Attachments, Cleansing and Achievement

Elsa

Yesterday I achieved something special.

Ever since I was little I had this thing where I held attachments and had great difficulty letting go. Whether that’s letting go of past memories or physical objects it’s always been a problem. I think Autism does play a part in this but ultimately I became accustomed with this personality trait. All of this was an issue because I attached myself onto these things and I felt these memories or physical objects defined who I was when I was still finding my feet growing up.

Yesterday I decided to sort out my entire room before Christmas and I actually managed to throw out a lot of things that I haven’t used or seen for 10 years. I even gave some books and clothes to the charity shops as they were wasted in my wardrobe. I felt emotional as getting rid of things was not easy but I managed to tame my emotional attachment side and was resolute in my goal and decision.

It’s also worth pointing out as it feels appropriate that I’m only ever sad whenever I recall my younger years and childhood. In turn I’m at my happiest when I’m in the present focusing on my artwork and stories.  Why trap myself in the past where I’m living in the realm of what really matters; the present. With that in mind I decided to get rid of all the sources that link me back to my past. I partly did that throughout the years but I decided to get rid of everything whilst I was feeling motivated.

Yes it was emotional doing it but right here and now I feel cathartic and for the first time I drew my pictures and watched Match of the Day without so much as a fleeting thought.

 

Knowing not to reminisce is one thing but to put that into practice takes time and I feel I probably needed time to let go. I haven’t been able to do that until now. So, from this moment on I will not reflect on my past in my future blogs as that will defeat the object of my achievement. I will do what I’ve already been doing and that is discussing my current news, my art, anime and generally things that are relevant to me.

 

Christmas is coming and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Thank you for reading. =)

Ryan.

 

ps, I also watched the anime film “Fireworks”. I enjoyed it very much. It was another great experience to watch an anime film at the cinema. =)

2016 Highlights

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For the past few days I have been ploughing my head deciding what my personal highlights for this year were. In truth I haven’t really been trying that hard because I’ve been too busy enjoying my Christmas with my family whilst indulging in anime and my drawings.

Right now I’ll just select a few that come to mind. If I think of anything else, I’ll add them. =)

 

One: Family and Friends

They’re simply put, wonderful.

 

Two: YouTube Vlogging

I took a brave step and created my own YouTube channel discussing my weekly Fantasy Football team. This was very nerve-racking because I was opening myself up for criticism but I felt it was the right thing to do. Occasionally I did discuss the England team and general news but in truth I don’t really have any strong views and recently made the decision to solely focus on Fantasy Football. =)

 

Three: Kitacon Karnival

This year’s Kitacon was a better experience than last year’s Kitacon. Approaching new people was easier but it was just as nerve-racking as I still making small talk with cosplayers and taking their photos. I was unwell at times but luckily I didn’t feel as disorientated as I did last year.

Remarkably one of my pictures did feature in the Kitacon Karnival Booklet. It was surprising and exciting when I first found out and it’s just as exciting now, 8 months on before the New Year.

 

Four: Shopping Trip

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done a shopping binge for clothes but one day decided to give it a go shortly after my birthday. (Now that I think about it, it might have been in August… well, it’s still after my Birthday!) I struggle with crowds but I plunged through the troubles for the sake of buying new clothes. I most certainly made the most of the 8 hours outing but was glad to be home when the outing finished. =)

 

Five: Wii U at the Cinema

This is definitely one of the most unique activities I’ve ever experienced. I played the Wii U at a Cinema screening to celebrate my Brother’s birthday. It was a lot of fun and luckily there weren’t many people about because we did this in the morning! Hurray!

 

Six: Picture Requests

I’ve been uploading my anime art online for more than a year now and over the last few months I’ve been receiving a lot of requests to draw particular characters. This is a very nice situation to be in as it means that a lot of people are enjoying my art and it gives my drawing more purpose.

 

Seven: Epiphany and the Bubble of Troubles

This is definitely the most important aspect of 2016 for me. I’ve always been positive and looked on the bright side but I’ve been carrying this Bubble of Troubles that resulted in me thinking about the past and feeling sad. It was only in November that I realised why that was.

I convinced myself I was going to write an auto-bio of my life when I left school (I planned this when I was still a student). That turned to be a mistake as I kept on recalling sad memories and in turn I couldn’t let that Bubble of Trouble go… until now. I decided that I don’t want to think about my past, let alone talk about them, so, why should I? It resulted in over-thinking and letting my imaginations go wild to the point where I misconstrue reality with a mashed up fantasy.

With that I got that pin and popped that Bubble of Trouble that didn’t need to glide over my head. Since then I feel refreshed and I feel like I can be myself 100% without any burden stopping me. =D I still do have my limitations but I deal with them when I need to along with the situations which will arise every time, every day and every second. =)

 

Roll On 2017

I have many plans for 2017 (somewhat because they didn’t come to fruition this year. Whoops!) I want to release my book on kindle, I want to work more on my fantasy story, I want to try and socialise when the circumstances are right and draw more anime girls.

Something tells me that 2017 will be a very good year for me. I won’t speculate what that might be I’m just looking forward to it. =)

 

Happy New Year, everyone. =)

Ryan.^^/

Life and Decisions

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I made a big decision today over a matter that I’ve been debating for years regarding writing an auto-biography about my life with Autism. Basically, I decided against it.

Since school I always envisioned myself writing an auto-biography as I felt it was my duty to rather than wanting to. Every time I dug down to my memory roots I would always end up feeling sad and feeding myself negativity. Nowadays I’m blessed with the fact that I can move on from the past but I had big problems when I was little, especially when trying to communicate with others. It was painful and frustrating not being able to talk to the point where it felt like they happened yesterday. I can still remember the pain I was in and how sad I was.

One day, today, I thought to myself if this was really worth it. Is it worth digging into my past and re-living those painful memories for the sake of sharing my story and possibly making some money through book sales? I came to the decision that it’s not worth it. I don’t want to think about those times let alone talk about them so why should I torture myself? I have a lot of wonderful stuff going on in my life right now and no matter how I look at it, living in the present, today, is far superior than re-calling the memories of the past. =)

With that, let’s talk about how good today is. =D

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My life is wonderful at the minute. I’m editing my book after a few family discussions and I’m in the process of creating a huge database for my fantasy book so I can keep on top of my own information. =D

I’m really happy and touched by the amount of support I’m receiving throughout social media and art sites. =D I’m just happy if one person looks at my art but some of my art are getting more than 1 view. Some get over 10, some over 100 and remarkably some over 1000. Before I joined Deviantart I never would have predicted that I would receive so much activity with my art. Joining Deviantart is definitely one of my best life decisions to date.

I’m in the midst of tackling some fanart requests as I feel I’m ready to give it a go. So far I’ve completed 1 request out of 5 and at this moment I’m coping with the pressure rather well. I was asked to update my Yoko Littner picture by adding more colours and correcting the length of her right glove.

The final good news is that I recently reached the landmark of 30 completed pictures from my Manga Girls series. I find this exciting as this simple style of black and white with only the hair and eyes coloured allows me the freedom and time to complete pictures quicker. If I include backgrounds I focus too hard and take too long but if it’s just the lady, I can go all out as drawing girls seems to be my forte.

I amended and employed plenty of styles along the way and I actually think I get better every time I touch the tablet with my pen.

 

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend everyone. =D

Ryan.^^/

Holding onto Attachments

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From my personal experience holding onto attachments can come in many forms whether it’s with physical objects, past memories and emotion.

Finding my own identity was always an issue for me and it was tough as my autism was severe back then and I did not adapt well to change, especially clothes. Every time I would have to change shoes or get new shirts I would get really upset as I felt that I keep on losing my identity, every time.

I really dislike letting go of things so I started to attach myself to everything whether its old objects like clothes, past school works, old ideas for my story and even reminiscing about my past. I really didn’t like this but because I was consumed by all of this I felt that my past thoughts and past objects and emotions were parts of my identity as a person- maintaining the status quo, not adapting to change.

However, one day, I decided to change my mind set. Why should I remember sad thoughts? Why am I holding onto things and not letting go? That was when I realised that I’ve attached myself to objects and emotions as I convinced myself that’s what my life is like.

By focusing on the things that make me happy now I gradually detached myself from the sad memories and past objects. They include anime like NEW GAME and Non Non Biyori, hanging out with my family, Vlogging, Blogging, Art, Writing, Yoga, the list is endless.

Attachments are not bad, you just have to recognise the good ones from the bad ones and it very much reminds me of change. There’s good and bad change in time. As time ticks every second we are living in the present of that tick-tock on the clock with something to look forward to in the future. If time stopped, we would stop, frozen solid and never moving.

The only nostalgia that I kept from the past that still exists in my life today is the presence of Thomas the Tank Engine. Some of you will already know why he was and still is very important in my life. That is a happy attachment. =)

Attachments, emotions and memories are very powerful to the point where you do question your own identity. It wasn’t easy and it did take a lot of time but when I focused on my current happiness I gradually detached myself from the sad memories and the things that made me sad without realising it. In time, they disappeared completely. They may pop up every now and again but pop ups are insignificant to the bigger picture.

I questioned if I was sad, if I was a monster, if I was autistic and so on but those days are now behind me. Being happy made me realise just who I was and that defines me perfectly. =)

Negativity to Positivity: “What If?”

With Yoga it’s all about inner peace and enlightenment with yourself and others around you. It’s not necessarily about being bendy, that will come in time as it has with me.

My legs are more like rubber than bones now. 😀 Sometimes we overthink about the “what-if’s” rather than realize what’s actually true and what’s happening right now.

“What if”, from my experience, are triggered by thinking about the past and looking to the future. Of course I can’t change the past or predict the future so really there’s no point in worrying about things that won’t happen.

What if I was a football player? What if I went to a secondary school? What if I go to USA next month? I could literally go on and overthink but that doesn’t benefit me in the slightest.

Instead I just focus on what I’m doing now, in the present. At this moment in time I’m making some notes of my fantasy story then I plan to upload a picture and read Strike the Blood novel right before the Euros knockout stages. What a fun day this will be. =)

We all get into these traps of “what if’s” as it’s human nature to do so. And that’s when Yoga comes in. To me, yoga isn’t about seeking perfection, it’s about celebrating what human is and unwind from the stresses of work and over-thinking from daily lives and the “what-if’s.”

 

Hope you all enjoyed reading my blog,

Have a good day. =)

Ryan.^^/

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Three)

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

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

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

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

  1. DECISION

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

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

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

  1. SCENES YOUNGER THAN TEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. SCENES OLDER THAN TEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. INDIVIDUALITY

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

  1. REACHING COLLEGE

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

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

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

  1. I AM RYAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. POST SHOW

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

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

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

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

THANKS FOR READING

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

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Two)

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  1. DECISION

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

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

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

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

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

  1. OVER-ACTING

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

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

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

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

  1. EPIPHANY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now, back to the Performance.

  1. NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE

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

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

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

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

  1. FILMING THE SCENES

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

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

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

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

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

  1. SHOW TIME

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

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

Show time!

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part One)

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It’s show blog time!^^/

  1. INTRODUCTION

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

  1. BEING DIAGNOSED / NOT SPEAKING

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

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

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

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

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

That was all just one part of the problem.

  1. QUESTIONING MYSELF

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

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

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

  1. COLLEGE SUMMARY

I left my school when I was 18.

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

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

  1. OPENING UP

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

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

  1. FINAL PERFORMANCE PIECE

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

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

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

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

It was at that moment, Mr Ian said:

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

 

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

“Like, talk about my life?”

 

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

“Absolutely. It has been done before.”

 

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

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

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

  1. DECISION

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

…yes.

Grudges

ImageGood Friday! ^^/

 

Are you the type of person who holds grudges? I was, I had many in fact.

