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Showing posts from 2017

Why are you so scared of everyone?

Dearest readers,
Today I will open with a short and honest phrase: people scare me. Okay, maybe that sounds a bit strong but it is after much reflection that I say this. I know it is irrational. I know that everyone isn't going to be angry and shout and tell me off like a child. I know that not a bad person and I know I don't mistakes constantly. But this is what I see and increasingly how I have felt and also a reflection that this actually underpins quite a bit of how I make sense of some things. 
I think part of the reason why people scare me is because people confuse me. I find people's intentions confuse me, people confuse me as I take them at face value and what they present to me at that time. I often find from the confusion I sometimes misread or come to the "incorrect" conclusion (or more to the point, I interpret in the way that was not intended). This doesn't always happen, but enough for me to notice and take note of. One conclusion I often come …

Church and worship - questions we need to contemplate

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Dearest readers, 
This is a short one for me to throw some questions around. I have started reading (Dietrich) Bonhoeffer's biography as of yesterday, mainly to see the impact that Luther had in the theology in Germany at the time Bonhoeffer was growing up and knowing Luther's attitude and beliefs towards disability (very negative is an understatement): I wanted to know more and was intrigued. As I started to read, some of the very same questions Bonhoeffer asked in regards to church and the church in Germany struck me - have we asked ourselves them, and have we ever considered them from the perspective of disability? I know the majority of people have not, so wanted to ponder them here and now. Here are the two big ones I noticed:
What is church? We all know church is not a building nor an institution, rather a body of people. Rather, what do we do to make this body of people accessible? Tough question, I'll let you ponder it for a while. Please do, it is a question we do…

Representation: the real us

Dearest readers,

-- Edit -- this week I was reminded how important it is that we embrace the real diversity that exists and that we do not make assumptions on or about people. These assumptions can be both ways I find and also I have found how dangerous they are and how they can wound. We are not less, nor are we more. Not making assumptions challenges us as humans, yet this is a necessary challenge.-- 
I hope this finds you well and you are enjoying September. I have to admit it is a great relief that I no longer have to go back to school. I had the same fear and anxiety on the first day of secondary school through to the last day of sixth form: it never left. Rather September is the start of the academic year for university students. Reflecting back on the 'transitions' post I made about a year back, I have been able to update it fresh for this year and give it a sparkly new powerpoint too. 
This is an extension of one of the topics I spoke briefly on the radio on the 3rd Se…

Cities, planes, trains: all about energy

Dearest readers, 
As I sit down today to catch up on some titles that I have stored in my drafts - I came across this one. Suggested by my friend Abby, it also links to a book another fellow autistic woman has written (Sandra Beadle-Ellis). I am yet to read or get a copy of her work, it is very coincidental that this topic crops up the same time as her book comes out. I guess in a highly interconnected society that the likelihood we will be travelling much increases, whether it be for holidays, work, meetings or social occasions. Although the distance in terms of accessibility to some places have decreased, it might be interesting to ponder on the amount of energy needed to get from one place to another. And I don't mean kilowatts/hour or our carbon footprint here. 
As humans, we also have energy within us. Some autistic people like the idea of a battery, others use the metaphor of spoons which originally was created for lupus. Others may struggle with the abstract nature of this…

Thought for the Day

Dearest readers No doubt you've been relinked by me to read this. Underneath is my thought for the day for 3.9.17. The Square Pegs film I talk about is linked here. I am in no way affiliated with Square Pegs, but was very much touched by this and this helped inspire and give the final "push" to this piece.
tc -krysiawally
Thank you Mike and thank you for asking me to do thought for the day today! I’m used to talking for much longer so I hope I can keep to time. While I was considering what to talk about, yesterday I was at the Tizard Centre yearly conference in Canterbury and the short film ‘Square Pegs: This is me’ was shown. It is a short film exploring young people’s stories and experience of difference and ended with a song. One lyric of the song stood out to me: I’m different and I’m perfect - and it clicked, not only what I wanted to share but also into some of the other thoughts I have recently had and shared on my autism blog, which is funnily enough 1 year old toda…

The value of listening

Dearest readers, 
I hope this finds you well - it's been a while since I've posted. I've added a fair few titles and inspirations to my list on my drafts however haven't actually sat down and developed any of these ideas further than a title. I seem to go through phases like that from time to time: I often find inspiration comes all at once after a spell with hardly or no inspiration and struggling to know what to discuss or write. Also being the perfectionist I am, I also don't like to write something that I would consider to be complete slapdash (although I'm sure enough of my undergraduate essays were um... interesting! Especially some of the French ones I really didn't want to do.) 
After having been at a conference for my academic school today and having taken notes in all of the sessions, there was one comment that has stuck with me all day and is worthy of noting. 
"In the UK, we measure documents not the voices of people with disabilities"…

Dear younger self..

Dearest readers,

After powering through 7 transcripts over the last week (I will get them done before term starts, even better if done sooner). I thought I'd reward this massive movement in work getting shifted, aided somewhat by a deadline, through a therapeutic blog. This title came to me about a week ago, when I was working on my university's clearing hotline over lunch. I want to tell myself, and let you walk alongside with me while I do so, many things I wish my younger self had known. As I have grown older, I have grown into who I am - I was never very good at "teenagering" or "young adulting" in the typical manner - well I only have a month of that left anyway and my young person's rail card expired in April (and I have no idea who to talk to at uni about getting a new one, as now I'm no longer "young" they need to authorise it with stamps or what not... too much hassle when I normally drive everywhere now). Age is merely a concept …

