Negativity to Positivity: Epiphany

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I think its human nature to get down in the dumps sometimes, and it’s happened to the best of us. It happens to me from time to time, especially when I’m tired or whenever I’m anticipating the thought of socialising with people.

Sometimes when I think about going out, it can trigger negative emotions in me. However, just because you feel sad or think sad doesn’t mean you should succumb to it. I can stop it, not by fighting those feelings, but rather, override them with the positives. And when I do, I end up feeling much better.

At the beginning of the year I had a throat and a chest infection. It was really bad and I had it for weeks. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t read or go on the laptop as it made me feel dizzy, I felt constantly sick and I couldn’t talk without coughing. All I could do was lie down. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience and it was the worst I had felt in years.

I didn’t like feeling sorry for myself so I ended up willing myself to draw. ‘One little sketch couldn’t hurt’ I thought… I ended up doing back to back drawings and actually completed a full length comic based on the DanMachi series. It was the first ever doujin (fanmade comic) I’ve ever completed. I was really happy and fulfilled with my comic and additional art and gradually, I felt myself getting better because I was ignoring my illness and indulging in my own happiness.

Since my recovery I achieved a number of other personal goals too.

I suddenly had the urge to re-write my first children’s picture book and I completed it in a single day. I’m really happy with it and I feel that it’s much better than ever before. It’s now currently in the editing stage where I’m getting the opinion of family and friends alike before publishing it on Kindle. =)

The other big achievement for me is that one of my pictures was featured in the Kitacon Karnival booklet this year. My brother encouraged me to email the picture over to them and I thought “why not?” so I submitted a picture of Kirin Toudou from The Asterisk War anime and to my surprise and delight it was in that book! =D This year’s Kitacon convention was good and I enjoyed it more than last year as I managed to be brave and speak to more people.

There has been lot of good things that has happened to. I cooked eggs benedict based on Erina’s recipe from the Food Wars anime, getting my first ever platinum trophy which I achieved on the Atelier Shallie game, creating a YouTube Vlog channel about Football and most recently I received a like on a Twitter post from the one and only Alan Shearer… that truly was a heart-stopping moment. =D

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What I’m trying to say really is that you can take the positives from the negatives, even when you are really ill. I took one positive from the time when I wasn’t in the mood to think positive and it has led to a lot of wonderful things, especially new and fresh ideas for my book which is especially important.

I will always get anxious whenever I’m about to go out as it’s an instant emotion that takes over me, but I will always claim my mind back as I should be able to think what I want, and feel how I want.

Anyway, this is the strategy that works for me and I thought I’d just share it. Now, I’m going to go and draw and make a start on my Birthday list. =)

 

Thanks for Reading,

Ryan.

Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part Two

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(Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part One)

  1. BAD START TO THE DAY

The morning was not the perfect start to the day, for many reasons. I woke up late for breakfast as my alarm didn’t go off. I also accidentally yanked off my golden wristband. I was trying to adjust it as it was giving my wrist a bit of a rash. When it came off I was like “is it really that important?” and threw it in the bin. It turns out, as I found out later, it was VERY important. I wasn’t allowed in the dealer’s room so I had to go back upstairs and retrieve it from the bin…

Then, when I went to the game’s room the crew spotted that my wristband was *cough* damaged. Zen guided me to Ops where the crew gave me a replacement. After all this I decided to go back to my room to unwind where I learned there and then that I accidentally locked myself out of the room. I left my keys inside. It just so happens that my brother had a second key.

I did feel embarrassed at my own clumsiness so I decided to spend a while in my room to chill out for a bit.

  1. DAY TWO at the KITACON and STREET FIGHTER TOURNAMENT

I spent the rest of the day mostly talking to cosplayers and taking photos. I found them all pleasant to talk to but my confidence was a little bit shaky.

