Adapting to Others

It’s no secret that I have my problems, especially when it comes to socialising with people and in groups. However, even though I do struggle in social situations I find that no matter how awful I feel I always manage to cope and adapt to other people’s needs.

 

I think this trend started when I was at my SEN school so in a way it became a way of life and I grew accustomed to thinking about others. In a way I found this rewarding as through those 15 years in the SEN school and college I never once lost my patience. =)

 

Being autistic you would assume that people would take my needs into consideration. However, I actually think that it’s quite often the opposite. I always adapt to other people and their needs as I think it’s in my nature to think about others before myself. I think my family folks bear my needs in mind and accommodate them if necessary.

 

I also consider my friends and their personalities. There are some things that I can say to certain friends that I know I can’t to others. That’s because some of my friends are more sensitive about certain subjects so it’s necessary for me to avoid them.

 

However, in my case, I feel that I’m rather approachable and that anyone can say what they like to me without restraint (within reason of course). In a way I think that does fill my chest with pride as I feel like I can talk to anyone without worries. However there have been times where I do get aggravated but I either grin and bear it or I just focus on the positive and make the most of it.

 

I’m autistic but that doesn’t mean that I can’t adapt to others because autism doesn’t limit me as a person.

 

Ryan.

Social Butterfly

It will seem very strange to say this but at this moment in timeI feel like a social butterfly.

 

For the past two or three weeks I’ve been outdoors, a lot. Most of my time is spent working on the garden and building the foundation for the summer house. However, I have actually been spending some time socialising with people. I’ve been doing a bit of DIY with my brother as well, something which I have never done before in my life.

 

Before going to Kitacon I went to watch Ant Man with a few close family members. It was somewhat impromptu, from my point of view. I had good warning but I got it in my head that I wasn’t going to watch this film until I had been to Kitacon so it did catch me off guard. I was ok watching the actual film and in a way it was a nice distraction from thinking about Kitacon. We talked about the film.

 

Some of you may already know that I go to yoga. I go to yoga every Wednesday mornings as it’s the class that has the fewest numbers which is my ideal class. It’s also the same class that do tea and biscuits afterwards. I was always kindly offered to stay but I always said no. I said no namely because I have to go back home to wait for parcels or avon and because I had a driver waiting, aka, Dad. One of the main reasons is because I do get very nervous in social situations and I never felt like staying.

 

My confidence coming back from Kitacon was fairly strong at that point so I decided to stay behind and socialise with my fellow yogis. My yogi instructor was most surprised and happy. Haha. It’s a nice group so I always thought about staying behind. I’m glad I did stay behind but I was nervous because I didn’t know what to say or do so I just listening mostly to what everyone else was saying. Will I stay behind this week? I won’t plan to. I’ll just see how I feel.

 

I was actually invited to a friend’s birthday party but my Bro didn’t ask me to come. He was aware that I was going through a big head-mush at that point in time and didn’t want to make it worse for me.

 

It doesn’t seem like I interacted that much by what I said in this blog but from my point of view I’ve done much more than my fair share or socialising with different people whether they’re family, friends or strangers. I’m in the frame of mind that I could easily talk to anyone, even if I do get a head mush or I do get dizzy from interacting with people in unfamiliar environments.

 

I managed to share my photography Kitacon gallery on the Kitacon Facebook page. That was also very brave of me as I don’t like standing out in crowds and I never speak to anyone publicly on social media pages. I might like posts on Facebook but I have never uploaded a galley or something to that extent… until now. The reaction was quite positive, to my relief and surprise, and one lady asked for an original photo so I facebook messaged a photo of her. I never thought I would do that!

 

Kitacon still seems like a very long dream. It just doesn’t seem real for some reason. I digress as this is about me being a social butterfly rather than Kitacon. Haha.

 

Socialising doesn’t require a skill or magical powers all you have to do is be confident and be who you are. Sometimes it will work out, other times, it won’t. It’s never easy or straightforward for me but people are just people. =)

 

Ryan.

Kitacon Part Four: Day Three

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KITACON PART ONE: THE ANTICIPATION
KITACON PART TWO: DAY ONE
KITACON PART THREE: DAY TWO

  1. The Morning

I felt that the morning was quite uneasy. We checked out at 11 O’clock. I felt insecure as this meant that I was hanging around until the closing ceremony. I didn’t have anywhere to go to relax. When I read manga or chill out I like absolute silence with no one around. Unfortunately for me there was no quietness or peace.

 

In the end I decided to try and be brave and read in the lounge. A lady came over and asked if I minded if she sat next to me. I responded that I didn’t mind but in truth I really did mind. I couldn’t fully relax but I was still able to enjoy reading a few pages of Non Non Biyori.

 

  1. More Photo-Taking Cosplayers

I did keep an eye out for more photo opportunities, and I’m glad I did as I got a few more photos of cosplayers. I felt that my confidence had grown the more I talked to different people. There were at times that I said a few quirky quips that thought “oh no, why did I say that?” The things I said weren’t necessarily inappropriate but I sort of wished I had chosen a different way to say things.

Some of you may already know that I do struggle in social situations and sometimes I tend to say things without realising what I just said. Sometimes, if I want to find a meaning but don’t know the word, I would make up a word and say it. Haha… people find it funny but it can get me into trouble even though some of the things I say are not meant to be mean or nasty.

I managed to get the One Piece crew together. I asked a lady, Robin, if I could get a photo. She asked if I wanted the whole gang together, so I said yes… with subdued excitement. I waited for a good while for the whole gang to round up but it was most certainly worth the wait. I was really happy that I managed to get them together. I managed to get someone dressed as Iron Man too. My Mum likes Iron Man so I really went out of my own way to get a picture of him dressed in the Iron Man suit.

