Why I support Charlton Athletic

Charlton Athletic

I like to propose a toast with my glass of J2O to my team, Charlton Athletic Football Club, who were founded 110 years ago on this very day.

When it comes to answering questions you would think that my most asked question would revolve around my autism and how I cope, etc, etc. However, my most asked question, since I was young has actually been, “why do you support Charlton?”

People are often baffled by the fact that I support Charlton, as I live in the North of England and Charlton is a London based club.

As it’s one of my most asked questions I will take this opportunity to explain why I support them. =)

*

I started off as a Manchester United supporter. My reason for supporting Man Utd is rather silly but true. Back then, my Dad had big curly hair, the exact replica of Bryan May. I thought wild bushy hair was masculine and cool. At that time I came across a player called Karel Poborsky, he’s a Czech Republican international who played for Manchester United. It was at that moment that I became a Man Utd supporter… all because of Karel Poborsky and his hair. XD

Inevitably, I stopped supporting the Red Devils as soon as Poborsky left them. Haha.

For a good while I never had an interest in any particular club but one name did stand out, “Charlton Athletic.” I first learned that name in my brother’s Subbuteo set. For some reason, I was really taken by that name. I remember seeing them on the Gillette Soccer Saturday updates when they lost to Ipswich and I was surprisingly disappointed. I didn’t know how but I memorised the badge, the name, and the kit colour.

The Play-Offs Semi-Finals were on and Charlton managed to win their match and progressed to the Play-Offs Final. I found myself beaming that they won their match, but it never really registered why. All of my strange feelings and affection towards Charlton came to fruition when they played against Sunderland in the Play-Offs Final 1998.

During that match I found myself cheering for Charlton all the way. I would cry and run upstairs to my room every time Sunderland scored and would run back down if Charlton equalised. I cheered for Charlton much louder than I ever did for Man Utd. They were genuine and honest cheers too. I cheered loudest when Sasa Ilic saved that Penalty from that Penalty Shoot-out.

It was at that moment that I realised that I was a Charlton supporter.

*

I suppose I haven’t really answered my own question. Why do I support Charlton? I’m not sure why, I just do. However, when I had my epiphany and discovered the Charlton fan in myself I learned that my Mum supported Charlton, my Uncle supported Charlton and my Granddad supported Charlton. So, if I were to give an answer I would say that it’s in the family blood. =)

One of the best moments of my life did involve Charlton Athletic as I was actually their mascot in one of their away games. Their company as a whole is friendly and I can vouch for their greatness as I have been involved with their players and staff personally, if only for a brief spell. I was slightly gutted that I never got to meet Alan Curbishley and Clive Mendonca, but I was still pleased that I got to meet all the players and staff like Chrissy Powell, Keith Peacock and Mark Kinsella.

Being a Charlton mascot was definitely a supreme moment and it’s a moment that will never go away. =D

THANKS FOR READING

Super Clive Mendonca Day

There’s no doubt in my mind that I will still get asked this question time and time again, but I don’t mind as the answer is daft but humorous. =)

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Three)

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On this very day, at this very time, exactly four years ago, I self-starred in the auto-bio play “Ryan’s World.”

If you fancy reading the other parts, you can see the links underneath.^^/

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-one/ 

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-two/

  1. DECISION

Choosing the right songs and implementing them into the show was tricky. However, Mr P and Mum suggested certain songs for me to use.

For the intro, and the audience coming in and settle their bums to the floor, I opted to use Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful.” We all thought that this would be an ideal way to start the performance as that song is about individuality and self-confidence. For good measure I added a picture of me when I was 5 holding a Thomas the Tank Engine train. Whilst I was incredibly embarrassed I wanted to give everyone an idea what I looked like when I was young. That and I think it adds to the realism of the performance.

I was behind the stage of the intro and the first video scene. Nerves started to grow up inside me, but I felt myself getting into the moment of my youth. The first video scene is the doctor diagnosing my condition and explained to my Mum (the character) what to expect of me in the future. It would be highly unlikely that I would ever come out of my own bubble. Listening to this really helped me to get into the moment as it set as a reminder of what I was like when I was young.

  1. SCENES YOUNGER THAN TEN

I walked into the open space and parked myself on the outer edge of the gazebo. I used the gazebo for the purpose of holding up the screen which showed the videos. I was very conscious that I was going to knock the whole thing down so I took great care not to bump into it. Haha.

These few scenes were all about me when I was a toddler. The video showed scenes whilst I held up phrases on the cards to show what I was thinking at that time. I couldn’t explain myself at that time but I was aware what was happening. I held up a cue card that said “I know you’re talking about me, I’m not stupid.” I also held up a few sad faces to show the audience that I was feeling sad in certain moments.

On stage I kept my face and body language neutral to reinforce how I would have been feeling at the time. However, I did feel trickles of tears running down my face. “That’s not supposed to happen,” I thought. That was the first time ever that I genuinely cried during a performance. I cringed every time I heard myself scream or cry out. It felt like a stab in the heart. I wanted to hide my face behind the big cards as I didn’t really want the audience to see tears running down my face. Haha. I spontaneously took a few deep breaths to regain my composure.

