Throwback Thursday: For A Shining Mentor

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!!!

(Writer’s Note: It’s people like Dr. Temple Grandin that make me try to be a better person, who want me to help others like me, who aren’t as lucky. I only hope to do as good as she is, but until then, I’ll push forward and I’ll do as I always do and that’s….

 

Shine On!!!)

Poetry Packed Out: A Curious Challenge

Dear readers, I must make a confession to you all. Initially, I wrote this poem because of the inner turmoil that I was dealing with when it came to my personal issues. It was honestly the only thing that came to my mind, if for no other reason, to help me deal with the pressure, the uncertainty that I was dealing with.

That said, I wrote this before the coronavirus chaos started and that brought it all home for me. My inner problems don’t seem as important right at the moment, not in the face that others are suffering and dying because of the current coronavirus chaos that’s all around us.

I feel like this acrostic, while at first, I write for personal needs, fits also for us all, especially for those of us who want answers, who want solutions, much like Jon Taffer on Bar Rescue.

The problem with that is that there are no easy solutions, no quick answers to solve this, so much do that we must feel like we’re in a maze, hence the following acrostic:

Maze

Multi layered labyrinth comes with questions,

Answers only coming from within, tears flow as

Zero mercy is shown. Relief comes only when challenges

End, the constant strain becoming too much.

Just know that you’re not alone in your struggles, know that there are better days ahead, stay strong and, as always…

Shine On!!

A Book that Bridges One to Another!!

When a sports team wins a major championship, it’s seen as a phenomenal achievement, shown by the trials and tribulations that team has gone through to get them to that victory.

The feeling that they’ve accomplished what many thought was impossible sweeps over them, making them overcome with elation.

I know that sounds odd, but that victorious feeling cane over me as Through Autistic Eyes came into existence, a journey that was full of growth, full of patience and full of worry. To give context to my journey, Through Autistic Eyes was ten years in the making. If you take that into consideration, then you can understand how much Through Autistic Eyes being published made me feel victorious.

It’s been an incredible journey, but to those that wonder if I was through with writing poetry, well my answer is not by a long shot.

I’m overwhelmed with joy to say that my second book is getting worked on, as we speak. I’m very happy about this, as you, my readers, might imagine that I am. The new book will be called Spectral Journeyman and it’ll have all new poems inside, ones that show how much my poetry game has evolved over the years.

I’ll let you, dear readers, know when and where you can get it when it comes closer to coming to fruition but suffice it to say, it’s an exciting time!!

So for now, be au-some to each other and, as always…

Shine On!!

I Just Need Some….Affirmation

As you all are aware of, my readers, I’ve been struggling with my narcissistic tendencies, which I’ve mentioned recently on The SuperBlog. I’ve been wrestling with this conundrum even since, how do I say that I’m a good person, even as I have flaws?

The simple answer is to admit that I’m imperfect, that I can make mistakes, that I’m a work in progress, always.

That said, knowing it is one thing , but believing it is another thing all together. I’ve always felt that I am a good person, but my fault was that I always put up the facade that I was put together. I felt like Shiba Takeru from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, (just one of the long standing Super Sentai series) after his facade has faded into something different. I won’t spoil it for those who don’t know, but suffice it to say, it’s a major change in his life, being shown as a Japanese Lord, with vassals to help him, only for it to come crashing down.

That’s how I feel now that I’m trying to rebuild myself after dealing with my facade fading away. It’s a hard pill to swallow and there are times when I think that I’m a failure.

Then, I think of what I’ve done in my life, those things that really matter to me:

  • A Published Poet
  • A College Graduate
  • The last Board Member of my local Autism Society Chapter
  • A volunteer for The ARC Mid Hudson
  • Someone who can drive
    Someone who has maintained a job for 16 Years

And this are just some of the things that I noted about myself!

That’s really remarkable for an autistic person like myself, especially that last one, since people like me are either underemployed or unemployed.

All that said, I do need to look at things I need to change, like the fact that I’m a very emotional and sensitive person, that I say that I’m sorry for things when I don’t need to say it and that I have a very nasty habit of passing blame to others. That’s just to name a few, but suffice it to say that, I’m not perfect, not by a long shot.

Knowing oneself is one thing, but affirming the person you are, with your accomplishments, your strengths and your flaws can mean just as much, if not more, to yourself and those you meet.