I had a lot of pleasant small talks with quite a lot of people really, Vegeta, Super Sonico, Kotori from Love Live, the One Piece crew, Tifa, I could literally go on. There were so many people that I talked to. Because I interacted with different people I found that I was able to form my words more coherently.

 

I also learned something interesting when I got back home. I had posed for a photo in my Batman outfit with Harley Quinn. I then discovered when I got home that she is actually Rayi, an infamous cosplayer. She has her own Facebook page and DeviantArt Page. I did feel daft for not knowing who she was. However, I’m really happy because I can say to my friends and family that I actually spoken to and had a photo with Rayi. =)

 

  1. How to Draw a Manga with Sonia Leong

The event panel that I was looking forward to was the drawing workshop with Sonia Leong.  I came to learn during the workshop that Sonia is actually an infamous manga artist in the UK. Her works spreads throughout the UK and she has been drawing for many years.

 

I really enjoyed her workshop and I felt really relaxed. The atmosphere was really chilled and positive. It reminded me of the yoga class that I attend on a weekly basis. I think it’s because drawing was the only thing that I can relate to and that I am interested in. There were quite a few tips that I already knew but I still learnt a lot by watching her draw first hand. She’s a very good artist. Not only that, she’s a very nice down-to-earth person who is a social butterfly. Her workshop was very detailed, but not complicated. That’s my kind of learning. =)

 

I was determined to speak with her but there were a good number of people who were speaking with her so it was hard to get a word in. In the end, I decided to go off and come back later to see if I could. I managed to speak with her in the end and she really is a nice person. We spoke about the relationship of characters and how we implement real life into a fantasy story. I never planned to say more than a few words but I felt encouraged to say more. I was confident that I could speak without being judged.

 

In the end more people came and kept on finding pauses in our conversation to say their bit. I’m too polite for my own good so it was easy for people to talk over me and interrupt.

 

I wanted to say goodbye to Sonia and shake her hand, but it looked like that I had to wait longer. So, I decided to be bold and found a pause when the lady next to me stopped talking and asked Sonia if I could shake her hand. She obliged and I shook her hand and walked away. I felt that it was rude of me to do that but Sonia is a very popular lady so I had to be a little bold and a little rude otherwise there might not have been another good opportunity.

 

I don’t usually shake people’s hands as it’s not my style but for some reason it felt appropriate, so I did. =)

 

  1. Closing Ceremony

Day 3 was generally chilled as Days 1 and 2 were more active.

I didn’t really fancy going to the closing ceremony as I wanted to go home at that point. I did appreciate the positive atmosphere in the air but in truth I wanted to go home and I didn’t want to get involved in any more big crowded situations.

I found that the journey home was much better than the journey to Birmingham. I went to Kitacon with plenty of anxious thoughts and not really knowing what I was getting myself in to. However, I knew exactly what to expect when I travelled home.

 

  1. My Overall Thoughts

If I were to describe my time at Kitacon I would say that it was a surreal experience. It was like I was dreaming for many days and then one day I woke up and I was back in my own bed. Haha.

I have never experienced anything like it in my life. If you were to tell me that I was going to rave, in a night club, amongst a humongous live crowd with extremely loud music, I wouldn’t believe you. I thought that was actually ok to do as I mostly hung out with Bro and my new friends in the corner, out of the way of the big crowd.

I did think that my confidence in talking to people did grow, bit by bit, especially when I was taking photos. I always told myself that I was going to take photos but when I arrived at the hotel I felt somewhat scared that I was going to do it. I got over the barrier by taking my first photo of Hestia. It became easier after that. Everyone there was approachable and friendly and chatty and I really do appreciate the fact that they took their time to pose for my photos. I also appreciate getting to know my friends more and in the process gaining new friends. Of course, I also appreciate my Bro and Sarah for trying to make my time at Kitacon as comfortable as possible.

My social skills were shaky at times but I think I outdid myself.

I’m always mindful to catch the cosplayers at good moments. I was sure not to ask to take their photos if they were part of a cue or if they were running to a certain destination. I would have liked to be more creative and have more creative shots and backgrounds but in those moments it was wise to do it there and then. My most creative shot was Vegeta because I caught this nice chap at a good moment.

By what I’ve observed I get the sense that everyone generally preferred to stay in their own social circles rather than branch out and talk to new people. However, that didn’t stop them from being friendly towards me and I got the sense that they were generally appreciative of me taking their pictures.

I went through many mixed emotions, but my headaches and dizziness were the most prominent as I literally had a headache since I got there. That’s mostly because of the loud noise of the music and crowd and from the over-whelming experience of being in an unfamiliar environment.

 

5.1.            My Personal Highlights

  • Mario Kart Tournament
  • Dealers room
  • Interacting with Bro, Sarah and all my current and new friends
  • All the friendly cosplayers
  • Drawing Workshop with Sonia Leong
  • Listening and watching Non Non Biyori… Non Non never fails to cheer me up and it may seem strange to say this, but Non Non Biyori always somehow reminds me of home.
  • Eating food
  • My Hotel Room

 

  1. What I learned about myself

I learnt, as I always do, that things are not as bad as I imagined them to be, like that time when I went to London. No matter how irrational or how sick or how dizzy I get I can always cope. I never allow myself to be broken no matter how down I feel about myself. I can always cheer myself up. I never feel sorry for myself. In conclusion, I’m probably much stronger than I realise.