I did receive a few laughs when I got kissed with a lipstick in the video and when I showed my sad face for the first time. I think everyone laughed at first probably because they thought the face was drawn in a funny way. I put up a smiling face when the lady at the school residential read me a Thomas story.

I think the audience were very touched by this. I even added the song “Thomas, You’re the Leader.” I felt this was very appropriate as I was trying to tell the audience that Thomas was my saviour in many unhappy moments.

Eventually, I went off stage, gearing myself up to reappear in a certain scene.

  1. SCENES OLDER THAN TEN

On the video it showed the actual footage of me being the mascot for Charlton Athletic when they played Bolton in 2000.

I came onto the stage feeling excited as I gained confidence and started to understand the surroundings outside my bubble.

I spoke only basic words at that time. In hindsight I wonder if I should have spoken in a monotone voice because I used to be expressionless with my words. However, in the live performance I was representing my thoughts. So I figured it would be appropriate to speak with emotion.

The most important scene involves the Football School. I was pretty nervous about this. It was important to get this right. We filmed the parts where all the lads were making fun of me and showed a huge lack of understanding. The coach was no different. I was too meek and polite to not stick up for myself as I didn’t want to “upset” anyone. It went to the point where I started to get changed in front of the other lads, something which I was very uncomfortable with.

On the video I actually did get changed but my back was to the audience so only my back was visible. Haha. That was another big moment as I don’t like getting changed in front of other people. I think if the scene wasn’t so serious the audience would have had a good chuckle at this.

The video was pretty emotional as I kept on making mistakes and kept on being the victim of “being different.” I tried to be strong and be tough but I kept on making mistakes, especially when I missed the penalty and ran the full length of the pitch to score an own goal… My spirit eventually wavered and I broke down in the middle of the pitch, all alone… On cue- Girls Aloud’s cover of “I’ll Stand by You,” plays as the video zooms out and fades.

This was definitely challenging to perform on film. I was caught up in the emotion of that part of my life. The Football scene and hanging out with “normal people” was the main reason why I started to become insecure about being Autistic. Was it ok to be different? I made my feelings known at that very moment how I felt about the world.

“I hate normal people. I hate special needs… and I hate myself.”

And it was at that very moment that I started to become insecure about myself. I had a long string that kept me from the audience. When my confidence grew, I’d pull the string back, allowing the audience nearer. If my confidence was knocked, I would push the string back and push the audience away. The strings were held up by three stools. When I said “I hate special needs…” I started to push the stools back.

However, I managed to compose myself enough not to charge into Mr Ian who was right behind the stool that I was pushing. This was quite reassuring as I’ve never felt this emotional during a performance. It showed me that even though I was in the zone I was still aware of my surroundings. That was quite a proud moment. =)

  1. INDIVIDUALITY

From that moment on I tried to fight for individuality and to be accepted for whom I was and I tried this tactic in different situations. I bought a Thomas DVD at school but my teacher disapproved as she thought that it was “too childish” and so she took it back. Why wasn’t I allowed to express the things I like? Why couldn’t I get the things I like? What was wrong with being myself?

  1. REACHING COLLEGE

I had the option of attending two different colleges. One was my local college and the other was the college that I eventually went to. I was very determined not to go to this certain college as I knew that I would have to start in the Supported Learning Department. I really, really didn’t want that to happen.

I expressed my anger and stubbornness thoughts to the audience. Was it fate that I would never progress? On the video it showed the letter that I would be in the SLD department. It also said in the letter how it would have been “too much for me” to be in the actual Performing Arts course with the “normal” mainstream students.

It turns out that college has treated me very kindly and the SLD department was actually a good stepping stone for me to study and perform with the “normal” mainstream students. I went from expressing my anger on stage feeling to expressing my pride and happiness.

  1. I AM RYAN

On film, I spoke about the overview of my time on the course. I learned that my biggest achievement from this University Course wasn’t the high marks on paper. It was learning how to be myself. In those last couple of months I completely let myself go and allowed everyone to get to know the real me and who I really was.

I’m not Autistic, I’m Ryan who just so happens to have Autism.

Being Ryan was my identity. After this revelation I stopped acting at this point and I was genuinely myself. It was definitely natural as I completely forgot my line at that moment. Haha!

I changed clothes into a more casual outfit, cut the tap and invited the audience into “my space”. This was to signify that I now felt more comfortable with how I was. I personally am not comfortable with physical contact but it’s my way of letting everyone know that I’m opening myself up to them.

At this moment I walked out of the room and the video of me, wearing the same casual outfit, came up. This was the scene where I said my “THANKYOUS” to all my friends, colleagues and tutors for treating me kindly for all these years. I would be too embarrassed to say it to their faces so I coped out and made them watch the video instead. Haha. Ironically, this was actually the very first thing that I and Mr P did, shooting this video of “THANKYOUS.”

In this video I played the soundtrack “The Island Song” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” These songs are very poignant to me as I used to severely dislike music. However, these were the very first songs that I liked and they were the platform for me to open myself up to all kinds of music. Now, whilst I still don’t like noise, I can handle music better and I’m very open-minded about it. Once again, Thomas the Tank Engine helped as The Island Song was actually a soundtrack from Thomas the Tank Engine. Haha.

