Sunteți pe pagina 1din 154

DISCOVERING ME - A PERSONAL UNDERSTANDING AND DISOVERY OF WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE ASPERGERS

(A book of poems and other musings Combination of Book 1 and 2 [2012-08-20]) By Emma Jane

This book is a combination of books 1 and 2 of Discovering me A personal understanding of what it means to have Aspergers. In the front they are listed by category and alphabetical in the index at the back. The reason for this is to try and make it a bit easier for someone to find a poem they want. But also hopefully make it easier to see what one with Aspergers is possibly dealing with. Or for someone with Aspergers to get their message across about it. Remember the symptoms are so varied, making it difficult to diagnose. Also the symptoms are sometimes shared with other conditions. Which some they may have, while others are mistakenly identified as so. Not realising it is the Aspergers that is causing it. I myself have Aspergers. These poems are of my experiences. Many who have seen it on the sites if have put them on, who have the condition too, say they identify with the poems. But remember this is Aspergers from my point of view. But there are many points of view, as there are many points around a circle looking in to it's center, so are the views of others who experience it. But hopefully this will help give you a glimpses into our world. I have included the Forwards of both books, as I believe it will help you in some way understand where I am coming from as you read the poems. Please note that because the poems are in categories there will be quite a few repeats if you read it from cover to cover. This is because most deal with more than one issue. The amazing part of these poems is that it was only just under two years since the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place of what was going on with me. Before then I didn't have or know how to get the words out. Now the words fills many pages and more are still coming. Emma Jane

FORWARD FOR BOOK 1


This book of poems and other musings of my life are dedicated to my parents. Though many of the poems and musings express anger or frustration of things I was experiencing. It was of no fault of my parents. They knew something was off but had no idea. Even those they took me to try and find out what was going on, couldn't tell them. They did their best with what information they had. I myself couldn't express to them what was going on. I didn't understand what was happening and or had no words to describe it or took it to be normal, despite the problems it gave me. For no one seemed to be struggling with this like me. When I did try to tell others by words that I could express or by my actions, I was told to get over myself or was given a look, that made me feel like I wanted the ground to swallow me whole. My reaction to this was to keep quite, put my head down and carry on. Even all these years later and only after eventually getting a diagnosis of a sort (The person I went to, turned out not to believe it is a condition and refused to give it stated on paper), I am only now starting to learning the words to describe what has happened to me and is still happening to me. Most times when I do, it takes a while. That's why I write it down, it is easier than trying to say it face to face. Yet my parents raised me with love and lots of answered prays. Despite not know what was wrong. Both my parents went out of their way never to give us kids any labels. The way they raised me and my brother, in many respects the way that was ahead of its time for the norm. Which when I looked up how to raise children with Aspergers, they had done exactly all the right things and more! Including the use of computers and this is without the guidance of professionals in this field! You must remember this was the early 80's and it was a very rare thing to have a computer in the home. The use of computers for Aspergers was most likely not even on the radar for people else where either at the time either. Because of what my parents did many of my symptoms are not as severe as they could have been. If I did do something that was different, the only thing they would say was 'you think out of the box.' As I have read more and more on the subject of Aspergers, I have come to realise that despite some of the problems in some regards it gives me. It is just figuring out how to use those 'problems' and turning what could be a potential problem into an advantage. Though I must admit this can take a while at times and have and will be bumping my head more than a few times as I figure things out.

UPDATE: Since writing many of the poems. I have overcome many of the feelings or suspicions have been confirmed to be real about what else was affecting me as a part of Aspergers, as I now have been officially confirmed to have it.

FORWARD FOR BOOK 2


To those that have read my first book of poems dealing with my personal journey into understanding of what it means to have Aspergers. I hope you will like these poems too. You may notice that some of the poems are similar in theme to others I have written, only from a different angle or the issue was only fleetingly mentioned before. The reason I have included them, is this. Aspergers is a very complex experience for me. Ask any who has it, I am sure they will respond the same. Which in turn also makes me more complex to others in return. No one fully understanding who I am. But I too, in many respects am still figuring out what is and is not related to my condition and how it is affecting me in what way. And I wish to let others see this and some of my very deep thoughts that in some ways I cannot say face to face even to my loving parents. Knowing some of it may hurt them. It may make them feel guilty at not been able to do more. Even though they went beyond what most would have done and more. So under another name I can let it all out, with no one knowing it is me. At the same time feelings I have wondered if I wanted to face again, when there was no need to. I am not hiding from it but, the memories still hurt with thinking of some of the things. Though I have tried to not let it define me. I am me, and I just happen to have Aspergers. In some ways I think have gotten it right and in others, lets just say it is a work in progress. But if it helps another it will be worth it. To those who have not read the first book of poems. Do so, it is also free to download. Between this and that book you will have a better understanding. But remember each person who has this is not exactly the same as another. Thats what makes it so hard to pin point this condition as well. I can only give you my version as I see it. But another may disagree that some of it describes their version. A lot I have taken to be normal. No matter how strange things have gotten. Only now do I realise they are not the way they should be. Now finding the words I am putting them to paper, in the hopes it may help others find their answers and open they eyes of others. Aspergers is a real condition, apart of the Autism spectrum and not one's imagination as some seem to think. Even by some misguided professionals and there are many out there. It cannot be cured, but we can learn to survive society in our own way. Sometimes we can fool you into thinking we are just like you. But other times you know we are not. Gain an education. Before you may have to learn it the hard way. For the figures for those affected by this is growing. You are at a higher risk of having a child with it than when your parents had you. But even if you don't, you will have hopefully learned to accept that not everyone is like you. That many think differently from you and even me. Who knows you may come realise that you may be one of us too.

CONTENTS
Page

FRUSTRATION WITH DOCTORS A note to professionals Sorry we can't help you Woe is me Where have all the good doctors gone COMMUNICATION Always Been Misunderstood An automatic reaction Broken Telephone Cannot find the words Difficulty in explaining I just am Ignored The invisible barrier No imagination The realization The conversation The Shattered Mirror The 'Tantrum' The unwritten rules Unlocking the door When inspiration hits Why aren't you listening? ANXIETY AND CONTROL OF ENVIROMENT Hanging on for dear life Are you ok? An Embarrassing situation I like order Mustn't be late Playing the pretend game The relevance of time Stressed The Little Girl Inside The slow poke The Pressure Cooker The Rat Race The Tightrope Walkers The Terror of Responsibility Where is my script? Hermione's Bottomless Bag You're an adult now Where is the order? SENSORY An Embarrassing situation Broken Telephone The Shattered Mirror Dealing with Smells Lemonade

1 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 15 15 16 17 17 18 18 19 20 21 22 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

29 30 30 31 32

Do I know you? Look at me Make-up Please don't touch me that way Recognition Recognition - part 2 - The experiment Shopping for clothes The Baptism Sparkly things The Food Minefield The car ride The dance The sound of an argument The picky eater The Troublesome Toothbrush Why arent you listening? Tintin the Movie What on earth is going on? Wonderings of what will be You got lost....where? MOTOR SKILLS I don't want to play Tennis Mind your manners Move faster The dance Paperless is better The Clumsy one The lesson of the Roller Skates WRITING AND SPELLING Box A or B I hate forms Paperless is better Spelling HYPER FOCUS The Bee in my Bonnet Cleaning House The Collection Bug The unquiet mind Tired IMAGINATION Fragile Writings No imagination The Little Girl Inside The realization MATURITY Always lagging behind Playing with children

33 33 34 35 36 38 39 40 41 42 43 43 44 44 45 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 65 66 67 68 68

Stuck in time The longing The Terror of Responsibility You're an adult now MEMORY A Flash of Brilliance Recognition Recognition - part 2 - The experiment An Embarrassing situation The Collection Bug QUESTIONS THAT BAFFLE An automatic reaction Feelings Box A or B I just am Tattletale or Good Citizen? Who are you? Where is my script? Why aren't you listening? FEELING SEPARATED FROM THE WORLD Feelings Living in between Friends Just visiting I am not disabled The Shattered Mirror The Alien The invisible barrier The longing The wall flower What's the point of it all? Where is my script? HIDING SELF The Little Girl Inside Hanging on for dear life Playing the pretend game The Shattered Mirror The look The Pressure Cooker Whats in a name? You don't have Aspergers FRUSTRATION WITH OTHERS A Bad day to be a bully A Flash of Brilliance An Embarrassing situation Blinkers Acceptance

69 70 71 72 73 74 76 77 78 79 79 80 81 82 82 83 84 85 85 86 86 87 87 88 88 89 90 90 100 101 102 103 103 104 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111

Denial Do not limit me Finding work Get the message yet? I want to be alone Now will you let me be Mountains or Mole Hills The Ironie Recognition Recognition - part 2 - The experiment Shopping for clothes The Shattered Mirror Something is just not right The look The unwritten rules You don't have Aspergers DETERMINATION ATTITUDE A note to professionals Acceptance Do not limit me Do you know you are disabled I am a girl Having a positive attitude I am not disabled Which is better Just because I don't like it Out of the box Just plain stubborn Lesson of the roller skates The ringing doorbell syndrome Wonderings of what will be You inner strength MISCELLANEOUS A Very Different Student INDEX

111 112 112 113 114 114 115 115 116 118 119 119 120 121 121 122 123 124 124 125 126 127 128 128 129 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136

FRUSTRATION WITH DOCTORS

A NOTE TO PROFESSIONALS
Getting a diagnosis Does not mean the end of my world Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will give up on life Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will use it as an excuse to do nothing Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will expect everyone to wait hand and foot on me Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will live my life recklessly And blame it on my condition Getting a diagnosis Means things make more sense Understanding why you do the things you do Getting a diagnosis Means I can get help when I need it Getting a diagnosis Means I can learn to work around the problem where possible Remember if you don't acknowledge that there is a problem, how can you deal with it? Getting a diagnosis Means people are more understanding if I struggle with something Getting a diagnosis Means I can be free to be me And not have to pretend I am something I am not Getting a diagnosis Means I can make informed decisions in my life On what I can and should do Without it things could go badly SO WHY THE HECK ARE YOU PEOPLE SO RELUCTANT TO GIVE ME ONE? You are here to help Not hurt You took an oath remember?