I also learned that I’m much better at talking to people than I realised, all I needed was a bit of a confidence. I also found that by not planning conversations in advance I can actually talk to people better. It’s all about talking in the present moment and that tactic worked very well in my favour.

 

  1. Would I Go Again?

I don’t even want to think about that right now. I just want to spend some time to myself, chill out with my family and get back into my normal routine.

At this moment I don’t know if I would go again. As soon as I got back I thought “I won’t necessarily go again” and in some ways I’m sort of sticking with that rule.

But, after digesting the whole experience after a couple of days it was actually a fun convention. I have a rough idea as to what will happen next year and I have a good idea at what I will do the next time that I go/if I go.

Next time I would probably come down on Friday and leave on a Sunday morning. I would also extend the time for my room so I am able to go up there to get my own space. Chill out more as I feel that I tried too hard to talk to people and participate in the Kitacon experience. I put too much pressure on myself and I was already under-going many anxious feelings, so next time I would plan my time better and not put myself under so much pressure.

I also may buy a VIP badge for next time as I like the sound of being a Very Important Person. Haha.

One thing I would definitely change though… my I.D. name! Honestly, being called “SirRyanFalstaff” was really embarrassing. What identity should I be? If you have a suggestion please do share.

 

THANKS FOR READING

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There were at times where I just wanted to run away and call home but I sort of willed myself to try and look on the bright side. The first time I slept away from home was last year in London but this was the first time that I spent three days away from home. I was also surrounded by many, many people who I have never met before. It’s all a completely new experience to me.

Even though I don’t think rational in new and unfamiliar situations I prove to myself time and time again that I can cope. That in itself is the biggest achievement of my Kitacon Experience.

 

Ryan.^^/

Kitacon Part Three: Day Two

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KITACON PART ONE: THE ANTICIPATION

KITACON PART TWO: DAY ONE

KITACON PART FOUR: DAY THREE

 

  1. Building a Mecha

I didn’t really get much sleep. I set my alarm for the breakfast time as I was aware that I was taking part in the Build a Mecha Challenge. However, I thought that I was going to participate in that straight away and that the “breakfast time” was a guideline rather than the act of having breakfast. Haha.

 

From that point on I was over-whelmed. I was extremely confused and everything that my brother told me completely went over my head. I wasn’t being rude I just could not digest what he was saying. I think I’m honest when I say that I didn’t really fancy building a mecha but it was an opportunity to socialise and get in with the action more so I decided to continue to be brave in socialising.

 

I thought we were going to build a Mecha with a certain group of friends, but I learnt, that we were building a Mecha with another group of friends. That isn’t really a problem but when something unexpected happens or something changes from my point of view, it really catches me off guard and throws me off. Just before we started to build a Mecha three of four other people joined and started to crack on with the crafting.

 

I honestly had no idea what was happening. Do I hold the sellotape so that anyone can cut at any time? How do I help out? Just stand back out of the way? Strangely enough I felt uncomfortable when those pro photographers were taking snaps of us building a mecha. I found it distracting. I was also surrounded by people who I never met before. Being crafty was not my thing and I felt inclined to let everyone else get on with it.

 

In the end I decided to rely on my own strengths, drawing. I drew a bell for the collar, I drew a banana wearing a British flag and I drew a gigantic face of a bull. One of my newest chums, Mat, provided the orange eyes to place on the bull face. =) In the process I managed to take a few good photos and managed to have a little talk with a few of my fellow team mates. The theme was the letter B so we had to attach parts to the mecha that began with b.

 

I do tend to be biased towards my own team but my personal favourite mecha was the orange neko mecha. It was cool and cute.

 

  1. Embarrassing Incidents

Unfortunate there were two. The first one involved room service.

I was in my room when I decided to chill out for a bit. Then, I heard footsteps and someone opening a door. I thought, “That sounded like my door. Perhaps it’s a lady coming into my room?” I laughed to myself. Then, I heard “Room service.” And then I thought. “Hmm, that sounded very loud actually.”

Then, I turned around and there was an actual lady walking into my room and as soon as she saw me she literally shrieked in surprise. I think she felt very awkward after that. It was a good job that I wasn’t getting changed!

Second incident… this one is especially embarrassing.

I needed to draw out some money from the cash machine so I asked my bro for directions. He pointed to where the cash machine was, which was on the wall on the other side of the room. We were sat in the lounge at the time.

Now, this is the perfect example of me not thinking rationally… I was looking in the direction that he was pointing but all I saw in front of me was a lady in front of a till. In my head, I just needed to go up to her and ask her to draw the money out. “Odd,” I thought, “I have never known to draw money out like that before.” …so I went up and asked.

The lady gave me such a frowning when I asked. When she understood what I was trying to ask she then directed to the actual cash machine on the wall. I apologised many, many times. I held my face in my hands after I walked away. I could not believe what had transpired.

I did manage to recover from that embarrassment afterwards.

 

  1. Name that Anime Tune

I had a headache already but I had high hopes for this competition. I was really confident in my knowledge of the anime genre… me, bro and Chris were not very… we didn’t do well. Overall we must have gotten something like 10 out of 120. Haha. That will teach us for not getting into bigger groups.

 

We were mostly silly with our answers but I personally did get a few answers right. It was really fun but at times mind-baffling. I recognised the tunes but couldn’t match them up with the anime shows. Haha.

 

  1. Cheering Up

There were other things that cheered me up apart from listening to and watching Non Non Biyori.

