Never Alone: You’re Au-Some!!

I know I haven’t written much about autism lately (and for that, I’m sorry) but I’ve been saving the best of autism empowerment for the last day in April.

So I just want my fellow Spectrumites know that you matter, whom you are, what you want to be, your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations, your flaws and your strengths matter.

I know that our life isn’t easy, what with social rules, misunderstandings and just bad cards that are given to us, but know that you’re not alone, no matter how isolated you might feel at times. Being autistic is a hard life to live, as is true with all of life, really, but know that you are important, to yourself if nothing else, but also to your friends and family (biological and those who look at you as family.)

Hold true to who you are, the beautiful, unique, talented person you are deep inside. Never give up on yourself and know that things can (and will) get better, all with support, understanding and time. Only then can you find peace and with that, the confidence and strength that can help you and all of us….

Shine On!!

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Poetry Packed Out: An Honest Confession

Watching Unplanned made me realize that it’s one thing to hear about abortion, to only hear of the repercussions of what it does to a person, a family and a community. To see disturbing (I need to be honest, graphic) images that show you the impact is another thing all together. When abortions happen, it leaves scars that don’t really heal, it leaves families broken, as well as trust shattered, taking time (years, perhaps) to fully heal.

It’s the same thing when it comes to being abused, I’m sure we all have been abused in one way or another, be it verbal, physical, sexual, the questions; the pain that comes from dealing with it is brutal. All the doubts, all the questions (some of which are left unanswered) all the put downs people endure (some of them to extremes.) Most of all, it leaves trust, confidence and self esteem shattered like a broken window.

I wouldn’t be speaking about this if I haven’t gone through it myself, for the longest time, I was verbally abused by people I feel were close to me, yes I’ve forgiven them for their words, but it takes time and distance to really piece things back together, which is where this acrostic came from, which builds on both the abuser and the person who has been abused, so with that said, here’s my acrostic:

Abuse

Anarchy on human physche, parasites prowl
Bruising  others, by any means, to build fragile egos.
Under the faults blind only to them.
Strength abounds from deep inside; friends, family uniting
Ever willing to build those wounded with love; kindness.

Just know that if you’re abused, know that you’re not alone in your suffering, there is hope, there is solace in talking about it to those you care about because they care about you and your well being. With hope, time, support and some soul searching, you can transform yourself into the person you want to be, willing and able to be free from the shackles of the past so you can help others in your shoes…

Shine On!!!

Throwback Thursday: #ShiningontheSpectrum- Dr. Temple Grandin

(Writers note: This was written before Dr. Grandin thanks to my cousin Tara, got a hold of my book “Through Autistic Eyes”, so this April, I felt it only apropos to re-post my earlier post in The Superblog’s life, for Dr. Grandin)

As a Spectrumite growing up, I always felt like I needed to blaze my her experiences as a Spectrumite on the second morning. On the evening that she arrived, unbeknownst to me, she was asked to take a picture with me, which was a huge honor for me on a personal level; so huge that own path in life; all this with the support of my friends and family. During that time, even with all that support being there for me, the question that always surrounded me, then as now, was what I wanted to be growing up. A long time ago, I had made my decision that one way or another, I wanted to be a published poet.

I had my flashes of brilliance inside magazines like Chronogram and in the Hudson Valley poetry scene and to know if fame or recognition would ever be in my cards. It wasn’t so much the work I put into my poetry was even included (as noted by my earlier blog post) inside Riverine from Codhill Press. Still, I wanted; needed, but the waiting game that was getting to me, even as I knew one day my patience would pay off..at least one day.

Nevertheless, my desire to know if my autism was a good thing always drove me to wonder at times, it was my late friend Larry that introduced me to someone that had a birthday recently, one who was like me; yet different, she was a successful Spectrumite; one whose name was well known in the autism community. She was (and still is) a pioneer in the cattle industry at Colorado State University. She was someone who had beaten what doctors, specialists and her own critics (who felt her odd and should be institionalized, as the film based on her life can share, expertly done by Claire Danes) had considered a formality at that time: that her autism would hinder her more than help her.