SORRY WE CAN'T HELP YOU


You have a happy and healthy child But of late you notice something is off At first you instincts as a parent lets you know Then you worst fears are now seen Your child has changed in subtle ways Your child seems more distant Doesn't like to be touched as much The fear grips you inside Your child has been abused This cannot be! You begin to look for suspects But you find none If your child has not been abused Why is your child reacting this way? Expert after Expert You get the same results They shrug their shoulders Sorry we can't help you Now what do you do? There is something happening to your child But what? You take each challenge as it comes It is trial and error You pray a lot Which really helps As the years go by You try some more experts But their answer is the same Sorry we can't help you Years later You get the answer Your child is fully grown The reason why the experts didn't see They were looking for it in its severest form Your child was way too mild to be considered Besides all the markers were for boys Your daughter did not fit So to all those parents out there Facing this Have your child tested for Autism But make sure the expert believes in the spectrum That milder forms are a condition too 2

But even then Unless necessary do not let your child feel different Only approach their challenges differently Help them do the same When I did something differently All my parents would say You thought out of the box Saying it was good to do so But if you still get the same answer from experts Sorry we can't help you Try another Unfortunately when you don't have something well known Or it is mistakenly not accepted as a condition at the time Even now many think Aspergers is not a condition But it is Don't give up Things tend to take time But in the meantime Help your child the best you can With what you do know And most of all Let them know they are loved Mine did It is the best thing they ever did

WOE IS ME
Woe is me That's the reaction many psychologists and psychiatrists think you will have You sitting in a corner crying Woe is me If they acknowledge you have Aspergers That's not true What utter nonsense I am stronger than they think I am not an ostrich like them Sticking one's head in the sand never solved anything If you deny there's a problem How are you to face it? To know if you can learn to deal with or over come it? So to all the psychologists and psychiatrists out there that think like this. Wake up and smell the roses And take your head out of the sand!

WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD DOCTORS GONE?


Where have all the good doctors gone? All we seem to find now a days is Quacks G.P.'s, Psychologists and Shrinks We've had them all After so many tries We have now found a Family Doctor He is not like the Quacks What he does, all good doctors should do He really listens Asks questions Freely admits if he doesn't know or is not sure He will go and look things up He will even read what we have found out about the subject He will even try and send you to someone who may be able to help, if he cannot Most Medical practitioners Don't do that anymore All they want to do is pump you full of drugs Instead of finding the cause Then trying other things first When this wonderful doctor retires Or leaves this earthy plain I am going to have to try and find another But with the amount of Quacks growing out there It's like looking for a needle in a very expensive haystack

COMMUNICATION

ALWAYS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD


You open you mouth and say something Yet it seems no one hears you It got lost in translation You try once more You say your say again Yet they still don't seem to be listening It got lost in translation once more It's got corrupted some how How is this possible? We speak the same language You try a third time It still does not work You are given the look or reprimanded for your trouble Your reaction to this, is to keep quiet Don't make a scene The frustration it brings How do you get them to understand?

AN AUTOMATIC REACTION
You've unknowingly trained yourself well A question is asked You answer without thinking But when you take the time to think of the question You now realise the answer is wrong But as you grew up You learned your lesson well The answer you have given Is the one you think that they want or the nearest to what you cannot say Back then you had no words to describe what was happening So you answered without thinking To a script that you knew Now you have found the right answers But it's still hard not to answer without thinking But slowly that's changing Hopefully one day There will be no answers without thinking.

BROKEN TELEPHONE
Playing Broken Telephone as a child is fun. In real life not so much. People don't understand. Face to face you hearing seems to be fine. Use a telephone and you begin to play a real life version of Broken Telephone. Don't recognise voices too eaiserly. If you know what the conversation is about you are ok most of the time. People who don't talk clearly, or have very bad accents, sound like Martians. Need someone else to take directions to a new place you need to go. Otherwise the person will have to spell extreemly slowly each new word you don't recognise and then you still get lost. People talking near you. Crackling noises on the phone. People answering the phone in very noisy places. Background noises can make it almost impossible to hear what they are saying at times. You have your hearing tested. The results come back, there is nothing wrong with you. Now what? People think you are acting up or talking nonsense when you tell them you can hear, but not properly on a phone. Years later you see a program on hearing problems. Your symptoms fit one of the conditions talked about. You most likely have CAPD. It means that you hear fine, but understanding its just that you can't filter out certain sounds, or distinguish certain words from each other. Now you understand why at other times besides the telephone, you misunderstand instructions at times or find out what you thought the singer was singing about was not what they were saying. You have been playing Broken Telephone all along and no one had told you!

CANNOT FIND THE WORDS


Over the years strange things physically have happened to me But when asked Why did you not say something? One could only answer one way How? How do you say what you don't understand Or know what words to use Especially when younger Then when you thought you found some words Only to be find it was not what others used Was told at times You're imagining things Get over it Or if by chance you got them to understand in some way They didn't believe it was as bad or as restricting As you made it out to be I have now slowly begun to learn the words others use for my experiences But when it's happening All words go out the window I am just trying to fight it's effects Trying not to loose what control I have

DIFFICULTY IN EXPLAINING
Others talk with ease Explaining their world to others I have extreme difficulty with this Speaking face to face about my world This is not for me But have found it best to write What you want from me It takes time to answer as best as I can do Of what you want from me But even then I do not always get it right

I JUST AM
Some have asked questions about myself Many I cannot answer No matter how I try Like asking how I do things Or overcome problems Er... Which specific problem? Which specific incident? Your question is too general You are causing me to freeze in indecision Overloading my brain Too many things all running around in there at the same time Now no answers will come When it come to questions about emotions I know I have them I feel them But their names sometimes elude me Or the words to say to another Unable to describe them Even if you ask specific questions That just require me to say yes or no I just am Interacting with people On the surface seems fine But look closer Things are not The way I react The way I do things But I do not realise many a times Only when others say something Or give me a look I do know I have done something wrong I have done something weird I just am Even when you try to ask your question More directly More clearly Even then many of the questions you ask still baffle me I cannot find the words I don't know why I react or do it that way I just am 8

IGNORED
We are standing in a group I am standing right next to you You respond to what others say But when I say something You carry on as if I had not Do I have a superpower? To be invisible? Talk above what others can hear normally? No, I think not For crying out loud I am the same age as you Yet you react to me like I was a child To be ignored Who's opinion about this matter does not matter Like I am not even here I am not invisible I have a voice I do matter So why do react as if I don't?

THE INVISIBLE BARRIER


You see the world You want to take part You want to connect But you're unable to do so There's an invisible barrier between You are unable to tell What you want or you need When you try The message doesn't get through There's an invisible barrier between People can't seem to see it or understand But it is there No matter how much you or they try to deny it There's an in visible barrier between At times it's like watching a play You are there as things happen But you cannot take part There's an in visible barrier between 9

NO IMAGINATION?
Many people say that those with Aspergers have no imagination Is that so? No it is not Mine is just different Mine does not always come quickly True mine was structured to some degree My playmobile dolls had to be the same colour for families Our lego was was mostly to do with cops and the hospital Barbie and Ken were family orientated stories But so what? There are so many variations to what each of those story lines could be. As I got older stories began to run around in my head But how to put it to paper? I didn't know how It took years, before I began to It is still takes time at times. It comes in waves Sometimes seeing what others have to say about a certain subject helps It unlocks the door, to let me get started But my imagination is there

THE REALIZATION
As I now look back on the stories I've written Before I had words to describe as I do now I have discovered The realization is quite shocking I already unknowingly knew the answers way back then A lot of what my characters experienced or who they are In some ways had a started in mine In a way it is quite spooky And as I continue to uncover Understand more of what goes on I'm beginning to see more of me in these stories of mine.