My confidence in photo-taking and socialising did grow, bit by bit. There were a few times when I posed with someone for a photo. I managed to pose for a photo with someone dressed as the Green Arrow. That was appropriate as I was dressed as Superman at that time.

At some point I got dressed as the Dark Knight and I had a photo with Harley Quinn. She was really cool and I enjoyed talking to her. I did get nervous when she slightly touched my arm to get into a pose. I used to dislike hugs or physical contact but now I’m not so bad. I can handle hugs and physical touches much better now as I bear in mind that a lot of people are tactile.

It was a really good photo in the end.

I enjoyed having small talks with a lot of people really. I didn’t realise that I was capable of having small talks, usually I talk in depth as I struggle to generalise conversations. I especially enjoyed talking to the lady dressed as Yuna. We were talking about the overall experience of Kitacon and I think she said that this was her first convention as well.

I bought a few DVDs and manga from the dealer’s room and I was definitely happy with my purchases, especially the No Game No Life novels and the Super Sonico figure. I spent about 20 minutes talking to this really nice chap about his costume and about helmets and gauntlets. I never planned to have a conversation with him, it just happened and I felt much better after that. I did feel a bit uneasy because it was the first time that I met him but the flow of the conversation felt natural because I didn’t plan what I was going to say, I just responded to what he was saying. =)

 

  1. Hentai Panel

Aha, the Hentai Panel… I wasn’t planning to attend this but I was somehow persuaded to go. Haha. I was sceptical. Was this going to be as rude as I imagined it to be? However, I was reassured that this was going to be more humorous and daft than showing erotic films.

I wore a jumper. Big mistake. I was really, really hot. Plus, the cue was humongous and we had to wait a good while in the corridor. When we got in I was guided to seat right bang in the middle of the right row of chairs. I sat between Sarah and a new person I’ve never met before. I usually like to sit on the ends so when I needed to go out to clear my head I could do that. However, I was stuck right in the middle and couldn’t move if it got too much.

There were quite a few moments that I found funny, like that girl who shot the rockets from her boobs and knees. It was rather cringing to watch but it was still humorous.

I did clench my teeth when the option of showing a rude Thomas picture did show. I was like “Oh no! They’re going to de-face Thomas!” Luckily, Thomas was never shown just other pictures of trains… I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Haha.

If I’m honest I must say that this was probably my least favourite part of my Kitacon experience. I was uncomfortable to begin with, I had a slight headache and I didn’t really understand what was going on. I felt that the atmosphere was very rowdy and very loud and it got to the point when I felt dizzy and sick and I couldn’t really think straight. I had to leave in the end as according to eyewitnesses (my bro and friends) the colour drained from my face. Haha. I decided that that was the opportune time to get an early night, and so I did.

I was already over-whelmed by the whole Kitacon Experience and the Hentai Panel took it to another level. Haha. Of course I appreciate those who enjoyed the Hentai Panel but it wasn’t for me.

 

Hopefully I would get a good night’s sleep and sleep it all off. =)

 

Ryan.^^/

Kitacon Part Two: Day One

Hilton Hotel

KITACON PART ONE: THE ANTICIPATION

KITACON PART THREE: DAY TWO

KITACON PART FOUR: DAY THREE

 

  1. Travelling and Arrival

I didn’t really get much sleep to tell you the truth, I was extremely nervous and the anticipation did get the better of me at times, especially during the car travel. I felt sick. It was a mixture of lack of sleep, the long car drive to Birmingham and not knowing what to expect. I heard the hotel of Hilton was very well established but when I got there I was completely blown away.

 

I walked into the hotel and immediately the place was full of vibrant cosplayers and convention enthusiasts talking amongst themselves happily. I did feel claustrophobic as I didn’t know where to walk or what to do, so I just followed Bro and his partner, Sarah and trusted them. I don’t take lifts unless it’s very necessary so I took the stairs… it took me five minutes to find them so I had to ask someone for directions. It’s not often I talk to random people so that’s good for me. I tend to struggle a lot in social situations, most specifically in big crowds. I tend to feel squashed and get headaches and feel dizzy. Day one was especially quite troubling.

 

I really liked my room. I got the disabled room as I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible as really this was the first time that I was undergoing this kind of experience. The bed and room were exquisite and it did meet my needs and made me feel more relaxed, but it’s nothing compared to my own bed.

 

  1. Photo-Taking

What made me especially nervous was the thought of photo-taking cosplayers. I was incredibly anxious on a big scale. Usually I take pictures of landscapes and objects to distract myself from being scared in an unfamiliar environment. However, I’m always careful as to not take pictures of people as I don’t want to be seen as being inappropriate. However, I came to this convention with the intention of taking pictures of cosplayers. If I was really not up for it then I could at least try and pluck up the courage to take a photo of a person dressing up as Hestia if someone came as Hestia.

 

I was making my way to the lounge area with Bro and Sarah when the site of long black pigtails and blue ribbon caught my attention. Someone was dressing up as Hestia! In that sudden moment of not over-thinking I decided to be brave and ask her for a photo. So I did… my words was mumbled and jumbled up. Haha. She gave her approval and I took a picture of her. I felt scared but very relieved afterwards. I told her that I was uploading my photos on my blog site in case she wanted to look at her pictures online.

 

Once I got over that barrier I felt more confident to ask more cosplayers for their photos. I asked the two ladies who were dressed as the Mizukage and Hinata characters for their photos and I actually ended up having a little conversation with them. They were impeccably nice and I actually regret not keeping the conversation going as I was enjoying talking to them. I never anticipated that I was going to talk to them, it sort of came naturally. It seems like I can hold a conversation better when I let the words flow as oppose to planning a conversation.

