Showing posts from 2017

Learning to take a break

Dearest readers, 
Sometimes things slip out of importance and your priorities shift. Over the last month, mine certainly have, and this blog has not been even registering to me as a priority. For something that used to be relaxing to type into, it became stressful. I'm generally better with people face to face and I started to find emails, websites and social media extremely anxiety provoking. People confused me - I thought everyone was going to shout and scream at me (this has been a lifelong fear/issue I am dealing with) and not knowing if I would be to blame, or how to know if I was. I had a lot on my plate too with lots of very recent changes: cars, churches, routines, pets, deadlines... Uni work came number 1, paid work came number 2 and many other things dropped by the wayside and this was the first thing to go. Both these combined meant for one thing: rest. Words don't do justice to what I was experiencing inside. 
One of my friends took the above photo on a day out we…

When the door opens

Dearest readers, 
A rather late reflection on a workshop I ran in another Methodist Church last week. I had been invited back in April along with the minister I work with and given church schedules, churches taking "the summer off" (yes this does happen... yet Jesus didn't take a summer holiday! I'll leave that debate for another day) and our busy schedules and my deadlines, it wasn't until last weekend that we all met properly. I normally wear my analysis hat as soon as I walk into any church building and set up, examining internally the lay out, escape routes, use of space, how people interact with each other, the sensory impact of a room are all mentally and internally critiqued. I have to say I do this most places I go now, so sorry not sorry about that. 
Other than a few IT glitches, this was by far the best and most facilitative workshop done so far. You know why? People listened, they had questions and most importantly, they not only spoke to me but they …

Our deepest fear

Dearest readers, 
I hope this post find you well. After a day of reading and studying, I remembered something that was shared with me about a week ago from a film. I've never seen the film Coach Carter, but giving the biographical nature of it, I think I would enjoy it. I quite like things based on real life, documentaries and documentary style approaches. The quote linked here is the original poem that the quote from the film is based on. This is a beautiful piece of poetry and I have named this post after the poem. I also enclose this photo of a swan I took yesterday - I've never had a swan pose like this so close to me. Usually the only thing they are after is food!

"Your playing small does not serve the world"
Putting myself down only hurts me and effectively masks, covers up who I really am. It does not fulfil the talents and strengths that I have, it does not allow for them to be used to the best of their capacity. We all have something important to show or giv…

Why have you got worse?

perceptions of getting worse and becoming more "autistic" versus sticking up for yourself and having a voice
Dearest readers, 
I hope you are well. I have just had the above question posed to me: you never used to be this literal. Made me think, after I had been slightly confused and put said person in the position where it was their perspective and not necessarily reality: we are still so glued to what is right, what is correct, what is "well", what is sociable, what is normative. We comment on what we see, as x-ray vision is sadly (yet also fortunately) yet to give us the ability to read other's states and minds. It's almost like someone was telling me I have got "worse" and should therefore "improve" and that I am not doing well enough the way I am. How false and assumptive that being non-autistic is better. 
It is comments like the above which can be so damaging to some of us: I can see exactly how this can trigger internal confusion…

Hearing but not listening

Dearest readers, 
I hope this finds you well and October is rolling out well so far. After a slightly bumpy start to October (or since my birthday) where anxiety has decided it'd like to come to play and a few unexpected decisions that I wasn't expecting to make so soon, I'm settling back into my research and getting into a new routine with work with the various jobs I have. September and October are always slightly harder to navigate as a newer routine is so suddenly imposed upon me with little time to graduate into it, but all is good fun and it does eventually settle down. I purposely don't take much in the way of breaks and holidays as I find it quite hard with the change. It also means my brain stays engaged and active too - I guess in part because I really enjoy what I do it doesn't feel like work really. 
I was chatting with a friend who provided the inspiration for this piece. It surrounds acknowledgement and understanding of experiences we cannot see. It&…

Beauty in the darkness - something personal

Dearest readers,

Rather than being inspired by a word or phrase today, usually resulting in a title, I have been inspired by a photo, below:

I haven't looked through this album in many years, as I had a very dark time when I lived in Grenoble and for many years well, until I started my new course of study) I carried many regrets of what I didn't do, what I could have done, what I should have done. Funnily enough, it is my extended visit to Grenoble which starts off my journey I am currently on regarding autism and also my journey with Jesus. It was after my return I became angry with injustice, confused as to why I could not cope like others (although it had been bubbling up for a while) and thirsty to help and teach. It took me a while to reorientate towards a less aggression based angle where I was not only hurting myself less and not burning myself out beating myself up not only for failing one of my dreams since I was 12 (living in France, I felt like my dream had been cru…

"We just didn't notice"

Dearest readers, 
Second post in 24 hrs after two weeks off signals I'm back at the computer again and that the brain is whizzing, and more importantly, more discussion has been had. I lead a very interesting session at the church where I have been helping with youth work for the past 18 months and where the minister I currently work with is based. It was for youth volunteers. I has struck me over the last year how little good information there is for churches and faith based groups and organisations, and how everything normally stays very localised and "owned" by certain circuits, areas and dioceses. This to me is quite odd and seems to go in the face of "spreading the word", but then again I'm not a business person nor a committee member so a lot of the politics concerning this go over the top of my head. As far as I am concerned, this is my work and God is using it. I don't want it to be owned by one sort of church for the current moment, for it is …

Don't shut me out

Dearest readers,
This phrase has just come to my head. An inspiration out of nowhere. I think it's something that needs to be considered and something that needs to be put into account in terms of what we do. I can take many angles here: you can look at this theologically, you can look at this sociologically, you can look at this in larger and smaller environments... it can work anywhere and everywhere. There is no way around it.
How does this relate to me and what I do though? It relates through a struggle to see how important some things are by others who do not sit in my seat and see things from my perspective and do not see how important they are. Through sidelining, gas-lighting and not listening and most importantly, a lack of true communication. I'm going to refer to this from a theological perspective, as that is where my passion lies and I have to admit: my patience with faith institutions, particularly church, has grown dangerously thin over the last 2-3 months sadl…

Why are you so scared of everyone?

Dearest readers,
Today I will open with a short and honest phrase: people scare me. Okay, maybe that sounds a bit strong but it is after much reflection that I say this. I know it is irrational. I know that everyone isn't going to be angry and shout and tell me off like a child. I know that not a bad person and I know I don't mistakes constantly. But this is what I see and increasingly how I have felt and also a reflection that this actually underpins quite a bit of how I make sense of some things. 
I think part of the reason why people scare me is because people confuse me. I find people's intentions confuse me, people confuse me as I take them at face value and what they present to me at that time. I often find from the confusion I sometimes misread or come to the "incorrect" conclusion (or more to the point, I interpret in the way that was not intended). This doesn't always happen, but enough for me to notice and take note of. One conclusion I often come …

Church and worship - questions we need to contemplate

Dearest readers, 
This is a short one for me to throw some questions around. I have started reading (Dietrich) Bonhoeffer's biography as of yesterday, mainly to see the impact that Luther had in the theology in Germany at the time Bonhoeffer was growing up and knowing Luther's attitude and beliefs towards disability (very negative is an understatement): I wanted to know more and was intrigued. As I started to read, some of the very same questions Bonhoeffer asked in regards to church and the church in Germany struck me - have we asked ourselves them, and have we ever considered them from the perspective of disability? I know the majority of people have not, so wanted to ponder them here and now. Here are the two big ones I noticed:
What is church? We all know church is not a building nor an institution, rather a body of people. Rather, what do we do to make this body of people accessible? Tough question, I'll let you ponder it for a while. Please do, it is a question we do…

Representation: the real us

Dearest readers,

-- Edit -- this week I was reminded how important it is that we embrace the real diversity that exists and that we do not make assumptions on or about people. These assumptions can be both ways I find and also I have found how dangerous they are and how they can wound. We are not less, nor are we more. Not making assumptions challenges us as humans, yet this is a necessary challenge.-- 
I hope this finds you well and you are enjoying September. I have to admit it is a great relief that I no longer have to go back to school. I had the same fear and anxiety on the first day of secondary school through to the last day of sixth form: it never left. Rather September is the start of the academic year for university students. Reflecting back on the 'transitions' post I made about a year back, I have been able to update it fresh for this year and give it a sparkly new powerpoint too. 
This is an extension of one of the topics I spoke briefly on the radio on the 3rd Se…