10

THE CONVERSATION
Conversations Most do it with ease Not me Sometimes I sound and look like a chatterbox But I am not Normally over things I know or like a lot Then I run out of things to say Repeating things Or not saying anything at all Talking on the net is better Not Skyping But Typing Conversations drawn out longer Gives time to think on how to respond Gives time to think of new topics to talk about Unlike speaking face to face Where I am left speechless after a short while Not knowing how to respond in time But in the end The conversation there too runs out Leaving one hoping and praying The other person says something Sparking another topic of conversation One I can relate to

THE SHATTERED MIRROR


You see the reflection of the world in all its glory in your mirror I see it in my shattered pieces as it lies upon the floor I only get to see fragments of what the world is really like Each shard reflecting a portion of what is Finding which piece goes where Trying to place all the fragments together To try and get a better picture But even if I find all the pieces The view of what I see is still fragmented. And of what you see of me reflecting back at you

11

THE 'TANTRUM'
I do my best not to get upset with others I do my best to avoid the situation Most times withdrawing myself in some way But if you do not listen If you do not let me be Get ready for the blast Just push me one step further This puddy tat just became a tiger This takes many by surprise They say they didn't see it coming I did not shout and scream I did not hurt another But once the blast is over I withdraw myself again People tread more carefully For a while that is They seem to listen when I speak But why do I have to do it this way? To get people to listen when I speak

THE UNWRITTEN RULES


You get the look. What? You shouldn't have done that. Done what? You broke the rules. What rules? You don't know of any rules written down, that say you can't. Not all rules are written down. If they are not written down, how are you supposed to know them? You just do. You have no idea what they are talking about. You get the look once more, but no one explains

12

UNLOCKING THE DOOR


A key has been turned It's opened a door The words are now tumbling I've got to keep up Or all will be lost I cannot explain it But words are now found How long they will stay I do not know So while they are here I'll make the most of them Explain what I'm feeling Explain what has been For tomorrow the words may be gone The struggle returns So while I can Here is my voice This is what it means to be me

WHEN INSPIRATION HITS


The wave of inspiration hits Oh great look at the time It's nearly passed midnight Most of times during the day I'm as dry as the perverbal desert But when it's time for bed or much later The rains begin to fall I am greatful for these waves of inspiration They are helping me to express What was once locked away for so long But there is just one thing Why can't these waves of inspiration come at a more convenient time?

13

WHY AREN'T YOU LISTENING?


The teacher says something. She immediately asks you a question about it. But you are unable to respond. She gives the questioning look of disapproval. Why you are not listening? But I am. It's just that I can't answer right now. If she asks five minutes from now you will be able to. You know this is weird. You cannot explain it. So you do your best not to be seen in class. The less questions you are asked the better. It is not a nice feeling you get from the teacher as she gives you a look when she thinks you are not listening. Yet inside you are screaming, I am listening. I just need time to think!

14

ANXIETY

HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE


Everyone has a part of them they do not reveal to others Only yours is a bit more As you grow up you realise you are not like everyone else You know not why You have learnt to show that difference, brings looks of disapproval Yet you have broken no laws that you know of and do not understand why So you try bury that part of as deep as you can Hang onto it so tightly Fearing to let go To do so, would mean loss of control and others seeing You do not want those looks The years pass and nothing changes Then you discover why you are like you are Though you only tell only a few why You start to let go The freedom it brings The relief The load has been lifted But still a large part of you still wants to hang on for dear life, to that part of you that was hidden Will you truly be able to let go? You know it will take time But life is much better knowing whats wrong Denying it only makes things harder, if not, much worse

ARE YOU OK?


The tears are coming The nose is running Are you ok? They ask There is no need to be upset That's just it I am not upset This is very embarrassing I am just nervous But I do not have total control So when I am nervous Agitated or even just slightly upset This is the result that you get 15

AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION
A while ago my great uncle died My Dad, brother and me were able to do But not my Mom The funeral was at such short notice Two days after he died Only to be told late the night before about it We were expecting it to be at least a week Took my nausea pills for the long trip Two or so hours later we arrive Thankfully not too much worse for wear Once there did I only realise How much I rely on my mother to unknowingly help me Though such and other family affairs My great uncle's sons greeted us at the church gates Took me a while to figure out which one was which Then a lady greeted me in side by the gate I greeted politely and carried on Much to my embarrassment To hear my Dad greet her by name She was my Aunt! One of the wives of my uncles I had greeted outside! The look that she gave me When I came back to apologise Even after trying to explain About my problem with faces Now a bit dazed and shocked at my blunder I continue on And nearly did it again This time with the daughter of that same uncle! Thankfully my dad saved me from this one By greeting her first The only reason I didn't do it again at the door of the church With the daughter of the other uncle She was the only curly redhead girl I knew! It is sometimes much less stressful to be in a room full of strangers Trying to make small talk Than be by oneself at a large family gathering Where not recognising faces Or remembering names Doesn't leave you with egg on your face

16

I LIKE ORDER
While most live according to the chaos theory I do not I like my world to be a bit more orderly Most things in it's place I do not mind small changes Or major ones if given time to process it But I do not like been disrupted When a time limit has been placed I've got to do this in order Otherwise disaster might take place Strange as it may be I do not like when others change my schedule But when I do it myself, I am ok with it I guess the reason for that Is that I can take my time While with others Most times they do not give me time.

MUST'NT BE LATE
Mustn't be late, Mustn't be late. I know the world will not fall apart if I am. But the words still are still ringing in the back of my mind. Mustn't be late. Mustn't be late. When do you have to be there? They ask. A week or so from today. Their eye brows rise. You're packed already? It's only a two day trip. I don't want to forget something. Time gets closer. More double checking. Is this all that I need or think I will need? The day comes closer. Mustn't be late. I arrive at least half and hour earlier, some times more. It gives me time to think about things. Calm my nerves before we leave. But with every appointment I have, the words still ring in my head. Mustn't be late, Mustn't be late. 17

PLAYING THE PRETEND GAME


Be careful when playing the pretend game The objective is not to be found out If you are You have failed. Failure brings shame. You mustn't let people see fully who you really are. They will not understand So you do your best The 'Normal' world can be harsh if you fail. So the facade stays rigidly in place But when they see though the cracks in it, panic sets in. They mustn't see all of the real you They will not understand. So you try even harder to master the pretend game. You hope and pray that you get through this hiccup, in the game. Relief sets in when you do Till the next hiccup crops up Then you panic once more. The pretend game is not just something to amuse one self with to pass the time. It's the difference between surviving the world out there or yours falling apart infront of everyone. The last thing you want, is to be treated like some freakish thing. So be careful when playing the pretend game The objective is not to be found out If you are You have failed. Remember failure brings shame.

THE RELEVANCE OF TIME


On the surface I understand time What an hour is A day or a Year But in reality when experiencing it Things can be very different Many times loosing track of it Yet other times I am a slave to it 18

STRESSED
Many find different ways of coping with stressful situations When things happen all at the same time Or things go badly or even slightly wrong Mine many a times is to pull into myself Most at first do not realise it is happening I don't start to rock or hum to myself I just become very still Those who do notice May think I am distracted by something around me But in reality Things are very different I am fighting the rising panic I am fighting the urge to curl into a ball By brain is running a mile a minute But is frozen at the same time Trying to figure things out Eventually I start to be able to slow my thoughts enough to think Blundering through the situation My body isn't responding as quickly as it should Yet somehow most times Thankfully making it through without any major hiccups Yet leaving me drained by the experience Admittedly at times the opposite happens I become agitated By the experience Especially if I have experienced the same situation a number of times I have some idea of what I must do But it is still not easy I do not cope very well with such situations to begin with Multi-tasking is not my strong point Many may think I do it well But in reality it is not so It takes a while to figure out how to do more than one thing at a time Like cooking different foods at the same time So they are ready together It takes practice and routine Like following a recipe Mess up my order or timing of things and the panic begins

19

THE LITTLE GIRL INSIDE


From the outside I look like everyone else But inside I am not as old as I look My emotional age is much younger But I have been able to an extent hide it from others It is far from easy Sometimes taking much effort But it has also become a way of life To protect myself from others not understanding To the point now Difficult to find some of those parts that I have hid Taking time now to unearth At 15 going on 16 I still played with my dolls Played with my Lego and Playmobile But I began to see that the other girls no longer did When they noticed They would give a look of what's wrong with you? Then I went through a very stressful part of my life Trying to keep up in school Pretending more to be like the others The stress of it all Playing with my toys had helped till then to de-stress But because of the way others reacted I no longer did it openly unless at home But the pressure was beginning to build At one point I thought this was going to be too much Then one day I found a way To release the pressure To still play without anyone seeing By going inside My imagination became my playground I can do it for hours on end But had no way of knowing how to express it to others What I was thinking in there Words to express is not my strong point Only years later I began to find a way to put it to paper But at first it didn't feel comfortable in doing so Then frustrated I couldn't get everything down Even now so much is still running round this head of mine So much I am still unable to express Even though the number pages of what I can has grown But there are so many different sides to the same issue This is going to take a while So when I get stressed I go back to the world inside my head 20

But now the worlds I have created in there I can now start to let others see Though when stressed the written word evades me I need to relax to get most of it out So while others think I have matured I am still very much a little girl inside Who has now found a way for you to join me in my playground

THE SLOW POKE


I was almost always one of the last to finish things in class If I tried to rush it Things would be even more untidy My co-ordination completely out the door While others made their decisions now I would take my time Think it over most carefully While most people I know are speed freaks Most times I do not go faster than 60 k/m an hour Which most of them pass quite speedily on their way to their top speed Everyone else is rushing, rushing, rushing I take my time on things I know I do take longer But it will get done But if I tried to live my life like yours My world would end in shambles Things would not get done Quite frankly it would leave my head spinning Not knowing what was going on.