But her autism, much like mine, has helped so many parents, fellow Spectrumites (myself included) and so many professionals see autism in a new and exciting way. She, like me, is a visual thinker; someone who may catch things that neurotypicals may miss or not seem important. Her attention to detail was another point that I see in my life as well. Sometimes I’ll find some flaws and can’t call a poem or task finished until I leave no doubt in my mind that the job is the best I know it can be.

I saw her twice in my life, but it was the second time when I was at SUNY Ulster that I’ll always remember, she spoke about livestock one night as well as I really had no words for it, all I could think of was how thankful I was, not only to her, but to Larry as well, for being the one who suggested I looked her up and read her books. But this is my way of wishing Dr. Temple Grandin a wonderful birthday and to thank her for being an inspiration to all Spectrumites around the world!!!

The Peril with Power

Power doesn’t mean that one is the best, since that strength always comes with a price.

Power isn’t measured by what one does with it, it’s measured instead by how one controls it.

Power can be put on a pedestal, but that’s not to say that it’s totally perfect.

Power comes and goes as it will, but its effects are felt beyond we will possibly imagine.

Power isn’t wielded without possibilities, but can inflict consequences with our choices.

So, you might be asking, why am I going on about power? Well, the reason is that having power can do as much harm as it can do good. Dealing with toxic people can be just as harmful, one where even saints can be pushed to the brink of no return.

I can say that from personal experience, I’ve been on the powerless side of the tracks so I’ve felt the abuse of people who were drunk with power and the corruption from it. The good thing about this is that I’ve been able to discover, through both time and good friends, how to use power responsibly, how to use my talents wisely, never to boast, but to lift others up. Experience helped me learn and it can do the same for you as well.

  1. Recognize the Signs: Know if you feel like your rights or your feelings aren’t being validated. If others feel the same as you, chances are that changes or confrontation might be in order.
  2. Know Thyself: Realize that you are important, that your life; your dreams and your hopes matter, to yourself if nothing else. Be realistic in what you have to accomplish your dreams, but know that you can make your dreams come true.
  3. Dream BIG: Don’t rest on your past results, hone your skills, expand your craft beyond what you know.

Know also that you’re not alone, there are people who want you to succeed, but there are people who will scoff you for your dreams; the decisions you make. Let both be the energy to validate the supporters and quiet the detractors so that you and your dreams can be used to lift people up but help you…

Shine On!!

Letters For Lent: Celebrating through Suffering

Well, here we are, Easter Sunday!!

I hope you were able to grow during this Lenten Season because I know that I have grown since I made my Lenten Practices on Ash Wednesday!!

Not to say that they were easy to do, even as I type, I’m on social media even as I tried to keep off until today. Honestly, the keeping off chocolate and soda was the easiest thing to do, but again, it wasn’t easy to do at times.

My prayer life was also checkered, I had planned to pray the Rosary but it was a tough thing to do, but I am planning to keep at it even in the Easter Season and all year round. My faith, on the other hand, grew by leaps and bounds, especially after reading Divine Mercy in my Soul by St. Faustina and reading books by Matthew Kelly, all of which I highly recommend. The biggest thing that I got out of the Lenten Season was that I was able to find out and be logged into Formed.org, whose information about the Roman Catholic faith is extensive to say the least, something I’d highly recommend to any of my readers.

There were two things I did that I’m very proud of and those things helped me realized how important it is for me to learn about my faith. I watched the movies Unplanned and Passion of the Christ. Both are jarring reminders about how we suffer in life, but they are also examples of how God loves us, even at our worst.

My Parish Priest always quotes a Saint when he says that “Saints are sinners who kept trying.” During this Lent, it’s something I’ve always kept in the back of my mind; to encourage me when things got rough; no one had it tougher than Jesus. Sure we may fail, slip up, fall into bad habits, but the Easter message tells us that it’s okay to do that, since God has a plan for us, for me, for you, even for His Son, whose Resurrection we celebrate today.

As the Son shines, may we always find a way to preserve and..,

Shine On!! Happy Easter!!

 

King James the Gambler!!

So a well known game show and a poker player walk into a bar (or library, if you prefer) what would you think would be the end result?