How to welcome someone like Christ - an #actuallyautistic perspective

Hello dearest readers, 
Here is something close to my heart and that I wish to share: how I find church. I have been quite open with my church in talking about some of the challenges I face currently and in the past. In fact I would go as far as saying church is one of the few places that does cause me issues and can trigger me, which is completely against the welcome that is supposed to be felt, given that church is supposed to be welcoming, loving and open to all. It has taken a while to build up to this and the last thing I want to be seen to be doing is criticising people, because that is just not what I'm out to do. Rather, show an autistic perspective on my experience of church and consider what we could be doing to extend the love and welcome that Jesus had for all to all. For after all, isn't church for everyone? 
As someone who does have social anxiety, it took me many years to walk into the open doors of the church alone. This sounds very odd for someone who appears…

What I wish you knew

Hello dearest readers,
So said title is quite self-explanatory really. What I wish you knew. I think as humans we throw around a lot of assumptions and we think we know a lot in comparison to what we actually know about people, irrelevant of our status, life experience, diagnoses (or lack of), possessions, etc. These all help us and guide us in our assumptions and inferences. Some information is hard to access, so an inference us our best guess and sometimes more ethical to consider what might be going on behind the scenes rather than base things on objectivity. However, it can also be dangerous in some cases to assume your own perspective and to imprint this upon someone else. Here I will reflect on a few things that maybe we all ought to consider:
My emotions are not your emotions Just because we have the concepts of 'happy', 'sad', etc does not mean we all experience them in the same manner and with the variables equating to the same emotions. It also means when we …

Happy 1st birthday: Attentiveness to Autism

Dearest readers, 
Happy 8th August - it has been one year since my minister and I embarked on a journey that neither of us expected: from how large this had grown, the need that I never expected would want to be fed (this grew out of a moan from me) and how many opportunities would come out of this. I had never planned to be running and teaching workshops, being a rotational panellist on the radio or writing a blog, let alone even running a service - organising from scratch and introducing everyone on stage - and being on the Methodist additional needs round table! This all erupted from one fly by comment I made on a photo on Facebook. Such great things I find happen rather coincidently and without me sitting down and doing a five-year plan (I don't even see the point in doing one to be honest). I find God tends to work with the unexpected so keeping an open mind is always beneficial, I mean, when I chose to follow God I didn't say fit in with my rules and pre-set plans. The …

Open to the community?

Dearest readers,

I hope this post finds you well and well rested after the weekend. I've had this title sat in my drafts for the last month now as I keep getting other more pressing ideas to write about. My best friend works in a library and from what I understand, some libraries are looking into what they can do to have their spaces more accessible, not just in terms of ramps and physical adjustments but also other things which are not automatically thought of as an 'accessibility issue'. I also know my local group of libraries are also looking at a similar thing. With all the cuts that libraries are under and continuing to face it is admirable that they are not resting on their laurels and are continuing to find ways to improve access to services and a love of reading and books to the community. I've not always enjoyed reading, but I did always used to enjoy visiting my local library when I was much younger to get books out and even now I enjoy visiting to use the lo…

Why we need to speak up as Christians

Dearest readers, 
I came across this small piece of the Bible shared as an image on my time line by a local Methodist preacher I am connected with on Facebook and it got me thinking again. 
'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy' Proverbs 31, 8-9
Being the overdriven person that I am that never switches off from work, this jumped out at me in terms of autism (which of course it would). I'm often on the hunt for things like this, small challenges to Christians and church bodies. I find some of the best challenges are not always aggressive or forceful, but from a fresh perspective that takes one back to reflect and think how this may be applicable. There is a time and place for both. I don't like shouting really anyway, it doesn't suit me (as I frequently get told) and certainly not in the church environment. 
Back to point in case above, this stru…

My hidden army

Dearest readers, 
I hope this post finds you well. Having now finished my final piece of coursework for year 1 of my MA (only need to submit hard copy and online) I treated myself to attending a conference at a university in London. The topic was autism and ageing - really relevant for one of the taught modules for next year but also highly under researched with increasing importance. I had only knowledge from my own experience as an autistic person so was looking forward to seeing what research has been carried out to date, what new paths are opening up and what needs to be done. I am also getting used to going to conferences so as to build confidence for the future with potential networking. 
One outcome that was discussed was that of some individuals (myself included in this) having a 'hidden army' supporting us to manage holding everything together - from things including washing and bills to things like problem solving. I am going to blog about my 'hidden army' i…

Equally treasured: story of the autistic loving God

Dearest readers,
I'm going to start a bit differently today. While clearing some papers up in nt room yesterday, I fell across some notes I had made for the youth group when I did an experiential session with them - bringing them into an equal, but different reality I habit in. I had also looked up and sourced some bible verses to give the presentation a Christian grounding. This one jumped out at me:
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer make it female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Think it's from Galations - currently on my phone and on a roll so will check later. This jumped out at me for a few reasons. Firstly I don't feel I fit in anywhere at the moment. I've always done my own thing and I've never been one to be part of a tribe or heard. For me, personal reflection is vital. There is only one person I am accountable to (that being God) so I've gone from being an awkward inept youngster to someone wh…

Tied up in knots

Dearest readers, 
I hope this finds you well. I have been very busy this week helping team lead a study over the weekend (finished 9 pm last night) as well as working on my case study and research project for my degree and dealing with a very exhausting scenario on social media which has continued to leave me drained today still. People are so draining and social media is just literally a quagmire of opportunities for misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions. Some may say 'look only at my words', however I must add in, even in my experience as an autistic person, I am very sensitive and do read into things. People confuse me, irrelevant of my diagnosis, and this is all people, including autistic people. It has always frustrated me that I can't give people an HDMI cable and they can't just plug it into my head and I can't plug something into their head. Context is so important - not just body language BUT ALSO background, what has lead up to these things, each …