21

THE PRESSURE COOKER


Your life has been like a pressure cooker And over time It has gotten worse People expecting you to be like them People expecting you to be able do certain things Especially at their pace Not yours Trying to hide the fact you cannot Not understand why you are the way you are But when you do Oh! What a relief The pressure that was building Has now been released The guilt and blame is no more You can now say No Not feeling like you are doing wrong Or that you have failed at life somehow Things just move at a different pace for you You will get there when the time is right for you

THE RAT RACE


Hurry, Hurry, Hurry This should have been finished yesterday I cannot wait, I need this right NOW! People hoot for they feel the car infront of them is not going fast enough 20 000 things to do and only 24 hours to do it in For me I have no choice But in a way its good I have to take things slower Otherwise I will not survive Everywhere I look Everyone is in the same rat race They are stressed They become ill because of it It may take me longer to do things In the end it will get done The chaos and the rushing This is not for me 22

THE TIGHTROPE WALKERS


The tightrope stretches before you It is so thin It is so high up You feel dizzy You are scared How are you going to get across this? You haven't been trained You have no idea what you are supposed to do You look to your right You see your friend, who stands at his rope He gives you a smile and a thumbs up He is not scared He can't wait to get started You are both handed some items and told to take them to the other side You both take a step There is no going back You hesitate You look at your friend Your eyes grow wide He is juggling his items Then he dances across like it was a 6 lane highway How is that possible? The audience cheers and begs for more You look at the rope It is so thin Holding on tightly to your items, you take the next step Your balance is going You take a few quick steps to try to regain it You fail You drop some of your items The audience becomes quiet You take a few steps more You loose your balance again This time you fall You catch the rope You cannot stand up, so you inch along The audience boos You get to the end What a relief You and your friend climb down He is congratulated and carried on shoulders Those that notice you, do not look happy Everyone leaves 23

You are alone You look up at the tightrope of life and know tomorrow you have to do it all over again The fear hits you again What if you fall once more? But you know you have no choice So you head out the door, fearing what the next day will bring.

THE TERROR OF RESPONSIBILITY


You're in charge now I am what?! You're in charge now They repeat The terror strikes within you The responsibility overwhelming I am not ready for this! He walk away Leaving you standing before the masses Now what? The terror deepens What if I can't do this? Will they listen? The fear of not doing it right is getting to you Though most of them are half your age, almost You are the one still feeling like a child You know you have trouble remembering all of what must be taught Will you be found out? You don't do well with crowds You do your best You are more than just a nervous wreck Just when you think you are ready to crack The instructor takes over Thank goodness He seems to sense your fear He can see that you are drowning He has thrown you a life jacket for now But what of the next time? You feel ashamed You know you cannot hide in the shadows forever But you are not ready for this! 24

WHERE IS MY SCRIPT?
In this play of life On this stage Everyone is saying and doing their parts I try to follow and respond to those around me The look of disapproval and disdain the give Keep to the script, they say. What script? They hold up the one in their hands I look down at my hands but they are empty I do not have a script How do I get a script? They look at me in surprise Not understanding why I have none You were handed one the day you stepped on this stage Is their response Now use it or go away I stand there in despair What am I to do? I stand aside I began to watch Playing detective Seeing a pattern Then trying to follow it Time has now passed Most times people not do not know I have no script But every so often one does slip up And you are told once more Keep to the script

25

HERMIONE'S BOTTOMLESS BAG


Ever watched one of the last Harry Potter Movies? Even better read the book? You will know of Hermione's bottomless bag You can put as much as you want into it It will never get full The mother of someone I know By the way she reacts Seems to think I have one too For whenever she sees me Whether I have come for class Or just to visit The look of disbelief and wonder on her face For whatever I need comes out of my bag. And some of my items are not exactly small But even though I may wish I had such a bag I do not But the secret is this Plan for what you know you will need Plan for what you think you will need And then some For each and every outing Then pack most carefully If you don't know how Learn to play Tetris So if you want a bag like Hermione's Or at least the allusion of one Plan, plan, plan And plan some more!

26

YOU'RE AN ADULT NOW


You hear the words You're an adult now You are 21 But inside you feel like you are still 12 years old. Things have just got harder. The fear just got more Will they realise that you are not as old as they think you are?. Some in the past have When much younger you were not acting your age, but more of your younger brother's at times. But they said that was normal there was only 2 years difference between the 2 of you. But as the years pass you too seem to notice you are not the age inside others expect you to be. The gap ever widening, no matter how you try to hide it. You feel like a child constantly trying to play pretend. At 21 you feel like a 12 year old who has been given adult responsibilities It is very overwhelming . Now even in your 30's, you still feel like a young child inside, trying to deal with an adult world at times. Some times even now you feel like you are seeing things as perhaps 12, now 13, maybe 14 year old would see the world. Yet at other times maybe even a little older. There are times when the facade fails. The looks you get when it does, only makes you want to hide your secret more. People do not understand. But do you really want to tell others? You have the intelligence of an adult But the emotions and reactions of a child at times. They will not get this. The fear of been treated as less than who you are by others is real. Knowing many would talk down to you. You are not stupid, You are not dumb. You just want them to be understanding if you react differently. Yet you know they will most likely will not. So you hold up your facade to the world. While others say you're an adult now. Inside you know you are not.

27

WHERE IS THE ORDER?


They know you like order They know you like your routines At work things are where they need to be. At church you run the library with an iorn fist Each thing in it's place and don't you dare mess it up. Yet when they see your home they see only chaos. At times it looks like a hurricane has gone through it. They cannot understand this. This is not order But they are wrong The definition of order, is it not, the placing of things in ways to find them again when needed? There is a name for what my place looks like. Organised Chaos Yet to those looking in it is a hopeless mess But I know where everything is.

28

SENSORY

AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION
A while ago my great uncle died My Dad, brother and me were able to do But not my Mom The funeral was at such short notice Two days after he died Only to be told late the night before about it We were expecting it to be at least a week Took my nausea pills for the long trip Two or so hours later we arrive Thankfully not too much worse for wear Once there did I only realise How much I rely on my mother to unknowingly help me Though such and other family affairs My great uncle's sons greeted us at the church gates Took me a while to figure out which one was which Then a lady greeted me in side by the gate I greeted politely and carried on Much to my embarrassment To hear my Dad greet her by name She was my Aunt! One of the wives of my uncles I had greeted outside! The look that she gave me When I came back to apologise Even after trying to explain About my problem with faces Now a bit dazed and shocked at my blunder I continue on And nearly did it again This time with the daughter of that same uncle! Thankfully my dad saved me from this one By greeting her first The only reason I didn't do it again at the door of the church With the daughter of the other uncle She was the only curly redhead girl I knew! It is sometimes much less stressful to be in a room full of strangers Trying to make small talk Than be by oneself at a large family gathering Where not recognising faces Or remembering names Doesn't leave you with egg on your face

29

BROKEN TELEPHONE
Playing Broken Telephone as a child is fun. In real life not so much. People don't understand. Face to face you hearing seems to be fine. Use a telephone and you begin to play a real life version of Broken Telephone. Don't recognise voices too eaiserly. If you know what the conversation is about you are ok most of the time. People who don't talk clearly, or have very bad accents, sound like Martians. Need someone else to take directions to a new place you need to go. Otherwise the person will have to spell extreemly slowly each new word you don't recognise and then you still get lost. People talking near you. Crackling noises on the phone. People answering the phone in very noisy places. Background noises can make it almost impossible to hear what they are saying at times. You have your hearing tested. The results come back, there is nothing wrong with you. Now what? People think you are acting up or talking nonsense when you tell them you can hear, but not properly on a phone. Years later you see a program on hearing problems. Your symptoms fit one of the conditions talked about. You most likely have CAPD. It means that you hear fine, but understanding its just that you can't filter out certain sounds, or distinguish certain words from each other. Now you understand why at other times besides the telephone, you misunderstand instructions at times or find out what you thought the singer was singing about was not what they were saying. You have been playing Broken Telephone all along and no one had told you!

THE SHATTERED MIRROR


You see the reflection of the world in all its glory in your mirror I see it in my shattered pieces as it lies upon the floor I only get to see fragments of what the world is really like Each shard reflecting a portion of what is Finding which piece goes where Trying to place all the fragments together To try and get a better picture But even if I find all the pieces The view of what I see is still fragmented. And of what you see of me reflecting back at you

30

DEALING WITH SMELLS


It can be a challenge with things that affect ones nose Spray cans are not good Deodorants and hairspray They leave me coughing and spluttering at first Then sneezing and a runny nose for a good few minutes So no hairspray for me Roll on for deodorants will have to do But whatever you do Do not use cologne Or perfume My nose does not need to run a marathon Step into my world and experience a few more smells my way Where certain smells do not leave me feeling too good To the point I feel like I want to get sick The only way to prevent that Is to get away as fast as possible Then take time for my system to recover Here are just a few things that get to me Some quite badly Others a little less Never the less none are pleasant to me Coffee Lavender Cigarette Smoke Sunbaked Black rubber Or soft plastics, especially black or green Alcohol Like warm champagne Where smell of rotten grapes is most overpowering Which leaves me wondering even more Why do people want to drink rotten grape juice in the first place? So what can one do? For me the answer is this Don't use those products that affect you Or go near the things causing the smells where possible Which can be good for ones health When looking at this short list But if you have to be near it or use it Do it quickly and be gone The best smells for me are the natural smells of things So for me fresh air is best Use things that are fragrance free or that are not too sharp in that regard

31

Which can be difficult at times when it seems everyone wants the things I cannot stand.

LEMONADE
Would you like some lemonade? She asks It's homemade You reply that you would You have never had it before You've heard people talk about how nice it is So you wait in anticipation She hands you the glass This does look good You take a sip Oh, my word! Your face screws up What on earth is this stuff? That is not sweet and delicious as everyone said It is most bitter It is most vile How can anyone drink this stuff? It would have been easier If she gave you the peal to chew The results would have been the same Only a lot quicker A lot less hassle for her to prepare Since then you have learned That your taste buds cannot handle certain tastes Like with citrus, where the peal is to be used Nomatter how much sugar they use!

