How many of us, Spectrumites and otherwise, have been mistreated so much that forgiving seems to be a hard (impossible?) thing to do, especially for things that were really out of our control?
(Writer’s note: Please note that this post was written on Monday, February 18, 2019, before I practiced my Lenten observance, one of which is being absent on social media, but the message remains relevant)
Well, the time of repentance and self denial is finally here, it’s the Lenten Season in the Roman Catholic community. I’ve been planning this for a while now and I think I have a plan to share the Lenten message with all of my readers.
Each week during Lent, I’m going to focus on the themes of Lent, pinpointing on the questions that drive us on this journey and specifically, why these things are important to us all.
To all of my friends that may see people with ashes on their heads, I ask you not to tease them, for they are showing their humility outwardly, suffering on the inside by denying themselves what they consider routine any other time, they may be struggling to keep their resolutions, as I am today.
The struggle is real, but the good thing of the struggle and sacrifice is that there is hope and that hope comes from our faith in God. For all the ridicule, for all the bad times in our lives, for all the times where things don’t go the way we hope it will, our faith can help us deal with it and light our way. Even in our darkest times, always know that hope shines brightest in the darkest times.
I know it was the case for me, when my parents went through a divorce, when I lost my late mentor Larry (whom I’ve mentioned I’m the Superblog) and when opportunities seemed bleak for me, my friends drew me to know God and be close to my faith and made me realize that my life means something.
That, in a nutshell, is what Lent is all about, taking stock of what you have in your life and what we need to work on, realizing where you need to get rid of in your life and what to improve on. So, this Lent, don’t let yourself get discouraged and let your faith and your life…
I was going to write a short post, commenting on the fact that Ash Wednesday, and thus Lent, will be starting up tomorrow (the first Letters For Lent of 2020 will be up tomorrow, so I hope you, my readers, enjoy both that and this year’s series) but I read something that I just needed to comment on.
Not so much comment on, but rather a confession: I’ve been dealing with a lot of self-hate. Here’s the link where I got the inspiration: https://www.wikihow.com/Accept-Your-Autism
We’ve all had those experiences, right? That nagging feeling that the things that we do just aren’t enough, who we are won’t be good enough. I can say personally that, even with all the positive support that I have in my community, it’s hard for me to see me as others see me simply because being autistic in a neurotypical world can be outright exhausting.
Dealing with it for so long can be harmful to us, simply because of the self-hate we deal with, mostly due to the fact that we mask our true selves in order to fit in. I think of it as being a real life superhero, we hide who we are to those in public, but those who know us know the real us, the person behind the mask.
One of the things I plan to do for Lent is something I’ve never really done before: give myself a break, be kind to myself. Giving up social media and soda are things that I’ve done before (and, by the way, I plan to do those again) but I think that giving myself a break and being kind to myself may be a game changer this Lent, maybe doing a short self afirmations either here or in my personal space.
But this is something that I want to do, something I need to do, for myself if nothing else; I can only hope that others will see this and learn from my example this Lent.
Please wish me luck and, as always…
As we’re coming into August, there’s always been a local event that I make a point to make time and see in support of those like myself. You see, you may have guessed that I’m a poet, which is a part of the written (and spoken) arts. For as long as I an remember, I’ve always thought of myself as creative, but it wasn’t until the death of my paternal grandfather that I read his poems for the first time and he was a very good writer and someone I wish I knew sooner before his passing.
Then again, I guess, looking back, that I do know him from my own work.
I started writing poetry in high school, around 1998; got published into the school paper and was regarded by my schoolmates as a gifted and creative person and I wanted to think that publishing my poetry would be the next step. But I see now that I was foolish, not in my passion, but I know that I had a long way to go, a lot to learn before going that route.
That’s where my friend, Larry, comes into play, after graduating high school, my parents knew that college was the next logical step, one that my brothers went into, so it seemed only right for me to follow in thier footsteps and I’m glad that I did because I got to see more than I would’ve otherwise, it made me open up to a new world, new experiences and a new way to see it. Larry, more than anyone, was a friendly face in a new setting that was (I admit) very intimidating. In him, I saw a fellow poet, someone I could learn from and he from me after I disclosed to him about my having autism, I guess he looked at me as a kindred spirit as his sons were on the Spectrum as well and perhaps he saw something in me he wanted for them in the future.
From that seed he planted in me came a lifelong appreciation for the arts in general as well as a respect and admiration for librarians. Some of the people he knew and worked with are also great friends of mine as they welcomed me into thier family, a touching sentiment was when they wrote supprtive messages on a whiteboard near the window of the Library acriss from where the graduating ceremony I was in several years later on would be. I always felt that it was a fitting sendoff for them to give me, as one of thier family and I’ll hold and cherish that memory for the rest of my life.
From that time on until his passing from ALS, Larry made it a point of inviting me to see different aspects of the arts, but due to transportation issues I had at the time, always left the invite open, if I could, great, if not, then that was ok as well. He even introdruced to me great artists from the area that I consider gems in the community: Carol Zaloom, Mik Horowitz, Gilles Malkine to name only a few, many of whom will be featured later this month at the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour, which I highly recommend all my readers to see at http://saugertiesarttour.org/. It really is something to see, something different but also refreshing at the same time. But isn’t that the way art always is, right? Without art, without life, without that spark of creativity, I (and all of us) wouldn’t light our darkness and might not find a way to…
As I watch The President of The United States have a conference regarding his Impeachment acquittal, I’m reminded once again about how much power can corrupt anyone and everyone.
It’s probably the reason why I don’t talk about politics much, because it’s a pit full of vipers. That said, it is a necessary evil to deal with, especially now in everyday life.
But it’s also reminded me what’s needed in our society in general: the virtue of humility. Being proud of one’s accomplishments is one thing, but there’s something cleansing about having humility. It makes things seem more genuine, both the good as well as the bad. It makes power seem like a blessing because it will be used wisely, used to help others, not just a select few.
I’ve been told by my local self advocacy group that I’d be a great President, especially since I’ve already proven to be a leader. That said, I am very well aware of what can happen if power goes to one’s head, proven by the example of Mr. Pumpkin Head (fans of Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle I’m sure will get that reference!)
As for myself, I like to lead by example, don’t tell others what they did wrong, show them, but be open to others opinions. Communication is critical in this case, as frustrations could boil over if not explained. Better for things to be explained as they come, as it could distract from action, real action.
I’m very sorry to have turned this into a political post (especially since I’m not well versed in politics, personally) but this was something that I felt needed to be said, it also highlights the subject of humility.
Notice how I puffed myself up and talking about my leadership style; realize that as much as it can happen to those in power, it can easily happen to any of us, unless we stay humble.
I’m reminded of Star Trek character Zefram Cochrane’s quote in Star Trek: First Contact:
Don’t try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgements.
Wise words for us all, I feel, especially when it comes to humility, as your personality and your values tend to shine more than your accomplishments. It’s hard to do, but know that it can be done, as people like St. Teresa of Calcutta, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and St. John Paul II have proven over the years. Only then can we make ourselves great, really succeed and help others to…