  1. POST SHOW

I came out and took a bow. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the loud clapping and I literally couldn’t look at any of them in the face. After the bow I ran as fast as I could so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I was a little caught up in the moment. Well, that’s a fib. I was VERY caught up in the moment. Haha.

I actually get very embarrassed when I’m the centre of attention or if everyone is looking at me, which is among the reasons why I ran off. If I had spoken to people straightaway I probably would have been too caught up and cried and I really didn’t want that to happen.

After calming down I spoke with my friends one by one and had a good chin-wag with all of them. It was a strange moment as I was talking with them as if I had never performed the piece. It felt natural, very natural. I really did like that feeling and it was at that moment that I realised that all my Uni friends were actually my friends.

By revealing my autism to everyone has turned out to be one of the best moments in my life. I can now say that I have autism without feeling ashamed or insecure.

THANKS FOR READING

Thomas and Gordon 2

Since this day, four years ago, life has been great and for the first time I felt free of doubt. I have never looked back… and I never will.

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Two)

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  1. DECISION

Right! I’m now going to do this Autobio play starring as myself, but… what on earth do I do? How do I execute this piece? How do I act it? How do I direct it? What parts of my life are most significant and what might people be interested in? Do I do live or film or a mixture of both?

I discussed the key parts of my life with my co-director Mr P as well as my family. After much discussion we decided that my life before Uni was the way to go. Obviously, people at Uni only knew me as I was then. They had no idea about my life prior to the Uni course.

At that point I had a rough idea how I was going to perform this piece. I decided to make this mostly live theatre but to include multimedia and film. I felt that I could express my thoughts live but portray certain aspects on film. To me that was the most practical and sensible solution. Realistically speaking, I don’t think there was any way I could have done it. Mr Ian came up with great artistic ideas but I needed to do what I was comfortable with. Well… everything I was doing at that point was far from comfortable! Haha.

I decided what scenes I was going to film, what characters to use and who I would ask to play those parts.

With the cast chosen I then had to think about which scenes I would film and which I would perform live.

  1. OVER-ACTING

In the first two weeks I did find it difficult to play my character. I learned that I kept holding back when I was rehearsing so I decided to stop rehearsing altogether, choosing to act and improvise when I was being filmed.

I did this one scene where I was playing with my biro trains and Thomas trains where I would scream and get upset if my brother tried to join in the fun. I think I was ok but I wasn’t natural… I was extremely uncomfortable and I think because of this I started to over-act. It’s not easy when you’re 22 and you’re trying to act as you did when you were 4.

Acting as my younger self playing with my trains was probably the most difficult part of the whole performance. The scene wasn’t really done right. I couldn’t rehearse it as it was a challenge to keep it up. If I was going to do this then I had to do it in one take. My family members watched my scene back and they felt that I wasn’t being natural either. They watched me grow up so they could remember how I acted and behaved.

With much reluctance but being sensible, I decided that I should do this scene again, but in a more natural setting…I chose to do this, for the second time, at my sister’s house.

  1. EPIPHANY

There was a period where my confidence was low. I did start to doubt myself and my capabilities of being able to pull this off. Could I do it? I needed an inspiration from somewhere…

My university is actually based in a college. The correct term of studying that I did was Foundation Degree. Basically, you do two years of university work at a college but you do the final third year at an actual university. The third year is only optional though. I decided to take a look at my local university, with the thought of carrying on the third year, to obtain my full degree. It sounded ideal to me at that time. So, I went along to the open day and spoke to one of the course tutors with my Mum. We explained to her about my individual needs and what my strengths and needs were.

Her reaction to everything that we said was quite peculiar. She pulled a lot of funny faces and she especially made a quirky face when I said that I don’t understand generalisation. From that moment she started to discourage me from the course as she didn’t think I could handle it. There were going to be many social gatherings and she didn’t think that I could adapt enough to meet the course requirements. I was rather speechless at that moment…

I was a bit shocked on how quickly she discouraged me, and even went so far to suggest a writing course as no social interaction was required. Haha… I decided from that moment that I was not going to go on that course as the tutor didn’t seem open-minded and she did not understand people like me. Even if I did join the course I think I would have dropped out because of her. I was unimpressed with her attitude, and to be honest, I was unimpressed with the SLD facilities that that particular university had to offer.

After I spoke about my thoughts to my family and I had the chance for all this to sink in…a fire started to ignite in my stomach. I started to get annoyed that someone would pre-judge me and my capabilities without even getting the time to know me first. There have been people in my life who have doubted my capabilities, and I was always determined to prove those people wrong.

The only people who doubted me were the people who did not know me. They just judged my capabilities through papers, reports and assessments and probably what they’ve researched about autism on the internet. I wasn’t going to let anyone doubt me ever again. I was going to prove to everyone that I shouldn’t limit my capabilities just because of pre-judgement. I especially was going to prove to everyone and to myself that I shouldn’t limit my capabilities just because I’m Autistic.

I was angry. I was determined. I was motivated.

This was the answer. This was the epiphany that I was looking for. The confidence that I had lost came back and it was stronger than ever before.

