Bullying Victim is Now Opening Doors and Hearts

An inspiring film, restorative in its warmth.

Kindness Blog

Opening a door is more than a physical act. It’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, and making them feel welcome.

After being bullied, Josh decided to make a change that ultimately had a dramatic impact on his life and on the lives of his fellow students. We hope his story is as inspiring to you as it is to us.


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Make volunteering your New Year’s Resolution!

VolunteersGetting in shape, drinking less and stopping smoking are some of the top New Year’s resolutions, but many people struggle to keep up with these resolutions through the dark, rainy days of January.

What if you could take up an activity which can benefit your health, make a difference in your local community and improve your confidence? So why not make volunteering your New Year’s Resolution and experience some of these benefits for yourself. The health benefits from being a volunteer can range from improved self-esteem to a healthier lifestyle, and can even extend your life expectancy!

Volunteering can also make you happier –  a study done by the London School of Economics found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Compared to people who weren’t involved in volunteering, people who volunteered monthly were 7% more likely to describe themselves as ‘very happy’. Weekly volunteers were 16%…

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Happy new same old?

Stand up from the crowdI know a man on the spectrum who takes a week’s holiday, each year, and spends a couple of months beforehand and about a week afterwards being anxious and very unsettled about the change in his routine. So, after having it pointed out to me how I might find the stress of Christmas difficult to cope with, I recognised that, indeed, I do and always have done.  I’m not alone in that. Now we have a new year to contend with.

We have a new month, every month but that slips by as quietly as the time does but the focus on January and the traditionally inclement weather can give it an air of foreboding.  It was helpful to realise that my stress was more to do with the change in behaviour of the world around me than in myself. Look at Black Friday as a taste of what was to come – and there was I merrily pootling along through all the neurotic neurotypicals, feeling glad to be giving it a miss.

If I’m ever to be found playing tug-of-war for a still expensive bit of end of line stock, then by all means question my behaviour. It should be questioned. But it’s ‘what people do’ so it will pass by the composure register. Continue reading

HOW TO: Get Out Of This Life Alive…Part 1.

Clear way forward

Clear way forward

Or: Beat The Bullies

One thing that’s guaranteed to evoke a negative response is to have a fair point and to express it. Wow, who needs fireworks? Some of us genuinely can’t help but to keep making that same mistake, over again, but having learned how pained and lonely that can leave you, I’m beginning to see the benefits.

Why be daunted by those little cliques that feel the need to form in self-defence? When you demonstrate the strength to follow your own path, they just become the nasty little weeds along the way to be trodden down.

They need to combine all their joint forces in order to try and combat – you! That’s clearly a group to which you can have no real desire to belong. It will be painful to see how many people you’ve admired walk away from you, but that pain is only masking the success you are achieving, so, off with that mask too. Continue reading

Charity Begins At Home

Give and take weathers the storm...

Give and take weathers the storm…

You just never know what turn of events is in store for you or how fragile is the life you believe to be set in stone, never to change. Years ago I was at school with someone who thought it was fun to emulate physical disabilities in a mocking style. There were those around him who would laugh out of fear of not being in the ‘right’ crowd.

 

It has always baffled me why anyone should have any quandary over aligning with such behaviour but then, being part of any crowd has never been a draw for me, and observing such sheep-like stupidity (apologies to sheep and other victims of stereotyping) was never likely to change my mind.

 

The last I heard, He was quadriplegic, following a motorcycle accident. The person who told me didn’t know if he had any level of awareness – now. They were more concerned about the drama of the news. Continue reading

You; Man; Nature

Nature in a new light

Nature in a new light

I’m at my happiest when enveloped within the natural environment that, once, was all our ancestors knew. It was there, pending our efforts to control and manipulate it. Now, the ‘norm’ of control and manipulation is the thing I seek to escape, and the natural environment is the place that offers me the comfort and safety I knew as a child in the protective hug of my Mother’s arms.

I am in awe of the infinite sources of inspiration that nature provides. I have met few people who have truly inspired me, but of those that have, it has been their setting of an example that has shown me something worth considering, perhaps a behaviour worth adopting. I have had an alternative perspective demonstrated that, naturally, made me stop, think, consider and then act. That is rare. That is what makes it valuable.

So rather than get locked down into the disappointment I feel in the majority of people I meet, I’ve come to realise that’s just the way it is and I’ll look for my solace in the amazing power of nature’s offerings far more often than I will among people. In nature it’s there in abundance.

 

Continue reading

Follow My Leader?

Does our tough-man ‘Cambo’ lead by example? Does he want us to do as he does and not just as he says?

Well, if so and you get a bill that you’ve agreed terms on but now just don’t fancy paying – simply don’t. It’s fine, Cambo says so and is setting the example he wants us to follow.

If you can’t pay, because of a change of circumstances – say our leaders mucked up everyone’s plans for life – well then you’ll be fined, gaoled and stigmatised, but just get a bit miffy and you’ll look like you have principles.

Isn’t that the sort of scenario that goes through your head between the first and second sounding of the alarm clock on a morning? Weird, unsettling but containing a modicum of reality somewhere? Continue reading

Con Text

I read a report on BBC News website today. It told of a teenager who murdered his girlfriend. Now, news like that is bad enough but with so much of it competing for attention it must be hard for any reporter not to just report the facts but to ‘build added interest and intrigue’, perhaps by an innuendo, suggestion or by building a matter of concern. Trouble is, there are people out there who will become afraid on the basis of remarks like:

‘Told to kill’

‘The teenager, who had been diagnosed as having an autistic syndrome, told his family that a voice in his head named Ed told him to kill someone.’

An autistic syndrome. Really?

A few months ago I contacted Sherrif Brown whose widely reported delicate and considered comments after a shooting and suicide were:

‘”It is very, very apparent that he was severely mentally disturbed. It’s obviously the work of a madman,” he added.

In a so-called manifesto which had been published online, Rodger – who suffered from Asperger’s – said he had been born in London…’

Well, there we are. Conclusive proof that any prejudice against anyone with an ‘autistic syndrome’, a computer and who comes from London must be about to shoot you if you look at them a bit funny, must be justifiable to ‘normal’ people. Hmmm. No.

Where are these ‘normal’ people?

Oh, I see them. They’re the one’s committing the rest of the vile acts being reported elsewhere, and even more frequently, not being reported because a surprising amount of it is accepted as – you guessed – normal.

There are facts and there’s context. There is chalk and there is cheese. There is reporting and there is selling a story.

By the way, the Sherriff did respond, eventually. He spoke of his close experience of Asperger Syndrome (which worried me more)… and asked for my vote in the forthcoming election. If only I could have emigrated to America in time I could have cast my vote for – anyone else.

Virtual Reality

In our target-driven, new and constantly improved society, where can we find traces of humanity? Does the preponderance of charities mean we are a more altruistic society or that the tax advantages of passing off as a charity are being manipulated purely for commercial gain and jobs for the ‘family’?

 

Care is measured in minutes, pounds and pence while the real cost to the human existence is immeasurable, lost and echoing in the distance like those who depend on it having worked for it all their lives. Goalposts are moved. Promises are no longer deliverable. Justice is lost within the Law and truth is lost within the words, twisted, bent and fed back to fan the smoke and mirrors life we have all chosen democratically.

 

Objection handling and tenuous justifications mask real human interaction but every now and again you may just encounter a view that takes your breath away, or a sunset, a look of understanding, humility or a smile. These are the oases that help me to step my way through the minefield of superficiality when I’m too tired to be amused by the ridiculousness of normality.

 

I look at the world today and think of the ancient civilisations and how they must have been so confident in the way they had advanced only to then disappear. I feel that is the way we are heading, towards self-destruction in the pursuit of the pretense of perfection, mutated ideals and sugar-coated ‘benefits’. Bigger, louder, brighter, better. The constant goal of ‘more now’ can never fulfill but to stop, look around and seek fulfillment in what really is here, now might just deliver something meaningful.

 

A lady told me recently, that she believed that autism was the next evolutionary leap. I didn’t know what to say. It would be a more straight-forward, sincere and honest world, I think, but that could be achieved now. Instead, we glance at the news programmes like some juicy episode of one of the soaps and soon forget that these are real lives. I can’t help but face the intermittently brutal and beautiful realities of life as it is, but despite all that I’m generally considered to be a game ‘boy’.