 

Everyone was approachable and I actually gained more confidence as I spoke to more people. In some ways I don’t really know why I was worried about starting conversations to begin with. Everyone was friendly to talk to and I didn’t feel intimidated or uncomfortable at all. Well, I did feel uncomfortable but more due to the humongous amount of people and unfamiliar environment rather than the individuals themselves. =)

 

I did change my wording a little bit when I spoke to them. Instead of saying that I was uploading them on my site I told them that I would upload them onto Kitacon Facebook page. Its easy access and they would all be able to find their photos easier on Facebook then to try and remember my name. In hindsight I wonder if I should have made cards but realistically speaking it was probably for the best that I didn’t.

 

I’m not really a pro at photography. I just wanted to take photos for fun and to show off everyone and their amazing cosplay outfits. After all, everyone had worked really hard on their outfits.

 

  1. Mario Kart 8 Tournament

I was intrigued with the tournament but it never entered my mind to enter the competition. In the end I decided to compete. I was in the first round along with Bro, Sarah and another girl who joined later on. The first two would advance to the semi-finals. I like games but I’m not good as I’m not an avid gamer. In my mind, I was going to come last so I just sat back and tried to enjoy the experience.

To my surprise I actually went through to the semi-finals and in the process knocked out my brother! How the heck did that happen? I was really over the moon. Whatever happened after that was a bonus.

In the semi-finals I was actually on par with the elite gamers. In some of the races I was actually first. I was really out-doing myself. I couldn’t believe that I was doing so well. I was casually talking to my competitors in the process. That was fun because we were competing against each other but it was far from fierce.

My lack of experience in gaming did catch up to me as at times I kept on mistiming shell dodges and kept on flying off edges… I would have finished second overall but I did absolutely terrible on Rainbow Road. I think everyone does. Haha. In the end, I came third.

I think I did so well because I was the most chilled. Everyone else was more competitive and they were leaning forward whereas I was casually sitting at the back of my chair.

Sarah got through to the final and came third. The Splatoon man, who was racing as Wario, is very, very good. He’s also a very nice chap and I’m glad I had the opportunity to speak with him and had a photo taken with him. =)

I got a few good responses dressed as Superman. I didn’t get asked for photos but I don’t really mind that as this is an anime convention not a comic book convention. =)

 

  1. Raving

For those who know me well will know that raving, at night, in a crowd of people with extremely loud music is most definitely not my thing. However, I did have a bogey with Bro. Me and Bro took to the dancefloor. I showed off some of my own unique dance moves and at one point we were right bang in the middle of the crowd… strangely enough I felt ok-ish and I enjoyed interacting with a few peeps. They seemed like very nice people and I will look forward to speaking to them more if the opportunity arises. =)

 

If you were to tell me five years ago that I was going to rave at a party and stay in a hotel for three days I wouldn’t believe you. That was a very unique experience and I certainly will not forget that experience any time soon. That was probably the first and last ever time that I will rave. XD

 

  1. Evening

For some reason, I felt rather down as soon as I got to my room. I felt tired, jaded, confused, stressed, and anxious. I also realised at that point that I had a really bad headache. I think that was probably the only time that I had time to myself. I think if I’m honest, deep down, I wanted more time to myself. However, I was conflicted with my own thoughts. In one respect I wanted to make the most of the experience at Kitacon but on the other hand there were at times when I wanted to be completely alone.

 

It really is such a surreal experience. Being in this hotel, at this event, sleeping in my own room, it’s very weird. I had no idea what I was expecting and to be honest I still don’t really know what’s happening. I feel that it’s all too face paced and in some ways I probably exhausted myself and pushed myself too hard to socialise. The whole day was basically just catching up with me…

 

I felt much better when I started to watch Non Non Biyori Repeat on my laptop. I just kept on re-watching the opening song and I gradually felt my spirits lifted. Non Non always make me feel better whenever I am down. It cheered me up on the car journey to Birmingham and it cheered me up at this precise moment. Not only is it a therapeutic and cute story but it actually reminds me of home.

 

It was that moment that I felt comfortable for the first time since arriving at Kitacon. To begin with, Kitacon is what you make it, even if I do choose to spend the entire weekend chilling in my room as long as I have fun, what does it matter?

 

Roll on Day 2. =)

 

Ryan.^^/

Kitacon Part One: The Anticipation

Kitacon Logo

KITACON PART TWO: DAY ONE

KITACON PART THREE: DAY TWO

KITACON PART FOUR: DAY THREE

 

Yipee! This is my first blog since moving over to my site. =) Now, back to the matter at hand.

 

This is the first time that I’m going on this kind of adventure since London. I would say that my anxiety for the trip is the same as it was when I went to London. I went to London last year to watch the Distant Worlds concert and that meant spending the night in the hotel. That was the first ever time that I stayed overnight at a place and not sleeping in my own bed.

 

For Kitacon, not only am I going on early Friday morning but I will spending two nights at the local hotel and travelling back home Sunday evening.

 

Now, today, it’s only starting to hit home that I’m actually going to this event with my brother and his partner. For many months it has been at the back of my mind. There were at times when the anticipation has been creeping up on me. It’s like going into the complete unknown. Instead of watching a Final Fantasy concert I may be potentially socialising with a lot of people. It’s a different kind of anticipation.