And now, back to the Performance.

  1. NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE

I asked the National Certificate group to paint me a wall of a mountain that represents my personal journey. Me and Mr P went to their class and explained what we were looking for. At that moment Mrs V turned to me and said, “Are you going to tell everyone about you?” and I was like “oh my…”

I was so focus on proving a point to my doubters and to myself that I completely forgot that I was going to share with everyone about my Autism. Was this going to be a first time? Initially, I was very hesitant. I’ve never openly told this side of me to anyone, only a close group of people. I knew the National Certificates by their faces but I didn’t know any of them personally. How would they react? I took a deep breath and said, “I am autistic.”

I got a positive response. I was asked a lot of questions regarding Autism and how I cope with autism. It really warmed my heart and boosted my confidence. I even got a round of applauds.

It boosted my morale even more and for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid to say that I have autism. I became much more open about myself and I generally became chattier with people who I didn’t know very well, which used to be an enormous challenge for me.

  1. FILMING THE SCENES

What was initially daunting turned out to be a lot of fun.

The football guys were wonderful to work with. I explained to them what my condition was and how I cope with it. Coincidentally, they were doing a course about bullying so I was actually called into that class to talk about being different. I never thought I would speak about my autism in front a bunch of strangers! And like the National Certificates, I got a positive response.

The football students acted out their parts very well but I must say that Chris, the tutor, was particularly outstanding. His sister has learning difficulties so I think he was able to relate to my problems to some degree.

I decided to include some of my family/family friends in certain film scenes. They were fun to work with.

The scene I did with Nat and Mr Andy was not very loud on film so I went to Mr M, who is a record producer that I know and a good friend. He had a studio so offered to help with the sound on the film. He was kind enough to help me out so I went over to his house and did the over dubbing. What should have taken a few hours took all night. We worked on it from 4 O’clock in the afternoon until 5 O’clock in the morning! It took me 58 goes to get the speech pattern right! Haha! We experienced all kinds of emotions that night but it was definitely an amazing night and one of the best that I’ve experienced. =)

  1. SHOW TIME

There was a lot that I wanted to talk about as this had been a really good experience. I had a lot of fun with many people during the filming. I decided to only talk about significant parts of the rehearsals and filming and how I over-came problems.

Next time, I will share my thoughts with you about going into the performance, during the performance, and after the performance.

Show time!

Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary Volume One Review

Dr Hitomi Monster Informary Volume one cover

  1. SYNOPSIS

The school nurse, Dr Hitomi, is a cyclops that welcomes you to her monster infirmary any time of the day. If you have a health problem or going through adolescence, Dr Hitomi will offer a gentle and logic solution to the student in need.

  1. THEME
  • Comedy
  • School
  • Supernatural
  • Seinen[1]
  1. REVIEW

WARNING: I MAY GIVE SPOILERS AWAY

This manga raised my spirits.

What I gathered by reading this is that there are a number of students and general people in this story that have a problem with self-confidence. Whilst this story is somewhat set in a fantasy, since it involves a bunch of fantasy type characters, it deals with real life problems as well. We usually worry about ourselves and self-image when we’re growing up, mostly in school and college.

We create these worries through self-doubt and over-thinking. We grow up in different ways, we act in different ways, we think in different ways. I think the main focus of this story is individuality and acceptance.

There is no one better to reassure the self-doubting students then Dr Hitomi. She is a wonderful person. She might be the school’s nurse but she heals more than just cuts and bruises. She helps her students overcome their own problems. All the students have unique monster-esque features as well, so self-acceptance does come slowly for each character.

I think Hitomi does a great job making her students feel better and it isn’t because she’s perfect, it’s because she goes through her own problems as well. She cares about her students deeply, and they appreciate her kindness and sensitive nature. I nearly said it’s because she’s human like everyone else, but I’m not sure if a human actually exists in the story, haha. Sometimes Dr Hitomi needs reassurance herself even if she is the best at reassuring and helping others. It is human nature. Saying the word “human” is probably not appropriate but there’s no other way for me to describe it. Haha.

She’s really cute as well. She might be a cyclops but I think her glossy eye is gorgeous. It’s also hard to not smile at her innocent nature, especially when she begs her dad for ice cream. I didn’t expect her Dad to be a bear, I actually thought that was her date. Haha. Who would have thought?

  1. CONCLUSION

One Thumb’s-Up.^^/ (My Rating System)

Thumbs-Up

THANKS FOR READING

Dr Hitomi and Manako

I think this is a rather cool picture between Dr Hitomi and Manako from Monster Musume. It’s a crossover that I highly approve of. I definitely approve of this monster girl niche. =)

Oh, by the way, this is my 100th blog post. I was aware that my 100th post was just around the corner so I was planning to post a review of No Game No Life anime or High School DxD volume four. However, this defeats the object of doing things in the ‘moment’. And as I’ve already written this blog, I decided to post it here and now. And I will continue to do this. =)

Thanks for reading. =)
Sayonara.^^/

Ryan.

[1] The target audience of this manga is towards an older gentleman with the age range from 18 to 30.