32

DO I KNOW YOU?
People don't understand or want to believe. You have difficulty recognising faces. You have difficulty remembering names. More so when trying to put them together. They laugh and they say they do too, it comes with age. I'm in my 30's! They don't understand. I have always had this problem. I have learnt ways of hiding it. It can be very embarrising at times, when you do trip up. You change your hair, The way you dress, I see you in a place I don't normally see you. I cannot recognise you. You wonder why I look hard at you for a second. Sometimes I fane regcognition. For only after talking to you for a moment I realise who you are. The person you are talking to about this, has a look on their face. You can tell they still don't seem to understand even after all this explaining. They go on their merry way. You have no idea who the where, only that they looked familiar, but cannot place them.

LOOK AT ME
Look at me when I am talking to you How many times in the past have you heard that? For me I have found a way to look without really looking I will look at your face But not at your eyes It makes me feel uncomfortable I will look if I have to But when I don't It is your mouth and nose I focus on Other times I do not focus my vision So your face is sightly blurred Or I only give quick glances As we talk Continuing to work on what I am busy with

33

MAKE-UP
You don't like make-up? They look at you in disbelief All girls like make-up Not so Not me Whenever I have put it on All I want to do is scratch Many have said You may be allergic Use allergy free products It still didn't work I still wanted to scratch I even have this kind of problem with other products like Sun Block Admittedly not too much scratching As most of it is absorbed by the skin But I can still feel whats left of it on the surface of my skin Even hours later A sensation I do not like Because of this I would rather In the middle of summer If outside where I will get burnt Wear long clothes and a wide brimmed hat Rather than putting on the Sun Block If I can help it And believe me this place can get hot So when it comes to make-up and other such things But especially make-up Keep that stuff as far away from me And look for another victim you wish to make over!

34

PLEASE DON'T TOUCH ME THAT WAY!


How are you my dear? she says She pats you on the arm as she greets you You want to get away You can't, she's holding you by the wrist She continues to pat your arm with her other hand as she talks Someone please help me! You want to climb the walls You've got to get away But you are helpless till she lets go She eventually lets go Thank goodness! Oh, no! Another person comes to greet you They place their arm around you as they talk You cringe once more Why must they hang onto you? At last you are free of them. Then someone hugs you from behind You stiffen Not again! You don't mind getting hugs But they must let you know it's coming I don't mind a hug or handshake But to all of you out there Please take note If I do not return the greeting or stiffen at your touch Please let go Remember for the next time Please don't touch me that way.

35

RECOGNITION

You remember most faces like this

I remember most faces like this People just don't get it They laugh it off Saying they too forget faces from time to time That too comes with age Er.. Hello I am in my 30's You bristle with frustration They are not listening You have had this problem all you life You cannot remember the faces many a time Just a few minutes to a day later after meeting Yet you spoke to them for at least half an hour Even those you have known for years you do not recognise Just because they are not where you normally meet them Or they have changed something with their appearance Even in small measures this can throw one into turmoil 36

You are constantly playing detective Trying to figure out who is before you By their style of dress What they say Or how they move And where you meet them You have learned tricks to hide the fact That you do not recognise them I have learned to greet people without using their names I have learned to get people's attention without using their names If I know have have to speak to them later once more that day I take careful note of their clothing Or get others to find them for you and get them to come to you In group settings I stick to someone like glue Usually a family member Let them break the ice with others Thereby helping you figure out is is who Without either of them knowing it Listening to the conversation for clues I may have perfected these tricks over time But they are not fool proof It can be quite embarrassing when you slip up The looks you get from others For not recognising them Rangers from confusion to disgust And trying to explain doesn't always help.

37

RECOGNITION PART 2 THE EXPERIMENT


Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness) IS NO JOKE! It is far more serious than many seem to realise Since so many just don't get it We shall do an experiment Ask a friend to gather 20 random people you know From anywhere Church, work or friends you know well Even someone you know from the shop you go regularly to Their choice You are not allowed to meet them till later Once they all have been gathered Have them all put on the exact same ski masks Making sure that their heads are completely covered Including their hair Now you may enter the room where they are You must identify each person One by one Without them telling you their names Either by the way they dress Sound Move Or what they say No obvious hints may be given Not so easy is it? Welcome to my world I live like this 24/7 This is how I see most people to some degree So give a thought Before you brush someone off When they say they have a problem Just because it doesn't sound or appear to be that bad As they say it is Doesn't mean it isn't You may only be seeing what they could not cope with Or hide about their condition And definitely not the tremendous strain it puts them under to keep it up

38

SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES


A mystery has always been around shopping for clothes Why is it while others find what they want within minutes While for me it can take months just to find one item? And its not for the lack of trying How do they do it? Is it because I am between sizes? Between clothing for normal and larger people? A Girl, but need hardy clothing not flimsy office wear? The wrong shape? Too modest for the ever shrinking or see through clothes? Issues with my sensory problems? Or is it the simple problem of sizing? These are the questions I have to ask Is it made in China? Is it made in South Africa? If so, was it a South African or Chinese pattern that was used? Or was is it made in America? Why ask which country? Here is the answer China at least 2 sizes too small, sometimes more South African the size they should be American about 2 sizes too big When it comes to shoes We shall not go there That is another whole story on it's own. If someone knows the secret to finding clothes Please let me know!

39

THE BAPTISM
You are excited Today's the day You've waited a whole year longer than most But you day has come You arrive at church You begin to have that familiar feeling Things look and feel funny It is not as bad as it sometimes can get You do your best to ignore it But it is not always that easy Thankfully it is not getting worse An old lady you know The family has known her for years Gives you a present to celebrate this day A Finely decorated white chocolate rabbit She says something about it But you didn't get it all The thing that is happening Makes you not hear it all You were busy fighting its effects Distracting you But you suspect She only wants you to eat the chocolate rabbit after your baptism Not before As the time gets closer for the big event You go to change your clothes The funny feeling is almost all gone You are now almost fully able to give all your attention To why you are here You walk to the edge of the font You feel like yourself once more The excitement and happiness builds As you begin to walk down the steps To the Priesthood holder who is to baptise you He takes your hand Shows you what you need to do Settles your nerves Telling you it will be ok He will not let go of you He says the baptismal prayer Then dunks you under 40

Then pulls you back up He gives you a smile You are hit with the most wonderful feeling That others told you would happen The warmest glow in your chest You get out of the water Go and get changed Then come sit on a chair Specially put aside for you They lay their hands on you The feeling in your chest gets stronger Then the strange feeling you do not understand returns Hits you full force as you get off of the chair. Much stronger than earlier on Everyone is coming to congratulate But you are feeling completely dazed Especially since both feelings are hitting you at the same time Not knowing how or what to do But as usual doing your best to push on Nibbling on your white chocolate rabbit

SPARKLY THINGS
Many like to watch flowing water. I like water, but to play in. Many like to watch spinning things When younger I liked to spin till I fell down, then watch the world spin instead. But now just watching someone spin, sometimes makes me not feel too good. But what I have always liked, is sparkly things. They seem to mesmerise me at times Gold and silver crayons The way the light bounces off different shiny objects Things like marbles, glass figurines, even certain types of metallic paints Almost anything that allowed sunlight to sparkle through its shapes or bounce off it sparkling. My most favourite is water droplets when the sun hits them, especially on a leaf or a flower. My favourite picture when younger was of a kingfisher just had it hits the water. It was from my veiwmaster. The sunlight used to see the picture, made the water sparkle even more. I would stare at it for ages. So while others like their flowing water and spinning things, give me something sparkly and it will most likely have my undivided attention for quite a while. Well that's if it doesn't interfere with my work or with others. Otherwise I have to patiently wait till I can, then the world can carry on without me. 41

THE FOOD MINEFIELD


I watch as people eat They seem to be thoroughly enjoying it Nomatter what is put before them But not me When eating out Especially when visiting This can be like trying to negotiate a minefield For me the problems is this Besides the Word of Wisdom The religious laws I obey Which means No Coffee No Tea No alcohol To be consumed Which most seem to accept and do their best to accommodate Then I have my sensory issues This is the bed bug I begin to tick off my check list in my head As I look at the food before me Which ones will I choose Knowing at least one of these items is most likely to be in it Mince Meat Mushrooms Rice Onions Especially when raw Spices Like curries This includes pepper Most seem to loose the pepper pot in the food these days But salt is ok Another bane Chillies The latest fad is to put it into everything Which you can guess by now kind of cuts down on what foods I can eat even more And if you ever came to my house to eat Things for you can get rather bland Most stuff there is either eaten Raw Steamed Baked

42

Or Boiled

THE CAR RIDE


I hate riding in the car Especially long distances Have always felt this way Most of the time Trying to sleep as much Including being next to the closed window Can wedge my pillow in for a comfortable sleep Or so I can open it in a hurry Eating dry biscuits and peppermints helps as well But most of the time I feel half comatose Due to not feeling so well When I get out of the car for a break I feel unsteady on my feet I also feel extremely weak Been green around the gills is not my idea of fun Taking something for it before I go Sometimes helps a little But it never goes away

THE DANCE
You've been dragged here You don't want to be here The musics too loud The flashing lights are too much There's too many people You don't want to dance You have 2 left feet stuck in cement So you sit outside Away from most of the noise While you wait for the others Wishing this night would be over

43

THE SOUND OF AN ARGUMENT


You turn on the TV You watch Dr Phil You watch a real court case You watch to the end But not me When the arguing starts The pitch of their voices change I don't feel real good I am uncomfortable I've got to stop watching I've got to get out of the room Change the channel Turn off the TV Just make it stop It's made me feel agitated Want to curl into a ball The strange part is, that if this was a movie It would most likely not affect me that way But if someone shows just the slightest agitation to another in real life All I want to do is get away The sound of someone pulling ones fingernails across a chalkboard, is better than this

THE PICKY EATER


Such a picky eater others say. Be greatful for the food you have. Stop wasting it. There is nothing else if you don't eat that. 'If you don't eat it all up, you will not get some sweets like the others.' they would say. I don't care. I am not hungry. The look of disbelief on the person's face, 'You doesn't want sweets?' When little, I had no word to describe what I can now. To me I just didn't like the food or want the food. Now I know that certain tastes and textures get to me, Sometimes to the point I just can't eat it no matter what and I would rather go without. I don't like to mix most of my foods together and prefer they don't touch each other on the plate. I do not have a eating disorder. Though it can lead to one if not careful. I will eat other healthy things with pleasure. But I just won't eat that.

