Friday, August 28, 2015

A World Not Meant For Us

This will probably be the deepest opinion article that I have ever posted on The Autistic Help blog, and it touches on certain things that I had hoped I wouldn't talk about, but I believe as we get closer to September, I might as well say how I feel so that I can get it out there to everybody who desires to read this blog.

If you are an autistic person like me, chances are you have had this thought floating to the top surface of your mind from time to time. Especially if you share the same beliefs that I have, as in if you are a Christian like me, then you would know what I am talking about here. Sometimes I'm sure that many of us think about just how long we actually have in this world. Sometimes we wonder just how long God will give us in this world, how long He will allow us to live here in this otherwise crooked and corrupt world until He sees it fit to call us back to Him.

I guess we sometimes feel that we are just running on borrowed time, and that it is only a matter of time until people like us are gone, out of this world that has become miserable, apathetic and lazy.

People can enjoy text messaging all they want. They can preach whatever gossip that their souls subscribe to as much as they want. People can try to find ways to "simplify" their lives by creating a brand spanking new mobile app that does all sort of hi tech stuff. At the end of the day, though, how much of these trivial things actually matter in the grand scheme of things? How do these trivial things actually apply to your spiritual salvation?

I'll give you a quick answer. God doesn't care about whatever new mobile app you created. You can be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Phil Spencer or Mark Cuban as far as business creativity goes, but none of your successes in this world will matter if you fall short of the Kingdom of God.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised as to how negative other people view us autistic people. I shouldn't be too surprised that all I come in contact with are people who are initially nice to me, but then they will become double-tongued and will do anything and everything to use and abuse people like me simply because they know that I am autistic and that I am sensitive to certain things. After all, most of the hardships that I face clearly reside in spiritual battles, the kinds of battles that you can't see with your own two eyes.

God sees everything and allows certain things to happen to us. God knew who would become autistic and who wouldn't. God knows ahead of time how you are going to turn out before you are even born. God is omnipresent and He is my king. As a Christian, I follow God and accept His Son Jesus Christ as the Savior and Messiah. If anyone has a problem with my views, I will let you know that there's nothing you can do to change how I feel spiritually. It's just not happening.

Both spiritually and mentally I have endured my fair share of criticism, persecution and abuse. I'm no stranger to it at this point. Sometimes I have become numb to it. All the negativity that my enemies try to give me on a daily basis is pretty much normal in this day and age. I try my best to be friendly to other people, whether or not they are Christians themselves, and I try my best not to rock the boat, so to speak. I try to keep to myself and I try to humble myself as much as I can.

I am in a minority and I know it. I am in a minority as far as my autism goes, not in quantity but in quality and freedoms. I am in a minority spiritually as I am constantly looked down upon by others. My love for the truth that is in God's word, the Holy Bible, is the reason why I am hated, and with that being the case, I am fine with that.

As I have said in the title of this blog post, if you are like me, this world is simply not meant for us. Don't expect your path to any successes here in this world to be easy because it won't. If you love God then those who hate God will do anything and everything to prevent you from having success. They will try to prevent you from having the peace that you desire to have. That's how the world today works.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Childhood Memories

The Little House - A Children's Picture Book
There are just memories that we have all had when we were children that stick with us for some time. Even when we are adults and we become very focused on performing actions that only adults can relate to, there are some things about our childhood that we just can't forget, and nor should we. Childhood is a very special part of life and once you grow out of your childhood you will never have it back. Sometimes childhood memories fade away from us and we forget how awesome certain activities were. At some point in our lives we will step back and think about the simpler times of life, when we were able to do things that we clearly can't do now as adults.

My childhood involved me reading books. I was an avid reader and I wasn't afraid to pick up a new book and read it. I had the mind for reading and I didn't find it boring. There were some childhood books that I forget about, but there are some that I still remember. For example, The Little House was a book that carried a certain significance to me. It was just a children's picture book with few words on each page, but it told a good enough story. You knew what it was about when you read it. The Little House is a story about a little house that was taken care of by a family, and it was a house that was given a lot of love. As time went on and as things changed all around it, such as the area it was in becoming a huge city like New York, the little house lost the love that people had for it and it would be neglected.

Don't worry, though. There is a good ending to this story. Even today when I look back at The Little House is that the moral to this story still resonates with me on many levels. A home, or a foundation, is so precious and valuable and it is where the heart is. If a home is given love and is protected, then it will survive. If a home loses its loves and is torn down, then it won't survive.

The Giving Tree - A Silverstein Classic

The Giving Tree is another children's book that I read very often in my childhood, and this was clearly one of Shel Silverstein's best books. This was a fictional story about a boy who grew up playing with this tree, which was called "The Giving Tree" as it would give the boy whatever he asked for. As we venture through this book, we see the boy grow up and we see him live his life by just the representation of pictures as we read. Through all the boy's moments, the tree sees it all, and we can't help but feel something for this tree as the story progresses.

I will not spoil the ending to this story neither, but I will let it be known that it has a poetic ending to it. The ending is fitting for the theme that it's based around and it left a lasting impression on me. This was the kind of childhood story that you could go back to and read again for as many times as you like. This has staying power.

I mention these picture books because I am currently taking an online course that discusses writing for younger audiences. I have always had this desire to give back to young audiences myself. I am motivated to give children some of the experiences that I had when I was a child, therefore I would like to give children a chance to use their imagination for all the right reasons.