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part One)

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It’s show blog time!^^/

  1. INTRODUCTION

This blog is all about a play I wrote and starred in. This play is about my life when I was small. I showed everyone what it’s like to live with Autism and explained how I saw the world from my point of view. However, before I talk about the performance itself I feel that it’s necessary to dig further into the past. By doing so, it will explain a lot of things and my past going into the performance. It won’t take long. I promise. =)

  1. BEING DIAGNOSED / NOT SPEAKING

I was diagnosed with Autism around the age of 2, when I was attending nursery education unit. It was usual for children to attend the nursery for one year. However, since I was part of the special needs area I stayed there for 2 years. The doctor who diagnosed me with Autism said that I my quality of life will probably never improve. I will never look anyone in the eye, I will never engage in a conversation and I will more or less be trapped in my own world. For a few years, he was right…

When I turned 5 I started to attend a SEN school. It was literally just up the road from my old nursery, so that was a bit of good fortune.

In my school days, especially when I was younger, I was extremely quiet. Because I was quiet and was unable to communicate, the teachers found it hard to understand me. Not necessarily because to be mean, more likely through lack of knowledge/experience. They would often talk about me and my “problems” in front of me, assuming that I didn’t know what they were talking about. However, I could usually read the situation by their facial expression and tone of their voice.

The majority of my school life was frustration. The frustration of not being able to talk. I think I was probably capable of speaking but I didn’t know how to. I think my subconscious held me back from speaking and interacting with others. I was able to string sentences together when I was 10 or 11. Before then I just spoke words every once in a while. I even started to open up my bubble a little bit. I somewhat started to understand how the wide world works.

Being able to speak was good and it did feel like a massive personal achievement. However, since I started to speak, it did cause some troubles every now and again. I could speak, but I didn’t realise the words that came out of my mouth. From a teacher’s point of view, whatever I said, I must mean. I have said a lot of rude things that I didn’t realise were rude or inappropriate. I never meant to be rude or upset anyone so it was a big deal if I did this. This is where the frustration came in. The teachers took what I said at face value. If I said it, I meant it. I could never explain my words or what I meant. So, I had to end up apologising even if it was all a misunderstanding. Situations like this knocked my confidence completely and discouraged me from talking.

That was all just one part of the problem.

  1. QUESTIONING MYSELF

I went to the Bobby Charlton’s School of Excellence that one time, and I must say that it wasn’t a happy experience. It was the first time that I interacted with people who were “mainstream” i.e., secondary school students. Out of everyone in the local area I was the only “special needs” student that attended the whole programme. It was a big problem for me. As I was the only “special needs” student attending, there was a lack of understanding, I feel, for people like me. It seemed that the coaches in general were more used to secondary students rather than special needs students and so they didn’t really bear this in mind. The secondary students were not very understanding towards me either. They often whispered about me under their breath and called me “weird”, even when they were right next to me.

By lunch time I really wanted to go home. However, my pride kind of kept me there. In my eyes I refused to be defeated even if I did feel everyone there was against me. I strived to be as good as they were. That special needs students like myself could cope on the same stage as them. My hopes were dashed when I scored an own goal…

We all laugh about it now, especially me. However, it was a very humiliating experience at that time. It was also from that minute on that I started to question myself as a human being. Why was I being treated that way? Was it because I made that mistake? Was it because I was weird? Was it because that I had “special needs”? I started to dislike being in an SEN school, I started to dislike the mainstream people and I started to dislike myself. Why was I born like this? Why couldn’t I’ve been “normal?” I saw everyone who went to mainstream school as “normal” and myself as not normal. Haha.

  1. COLLEGE SUMMARY

I left my school when I was 18.

I went to a college that specifically catered to people with “special needs”. It went under the title of Supported Learning Department. I severely disliked being part of that department. I was determined not to go to that college because I didn’t want to go to that department. Haha. However, my local college didn’t offer the support that I needed. I was then offered a place at a different college which had an SLD department. I attended the SLD department for one year. I was lacking a lot of confidence and spent the rest of my experience being reserved.

However, I attended a Mainstream programme on a part-time basis, within the same college. It was the Performing Arts class. I felt happy yet very anxious. Was history going to repeat itself? Is this a chance for me to “redeem” myself? My thoughts were very conflicting and it was a constant battle with my own thoughts. In the end, I decided to be quiet and neutral when I attended these classes. If I didn’t say anything, then I wouldn’t get on the wrong side of anyone. I promised myself to not tell anyone about my Autism. I maintained that persona for most of my college life, even later when I started to attend that Mainstream programme full time.

  1. OPENING UP

Things got easier when I started University, which was based at that same college. Usually, I would have to attend the follow up course to prepare for University. However, all the tutors deemed that I was ready to start a full University programme, and I accepted a place on the foundation degree course. =)

On the first day, with a fresh new faces joining the course, I decided to tell everyone that I had Autism. With discussions with my tutor we decided that it would be best to tell them, and strangely, I felt ok with it. It’s probably the first time that I didn’t hesitate telling anyone about my Autism. I opened up to everyone and to my surprise no one isolated themselves from me. That was odd, I thought. Was I perhaps worrying for no reason? Or, is it because some of the Uni students were adults and they were more open-minded? Whilst I opened up to my fellow classmates and gradually started to be myself, I still kept my guard up.