44

THE TROUBLESOME TOOTHBRUSH


I know I have sensory issues So trying new things can be interesting to say the least I look at the toothbrush I now realise the colourful design on the back the head is not just for show There are ridges there It is a tongue and cheek cleaner I never had a toothbrush like this before So nervously I begin to use it Ugh! It makes my mouth feel all funny My lips and cheeks feel horrible Like when they have gone numb Then they begin to tingle quite badly So now I have to chuck it out I cannot use it That is not a sensation I wish a repeat of The challenge is now To find a toothbrush that doesn't have a tongue and cheek cleaner For most of the toothbrushes are going that way So the hunt is on for a toothbrush I can use That cleans my teeth properly For some toothbrushes clean better than others

WHY AREN'T YOU LISTENING?


The teacher says something. She immediately asks you a question about it. But you are unable to respond. She gives the questioning look of disapproval. Why you are not listening? But I am. It's just that I can't answer right now. If she asks five minutes from now you will be able to. You know this is weird. You cannot explain it. So you do your best not to be seen in class. The less questions you are asked the better. It is not a nice feeling you get from the teacher as she gives you a look when she thinks you are not listening. Yet inside you are screaming, I am listening. I just need time to think! 45

TINTIN THE MOVIE


Hurray the long awaited day is here! I grew up reading The Adventures of Tintin Now I get to see the movie The anticipation builds Just the graphics alone look good of what they have shown on TV But once you see it on the big screen It blows your mind And that's just the 2D version But as I try to watch and enjoy the movie The dreaded thing begins to happen The graphics are incredible But unfortunately it seems to have triggered an overload episode for me There is just too much to take in My eyes feel funny and my brain feels like it is trying to play catch up Trying to make out what I was seeing As the scenes before me seem to move at lightning speed So for the rest of the movie I struggle to take it all in And annoyingly every time the bad guy came on screen I am mesmerised by the reflection of his glasses Making it difficult to concentrate on the rest of the movie Despite this unfortunate event I still enjoyed the movie As much as I could at any rate Can't wait for them to make another!

46

WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON?


You are 3 nearly 4 You are going shopping today with Mommy She places things into the basket You walk with her She stops at the toy isle She has a surprise for you New puzzles Suddenly you feel funny Things look funny too But you have no words to say it Mommy looks at the puzzles some more You don't know what to do Mommy asks if you like them After a pause You manage to nod your head But you are not really looking at the puzzles anymore Your mind is racing a mile a minute Why won't this strange thing that is happening to you stop? Strangely you are not scared But you are confused You don't know what to do Why doesn't Mommy see? Mommy starts to move You follow her By the time you leave the shop The worst is over It is almost all gone now But why didn't Mommy say something about it? Because she hasn't This must be the way things are Over the years I have had other such incidents But because no one made a fuss about it. Therefore I didn't get scared Some surely should have notices something was off But I didn't throw a tantrum about it Like most would do They took it as been just quirky me Because of this I took it to be the way life was No matter how confusing it was for me 47

WONDERINGS OF WHAT WILL BE


It is good to have found out Before certain choices were made If they were made before what I know now Things could and most likely would have been much harder for me But it does leave me with some questions of what will be Will I be able to find someone in this lifetime? Be with him? I know that most likely I will not have my own children Shocking but true I do so love children But I am a realist too I need a lot of time out from the world The older and more stressed I get The more I seem to need to Such neglect I cannot do No child deserves that An absent or half hearted parent But what love I do have I can still give to another who has none Or to one just needs a little extra Even if it is only for a few hours But in the mean time I will place my trust in Heavenly Father. What I may want or think I need He may require differently of me Knowing there is reason for all things And a time for them too.

48

YOU GOT LOST..... WHERE?


You got lost.... where? In the the shopping Centre. You hear and see the response of disbelief and amusement. That place is so small. In less than five minutes they knew their way around. They laugh again. You feel embarrassed. Now years later you understand why you got lost. Going to new places, especially shopping Centres is not fun. Your eyes feel like they can't open wide enough to take it all in. Feels like everything is coming at you all at once. You feel off balance and disorientated, almost like you are high on something. You now learn this is not normal. Yet you had tried to tell before, but struggled to find the words. When you managed to tell them, that you felt disorientated. Everyone just told you that they too get slightly disorientated in a new place of that size, there is nothing unusual about that. But they don't fully understand what you are experiencing. You still go to shopping Centres. Have learnt ways to cope with what is happening. Look only where you need to. Focus on where you are walking. Going with someone also helps, focus on them and not whats around you when you start to feel disorientated. Some say stay away from such places. I will not. Things will be fine once I get to know the place well. Well, till they swap things around quite a bit, that is. Then I will have to learn all over again where things are. But so what? Staying away will not solve the problem. I will live my life the way I want to, not letting things like this stop me.

49

MOTOR SKILLS

I DON'T WANT TO PLAY TENNIS


Organise yourselves a tennis racket The teacher says Next week you are play tennis for PT But I don't want to play tennis I am hopeless at it The look of disdain the teacher gives You have no choice The day comes You look at the 3 courts tiered on the slope This is the last thing you wanted to do But the teacher is insistent Nomatter how you try to tell you cannot You look at your racket It is made of wood It is way older than you Everyone else is made of carbon fibre Yours your parents most likely used at school But why waste money in getting a new one? This is a waste of time anyway Your are instructed to enter You are in court no. 1 at the top of the tier Your anxiety grows You know what is coming Your opponent hits the ball to you You manage to hit it Surprised that it stayed on the court Though it didn't go where you were hoping The first serve you do goes bad widely But stays close to the ground The next serve goes over the high fence that surrounds you You hear a shout of pain Your ball has hit someone on the head in the next court You try again This time you nearly hit your opponent in the face with the ball It went strait for her It didn't even bounce You try once more It goes high again Wedging itself right at the top of the fence in the corner Where no one can get it After this thankfully the teacher swaps you out with another player 50

But the look she gives She is less than pleased She seems to think you are doing this on purpose But in reality the experience was humiliating Been made to look like a fool Thankfully we do not have too many PT sessions doing this She seemed to find that everyone was not liking it as much as she thought they would Most getting restless having to wait their turn to play Eventually we went back to do swimming for PT in summer And using the Hall or courtyard if it was too cold But even now all these years later I still don't like tennis I still can't hit the ball most times where I want it to go

MIND YOUR MANNERS


Mind your manners. These word I heard a lot when younger. Use your knife and fork. Not your fingers. But I hate using a knife and fork. I can't eat my food properly. I don't want them. You are told it is not good manners, especially in public. Then comes the pudding. There is only a big spoon. Can't I have a teaspoon? I ask. No But I can't get it in my mouth, It is too big. You get the look. The conversation is over. So you reluctantly nibble the food on the edge of the spoon. The years have passed. But at home I eat how I please. But still in public, I hear these words ring the back of my mind. Mind your Manners.

51

MOVE FASTER
Move faster I hear the teacher say You are doing the moves too slow Don't think about it just do it I have come to realise To everyone else I may look like I am moving at normal speed But I am already moving faster It has taken lots of practice not to mess up Hours and hours If I try and go faster now I will mess up Subconsciously my brain is working overtime Making sure everything moves in the correct order at the correct time And when it is a sequence of moves Like when doing martial arts I have to think most times before doing When practicing So hopefully I may react more without thinking when the day comes I need to use it So whether to learn a new dance move Which I have tried and it is not for me or doing martial arts Which I really enjoy I have to teach myself which muscles move when Which takes time And not like you Where you just move

THE DANCE
You've been dragged here You don't want to be here The musics too loud The flashing lights are too much There's too many people You don't want to dance You have 2 left feet stuck in cement So you sit outside Away from most of the noise While you wait for the others Wishing this night would be over 52

PAPERLESS IS BETTER
Give me a computer any day I don't like pen and paper I write too slow I press too hard My hand gets sore after a while You are given a form to fill in How on earth are you supposed to get all that information in such a small space My hand writing is at least twice the size of yours I used to write in cursive But at times I couldn't read my own hand writing Now I only print But as I said give me a computer My spelling is atrocious My ideas are very scattered I can go over and over my work without having to re-write everything Thank goodness for the internet Spelling checkers are a great help If I couldn't do it this way I wouldn't even attempt to write down my works So many trees would have to be sacrificed My poor hand would not survive Let alone my patience

53

THE CLUMSY ONE


The Clumsy one. That's what you are. You cannot deny it. You walk into things. You fall over things. Even your own feet at times when younger. Your 4 year old brother can beat you at a computer game. You are 6 years old! All you have to do is hit the spacebar! You sit there for hours crying, trying to get it right. He got it right in only a minute or two. You still haven't. Eating with a knife and fork is a challenge. They don't want to go where you want them to. You were 8 before you could ride your bike without training wheels. Have been to swimming lessons for years. But you are nearly 10 and a half before you can swim. You cannot hit a tennis ball in a straight line. Even now you have to work doubly as hard as most people to get certain things right. It means hours and hours of practice. But lose your concentration for just a second and your co-ordination goes out of the window. When this happens, everyone knows. You are the clumsy one.