Socialising is still a big learning curve for me but I feel like I’m able to read situations better than ever and gauge people’s reactions slightly better than I did the year before. I think on this day in particular I probably did put myself under unnecessary pressure to socialise and I think my approach to some conversations did come across as unnatural and nervy. Luckily all the cosplayers are very nice and understanding of each other, even though we don’t necessarily know each other all that well. That’s the kind of vibe that I get from everyone. It’s that kind of atmosphere.

At one point during the day I did feel like I’d had enough and felt I would rather be at home. But, I still tried to make the most of it whilst I was there and told myself that I was going to be more active in the evening and see what happens.

Later on I took part in the Street Fighter V Tournament despite the fact that I’ve never played the game before. I was never in it to win I just wanted to play the game as I thought it would be a lot of fun.

  1. THE MASQUERADE and the PARTY

The Masquerade was a daunting experience and it was the first ever masquerade I had ever been to. I was extremely thankful that I got a VIP badge as I was allowed front row access right on the side so I could disappear anytime if it got too overwhelming. I found that reassuring. The atmosphere was not as loud and energetic as I thought it was going to be, instead it was just cheers and clapping and I don’t mind that so much as we’re supporting the cosplayers on stage.

I did my utmost best to get as many pictures as I could but everything was happening rather quickly and unfortunately I didn’t manage to take as many photos as I would have liked. I was disappointed but I did the best I could. It went on for quite a while and I did enjoy it but I think it ended at the right time, at least for me personally, as I can’t really be in a room in a large crowd for too long.

I went to my room to have a long rest after the event was done.

A couple of hours later I found my brother and good chum Chris and we danced in the party. I liked the party on the second day more than I did on the first day and I felt that it was because I was hanging around with a group whom I was familiar with whilst interacting with new people at the same time.

I spoke to a very nice lady. I think she’s a very interesting person and I enjoyed talking to her. It felt natural and I felt comfortable, a couple of years ago I might have made a polite excuse to go away from an impromptu conversation. Instead, I braved it and spoke to her. =)

I was also part of that humongous conger line and I was near the front, right behind the person who was videoing it with her camera phone. The best part of the conger line was that a Stormtrooper was right behind me. =D That conger line was fun and when it finished I decided that it would be a good time to leave and go to bed. I was in a good mood but I still had a very bad headache. If I left now, it would be on a high.

So I did.

  1. LAST DAY

It was nice and calming on the last day even though I did feel very ill in my head and body. I think because I had been speaking to so many people over the last couple of days, I felt the energy was zapping away from me. It was the right time to go home.

I did manage to take some more pictures on the last day but I wasn’t feeling as energetic as I had been, but I think most people were probably feeling the same.

OVERALL

It was a very good experience and probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I think this Kitacon was a lot better than last year’s Kitacon and I think it helped that I had prior experience and that there was not as many people this time around.

I’m always going to be ill and be faint in huge crowds and socialising with people but I can will myself to ignore the negative emotions and enjoy the good times that were presented to me. I had the courage to speak to more people this year than I did last year and I even managed two parties in a row.

I had some good moments and some rather bad moments but everything I did was a big fun learning curve and I’m really glad that I went. I’m growing in confidence year by year and I’m learning to be comfortable with new people as well as with my current friends.

I’m also learning not to put unnecessary pressure on myself as things will happen naturally if you live in the moment rather than plan the future.

WILL I GO TO NEXT YEAR’S KITACON?

I’m not sure. There are more positives than negatives about this year’s Kitacon, for me, so I do feel more encouraged to go than not to go. But, I still don’t like planning or thinking too hard about it as I will feel apprehensive.

 

Thanks a bunch for reading, I’ll see you next time. =)

Ryan^^/

Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part One

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(Kitacon Karnival Experience: Part Two)

  1. LAST YEAR

I first went to Kitacon last year so I had a rough idea what it would be like this year. Big events like this can be tough and challenging for me due to my autism. This means that I tend to get overwhelmed in huge crowds, meeting new people in unfamiliar surroundings and loud noise. It was a shock to my system when I first went to Kitacon to the point where I went for long periods of time feeling faint and dizzy. I sometimes felt that I couldn’t think or move properly whenever I went to panels or spoke to new people.