  1. FINAL PERFORMANCE PIECE

It was March and we, the Uni second year students, were discussing what we could do, as individuals, for our “Final Performance” module. I was struggling for ideas myself.

All I could think to do was to do these bunch of comedy sketches that I had written myself. However, I wanted a decent mark and doing these little sketches wouldn’t constitute a high mark. Do I turn these sketches into a lengthy play? It was a concern. Comedy is my forte, I think, since it’s a style of play that I am most relaxed in. Although I was aware that this was my forte and it’s for my final performance piece, I anticipated that it was going to be a disaster. I would probably have been over the top when acting out the sketches and too energetic.

I spoke with my tutor about my concerns. I then spoke with him privately about an idea that I came up with on the spur of the moment. I did have some difficult times at Uni but I did remain mentally strong in most of situations. I appreciated my classmates and everyone I spoke to for making my Uni life easier and happier.

I’m not one for being sentimental so I wanted to thank everyone but cop out at the same time. So, I thought, what if I did a video to say “thankyou” to my classmates and to everyone else who had supported me. I was prepared to open up about all my worries and doubts and how everyone’s support had made my Uni experience much easier.

It was at that moment, Mr Ian said:

“I think it would be amazing if you did an Auto-Biographical Performance of your life with Autism.”

 

…there was a bit of silence. It took me a long time for this suggestion to sink in. An Auto-bio performance? Like an auto-bio book but in play form?

“Like, talk about my life?”

 

I asked, but deep down I knew full well what he meant.

“Absolutely. It has been done before.”

 

It really was a surreal moment. A bunch of things entered my head. It wasn’t that long ago that I revealed to my classmates about my Autism. I was still iffy about revealing more of my Autistic quirks. Could I manage to talk about my past and experiences? Thinking about my past is difficult, let alone talking about it. How would I fair?

Part of me was screaming “go for it!” but there was still doubt in my mind. I decided to ask for family and classmates opinions; somewhat hoping that some of them would oppose the idea. I asked… all of them thought it was a great idea. The votes were unanimous. Haha.

I had to think about this for a week. I did get stress thinking about it. Was this a good idea? In one way, this may be a good chance to get a lot of things off my chest. Then again, was this going to break me? Doing a performance about my life was certainly a lot easier than forcing comedy sketches to be funny.

  1. DECISION

A week went by and I made my decision…. Am I going to do a performance based on my life with Autism?

…yes.

A New Yoga Place

Meditation-Yoga-pose

Peace Tidings.^^/

Ever since my Yogi instructor opened her new studio I’ve been determined to go. I didn’t know when, but I knew I wanted to go. After months of thinking I decided, in an impromptu moment, that I was going to attend her class on the upcoming Wednesday morning. I was kindly informed that the Wednesday morning class did not have many participants. That was more than an ideal class to start in. However, that did mean that I attended by myself rather than with my sister. My sister works full time.

The only place I go to by myself is the hairdressers, and that took me many years to do independently. I became familiar with the hairdressers as I’ve known one of them since my school days. I didn’t know exactly where the yoga studio was and I haven’t known the instructor for very long but my gut instinct was telling me to go alone. My Dad walked me towards the building but I entered it by myself.

I think that was the first time I did something like that without much supervision. Usually it takes me time, like with the hair salon. But here, I just entered the building and found the yoga studio just as I did when I went to the other studio with my sister. I had a rough idea what it looked like since I saw the photos on Facebook. It was a bit of a weird experience in more ways than one. It was the first time that I did Yoga without the company of my sister, but especially weird since I did it on my own. I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I normally would. I did get somewhat anxious before I left  home as that’s what happens every time I go out. But I was ok.

I tried to watch Non Non Biyori before I left as that always makes my mind relax. I couldn’t fully relax but it certainly took the sting out of it before I went out.

Ahem-

I made pleasantries when someone looked my way or someone was talking to me. I was probably a little bit stiff to tell you the truth but not so stiff that I talked like a robot. The session itself was good as well. As it was morning we did Gentle Yoga. We did balance moves so I was expecting for us to do my favourite pose, Warrior Three, but we didn’t. I was slightly gutted about that but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I did learn something from this session… no matter how many times I do yoga poses I can never remember the names of any of them, with the exception of down facing dog and Warrior Three… I know there’s a move called the “Mermaid” but I don’t know what’s supposed to be bent and what isn’t. I will probably never memorise any of them. Haha.

THANKS FOR READING

 Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

I would call this day an achievement. I entered in a building, on the first go, on my own. It took me years to achieve that when I went to the Hair Salon but I did this on the first go. I’m not sure if I can get to the place by myself per se just yet but I know I can enter one by myself. So yes, all is good. =)

Thanks for Reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

Applewood Farm: Half-Term Pub Quiz

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Good Tidings.^^/
I decided the week before that I was going to go to the Pub Quiz and thought no more about it. If I dwelled on it, then it would have become a big issue. And so I didn’t… One week later, Monday morning, I remembered that on that night I was quizzing… I was still going to go regardless.