 

Some of you may or may not know that I get very nervous and uncomfortable in social situations, especially if it’s somewhere new. There were times when I felt that this was a deadline rather than a fun event. Can I get drawing done in time? Can I get this task done in time? Can I complete this story chapter in time? How many manga can I read and complete before I leave? Will I complete my website?

 

However, even though I have been getting anxious at the prospect of a social event I have been keeping myself busy. For the past few weeks I have been doing up the garden to put up a summer house, doing yoga and I’ve also been to the cinema to watch Ant Man. In hindsight these sudden chores have been a welcome distraction from the anticipation of the Kitacon event.

 

I have even been practising my Photography skills and trying out different cameras to see which one would be best to take with me. I do intend to take photos of people in their outfit as I have no doubt that there will be plenty of amazing cosplayers out there. I myself intend to dress up as Superman and Batman. =)

 

I do believe my brother when he says that I will enjoy myself, however, I can’t help but get anxious. I am coping much better than I thought I would. I can think more logically than usual. Even if I don’t get my writing done or my drawing done before Kitacon, having a few days off won’t do me any harm. They’re not going anywhere, and I can do my stories and art when I get back. I could even do them at my hotel if I wanted to.

 

I can’t help but to feel nervous as I always get nervous and anxious at the prospect of leaving my home as well as socialising with new people. However, no matter how nervous I get or how much of a head mush I get I prove to myself time and time again that I can cope and adapt, even if I don’t think logically.

 

Today has not been a very relaxing day but I’m confident that I will enjoy myself when I get there. It’s about taking each moment as it comes. In the past I haven’t coped so well, but nowadays, I’m much calmer and cooler than ever before.

 

Stay tuned for Part Two as I will continue to share with you my thoughts on the Kitacon experience.

 

Kitacon here I come.^^/

 

Ryan.

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.

My First Year Blog Anniversary

Party Popper

Blog Tidings.^^/

It seems rather strange that I have been blogging for one full year now and this was met by many adventures that I did during that period. =) I’m not sure how it started really. I believe I was just rambling on with my family when it came up in passing that I should blog about my experiences with Autism. I learned over the years that writing things down can release my unwanted tension and it’s another form of me expressing myself. =)

After careful consideration, I registered on WordPress and my blogging journey started…

I could talk about my year as a whole, but instead, I’ll just summarise and link to the blogs that I think are significant.^^/

  1. Introduction

This is my introduction which I wrote one year ago. =)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/introduction/)

  1. WWE Raw 2013

I went to WWE Raw with my circle friends. I used to be a big fan of WWE but this was the first time that I attended an actual wrestling show. It was daunting but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Plus, my favourite wrestlers were in attendance.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/wwe-raw-experience/)

  1. Segway

This was good experience and an instant highlight of the year. I arranged a birthday treat for my brother. This was the first time that I had actually arranged anything. I was also venturing into the unknown here. It was a little distance away but we both had a really good time and I would do Segway again without hesitation.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/segway/)

  1. Pub-Quizzing

On some occasions I would go to the Pub Quiz either as a night out or to celebrate a special occasion. I would often have to have a long think about whether I want to go out or not. Last month though, I went to the pub quiz for Cheese’s (the friend, not the dairy product) birthday celebration. Instead of needing to think I just decided to deal with my emotions when the time arrived.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/pub-quizzing/)

  1. WWE Royal Rumble

In early 2014 I stayed at my brother’s until the early hours watching WWE Royal Rumble. For some televised wrestling events I would often stay over. Usually after the event I spend the rest of my night sitting in a chair reading as I don’t feel comfortable sleeping in someone else’s house.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/wwe-royal-rumble-2014/)

  1. Completing a Writing Course

This was certainly a joyous occasion and I celebrated it with a pint of J2O. 😉 I learned a lot about writing and how to approach a publisher. Nothing has been happening for me and my books just yet but I believe I’m steering myself in the right direction. =)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/passing-an-online-course/)

  1. Positivity and Autism

Naturally, coping with Autism can be tough. I tend to over-think and read into situations that are not there.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/negativity-to-positivity/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/negativity-to-positivity-over-thinking/)

  1. Visiting College

Visiting my college again was quite a challenge. I was invited back to college a few times to watch performances and to catch up with people but I declined those offers. I was out of routine and had become unfamiliar with everything.

However, this year, I decided to pluck up my own courage and visited. I thought long and hard about this invitation but in the last minute I decided to say “yes.”

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/visiting-college/)

  1. The Wedding Blogs

I didn’t have much to blog about in July except for one…my sister’s wedding. That was a very significant moment and I achieved a lot personally on that day.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/the-wedding-part-one/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/the-wedding-part-two/)

  1. Yoga

My outlook on myself and confidence is highly due to my regular practice in Yoga.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/my-yoga-journey/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/my-yoga-journey-continues/)

  1. Film with a Friend

I went to watch the Transformers film with a friend… this was definitely a significant moment as this was the first time that I’ve been out with someone without a family member being present. The following day I went to the cinema with my Dad, and I took the initiative as he is less familiar with the procedure then I am.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/transformers-age-of-extinction-film-review/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/inbetweeners-2-film-review/)

  1. Impromptu Outing

Going to an impromptu trip to a train station was an interesting challenge.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/journey-to-tumbleweed-station/)

  1. November Happenings

November was very busy month and was perhaps the most challenging.

I designed a Halloween costume dressed as the Shockmaster for my Brother’s Halloween party. The day after that I went to London to watch Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. As I travelled to London it was necessary for me to stay in a hotel, the first time that I ever slept in a bed that wasn’t my own… If that wasn’t challenging enough, I then travelled to Liverpool to watch WWE Raw.