54

THE LESSON OF THE ROLLER SKATES


I wanted roller skates for my birthday You will be turning 6 this year Both your parents are in utter shock at the request You cannot even ride your bicycle without training wheels Now you want this?! I got them for my birthday Because I had asked Despite my parents fears for me As ungainly at times I could be They firmly believed If I wanted to try something new They would not stop me Despite their misgivings To their surprise and others I took to them like a duck to water Yet I was nearly 8 before I could ride my bicycle without training wheels And struggled with so many other things When it came to trying new things Only if in danger Would my parents say no Otherwise they would encourage me as much as possible Not been hung upon seeing my limitations Which as a child I didn't see Allowing me to the surprise of many To go beyond what they thought could be Allowing me to find my own path Spreading my wings as I did so

55

WRITING AND SPELLING

BOX A OR B
A test is placed before your Multiple Choice This one is about

How you would do things How you see things And how one would react Your heart drops to your toes You read the first question Are they wanting answers C or D? If they tell you the reason for the question You will be able to answer it You are told to stop over analysing it Just answer the question But how? You don't know what they want! The dread grow within you with every question you read You do your best to soldier on You try another question It is about what you think you are like Great there are 4 boxes as usual But there is no box for you You are told you must choose the one nearest to what you are like How? You fall between answers A and D They look at you in exasperation Stop taking so long Just answer the questions It is not that hard But how am I supposed to answer such questions correctly? Not given the correct information or reason for the question How do you choose an answer when not provided the means to choose it? I hate these kind of tests. I can never find the box that fits!!!!

56

I HATE FORMS
The paper is placed before you Great another form Where do you start?

All the words are coming all at the same time So you take a deep breath You try to take it all in Now that you see more than a jumble of words But the requests of information are not clear Are they wanting this or that? You are frustrated You write carefully You think you are done You ask to make sure it is all there They seems satisfied You are relieved It is now over But you are not happy A single page has taken 10 15 minutes to fill in But you know sometimes it can be longer.

57

PAPERLESS IS BETTER
Give me a computer any day I don't like pen and paper I write too slow

I press too hard My hand gets sore after a while You are given a form to fill in How on earth are you supposed to get all that information in such a small space My hand writing is at least twice the size of yours I used to write in cursive But at times I couldn't read my own hand writing Now I only print But as I said give me a computer My spelling is atrocious My ideas are very scattered I can go over and over my work without having to re-write everything Thank goodness for the internet Spelling checkers are a great help If I couldn't do it this way I wouldn't even attempt to write down my works So many trees would have to be sacrificed My poor hand would not survive Let alone my patience

58

SPELLING
My spelling is up the creek I know But it has always been this way

First they thought I just need glasses in Sub A But my spelling didn't improve They tested me for dyslexia They said I did not have it But as the years passed Things did not improve In High School, I received my worst punishment Almost 3 months Detention nearly every day Even after telling the teacher that I couldn't spell She didn't seem to care She seemed to think that punishment would put me right Thankfully she gave up in the end Sanding desks I didn't mind But the legacy she left behind Is still painful now By punishing me for something I had no control over The message she had sent You are not good enough But what made it worse Besides been my Xhosa teacher Language number 3 She was the school guidance teacher too So when when people criticise my spelling or correct it while I'm standing there Though I know they are only trying to be helpful But thanks to that teacher It causes my blood to boil But I do not mind if you correct it away from me Then give me the corrected works later The years have passed I now believe I now know why my spelling is so bad I do have dyslexia Just not the kind most people seem to have The word on this page looks right But a few pages later it looks wrong But because no one realise that I had Aspergers Which made things hard to explain of what I was experiencing It got overlooked Besides how can a 7 year old who was just starting to learn to read Know that this was not the way things were supposed to be?

59

HYPER FOCUS

THE BEE IN MY BONNET


I've got a bee in my bonnet I have got to do this thing right now I cannot wait

If I do, it will not get done I have learnt to harness the bee in my bonnet Focus it in the direction I need to go But do not disrupt I cannot get restarted It is extremely hard to do so It will lie there unfinished So while I have this bee in my bonnet I will go all out By the end of it I will be exhausted But much will be done So when you see me with a bee in my bonnet Please do not disrupt me You can ask me if I need help But if I say no Do not insist Leave me alone So I can get it done quickly For once this bee in my bonnet is gone You can have my undivided attention

60

CLEANING HOUSE
I know I've got to clean the house But the urge is just not there Would rather do something else It is the last thing I feel like doing

But I know when the urge hits It will be a couple of hours later Before I stop exhausted Like all my urges to do something Many happen at the weirdest times Like writing this poem at 1:15 in the morning After Cleaning for an hour Having to force myself to stop Then I started writing this But I have to now will myself to sleep Or tomorrow I will be grumpy Even now I know I will feel the effects of this night two days later the most I may be a night owl It is when energy is quite high sometimes But without enough sleep One can get a bit cranky Thankfully I am on holiday at the moment Allowing me the privilege of sleeping in

61

THE COLLECTION BUG


I like to collect things And many different things over the years Many are not like what others would Some is not voluntary It just happens

But the urge is always there Radio Stories I do not like listening to music in general So radio stations are a pain You can't get your work done if you are stuck in front of the TV Remembering random facts But have difficulty in remembering formulas or whole subjects Remembering TV schedules and what the programs are about Though I didn't studied it Remembering the almost all the books I've read But only if you show me the book, can I tell you if I have Do not ask me the Authors or names of the books I may only remember a few at random Be warned do not let me into a second hand bookstore they may be left bare These are just a few such things I like to collect But let it be known Thankfully I am not much of a horder If things get too much they will be gone

62

THE UNDQUIET MIND


It is time for bed You can feel the buzz Your heart sinks to your toes You know you have been naughty You didn't stop doing your typing on the computer

At least an hour before bed Now your mind is a whirl It's still running a mile a minute In some cases the ideas keep coming Or you keep thinking about the same things over and over This doesn't stop Even when you sleep You toss and turn the whole night long. You promise yourself not to do it again But all too soon the obsession to carry on despite the time, takes over When you are on a roll You chastise your self once more But you know You will do it again The vicious circle never ending.

63

TIRED
Tired Oh, so very tired Been naughty again Got a bee in my bonnet Went full out Almost every waking moment

For two weeks Gulping down the food At times reluctantly stopping to eat Doing other things only when urgent Ignoring everything else Reluctantly going to bed at midnight Up again at 6:30 Now I am pay the price Tired Oh, so very tired Have so much still to do Want to do it all quickly Before the urge to do it is gone But can't My body has said Enough is enough It is time to rest

64

IMAGINATION

FRAGILE WRITINGS
People think writing is easy For me it is not Takes hours of daydreaming Thinking it through Hours of writing it down As I let the ideas take me where they want to go

There must be no pressure to produce It's the quickest way to go dry Ideas only come When there is no time constraints Or on what I have to write When I get started do not interrupt When starting once more At times it can change the direction of the story completely Or it may never get off the ground Taking months or years if lucky to get going again For me writing is like a delicate flower It only blooms when the conditions are just right

NO IMAGINATION?
Many people say that those with Aspergers have no imagination Is that so? No it is not Mine is just different Mine does not always come quickly True mine was structured to some degree My playmobile dolls had to be the same colour for families Our lego was was mostly to do with cops and the hospital Barbie and Ken were family orientated stories But so what? There are so many variations to what each of those story lines could be. As I got older stories began to run around in my head But how to put it to paper? I didn't know how It took years, before I began to It is still takes time at times. It comes in waves Sometimes seeing what others have to say about a certain subject helps It unlocks the door, to let me get started But my imagination is there

65

THE LITTLE GIRL INSIDE


From the outside I look like everyone else But inside I am not as old as I look My emotional age is much younger But I have been able to an extent hide it from others It is far from easy

Sometimes taking much effort But it has also become a way of life To protect myself from others not understanding To the point now Difficult to find some of those parts that I have hid Taking time now to unearth At 15 going on 16 I still played with my dolls Played with my Lego and Playmobile But I began to see that the other girls no longer did When they noticed They would give a look of what's wrong with you? Then I went through a very stressful part of my life Trying to keep up in school Pretending more to be like the others The stress of it all Playing with my toys had helped till then to de-stress But because of the way others reacted I no longer did it openly unless at home But the pressure was beginning to build At one point I thought this was going to be too much Then one day I found a way To release the pressure To still play without anyone seeing By going inside My imagination became my playground I can do it for hours on end But had no way of knowing how to express it to others What I was thinking in there Words to express is not my strong point Only years later I began to find a way to put it to paper But at first it didn't feel comfortable in doing so Then frustrated I couldn't get everything down Even now so much is still running round this head of mine So much I am still unable to express Even though the number pages of what I can has grown But there are so many different sides to the same issue This is going to take a while So when I get stressed I go back to the world inside my head But now the worlds I have created in there I can now start to let others see Though when stressed the written word evades me I need to relax to get most of it out So while others think I have matured I am still very much a little girl inside Who has now found a way for you to join me in my playground 66

THE REALIZATION
As I now look back on the stories I've written Before I had words to describe as I do now I have discovered The realization is quite shocking I already unknowingly knew the answers way back then A lot of what my characters experienced or who they are In some ways had a started in mine In a way it is quite spooky And as I continue to uncover Understand more of what goes on I'm beginning to see more of me in these stories of mine.