So, this is my affirmation, that I’m autistic, I’m imperfect, that I’m proud of who I am and that I can change if given the opportunity, as we all do. Don’t be afraid to affirm the person you are, look deep inside yourself and get to know the person you are, flaws and all. Be brave, be yourself and, as always…

Shine On!!!

#Throwback Thursday: Poetry Packed Out: Learning to Forgive and Forget (Again)

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?

All I can say is that it does happen but I try to show mercy by forgiving the person, in the model of St. Faustina, I’ve been recently reading her Diary (Divine Mercy in My Soul, for those interested) and the common theme of the Diary, in her life, was that no matter what she suffered, she always was merciful to others and to God.

It was in that spirit that I composed “Mercy“, a poem that shows us that giving mercy, while not always the easiest choice, can be the most settling, one where both feel as if both have a clean conscience. I share this poem in the hopes that we might be merciful to others as we are to ourselves, so without further ado:

Mercy

-Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

St. Matthew 5:7

I.

It is easy-

too easy

blaming others,

make them suffer

for mistakes,

no reason why

‘just because’,

their simple reply.

The hallways

echo the silent refrain,

“Conform is the norm.”

II.

A

child

sits alone

at a table

left with only

their thoughts,

imperfections,

humiliations,

as friends.

A stranger

new to the area

asks to sit near him

they chat for a while-

he finds out her name is Mary-

she related to her new friend’s

troubles;

she’s been there before

says something profound

to comfort him.

“To show mercy,

to forgive those who have

wronged you;

to worry;

care for those

who couldn’t care less,

more precious than gold.”

In short,

to forgive

both them

and yourself;

to show mercy

simply said

is divine.”

Give thanks always, be merciful as much as you can and never let things cause you to not…

Shine on!!!

Don’t be Afraid to Break

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had to think about something my therapist felt that I was, she told me that she believed that I have narcissistic tendencies, all stemming from my ability to mask who I really am, am autistic person who just happens to have it all together.

Or, so it would seem. I never meant for it to turn up as it did, but still the fact that I couldn’t shake what she said really bugged me, then as now.

The thing is, after doing a lot of soul searching and talking with people who know me, I newer really let myself feel like what I was doing was ever good enough. I always felt that, no matter how good I was, no matter how great the accomplishments were (and still are), I never felt that it was good enough. From my cousins, my family or my friends, I always felt that what I did, or whom I was, was never good enough. I’m sure that most Spectrumites feel the same way, that nuerotypicals rule the world and we just live in it, or more like conform to their world. It feels like a bad dream that you just can’t shake off.

But in my case, I have to say that’s all on me.

I just shrugged it off, I didn’t think it was too big of a deal, that it was just something I could deal with on my own, even as it caused my mask to rent more space inside myself.

It’s so easy to lash out at those who try to help, since they aren’t in your shoes. Believe me, I’ve done it many times, especially to those including my therapist who were trying to help.

That said, though, these setbacks can be difficult discouraging, so I’m not going to say that you should be strong since I know firsthand how challenging it will be. So I’m going to say that sometimes, it’s quite all right for your mask you break, to have it crack a little.

All that matters in the long run, though, is how you can make it work to your advantage and learn from it in the long run. I won’t say that it’ll be easy (it hasn’t been easy for me) but all you can do is hope know that the discomfort is temporary.

So, know you’re not alone and know that it’s all right for you to crack once in a while, because only then can you learn and be a better person, one who’s willing to adapt and help others…

Shine On!!!

#Throwback Thursday: Another introduction!!

(Writers note: This #Throwback Thursday blog post was written before I came up with the “Shine On” Ending that I’m known for, at this point, I was still finding my voice of the SuperBlog.

I’m honestly still finding it all out myself. It helps that I’ve gotten all of you as my readers and friends. So I want to thank you for your support, then and now.

I hope you know that this message still stands and I hope I’m doing my best to help you all find some hope and, as always….

Shine On!! Enjoy!!)