Apparently, based on the most recent games on Jeopardy!, the poker player wins and does so in such a way that, as a long time game show fan, I’ve not seen since Ken Jennings from 2004. Folks, he’s being mentioned in such a way that harkens back to the late Charles Van Doren, Thom McKee, Michael Larson, Brad Rutter, Eddie Timanus alongside Ken Jennings, he’s been just that good.

The most recent person I’d put on that Mount Rushmore of Game Show Legends would be the gambler James Holzhauer, whose story is summed up in the following link: https://www.jeopardy.com/jbuzz/streaker-updates/james-holzhauer-super-streaker. To date, he is now a 12 day Jeopardy! Champion whom has earned him $851,926 with an average of $70,000 plus, compared to Ken Jennings, it’s unreal to think that James has earned double what Ken did in his first run, as the follwing link will show: https://thejeopardyfan.com/2019/04/james-holzhauer-ken-jennings-comparison.html. Jennings himself has said in a WIRED interview (the link for said interview is here:https://www.wired.com/story/ken-jennings-james-holzhauer-jeopardy/) for of James’ gameplay that:

Like, I thought I had seen everything on Jeopardy!. And this is something I would have thought was just impossible, these numbers. Statistically1, he’s playing at as high a level as anyone who’s ever played the game. And then he’s got these incredibly confident wagers. He’s maximizing money. He can make two or three times what any other player ever has with that same level of play, which again is top-shelf. He’s as good as anybody.

He’s even rooting for him to try to break his 74 game winning streak saying, in the same interview:

So I’m very excited. As a fan of the show, I’m actually rooting for James or anybody who can take a swing at that record. It’s bizarre to me that it’s still a one-off.

As a long time game show fan, I have to say that I’m excited for James and hope he can break records (more so than he’s done already.) But in the back of my mind, I can’t help but wonder who, if anyone, can seem to defeat him. Brad Rutter had one in Watson, as did Ken Jennings, but he had a human defeat him (Nancy Zerg) as well. Everyone has a flaw, an Achilles Heel, that leads to their downfall, but until then I’ll enjoy watching the show, as I always do, so knowledge and players can be known and both can help us…

Shine On!!

Letters for Lent: Passing the Torch from Old to the New

I’d like to start off this Letters for Lent with a bit of a riddle for you: What’s something that we all have in common? We all have needs, wants and hopes for our collective future. The problem with that is that, if the media and politics have shown us in recent times, we only focus on the differences rather than those things which unite us. One of the needs that we discuss constantly is the need to be free, which is the focus of both Good Friday as well as Passover.

By His death on The Cross, Jesus set us all free, just as He did when He led Moses out of Egypt and let them to a journey to the Promised Land. I’m sure that’s what we all want in life: to be free, free of worry, free of temptation, free of illnesses, free of the chains that bind us to our past.

Think of getting your first car after getting your license, or moving out for the first time, or traveling abroad to a foreign country. There’s a feeling of shock, alarm and hesitation, but after that shock wears off, there’s that sense of liberation, of excitement, of awe and wonder, the want, the need to expand your horizons beyond what you thought was possible. Freedom is the very reason that various organizations exist in the first place, with the United Nations and Doctors without Borders just being two of them.

Freedom is what we all need in life, it’s what countries strive for and fight for, well, God had a hand in that as well, as He did with Moses, He did with His Son, Jesus, and He continutes to work in our lives as well. So, don’t give up hope, don’t lose faith, and as always…

Shine On!!! God Bless You all!!!

Throwback Thursday to a Great Anniversary!!!

(Throwback Thursday to this repost from 2 years ago tomorrow, the numbers have changed but the message still remains the same, don’t give up hope and….

Shine On!!! )

 

Hi, guys and gals!!  It’s Brian, here again speaking to you all from the final frontier on the eve of an important event in my life. I’ve been at my job in an upstate Supermarket for 14 years, while that may not seem like a great accomplishment, when I read the tragic tales of fellow Spectrumites who’ve given up on the work force or find it difficult, along with the fact that 80-85% are underemployed, it makes the celebration even more sweeter.