I went there and became a guest participant in Team Densa. Hoho. All was well, but it only just occurred to me whilst in the pub that it was half-term. That meant that there were plenty of people about, and the whole place was rocking and lively. That’s good because it means that the atmosphere is vibrant and happy, however, it wasn’t so good for me.

I ended up getting a massive headache and felt closed in, and it wasn’t because I hit my head in the car. It did leave a ringing in my ear though…

Ahem-

In one way I can see it as unfortunate because it does feel like I can never enjoy being in a big crowd. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt not being in big crowds as I see it more as a preference. Socialising in big crowds can be a good change of pace from time to time but I wouldn’t like it if it became a regular occurrence. I always do tend to get headaches and a massive head mush when I go out, especially if there were a lot of people around. My headache did get worse as we were sat right next to the speakers. This caused me to miss a lot of cheesy, ahem- I mean hilarious jokes made by my team. I suppose, looking at it like this, I ought to be thankful. Haha.

All in all we came 6th out of 57 teams with 68 points. I was mightily impressed I must say. I got three answers right. “Excalibur” (I’m quite knowledgeable about fantasy and myths) Stranger on the Shore (Famous album) and Baby Jane (my Mum likes all of Rod Stewart’s songs). I did know about the answer to Victoria Secret though but I convinced myself that I was going to be wrong, so I let it go. It’s quite typical, because it was the only time when I didn’t shout out a random answer. Haha.

Despite my uneasiness I did take away some enjoyment from that night…I always do.

THANKS FOR READING

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I whole heartedly believe that we should have a “Thomas the Tank Engine Round”…just because I know I’ll waltz through it all. Haha. Then again…wouldn’t that be unfair to the other teams? Well, I think that’s more of the Quiz Master’s problem, not mine, so I won’t bother give that another thought. Haha. =D

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

Negativity to Positivity: Thinking Rationally

Mr Happy

Snow Tidings.^^/

I’m having a good start to the New Year. Unfortunately though my cold has come back, and I put that down to the fact that my home town has welcomed heaps of snow. It’s rather unfortunate as when I get a cold I tend to lack sleep and do a lot of over-thinking. In my case being unwell means not really thinking rationally.

I consider myself quite chilled and I can usually let things go and take each moment as it comes. However, when my body and mind is not functioning properly I do sometimes feel negative and re-visit past events which weren’t necessarily happy times. Sometimes it’s not necessarily re-visiting past events, it can be the little things that make me worry and feel negative, even if they’re not major issues.

Just now I was spoilt for choice which manga to read. I wanted to read all five at once and I wanted to watch anime as well, but I couldn’t decide what to do. Thus, I got myself a little worked up and was worrying unnecessarily. Worrying about this simple thing makes me worry about things that worried me in the past as well. It can be a recent worry or something from some time ago. Either way I tend to feel negative when I’m very tired and/or under the weather. I then worry because I’m sitting here and worry about worrying. Haha.

Normally I can think rationally but when I’m under the weather thinking rationally can be tough because my mind is not thinking straight. When I try to think rationally my mind gets really blurry because my mind is combating with many emotions and thoughts at once. Really, in this case, it’s easy to just try and force them out of your mind. But, I find that if I tell myself “don’t worry about it” I worry about it more because it’s still on my mind. Every little thing becomes a big deal.

But, even if the little things make me worry, it’s the little things that cheer me up. In this case, stuff like Non Non Biyori. I mentioned this anime heaps of times in previous blogs. I really do like this anime and I dare say that it’s probably my favourite anime of all time. If it isn’t then it’s definitely in my Top Five of my favourite anime. My feelings of watching Non Non for the first time is similar to the feelings of when I first watched Thomas the Tank Engine for the first time. I was simply excited when I heard that Seven Seas are going to publish Non Non this June and I can’t wait until it comes out.

Watching Non Non makes me forget about the little things that I’m worrying about. And gradually, those worries disappear. It’s not just Non Non that cheers me up, a bunch of little things cheer me up. I’m talking about drawing my comics, writing my story, reading manga and hanging out with my family. It doesn’t make me less dizzy but it does take the sting out of being under the weather. I feel relaxed when doing these things. Relaxing to me means being happy and focusing on things I like to do. And, I need to remind myself to go to bed early instead of staying up just for the sake of it. Haha.

THANKS FOR READING

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My mission for now is to keep warm and keep enjoying myself. Publishing my book onto kindle is taking quite some time but I won’t worry about that. Feeling negative when you’re ill I think is natural and it can be difficult to get out of that slump… but it’s not impossible. =) I’m now going to go away and watch some Nisekoi. =D

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

The Acting World: Being Natural

acting

It’s show blog time!^^/

I always thought I wanted to be an actor, and I began to pursue the acting road when I was 14. I enjoyed performing at school and started to attend drama classes. Everyone in these drama classes I would refer to as ‘the normal people’. Back then I would refer to people, who didn’t have autism or additional needs like myself as ‘normal’. It was the time when I was very insecure about myself and lacked self-confidence. My confidence grew throughout the years and it skyrocketed in my last year at university.