Childhood memories aren't just limited to the books that you read as a kid. I remember other things such as going to a go-kart racing track and miniature golf course, going swimming in a community pool and in a lake, trying to learn how to ride a bike (and failing miserably at it), going down to a creek to catch a frog or a turtle, entering in a pinecar derby event as a cub scout... There are many things that I still remember because they help represent me. These memories helped me in some shape or form. You can never forget about where you came from nor why you became who you are today. This is one reason why I truly worry about today's generation of kids. Will they truly value the memories they have as kids, or will they take them all for granted?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Continue to Educate Yourself

I have made a post in the past about an online course I was taking. I once took an online course in game Theory, and needless to say, that didn't go too well. My Game Theory course didn't go as well as I had hoped because there was too much mathematics involved. Having said that, though, I have gone on to experience much better courses in just the span of a single year.

I have an official Statement of Accomplishment in Gamification, a course that was provided by the University of Pennsylvania. I have passed a few courses which didn't give out Statements of Accomplishment, but rather Verified Certificates. These certificates are the kind that you pay for, but considering that I'm more broke than a guy flipping burgers for a living, there is no way that I can pay to obtain any Verified Certificate. On Coursera, the online college network I use, you have to pay at least $50 to get a certificate, so of course I will pass on that option.

Very soon I will be receiving my Statement of Accomplishment for Social Entrepreneurship, which is basically like entrepreneurship but it takes into account the social causes that you believe in and fight for. You make a social enterprise with the idea that you are going to help society in some way, no matter what happens financially. 

I have passed a couple of entrepreneurship courses as well as a course run by the University of London (England) called Managing the Company of the Future, and I just recently passed a course that talked about the global perspective of sports and business. Ever since the Fall season of 2014 I have been able to obtain more knowledge about the world around me and I have been given some insight as to how to go about planning some things. The education I received has helped me in some ways, in my opinion.

Educating yourself on things that you want to know more about is a good way of preparing you for what you want to do next in your life. It can be hard for us as autistic people to know what exactly we would like to do for a career, but when we figure out what we're the most knowledgeable in and what we're good at, there shouldn't be anything holding us back from entering through that door.

What's more important is that even if you are around my age, which is 26, and you feel that you already have enough of an education, don't be afraid to re-evaluate that part of your life. Don't be afraid to look at online education networks like Coursera and think to yourself "You know what? I probably could learn more about this subject! It will probably help me get that job I've always wanted!" 

At the age of 26, I am at a point in my life where I could just go with what I already know and do my own thing, but I choose to continue educating myself. Why? Because it's a challenge. I continue to educate myself because I know there are some things I will need to brush up on in the future if I am going to achieve certain feats. Without certain pieces of knowledge it will be difficult for me to understand what certain people will be talking about. That's what I want to change every time I take a course.

The world's system of education, which involves you going to a college for 4 years, get your education on whatever it is you prefer, and then out the door you go and into society where you hope things will make more sense for you in the future, is definitely flawed. The problem I have always had with this worldly system is that even after you get your education in this setting, you are never given a guarantee that your education will actually be put to work. You are never guaranteed of the opportunity of actually applying what you have learned into the profession that you are shooting for.

My words of advice are simple. Continue to educate yourself. When you have the time to do so, just do it. You might just find something that truly interests you and it may just be the thing that rekindles that creative fire inside you. You won't know until you try.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Poem - The Box

 The Box
By Steven Vitte

Description: This is a poem that defines how I feel being in my current environment. I believe this poem speaks for itself as to what my response is to those who oppose me.

Ignored by many and respected by few,
All I want to do is blaze a new trail,
It is my desire to rise above the doubts of those who do evil,
It is these same people who desire my hurt and want to see me fail,
Therefore they will feel good about themselves,
Because they see the door I want to go through,
And because they know what I want, they won't give it to me.

 Talked down to because I tell the truth,
Disrespected because I go my own way, separate of their way,
They speak evil of me, putting the black cowboy hat on my head,
They target me like a victim, some of them wish me dead,
What reassures me is that I am led by the Spirit to keep moving ahead,
Because of the truth I know, I ignore what my enemies may have said,
Because there is no life in a lie, and there is no credibility in them.

My reality is like a box, confined by the evil pleasures of others,
The Box smothers my creative fuel, telling me what I should and shouldn't do,
The Box has 4 walls which are all dead ends,
These walls laugh at me, antagonizing me,
These walls and this box represent today's society,
Hardened cold hearts, clouded defiled minds,
Attitudes of people who are unable to find and show empathy and compassion.

 I am not the only one who is put inside The Box,
There are many like me who suffer all the same,
There are many like me who are used like pawns in a twisted game,
For myself, I feel like a captured fox held against his will,
Offensive remarks can harm, and narcissistic looks can kill,
I have been through it all, knowing others want me to feel ill,
All because there are mountains and hills that they'll never climb.

It's a crime to keep me inside The Box,
There's no rhyme nor reason to keep the locks on the doors,
For you know that one day my wounds and sores will heal,
And you won't be able to steal my freedom and joy anymore,
Because of your wicked actions, you have sealed your final day,
Because like a bird, my feathers were too bright to remain concealed,
Opportunity knocks, I think outside The Box... and I get out.