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/halloween-as-the-shockmaster/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/london-trip-part-one-the-preparation/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/london-trip-part-two-the-london-experience/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/london-trip-part-three-the-final-fantasy-concert/)

(http://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/wwe-raw-and-liverpool-experience/)

BLOGGING

I believe I still have a lot to learn where blogging is concerned. What I have learnt though is that at times I probably forced myself to blog about stuff if I felt that I should blog about it. I like to think that in one year I developed my own style of writing and blogging. I consider myself always upbeat and looking on the happy side of life.

What I learnt is that I need to enjoy what I’m writing and I would often remind myself that all these blogs are from my own point of view. I tend to get the best out of myself if I enjoy writing, especially when reviewing film and manga. It can be hard at times since I find it difficult to summarise but thankfully I have my editor (aka Mum) to help me out. 😉

I find as well that if you don’t force yourself to blog you will have more things to talk about.

I feel a lot better when I’m blogging as it’s a good way to express myself. However, it came to light at times that viewers from all over the world are actually reading what I have to say. I’m also aware that some of my blogs have put smiles on the faces of my friends.

Making people happy is what motivates me to continue writing and blogging. Being happy is important, and if I’m making someone happy then I intend to keep up with that flow! =)

THANKS FOR READING

Two Thumbs-Up

I summarised my whole year to the best of my abilities. How did I do? Did I waffle too much? Haha. Well, I had to figure out how I was going to write this blog. In all honesty, it wasn’t a tough as I anticipated. All I had to do was sum up what I did and share my adventures from last November to now. =)

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I can’t wait to see what my future adventures will involve next.

See you next time.^^/

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

Thomas the Tank Engine TV Anniversary

Thomas and Gordon 1

Peep, Peep Tidings!

 

Today we are all celebrating. On this very day, 30 years ago, Thomas the Tank Engine first aired on television, produced by the good company of Britt Allcroft. =D

 

HOW THOMAS HELPED ME

Thomas is very precious to me, as he is too many others. One of my earliest childhood memories was Thomas. It was a basic play-set with Thomas and his two coaches, The Fat Controller, Percy, Bertie and a couple of troublesome trucks.

 

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I have made many links between my Autism and Thomas. I can’t express enough how instrumental Thomas was in my younger years. He helped me in many ways unimaginable. I was trapped in my own bubble and I never interacted with anyone or uttered a single word. Being young was difficult. The only time I would utter a sound is when the music started to play and I would scream very loudly. I would relieve this horrible tension in my head by banging it against the wall. Haha.

 

Some people started to talk to me through Thomas and made references through Thomas, to gain my attention. I can’t explain why I liked Thomas; I guess I felt that he was real. In cartoons you know it’s animated, but, I knew deep down that Thomas was a model. So, it felt like, I could just go down to the studio and see his model up close. I would be able to touch him. From my point of view, Thomas was an actor but playing the role of himself. Haha.

 

Till this day I still watch the first series of Thomas the Tank Engine, it was only yesterday when I actually watched Thomas Comes to Breakfast.

 

Through the world of Thomas, I started to open up my bubble and, even though it took time, started to open many paths that I would never have thought were possible. I started to share my toys with my brother, since we shared a common interest in Thomas. When I first listened to the songs of Thomas, like the Island Song, I started to listen to other songs. I disliked music at that time, but, I found that music wasn’t so bad because Thomas had music too. I also started to read, because Thomas had books. I like all different versions of Thomas and I especially like the Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry

 

Most importantly, it helped me to relax. When I was anxious I was unable to find a cure, so I was in a constant upset state. But, as soon as I learnt the existence of Thomas, I found a source of happiness. It cheered me up every time I was upset or anxious. There have been other attributes to what made me gradually come out of my shell.  However, this blog is dedicated to Thomas so everything else at this moment is irrelevant. =)

 

NOWADAYS

Thomas has now entered into the CGI stage… I can’t really say that I’m happy about this. I’m not questioning its change; it’s just that I prefer the model stage since it is what I’ve grown up with. I still collect the annuals, dvds and blu-rays. =) I started to narrate the classic Thomas stories and send those clips to my Uncle, who enjoys my narration a lot. I’m hoping to sometime in the future to send some of my recordings to hospitals etc as it helped me so much I know it could help lots of other children. =) I also started writing my own short stories about Thomas and his friends, and I’m having a lot of fun with that.

 

Nowadays I can go out and socialise more confidently then I could when I was younger. I went to College, went to University and got a 2:1 degree in performing arts, which I’m very proud of. =) I can even tolerate loud noise and music for a short period of time. Having Autism is not easy, but, I feel that the gateway of me coming out of my bubble is the result of Thomas being on TV. If it weren’t for Thomas who knows how my life would have turned out.

 

I’m not the sentimental kind but I would to take this opportunity to thank Britt Company and everyone involved for bringing Thomas to our screens. It helped me immensely as I’m sure it helped everyone else. Not just thanks for helping, but, for bringing happiness into our lives. I for one am truly grateful. =)

 

THANKS FOR READING

Thomas and Gordon 2

It’s weird to think that Thomas has been airing for 30 years. It’s always been a dream of mine to get involved with the creative side of Thomas. Mainly writing and narrating. My main dream now is to be an author, but that’s another story! 😉

 

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan

Self-Confidence

keep-calm-and-think-happy-thoughts-9

Good Day.^^/

 

In my blogs I often compare my present-self with my past-self. How I handle things in the past is a lot different to how I handle things now. My confidence back then was a lot different to what it is now. The key word is “self-confidence”. This doesn’t necessarily apply to people with Autism but it certainly has played a big role in my life.

