while. It’s been a lesson I’ve needed to learn in order to be of help to others as well as myself (maybe moreso for me.)

The thing is, I’m still learning that lesson.

Sometimes, we all need boundaries, invisible lines that those whom we trust can cross, our lives are all defined by lines, from traffic, property, waiting (in banks and grocery stores, for example) so lines can be both good and bad. It’s all about how we see lines and if we want to respect the job lines do for us.

With that being said, that was my mindset when I crafted the latest cinquain, called fittingly, Lines, something that can be used to show where we’re going in our lives, both on the road and in the direction we’re going in. So, without any further ado:

Lines

Lines, 

Connect, crosses, 

Our lives, streets, faces

From which we paint our inner beauty.

Direction.

I know it may seem like a short post, but imagine what chaos would ensue without the help of lines, for better or worst, lines can make a difference in both war and peace. That said, who’s to say that one can’t break lines and make dreams come true so that they can always feel like they can…

Shine On!!!

A Case of Now vs. Then: A Letter from Me Now to Me Then

I was inspired to write this “now vs. then” letter because of a recent speech of someone I consider my best friend, writer and author, Jesse Saperstein, so this blog post is going on be my “now vs. then” letter to myself in the past written from me now. Another thing that I remember as the inspiration for this was seeing WWE Superstars looking at pictures of them then vs whom they are now, so without further ado, my “now vs. then” letter:

Dear Me,

I know that life seems so rosy now that you’re in high school, it feels surreal almost, but there will be times where you’ll be tested, tempted, bullied and mocked for the person you’ll become. But you’ll come out of this so much better in the long run.

First things first, keep your faith, it’s seems silly to say now but I’m learning things about my faith I wished I’d learned before. Things like the Saints, the sacraments, you have a great heritage as a Catholic that you shouldn’t take for granted. Learn about them now before new things, new temptations happen that will frustrate you.

Secondly, seek the new but be true to you. Don’t lose the person you are now, with all your quirks, your talents, your love of game shows (that last one is something you shouldn’t want to lose, trust me, you’ll thank me later.) That said, you should always seek to be open to new things that can improve you to better a better you. Artists change, that’s true, but they always are true to themselves even as they change.

Thirdly, save some money now so you won’t be strapped later on, I know you things things will be better in the future, but don’t bet on it; take your future in your own hands. You may need to work to do so, but you’ll be better for it in more ways than one. Don’t fly too much on borrowed wings, or you might fall like Icarus.

Fourthly, learn to stand up for yourself. It’ll be hard, I know, since you’re used for others fighting your battles for you (and with you.) That said, imagine it was a four-on-one situation at Survivor Series, eventually, you’ll have to fight for who you are and it won’t be easy. Just know that your defeats (and you will have defeats in your life) will make your victories sweeter, with so many friends cheering you on, like the Defino’s, whom I know you admire, I still do to this day and our bond, much like your family and friends, will be strengthened because of both your victories and defeats. You’ll become a better person and a better leader in time because of it.

Finally, try reading the classics, keep reading and not just the books you know a lot about, maybe delve into some philosophy, since it teaches you to question everything about everyone. It gives you the ability to think critically for yourself which if you don’t learn now, you’ll regret it later. You end up doubting yourself and second guessing your actions, your gut reactions. Treasure your Local Library (and Libraries in general, you make a lot of great friends in Libraries, trust me.) They might even help you achieve your dream of being a writer, which will come true with patience and hard work.

Hopefully, Future Me, you’ll take my advice to heart and never give up being your wonderful, kind and handsome self. Forgive others, laugh, learn and be patient to others. I’ll end with a Star Trek character’s wise words,

Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man, let history make its own judgments.

Zefram Cochrane, Star Trek: First Contact

Let others judge you but please be kind to yourself, that way you can see the stars twinkle as they always do, as soon as they always…

Shine On!!!