My main weakness in the acting field, I think, was not being ‘natural’. Some people would often say to me, “it’s good, but try to be more natural,” and “you’re being too OTT.” Sometimes they told me through a joke and sometimes they told me this seriously. For the life of me I didn’t understand their constructive criticism when they told me to be more ‘natural’. What does being natural mean? Why am I being too over the top? In my eyes I was being natural. I knew the characters I had to play and tried to relate their feelings with my own. Yet, because I wasn’t being ‘natural’ I often have lost parts and roles.

I remember this specific task at university where I was asked to narrate. Again, I probably over acted whilst narrating. In my eyes, I needed to act since acting is part of performing. The role of narrating was eventually given to someone else and I was really disappointed by this. Why wasn’t I being natural? Because I thought I was. I just didn’t understand. Of course, it all hit me when I left university.

Basically I was never natural in certain roles due to my lack of experience in society. It’s mostly due to my lack of experience interacting with ‘the normal people’. I couldn’t relate to how ‘normal people’ think. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship, I never argued with anyone, I’ve never been in a fight, I’ve never been drunk, and the list goes on. It’s one thing to witness a dramatic scene on TV but since I never experienced that in real life, I couldn’t relate.

The only thing I could do really was comedy. I could relate to comedy as I enjoy it. I felt that I could make people laugh in a variety of ways. I like to think that I made people laugh without trying as I like to think that comedy is my forte in terms of acting. I enjoy making others laugh, whether it’s impersonating characters, re-acting scenes from comedy shows or performing my own sketches.

However, there was one serious part that I was natural at that wasn’t necessarily a comedy… it was when I starred in my very own auto-biography performance. I basically acted out myself when I was child and when I was growing up. I was just recalling my past experiences. I actually cried a couple of times during this performance and this was the first time that I genuinely cried. I intend to talk more about my auto-bio play at some point as there is a lot I would like to share. What I will say though is that this was probably my best ever performance that wasn’t necessarily a comedy one. It had a few comedy moments in it, albeit, not intentionally.

To date, the auto-biography performance was my last and it was most likely my best ever. =D

WILL I ACT AGAIN?

In all honesty, since my writing epiphany, I have no intention of pursuing acting as a career. That’s not to say I will never act again but I will never audition for a role.

If I were to act again it would have to be on my own terms. I would have to relate to the character strongly and I have to have 100% confidence that I will bring out the best in that character. Although, if you asked me to perform a Rowan Atkinson sketch then I would accept it in a heartbeat. Haha. The same applies to a superhero character… perhaps Iron Man. Wink, wink. 😉 I’m definitely not ruling out doing my auto-bio play again. I have better ideas on how to improve on it if I were to perform it again.

I understand from a ‘normal’ person’s point of view now and I’m pretty sure that if I re-visited all my past plays I would be able to do better in my roles. However, if you gave me a time machine and gave me that as an option, I wouldn’t do it. Learning is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it can take someone years to learn something, especially me. It might be ironic that I learnt what it means to be ‘natural’ when I’ve stopped pursuing acting, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. What’s meant to be is meant to be.

I do fancy the voice acting work though. I understand how to use my voice naturally… I just need to speak as myself. I don’t know how I want to pursue this but I’m currently practicing by reading books of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and sharing them with people who enjoy listening to my style of narrating. =) I haven’t thought about it as a career or as a volunteering option but I’m enjoying it as a hobby. =D

THANKS FOR READING

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It’s been a slow and steady progress but I think that being in the acting field was the perfect direction to boost my confidence. Not only that but it gave me the opportunity to make friends with the right people. =D

And I just thought I mention that I no longer refer to ‘normal people’ as ‘normal people’ as I see them just like me, but with their own needs as an individual. I have used the term ‘normal people’ to explain things better. =)

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

Feeling Lucky

Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

Good Tidings.^^/

It’s been an awfully long time since I attended a yoga class. It’s both due to the Christmas period and coming down with a cold. I’m going to yoga tomorrow for the first time and I’m feeling somewhat anxious. I enjoy yoga but because I’ve not been for a good while I started to feel anxious as it’s currently out of routine. However, this evening, I felt a sudden ray of happiness.

I was cleaning my room and I suddenly realised what a lucky life I have. Apart from the minor cold, I have good health. I have a nice family and good friends. I also have a bunch of manga and anime goodies, including drama CDs, manga, a few figures and a heap of Thomas the Tank Engine memorabilia. I also have a bunch of DVDs and blu-rays of Iron Man and Captain America. I have a bunch of games from Super Mario to Atelier Escha and Logy to Senran Kagura. I also have the Non Non Biyori calendar 2015, which I’m especially thankful about. =D

What I’m especially thankful for is my own creativity. I can draw any time, write any time, and come up with the next story as I see fit. I can also use this opportunity to write a bunch of haikus whenever I feel inspired. The world is my oyster when it comes to being creative. =D

What I’m trying to say is that sometimes when I become familiar with everyday life I sometimes forget that I’m in a very good position in life. I would have said that I probably take things for granted but I don’t take things for granted, I just forget how lucky I am. So, next time I’m I’m feeling anxious, which will always occur every time I go out, I will remind myself the life that I’m living. And that is a happy one. =)

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.