Cities, planes, trains: all about energy

Dearest readers, 
As I sit down today to catch up on some titles that I have stored in my drafts - I came across this one. Suggested by my friend Abby, it also links to a book another fellow autistic woman has written (Sandra Beadle-Ellis). I am yet to read or get a copy of her work, it is very coincidental that this topic crops up the same time as her book comes out. I guess in a highly interconnected society that the likelihood we will be travelling much increases, whether it be for holidays, work, meetings or social occasions. Although the distance in terms of accessibility to some places have decreased, it might be interesting to ponder on the amount of energy needed to get from one place to another. And I don't mean kilowatts/hour or our carbon footprint here. 
As humans, we also have energy within us. Some autistic people like the idea of a battery, others use the metaphor of spoons which originally was created for lupus. Others may struggle with the abstract nature of this…

Thought for the Day

Dearest readers No doubt you've been relinked by me to read this. Underneath is my thought for the day for 3.9.17. The Square Pegs film I talk about is linked here. I am in no way affiliated with Square Pegs, but was very much touched by this and this helped inspire and give the final "push" to this piece.
tc -krysiawally
Thank you Mike and thank you for asking me to do thought for the day today! I’m used to talking for much longer so I hope I can keep to time. While I was considering what to talk about, yesterday I was at the Tizard Centre yearly conference in Canterbury and the short film ‘Square Pegs: This is me’ was shown. It is a short film exploring young people’s stories and experience of difference and ended with a song. One lyric of the song stood out to me: I’m different and I’m perfect - and it clicked, not only what I wanted to share but also into some of the other thoughts I have recently had and shared on my autism blog, which is funnily enough 1 year old toda…

The value of listening

Dearest readers, 
I hope this finds you well - it's been a while since I've posted. I've added a fair few titles and inspirations to my list on my drafts however haven't actually sat down and developed any of these ideas further than a title. I seem to go through phases like that from time to time: I often find inspiration comes all at once after a spell with hardly or no inspiration and struggling to know what to discuss or write. Also being the perfectionist I am, I also don't like to write something that I would consider to be complete slapdash (although I'm sure enough of my undergraduate essays were um... interesting! Especially some of the French ones I really didn't want to do.) 
After having been at a conference for my academic school today and having taken notes in all of the sessions, there was one comment that has stuck with me all day and is worthy of noting. 
"In the UK, we measure documents not the voices of people with disabilities"…

Dear younger self..

Dearest readers,

After powering through 7 transcripts over the last week (I will get them done before term starts, even better if done sooner). I thought I'd reward this massive movement in work getting shifted, aided somewhat by a deadline, through a therapeutic blog. This title came to me about a week ago, when I was working on my university's clearing hotline over lunch. I want to tell myself, and let you walk alongside with me while I do so, many things I wish my younger self had known. As I have grown older, I have grown into who I am - I was never very good at "teenagering" or "young adulting" in the typical manner - well I only have a month of that left anyway and my young person's rail card expired in April (and I have no idea who to talk to at uni about getting a new one, as now I'm no longer "young" they need to authorise it with stamps or what not... too much hassle when I normally drive everywhere now). Age is merely a concept …

How to welcome someone like Christ - an #actuallyautistic perspective

Hello dearest readers, 
Here is something close to my heart and that I wish to share: how I find church. I have been quite open with my church in talking about some of the challenges I face currently and in the past. In fact I would go as far as saying church is one of the few places that does cause me issues and can trigger me, which is completely against the welcome that is supposed to be felt, given that church is supposed to be welcoming, loving and open to all. It has taken a while to build up to this and the last thing I want to be seen to be doing is criticising people, because that is just not what I'm out to do. Rather, show an autistic perspective on my experience of church and consider what we could be doing to extend the love and welcome that Jesus had for all to all. For after all, isn't church for everyone? 
As someone who does have social anxiety, it took me many years to walk into the open doors of the church alone. This sounds very odd for someone who appears…