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

20150731_164502

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

IMG_6569

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

20150804144756-c177ff05-me

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.

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)

cropped-ryans-world-border-2.jpg

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)

cropped-ryans-world-border-2.jpg

  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!

My Easter Holidays

The Easter Bunny

I really do enjoy the Easter holidays. It’s one of my favourite times of the year.

I didn’t really do any excessive celebrations I just spent some time chilling with my family. I received lovely Easter eggs from my parents. I got Thomas the Tank Engine, a Mars collection and a white Easter bunny chocolate. I’ve already scoffed down the chocolate bars and the Thomas Easter egg. They were divine. Yum. I couldn’t eat the other chocolate. I can’t really eat lots of chocolate once. I’m more of a health freak then a chocolate freak, except on Easter Sunday. Haha.

I did go on an impromptu bike ride around my Dad’s garage… I fell down 5 or 6 times. I scraped my knee and hands but the hot water from the kitchen tap soon cured those bruises. The last time I rode a bike was when I was 15, possibly younger. We are speaking more than 10 years ago. Haha.

I made a bit of a mistake recently when I washed some clothes.

Apparently, when you wash woollens, you add the detergent but not the fabric softener as the softener breaks up the fibres in the wool. However, I’ve been adding the fabric softener and not the detergent. Basically, I’ve been doing it the wrong way round. Haha. It’s funny to talk about but I was really annoyed when I’ve found out that I’ve been washing woollens wrong all this time. I used to be really sensitive when I thought that I’ve done something wrong and it used to be a big issue. However, in this case, instead of being upset I was just annoyed with myself for a matter of moments. Haha.

I’m still somewhat sensitive when it comes to getting things wrong, but I handle it a lot then I did when I was younger. =)

I watched the anime ‘Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?’ The first episode is really awesome and I’m eagerly waiting for episode two. =D I also watched ‘Only Fools and Horses’, the one about the Jolly Boys’ Outing. =D I think that’s a great episode, it’s like all guys going on a huge trip together with no girls allowed. Haha. I suppose you could compare the Jolly Boys to the Inbetweeners movies but in the 1980s. I did watch a little of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. I don’t go out of my own way to watch Ant and Dec but I do watch some of the bits that I find amusing. =)

I also spent plenty of time watching the Football. There were some really good goals this week. The Charlie Adam goal was a proper scorcher, I couldn’t believe he had the audacity to attempt that shot from long range. I was convinced that he was going to miss, but he didn’t. Bobby Zamora’s goal I think was special. Not many can score from the outside of their foot, especially from that angle. Jermain Defoe’s goal for Sunderland this week was really good as well. He looked really emotional after he scored that and he really lifted the Sunderland fans.^^/

I’m now spending this time watching White Chicks followed by Match of the Day 2 and Skyfall. I can’t listen to the song ‘A Thousand Miles’ without being reminded of White Chicks. Haha. =D Skyfall is pretty awesome too, but it does have a bittersweet ending.^^/

Happy Easter everyone. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan