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

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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.

 

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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’.

Gaelic Bred and Oughtism

I’ve been shutting myself in, this week. I felt bombarded by people wanting to know my opinion so they could decide for me whether or not I needed to have it changed. Hmm, I’ll seek out the information I feel is necessary to help me consider that, thank you – and do so from a source I feel I can trust. Now, there’s a problem. I’d also like to be able to decide when and how I enter any part of a debate, but thank you for the many opportunities I’ve been offered, to give knee-jerk reactions to contentious and inflammatory remarks.

 

Apart from having leaflets thrust into my path, there are collection tins of varying credibility, clipboards from over friendly chuggers and posters shout at me from windows while A-boards catch my feet before catching my eye. Reaching my destination requires some determination. Can I do without that loaf of bread? Yes – No- I’m undecided, tell me. Continue reading

Debatable Independence?

Aroused by the prospect of change.

Hopes, fears, passions rising, it’s getting heated, confusing, loud, bright, fierce, unsettling.  Too many people around me, too close, it’s all too close.  Where can I take refuge in predictability?  Where can I feel safe in the comfort of routine and structure?

Is this what we have to endure until the Scottish Independence Referendumb is concluded?  Well, yes, unless you have an ASD, then it’s just a ‘normal’ day.

Calmeth down.

Faith

According to George Michael, ‘You gotta have faith’ but if it’s misplaced then it’s a recipe for disappointment or worse.  I’ve supported people and causes wholeheartedly and generously only to find myself having been used and my good nature abused.  My own fault, I’d normally think, I’m old enough to know better but it’s taken me this long to learn I have a developmental disability, which seems suitably ironic.   Doing so, however, has given me a whole new perspective in terms of many of my life events. Continue reading

Act your age is just a number

And I’m clear about that,  just as our ‘esteemed’ Prime Minister likes to say, as he looks down on us through the lens of the upturned camera sent to record his reaction to the latest example of human shame.  I think he’s so clear that he is transparent and I have little patience for his posturing, though I would love said camera to pan down to his feet, one day, to see if he stands on a pre-positioned Lazy Susan to enact his customary swivel on the heel before departing magnificently, in a style reminiscent of Dick Emery… Continue reading

Independence

My German barber, Herr Kutz, has shown real interest in the range of developmental disorders within the autistic spectrum, since my diagnosis.  Their level of severity is as variable, too. ‘They are recognisable, though’, he concluded, ‘within definable boundaries unlike the myriad of differences among everyone else outside of the spectrum.’ Wow, he speaks my language.

And so, the conversation moved to how variable is the level of independence shown by individuals within and without the spectrum.  ‘A great deal of it is not just one’s ability to be independent but one’s desire to be independent – then there’s the definition of what counts for independence’ He said.  A moot point here in Scotland, as the Independence Referendum approaches rapidly. Continue reading

Suffer Little Children

I live near a school.  A girl’s school.  Being sensitive to high-pitched tones,  some of the squealing would make me loathe going in and coming out times.  I remembered, though, that it was just the same when I was at school and and that’s just the way it is.  I must have dealt with it better then, or perhaps the simple joy of my escape from drab, stinky boxes filled with the threat of exploding zits was such relief that I became immune, temporarily, to the sound, leaving the local hounds to suffer in silence, until the sudden footfall had passed. Continue reading