I experienced a lot of highs and lows last year and admittedly I was anxious about going to this one.

  1. THE ANTICIPATION

In the end, after much discussion with my brother and my family, I decided that I wanted to go. Last year I think I put too much pressure on myself and tried too hard to experience everything about Kitacon rather than doing what I wanted to do.

When it comes to big events or social gatherings like Kitacon I will always feel faint, dizzy and suffer many headaches due to the stress of meeting new people and socialising. I’m very self-aware of who I am and I’m no longer ashamed of what I am. I will always suffer from these quirks but I’m able to cope and subdue the negative emotions that I often experience. Even if I do feel ill at certain moments I can still enjoy the times that’s given to me and think positive. =)

  1. FIRST DAY AT KITACON

I settled in the building much better than I did last year, and it helped a great deal that I got the same room from last year too. I got into the Kitacon spirit quite well. I knew that my art was going to feature in the Kitacon book but I submitted two back in January and I was not sure which one was going to feature. It was my illustration of Kirin from The Asterisk War anime. It was a really exciting moment when I saw the picture in the programme for the first time. It was a humongous achievement for me and I was excited at the prospect that a lot of people from Kitacon were going to see it. That book is definitely a special souvenir. =)

The uneasiness that I felt for obvious reasons suddenly faded to the back of my mind and I then had the confidence to go round and take photos of cosplayers in their amazing outfits. I was more confident at taking people’s pictures this year. I still had to prepare myself mentally to ask their permission but it was much easier to approach them. They were all friendly and I managed to make small conversations with some of them. This lifted my spirits and my confidence went even higher and I like to think that I was able to speak to so many people because of my photography. Taking photographs was the perfect icebreaker for me otherwise I don’t think I would have the courage to speak to anyone at all.

There were some panels that I didn’t enjoy last year, namely the Hentai Panel, because it was so crowded it made me feel unwell so I decided to leave. I decided to give the Yuri Panel a try but I was a little bit anxious about that panel as I anticipated it was going to be like the Hentai Panel from last year. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. The two ladies spoke about the concept of Yuri, played a few clips and showed a few photos of female couples, including Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. There were some very risqué photos and clips but it didn’t overwhelm me once and I think it helped that I sat right in the corner near the back so I could “escape” anytime but luckily there was no need to “=)

I was nearly tempted to go to the Burlesque show but by this time I felt that I needed a rest from socialising and big crowds and I went back up to my room for a couple of hours to be on my own in the peace and quiet.

After some respite I went to the party with my brother to dance to the loud music. I didn’t really enjoy it this time around as my body started to feel light and I was suffering with a really bad headache. I was really quite ill by this point so I left the party early to go to bed.

I didn’t particularly have a good night, I was restless for stress related reasons and for the sheer fact that I was sleeping in a bed that wasn’t my own. However, I wasn’t as homesick as I was last year and that was a humongous positive. The other positive so far was that I get to spend some more time with my niece as this was her first ever holiday away from home and I can say that I was part of that. =)

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Thanks for reading, stay tuned for part two. =)

Ryan^^/

My 2016 So Far

Kirin Toudou

 

Happy New Year everyone.^^/

 

2016 has been good to me. I already like it more than 2015. I have lots of exciting things planned and I’m currently in the midst of doing those exciting things too.

 

My Story

My ultimate goal this year is to publish my story on Kindle. I’ve been reading a few children’s stories recently as part of my research and it has helped me a lot. I’ve completed many drafts but now it’s nearly finished. I’m nervous but excited about the prospect of self-publishing my very own story. =)

 

I also have a fantasy story in the pipeline but that is a humongous project and I won’t complete it anytime soon. I’m especially excited about that.

 

My Art

I’m continuing to upload my works on Deviant Art but I recently created an account at Pixiv.net. Pixiv, as far as I can tell, is like Japan’s version of Deviant Art but it seems that all the art on there is anime and manga orientated, where Deviant Art is all styles of art.

 

I’ve joined Pixiv around the New Year and so far my art has been very well received. I’ve been getting plenty of nice and encouraging ratings, bookmarks and even sticker comments. I’ve gained 5 followers in the process too. It makes me happy knowing that people like what I draw. =)

 

Speaking of drawing, I have a few drawing ideas. I’m planning to draw and create my own avatar/profile picture and/or a banner/wallpaper for my profiles for my Twitter page[1], my DeviantArt[2], my Pixiv[3], my MyAnimeList[4] and potentially for my Instagram[5].

 

I have a Tumblr too but I’m considering of deactivating that account as I’ve never really been on it.

 

I’m planning on drawing a simple face portrait of Alice Nakiri from Food Wars! for my Avatars. I can’t decide if I should use Alice Nakiri for all of my Social Media Avatars or if I should use just use it for a selected.

 

For my banner I’m planning on including a few characters; Cerea from Monster Musume, the four girls from Non Non Biyori, Ouka Ohtori from Anti-Magic Academy 35th Test Platoon, Mai Kawakami from Myriad Colors Phantom World and Kyouka Kagamin from Dragons Rioting. I have a good idea how the picture will look.

 

I recently practiced sketching Mai Kawakami so I can get used to drawing her. It took me a day but it was worth it as drawing her was a lot of fun. You can find the link just below if you’re interested to have a look. =)

 

Mai Kawakami Practice Inking

 

Yoga / Pilates

My first Yoga session this year was with a lady called Becky. It was the first time that I participated in her yoga class but I very much enjoyed it. I usually struggle with sudden new faces but I really enjoyed it as the session was calm and relaxing.

 

I tried Pilates for the first time the other week after hearing that it’s very similar to Yoga. The Pilates class that I attended was not really enjoyable. There were lots of people around and the atmosphere was energetic, which I didn’t like. I was in agony a few days after the class to the point where it hurt to move. Haha.

 

I think after practising Yoga for many years I’ve come to appreciate the philosophy behind Yoga. I now prefer the quiet relaxing atmosphere and the calming of the mind rather than fast determined workouts. I can’t say that I’ve disliked Pilates as I’ve only tried it once, but I will try another class next week and see how I feel about it afterwards.

 

I may even try Rock Climbing, but I will see how I feel!

 

Kitacon 2016

I have bought a VIP ticket to attend Kitacon 2016. =) Kitacon 2015 was one of the biggest experiences in my life and I think this year’s Kitacon will be just as important.

 

I’m a bit nervous about it as it will mean spending time away from home again and potentially socialising with people who I’ve never met before in a very big building. I do have experience what it’s like and there will be things that I will do and won’t do again.

 

I intend to take lots of photos of Cosplayers as last year’s Cosplayers were awesome. I have no doubt they will be just as awesome this year. I even have plans of cosplaying as a certain person that went down well with a group of friends last year. Can you guess who I’m considering dressing up as? 🙂

 

I will worry and get anxious about this so the best thing for me to do right now is to not think about it and deal with it when April comes.

 

Anime Winter 2016

There was plenty of Anime for me to look forward to in 2015 but at this moment in time there hasn’t really been an Anime this year that has captured my interest.

I am watching two anime from this season’s line-up.

Myriad Colors Phantom World: I’m enjoying this so far. I think it’s funny and entertaining. All the girls are cute and have cool abilities. I especially like it how Reina eats up the rogue spirit people and how the battles conclude. The limbo challenge was fun to watch but it also shows that you don’t need to beat people up to win a battle. I thought that was rather cool and I will definitely watch this on a weekly basis. =)

Dagashi Kashi: What I liked about this show is that the background art and atmosphere reminds me a lot of Non Non Biyori, especially as Coconuts own a Candy Shop. =D I find it to be very eccentric and funny, especially Hotaru’s antics. Dagashi Kashi is completely different than Non Non Biyori plot wise, but like Non Non I think it will be very easy to watch and I think I will grow to like it. =)

 

THANKS FOR READING

I’ve been really enjoying myself so far and I’m especially proud as I’ve recently completed the illustration of Kirin Toudou, which you can see right at the top of the page. I feel that it’s definitely one of my best recent ones as it’s vibrant and colourful. I think I’m getting better at drawing as times goes by. For now, I will take a somewhat rest from drawing. It won’t be a long rest though. =)

 

I will now take it easy as unfortunately I caught a bug again after recovering after Christmas. I feel a bit dizzy and I have been coughing quite a lot but I’m not feeling sorry for myself as I am just watching Non Non Biyori and other anime that I’m catching up on. =)

 

I hope 2016 has been treating you all kindly.^^/

Ryan.

[1] My Twitter Page

[2] My DeviantArt Page

[3] My Pixiv Page

[4] My MyAnimeList Page

[5] My Instagram Page

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.

Applying For a Passport

UK Passport Cover

Last Monday I went to an interview to apply for a British Passport.

I was a little nervous as I got the letter back from the Passport people saying that I was required to have an interview, which was not really a problem. It was my first time that I ever went for a passport interview. It was going to be a completely new experience, however, on the leaflet it says that if you have a disability and you need someone to be in the interview with you, please let them know. Mum came with me as I don’t travel by myself and in case I got anxious and didn’t understand the procedure.

As is so happens I totally forgot about the arrangement and only remembered the day before. Haha. So, the anticipation build up wasn’t as bad as it usually was. I can probably handle situations better when I don’t have too long to think about it.

I didn’t really know where this place was but I enjoyed having a good walk around in the warm sun. We found the place eventually and I went into the reception area with my parents.

We actually learned, there and then, that nobody was allowed in the booth with me. I started to get nervous at that point. The problem wasn’t me going in on my own it was the lack of understanding shown by the receptionists. This did not fill me with confidence. She was also rude to my Mum and was a little patronising towards her.

My Mum tried to explain why she would go in with me, not to speak on my behalf but to re-word questions if I didn’t understand them. This is a big occurrence in my life where I don’t always understand what people say, especially when they generalise. However, the receptionist wasn’t really listening or rather she was too busy enforcing the rules.

So far I wasn’t impressed with how unwelcoming the passport people were. If the receptionist was not very accommodating then how accommodating would the interviewer be? I started to lose confidence in the fact that they weren’t going to consider my needs. It seems like they don’t really cater for people with Learning Difficulties or Autism.

The interview lady eventually called me in and she was actually really nice and friendly. By the way that she was talking it seemed like she was more than familiar with people with special needs. She was very open-minded and she did seem experience when it came to communicating with people like me. All the interview questions were very simple to understand so I didn’t have any trouble answering her questions.

I spent about 25 minutes in there and I felt actually ok by the end of it. I was somewhat surprised how well I handled the situation, especially when the receptionist dropped the bombshell that I wasn’t allowed to bring someone in with me. I could have buzzed Mum to come in if I wanted but I was doing ok by myself.

I handled that situation really well actually but I was disappointed with the lack of consideration that the staff did show. It stresses in the leaflet that if you have Learning Difficulties and you need someone to come in with you then to let the passport people know. In a way, I did find this misleading. If it was clear that I wasn’t allowed to have support in my interview, then that would have been fine. But if it’s not ok, why mention it in the leaflet in first place?

I was more disappointed and bewildered by the principal of the staff not accommodating my needs, rather than going in by myself for the interview. However, it’s all done and finished now and I’m certainly losing no sleep over it. =)

THANKS FOR READING

Bell and Aiz Artwork Endcard

All I just have to do now is play the waiting game… by reading the rest of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Light Novel Volume 2. =D That’s such an awesome book and anime and I’m really enjoying it. For all I know the passport people might refuse my application but I’m pretty confident that they’ll accept it. =)

Thanks for Reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Three)

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

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

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

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

  1. DECISION

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

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

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

  1. SCENES YOUNGER THAN TEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. SCENES OLDER THAN TEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. INDIVIDUALITY

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

  1. REACHING COLLEGE

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

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

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

  1. I AM RYAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. POST SHOW

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

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

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

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

THANKS FOR READING

Thomas and Gordon 2

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

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Two)

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!