 

I’m writing this specific blog because a recent incident has triggered a realisation in me- I have good strong self-confidence. Have I always been this self-confident? Have I always liked how I looked? Am I ashamed to admit that this is my identity in appearance and personality? What do others think of me? Should I adjust myself to please them?

 

Many questions ran amok in my mind…

 

  1. Past

My school has obviously played a significant role in my life, especially in my younger days. I was always afraid of doing something “wrong” so I would aim to please without being a burden. This meant that I always tried to be a “gentleman” to be the “cleverest”, know everything, always try my best.

 

Because I went to an SEN school it was important that we were all taught how to be polite and pronounce words correctly. You will find that a lot of Autistic people speak correctly but with a slight monotone. That is because we learn how to be polite and speak correctly rather than learn how to express ourselves. I was one of those people. When I spoke in my school days, I spoke with a placid monotone. I spoke politely with an edge of nervousness.

 

I learnt how to be polite and a gentleman, but I never really knew who I was. When I tried to express myself through my personality I would get chastised for being “silly” or “rude”. So, when I tried to express myself I often got shot down.

 

I was often misunderstood because I didn’t know how to express myself. My teachers and adult figures never gave me a chance to explain myself and what I meant; instead, they assumed that as I had said it, I must have meant it. So, more often than not, I would accept my punishment instead of being given the chance to speak. Those times were extremely painful, and it certainly made me self-conscious about myself. If this was what  life was like in an SEN school then how was I going to cope if I ventured into the bigger world?

 

Going to Bobby Charlton’s School of Excellence (a football academy which was founded by ex-Manchester United football player, Bobby Charlton) didn’t help my confidence either. I was the only student that represented an SEN school. Even though SEN schools were supposedly involved the majority of the staff, at that time (2000) showed no inclination that they understood a person with Special Needs. The other children there certainly showed a lack of understanding. I got called weird underneath their breath and they often whispered things loudly so I could hear them… I probably should have walked away at that point, since I was most upset, but I was determined not to let them get the better of me…

 

I felt like a monster from that experience and it was from that point that I started to hide the fact that I was Autistic. I figured that I was treated horribly because I have Autism. I didn’t deserve to hang out with cool people. I didn’t deserve to get equal treatment and attend Mainstream courses at college. I hid my “problems” from everyone else, and I hid my “problems” from even myself. I didn’t want to accept that I was Autistic. If anyone knew that I had “special needs” then they would instantly dislike me…

 

Despite everything that had happened I could never get away from the fact that I was Autistic. That thought alone made me insecure. So, in order to not do anything “quirky” and to hide my “autistic quirks” I kept quiet and spoke politely whenever it was necessary. Don’t rock the boat. Try to remain the status quo. If I don’t say anything incriminating then I won’t get judged or get called a monster…

 

Then one day I started to attend University and that was when my life changed…. For the first time I was actually happy. I could express myself and say my views without fear of being thought bad of. I had friends, they liked me and they did not care at all about me being “autistic”. All this confidence gradually led me to performing my Auto-biography performance of my life with Autism… it was definitely one of my most memorable moments in life. I felt peace and happiness.

 

  1. Present

Right now, I like who I am. I accept who I am. I embrace the fact that I am autistic. I’m not part of Autism, Autism is part of me. Life is good. =)

I now have an identity that I call my own. I have the looks that I like, I have personality that I feel comfortable with and I have wonderful hobbies. I also have goals that I strive towards…

 

  1. The Recent Incident

There was a knock at the door. I was dubious to open it. We thought it was just a friend so I opened the door to see what the gent wanted… At the time I wore white shorts and I was topless.

 

Anyway, this man came up to me, looked me up and down and said;

 

“Hi. First of all, you need to shave that chest!”

 

 

I think it’s safe to say that I was quite miffed at that point. The sheer cheek of the man had me taken aback, and annoyed to. If this happened something like five years ago then I would have been terribly upset and insecure. In that moment though, I was more miffed that he had the cheek to say that to my face.

 

Even if he was joking it was still insensitive and gratuitous. You just don’t do it. It’s like me going up a gentleman, who is well endowed around the waist line and say “you need to lose weight!” or me going up to a lady “you need to pop that spot!” You may think it, but you just don’t say it, even as a joke. I get the impression that people like this gentleman can’t comprehend that saying that can do a lot of damage and cause unrest in an individual.

 

This issue does not apply to just people with Autism, it can be a problem for many people. It can especially be a problem for Autistic people since some of them will lack a lot of confidence in social situations.

 

How did I act? I did it by not rising to it. I just grinned. My attitude was “hahaha… not gonna happen. I’m proud of my afro chest and Tom Selleck agrees.” =)

 

  1. Irrelevant Ramble

I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. That was a lot of fun. =D

I did the challenge on a very cold and windy day. My Dad poured the ice on top of me and I kept my eyes open with a huge smile on my face… from my point of view it was like a beautiful yet cold waterfall streaming down right before my eyes. I always wanted to go underneath a water fall and so far that’s the closest I’v ever come to experiencing one. =)

 

 

THANKS FOR READING

 

I really have come a long way in many ways in my life, especially when it comes to my self-confidence. I have learned that I can handle people’s quips a lot better and whilst I may still be sensitive, I’m not as sensitive as I used to be. I can rub off people’s cheeky quips whilst not feeling ashamed about who I am and how I present myself…

 

Thank you for reading. =)

 

Namaste.^^/

Ryan