Greetings!! This is Brian…

When I mentioned to my friends that I’d be starting up this blog, I asked for advice because I honestly didn’t know what to say or what to do. For the first time in my life, the words, “I have nothing to write” came into my mind, creeping into my confidence and causing doubt to come forth. To an aspiring writer, those words can be disabling, moreso when you are me, a published poet that has autism. I like to be an optimist even in the most daunting circumstances.
You might have read that I have autism, and you didn’t misread that. Autism has so many connotations, from the 1988 movie Rain Man to today’s role model in Dr. Temple Grandin, to society, we are either geniuses or we aren’t. Well, to me, autism is a different way of looking at the world in which we live, one made more vibrant because of whom we are.

Autism means inspiration, just hearing parents look at me and say that I’m an inspiration to them at my job as a maintenance person means so much to me. Autism also can mean detail-orientated small things people may overlook or not think important but no one thinks of a small thing being major until it’s too late. Autism can also mean strength because of one Spectrumite can show people the kind qualities they themselves posses, even those not known to themselves.

It’s due to the encouragement and support of my community of friends and family that has been with me for a long time that I’m doing this blog, to share support to others, to be that inspiration to others, to share my expertise to those asking questions. I’m told by one friend that my openness is my greatest quality. To coin Jim Cramer from Mad Money, “if I can help one person….then I’ve done good” so consider this my hand in friendship and support to all of you because I feel as it together, we can all change the world for the better.

Humility: The Great Equalizer!

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…

Shine On!!

Switch: Triggered!!

Well, it’s that month again!!

February 1st, the start of a month where, granted, good things happen to people, but it just serves as a reminder to people like me what’s missing in their lives: romance, having a companion, knowing that love is there.

I’ve gotten better, slowly but surely, about being good to myself and loving myself for whom I am, yet the trigger is still there and it’s hard to ignore. I know that love does exist, but it seems like a long time ago and the pain of having that feeling seemingly ripped away without notice just makes it harder for me to deal with.

My friend, fellow Spectrumite and author, Jesse Saperstein, is a firm believer in not letting go, but instead employs incremental backing off, as a way to not seem so weird from blasts from the past where misunderstandings can fester into unhealed wounds. In all honesty, I’m inclined to believe him on that, since life can work in really weird ways.

I have been implementing his backing off strategy and it has worked wonders for me, but I know that the trigger is there. For those who deal with their own triggers, just know that you’re not alone; that your voice, your feelings and your concerns matter, for you and your others.

Just know that, as hard as those triggers may be, that support and love is there for you if you need it. May you take the help when it becomes available, because by understanding, by talking about it, can we be better and ultimately…

Shine On!!!

Poetry Packed Out: #TaketheMaskOff

My therapist recently told me that I needed to drop the facade I’ve had throughout my life, which is easier said than done, especially since it’s something that I’ve learned to do over time.

I do understand why she feels like I put the facade up, but, in my defense, I don’t do so thinking that I’m trying to be better than others. I chalk it up to my parents, they always (at least to me) put up the feeling that everything was all right, even when it wasn’t. That said, I couldn’t tell the difference but my Mom always pushed through it as best as she could.

But it’s been hard for me to pull myself away from that facade, mostly since it’s all I’ve known.

All the time, all everyone sees is a successful Autistic person, who has a car, a college degree, a job with supportive family and friends, but very few people know of the struggles, the disappointments, the sacrifices or the journey I had to take to get there, hence where this acrostic came from.

I want to give people hope, but I also want to be honest with the journey I took to get here, I don’t want to lie to anyone, much less myself. It’s hard to do, though, when you don’t know anything other than the facade. With that said, I present yo you the acrostic that is more than meets the eye:

Iceberg

Instant fame; success hides behind journey;

Cold; harsh winter brings forth Springs fortune.

Even as people ask for advice, an ear to hear

Behind the scenes, all he craves for is rest if

Even a moment. The need, want to break vicious

Recurring theme seeping into his core, slowing

Grating in him, nudging him to find a way to act.

I can’t tell you in all honesty how to live your life or how to help you, dear reader, how to take your mask off. I’m honestly figuring out that myself, but I can tell you that you can embrace the wonderful person you are, even with your flaws.

You’ll discover people, friends and family, who will love you and embrace you for all you are. But you need to be open with them, that’s the first step for you to be open with others, so they know that you’re genuine. When you can be open, you’ll find your purpose, your real friends and most importantly, you’ll be able to reach out, help others, and truly….

Shine On!!’