Dating

Issei and Asia

Winter Tidings.^^/

The Undateables is coming back on Channel 4 very soon. A few close peeps have mentioned in passing that it might be worth considering going on that show to meet up with someone. I appreciate their thoughts for me and considering my happiness. However, I have no plans to use these types of dating services.

My main reason is that it would just feel too forced and formal. I get anxious and nervous just meeting someone new at my brother’s and sister’s gatherings. I feel that meeting someone new by myself would put me under unnecessary pressure. Plus, the TV coverage wouldn’t really help ease my nerves. I make many mistakes in social situations and if I embarrass myself only a few people would see it. However, if I make mistakes and be quirky on TV then three million plus viewers would see it, not just a handful of people. Haha.

Really, being in a relationship has never really entered my mind. I did go on a date when I was 11 years old but that’s another story to tell in another blog. 😉 Really, what’s important is for me to meet new people and gain experience by meeting a variety of people. Of course, having a female partner would, I’m sure, be a valuable and wonderful experience. However, I’m in no rush. I never have been and I never will be. My priorities are my family and friends, meeting new people and making new friends through the art that is socialising. =)

I’m not worried about finding someone because I know I have a soul mate out there. It’s just that I haven’t met her yet, cue Michael Buble… I don’t know when, I don’t know how, and I don’t know where but I know that fate will assist me into finding that one special lady. Some of you may not believe in fate, but I’m a huge believer in fate and that two people are destined to be together. Some find each other through neighbours, some find each other through schools and some even find each other in pubs and train stations. Haha.

THANKS FOR READING

Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

It will happen for me it’s just all about living in the present and not worry about what the future holds.

Just right now, I just finished watching a film about Glenn Miller starring James Stewart, it was really cool. Mr Miller is quite the pioneer in his time and a very positive gentleman. I would have like to have met him.

I’m now going to read heaps of manga that I got over Christmas, but not before going out for a long walk. The sky is golden and beautiful where I am right now. =D

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

My Christmas Spirit

Coca-cola-lorry

Ho, Ho, Ho.^^/

Christmas has an impact on people in different but wonderful ways. For me, it represents a time to spend with family and friends. So far, I’m doing just that. However, it never really occurs to me that Christmas is coming until certain things trigger my realisation…

  1. The Coca-Cola Advert
  2. Putting up the decorations
  3. Home Alone on TV
  4. Advent Calendar
  5. Walking out in the freezing cold
  6. Putting up the Christmas tree

When do you realise Christmas is coming?

The decorations in my house look splendid, and I’ve got a new star to put at the top of the tree. =) I watched Home Alone the other day on Channel 4 +1. I would say that both Home Alone 1 and 2 are probably my favourite Christmas films of all time. I enjoy it now as I did when I was much younger. Even in the days when I in a complete world of my own. I remember my Mum buying the Home Alone soundtrack all the way back in 1992. It’s both wonderful and amazing how time flies. I’ve come a long way since then. =)

I’ve been in a good mood recently. I recently finished my illustration on a picture that I’m quite proud of. I drew and coloured Aoi Sakurai from the anime, ‘Rail Wars.’ I was thinking of doing either Rias Gremory or Takao next. However, I also begin to wonder if it’s more appropriate to draw a Christmas picture with a bunch of anime girls squashed together. That could be a lot of fun actually. If I feel like it, I’ll give them a go.

So far I’ve been doing a countdown to Christmas. Every morning I would eat a piece of chocolate from my Thomas the Tank Engine advent calendar. Then, I would post #day1 for example onto Instagram. I’m finding that a lot of fun. I don’t really eat heaps of chocolate in truth, but when I do, it’s on a special occasion. =D

THANKS FOR READING

Father Christmas

 I still have plenty of presents to wrap and cards to send but it’s all worth it when the 25th December arrives. 😉

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.