To that end, I’ve been thinking of things that I’ve learned in keeping my job and I could boil it down to three important things:

  1. Let your personality shine: For all the stigma we as Spectrumites recieve about being savants and all that, I think that it’s important to let who we are as people shine, the fact that most focus on details, take pride in our work, are loyal and punctual should be enough to ensure that our talents will excuse our faults.
  2. Disclose only when neccesary: As my dear friend and fellow Spectrumite, Jesse Saperstein mentions in page 165 of his awesome second book (which I highly recommend) that disclosing is a tightrope act: “When do you disclose and whom do you want to tell?” That’s a very good question and, while the choice is ultimatly yours to make, consider this also, what can be considered a challenge to do might be the best choice for those around you. My supervisor has told me that by disclosing to her, she’s able to see the best in me both now and for her grandson in the future. Others who know me call me an inspiration for keeping my job. The point is simply this, disclosing now can help piece together ways to tackle problems that come up in the future.
  3. Relax and do the job well: It’s not easy to relax while on the job, it sounds like an oxymoron, but when I statred out, I used to hyperventilate if I didn’t get everything done in the afforded time, but I needed to remind myself that stress (getting overwhelmed, for example) can kill a person if they fail to relax at least once in a while. If you can relax, then you feel like you can do the job you know how to do really well, filling you with pride in a job well done.

Again, it’s not easy to do this, but I can only hope that I’ve helped in some small way guide you to success in the future, good luck!!!

Poetry Packed Out: A Flame of Hope For Paris…

The minute I saw the tragic news that Notre Dame was burning, my thoughts and prayers went to the people of Paris, a city known for overcoming darkness, striving for excellence, but most important of all, being a city where art can florish and thrive no matter what obstacles are in thier way.

I’ve only seen Paris in movies and TV shows, but from that I’ve known how much Paris and the French in general are proud of thier art, thier culture and thier contributions to society. Maybe that colors my insight a bit, and if it does, I’m sorry, but I wanted to convey that pride into this latest poem, one which I took up from my dear late College mentor, who never went to Paris, but who wrote about it as if he did, as I do now, especially for the people of Paris, who need encouragement, as we all do, in times of suffering and sadness. I only hope that this does that in this poem, so without further ado:

 

4.16.2019

By Brian Liston

-for the Memory of the Late Larry Berk and for the people of Paris-

Charley walks
his usual routine-
spots dark clouds
an ominious sign-
follows the trail,
sees crowds
in horror; tears-
he feels them himself.
Sunny sky turns somber
as he dips into cafe
while disbelief
pervades the air.

Art saves, he always said-
Paris treasures sacred jewels,
protects them at all cost
from nature, human vanity.
She knows all are precious-
as Charley does now-
he buys coffee for strangers,
knowing they need it.

News floods in,
Charley, still in shock,
tries to honor the sacrifice
Art, light, kindness-
hallmarks his home
has shared in years past
all as Parisians still do
many times before.

 

To the people who are mourning in Paris and for Paris, just know that you’re not alone in your suffering and sadness, we are all here for you to help you and Paris will….

 

Shine On!!!

Letters for Lent: The Passion

(Writer’s note: Please note that this post was written on Thursday, February 21, before I practiced my Lenten observance, one of which is being absent on social media, but the message remains relevant)

At long last, we’re at the home stretch as it come to Lent!!

I’ve been trying not to use references in The Bible during these Letters for Lent in order to give those who don’t know about the season a reason to celebrate with those who do. Now is the time where I need to do so, if only to give context to the celebration of Easter: The Passion of The Lord. All the trust, all the forgiveness, all the things we’ve been talking about this Lent all come to a head this week, the beginning of Holy Week.

And it’s all about God’s Will for His Son to redeem the world, and what He did for us all by doing so. Even at the Crucifixion, Jesus could have taken the burden off of Him, but He chose not to, determined to carry His Cross (literally and figuratively) to the end.

It’s a lesson we need to learn in our own lives, to carry the burdens we have, all the while knowing that we aren’t alone in our sufferings, that He has our back every step of our journey.

That’s what Lent is all about in the long run, how much we need God, to take spiritual stock of our lives and, if used well, it can be time well spent, learning new things about the Faith and also helps us weed out what dim our light. Only by taking this tome out of our lives and use what we learn ti better ourselves will we be truly ourselves and able to…

Shine On!! God Bless You all this week!!