 

Growing up was painful in many aspects, especially if you can’t communicate well. I sometimes would say things that were rude and not realise that they were rude. Or, I said things I knew were rude but I didn’t know how to explain myself. I was a bit scared to explain why I said things in case I was being judged. I didn’t want to do anything that was deemed as “wrong” or do anything to tarnish my ‘polite gentleman’ reputation known to everyone.

 

It did feel that I was often judged because of the things I said. I would receive a stern telling off for being “rude” and “ignorant” and generally having no manners. I was always fighting a losing battle and not being able to explain my actions was extremely painful and it somewhat scarred me. Later on in life I received harsher warnings and criticisms if I made a mistake or messed something up that put everyone out.

 

So, I ended up having a grudge against many people, especially my teachers. From my point of view they showed no interest in trying to understand my needs. Or rather, they thought they knew me but really they didn’t know a thing. I felt they were being cruel for no reason. It was always a losing battle. I would sit back and let them tell me off for being “rude” because I knew if I attempted to explain, or I would be accused of “answering back”.  It always a ‘heads you win, tales, I lose’ situation.

 

They looked from their point of view and never tried to look from mine. Did they think that I wanted to be rude? How did they think I would feel when they were constantly reminding me of my mistakes? It’s not like I ever intended to be rude or deliberately get things wrong. So, why did everyone have to yell at me for doing something or saying something unintentional? Many emotions and many thoughts ran amok through my mind.

 

I think really, because it was an SEN school we were bought up to be polite “ladies” and polite “gentlemen”. When we greeted anyone, we were expected to shake hands as it was the “right thing” to do. But realistically shaking hands would only happen during formal occasions not on a daily basis. All in all I think that they were trying hard to make me into a “man” that they lost sight of me as a person. So, if I said anything “rude” or did anything “wrong” my teachers were quick to let me know.

 

As you can imagine, I had little confidence when I left school. I was scared to have my own personality and make friends with people in case I was judged or I said the wrong thing. This is where some of my grudges came from. I had a grudge towards many people as I felt I was never given the freedom to be myself, instead, I had to act in different ways to meet certain people’s “expectations.”

 

Now I’m a lot older I realised, naturally, that there are many people with many colourful personalities. So, why could I not have my own personality? My confidence sky rocketed towards the latter part of my Uni days and I like to think that I have an identity that I call my own. Many different people accepted me for the person I was and this made me feel more confident about myself.  I gradually relaxed more and made some friends. =)

 

It still felt bitter though, because I felt that I did miss out on making friends in my younger days.  Not now though. How I am right now has nothing to do with my past self. I’m in a good place and I have no need to bear grudges against the “scars” of my past. We can think about the past, we can consider what happens tomorrow but we all actually live for the moment. So that’s why I’m no longer caught up with living in the past. I am here, right now, sharing this story with a smile on my face. I’m in a good frame of mind.

 

It’s important to bear in mind that people who misunderstood me did not necessarily act out of malice, but out of ignorance and lack of consideration. That’s how I see it.

 

Ahem-

 

I’m not thinking about the past (at least until I was writing this blog, haha) I’m thinking; which food shall I eat now? Which new Anime shall I watch now? I hope Date A Live is available on Crunchyroll. Should I re-watch D-Frag? I fancy writing some notes of my story. I partly fancy drawing a fanart of Kirisaki Onodera from Nisekoi: False Love. I also want to watch the Simpsons on Sky One. Haha.

 

What do I feel like doing now?

 

That’s the question I always ask myself, and it’s the question that I’m asking myself right now. =D I felt like writing this blog so I wrote this blog in the given moment. But this moment is going to turn old in ten minutes time. So that’s why I never think about the past or future, I just live for the now. =)

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Easter is finally here. =D I’m going to have a hot cross bun for dinner, will you? I wonder if the Easter Bunny will bring me chocolate this year? I guess I’ll find out next week. Haha!

 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a wonderful Easter.

 

Namaste^^/

Ryan