67

MATURITY

ALWAYS LAGGING BEHIND


When others tried the latest fads You did not You would analyze it first Think about it Then only do it if you felt it is worth the while

This could take days, weeks, months and even years But you have learnt Jumping in with both feet like everyone else, most times leads to disaster Decisions that you come to regret later Some of them have serious consequences So you take your time Tread carefully Make sure everything is right Then go ahead To others it may look like you just aren't interested or that you are lagging behind But when you are doing a balancing act with your life Trying to keep everything together The decisions you make have far reaching consequences So while others think you are lagging behind You are not You are moving at a pace that is right for you

PLAYING WITH CHILDREN


When playing with young children I am more at ease No needing to pretend to fit in Or worry that you may do wrong They do not judge So long as you enthral them in their world They are happy Which allows me co come out Happy and carefree

68

STUCK IN TIME
When you look at me I look like you But I am not Emotionally, I am much younger When my youngest cousins were born I was older than them

When they were about to become teenagers I was equal to them Now they have left school I am younger than them Forever stuck in time Barely moving at all Intellectually I am able to learn with the best of them If given time and using the correct methods for me And it is my passion Emotionally It is not the case Which leaves me with a dilemma I am a child Yet I am not Forever trying to pretend I am an adult Those who were much younger than me Are now adults Doing adult things Yet all I can do most of the time Is watch as time goes by For I am not ready for some of that yet How long will it be till I do? Or find someone who will take me as I am I do not know But for now I am stuck in time Barely moving at all

69

THE LONGING
You want to dance in the rain Out in the open But the looks that one gets Make you want to hold back You want to build sandcastles

Out on the beach But the looks that one gets Make you want to hold back You do not like crowds You want to go where you will not be bothered But you can't get away You've got to be there For the crime is too high There is so much that you would like to do But the looks that one gets Make you want to hold back It hurts you deep down inside When they look at you that way Like you've done something most horribly wrong When all that you've done Is to be all of yourself Yet no laws have been broken So you do your best to avoid those looks But as time passes on You are screaming inside You want to get out You want to be all of you But you know that you can't It will hurt a lot more So you hold back Only letting all out you out When you know that it's safe

70

THE TERROR OF RESPONSIBILITY


You're in charge now I am what?! You're in charge now They repeat The terror strikes within you

The responsibility overwhelming I am not ready for this! He walk away Leaving you standing before the masses Now what? The terror deepens What if I can't do this? Will they listen? The fear of not doing it right is getting to you Though most of them are half your age, almost You are the one still feeling like a child You know you have trouble remembering all of what must be taught Will you be found out? You don't do well with crowds You do your best You are more than just a nervous wreck Just when you think you are ready to crack The instructor takes over Thank goodness He seems to sense your fear He can see that you are drowning He has thrown you a life jacket for now But what of the next time? You feel ashamed You know you cannot hide in the shadows forever But you are not ready for this!

71

YOU'RE AN ADULT NOW


You hear the words You're an adult now You are 21 But inside you feel like you are still 12 years old. Things have just got harder.

The fear just got more Will they realise that you are not as old as they think you are?. Some in the past have When much younger you were not acting your age, but more of your younger brother's at times. But they said that was normal there was only 2 years difference between the 2 of you. But as the years pass you too seem to notice you are not the age inside others expect you to be. The gap ever widening, no matter how you try to hide it. You feel like a child constantly trying to play pretend. At 21 you feel like a 12 year old who has been given adult responsibilities It is very overwhelming . Now even in your 30's, you still feel like a young child inside, trying to deal with an adult world at times. Some times even now you feel like you are seeing things as perhaps 12, now 13, maybe 14 year old would see the world. Yet at other times maybe even a little older. There are times when the facade fails. The looks you get when it does, only makes you want to hide your secret more. People do not understand. But do you really want to tell others? You have the intelligence of an adult But the emotions and reactions of a child at times. They will not get this. The fear of been treated as less than who you are by others is real. Knowing many would talk down to you. You are not stupid, You are not dumb. You just want them to be understanding if you react differently. Yet you know they will most likely will not. So you hold up your facade to the world. While others say you're an adult now. Inside you know you are not.

72

MEMORY

A FLASH OF BRILLIANCE
That's beautiful Or That is really good A flash of brilliance They say

Why do you hide your talent? Not use them to make a living out of it Or at least aid you along the way But that is where the problem lies A flash of brilliance A flash is all it is Only here for a moment Then it is gone Unable to permanently harness its power It comes and goes in waves Most times with very long periods in between Any pressure to perform And it doesn't come at all Skills learned quickly by others Sometimes comes slowly Many times in random bits It's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together at times And when enough comes together at the right time People seem to think you know a lot more than you are letting on Not realising there are huge gaps in your skills Or understanding of a subject You just happen to know that bit Or what to do in that exact situation But not a similar one And the panic that comes When people expect you to be able to do this all the time Not always understanding that you cannot

73

RECOGNITION

You remember most faces like this

I remember most faces like this People just don't get it They laugh it off Saying they too forget faces from time to time That too comes with age Er.. Hello I am in my 30's You bristle with frustration They are not listening You have had this problem all you life You cannot remember the faces many a time Just a few minutes to a day later after meeting Yet you spoke to them for at least half an hour Even those you have known for years you do not recognise Just because they are not where you normally meet them Or they have changed something with their appearance Even in small measures this can throw one into turmoil 74 You are constantly playing detective Trying to figure out who is before you By their style of dress

What they say Or how they move And where you meet them You have learned tricks to hide the fact That you do not recognise them I have learned to greet people without using their names I have learned to get people's attention without using their names If I know have have to speak to them later once more that day I take careful note of their clothing Or get others to find them for you and get them to come to you In group settings I stick to someone like glue Usually a family member Let them break the ice with others Thereby helping you figure out is is who Without either of them knowing it Listening to the conversation for clues I may have perfected these tricks over time But they are not fool proof It can be quite embarrassing when you slip up The looks you get from others For not recognising them Rangers from confusion to disgust And trying to explain doesn't always help.

75

RECOGNITION PART 2 THE EXPERIMENT


Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness)

IS NO JOKE! It is far more serious than many seem to realise Since so many just don't get it We shall do an experiment Ask a friend to gather 20 random people you know From anywhere Church, work or friends you know well Even someone you know from the shop you go regularly to Their choice You are not allowed to meet them till later Once they all have been gathered Have them all put on the exact same ski masks Making sure that their heads are completely covered Including their hair Now you may enter the room where they are You must identify each person One by one Without them telling you their names Either by the way they dress Sound Move Or what they say No obvious hints may be given Not so easy is it? Welcome to my world I live like this 24/7 This is how I see most people to some degree So give a thought Before you brush someone off When they say they have a problem Just because it doesn't sound or appear to be that bad As they say it is Doesn't mean it isn't You may only be seeing what they could not cope with Or hide about their condition And definitely not the tremendous strain it puts them under to keep it up

76

AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION
A while ago my great uncle died

My Dad, brother and me were able to do But not my Mom The funeral was at such short notice Two days after he died Only to be told late the night before about it We were expecting it to be at least a week Took my nausea pills for the long trip Two or so hours later we arrive Thankfully not too much worse for wear Once there did I only realise How much I rely on my mother to unknowingly help me Though such and other family affairs My great uncle's sons greeted us at the church gates Took me a while to figure out which one was which Then a lady greeted me in side by the gate I greeted politely and carried on Much to my embarrassment To hear my Dad greet her by name She was my Aunt! One of the wives of my uncles I had greeted outside! The look that she gave me When I came back to apologise Even after trying to explain About my problem with faces Now a bit dazed and shocked at my blunder I continue on And nearly did it again This time with the daughter of that same uncle! Thankfully my dad saved me from this one By greeting her first The only reason I didn't do it again at the door of the church With the daughter of the other uncle She was the only curly redhead girl I knew! It is sometimes much less stressful to be in a room full of strangers Trying to make small talk Than be by oneself at a large family gathering Where not recognising faces Or remembering names Doesn't leave you with egg on your face

77

THE COLLECTION BUG


I like to collect things

And many different things over the years Many are not like what others would Some is not voluntary It just happens But the urge is always there Radio Stories I do not like listening to music in general So radio stations are a pain You can't get your work done if you are stuck in front of the TV Remembering random facts But have difficulty in remembering formulas or whole subjects Remembering TV schedules and what the programs are about Though I didn't studied it Remembering the almost all the books I've read But only if you show me the book, can I tell you if I have Do not ask me the Authors or names of the books I may only remember a few at random Be warned do not let me into a second hand bookstore they may be left bare These are just a few such things I like to collect But let it be known Thankfully I am not much of a horder If things get too much they will be gone

78

QUESTIONS THAT BAFFEL

AN AUTOMATIC REACTION
You've unknowingly trained yourself well

A question is asked You answer without thinking But when you take the time to think of the question You now realise the answer is wrong But as you grew up You learned your lesson well The answer you have given Is the one you think that they want or the nearest to what you cannot say Back then you had no words to describe what was happening So you answered without thinking To a script that you knew Now you have found the right answers But it's still hard not to answer without thinking But slowly that's changing Hopefully one day There will be no answers without thinking.

FEELINGS
While most show their feelings at a drop of a hat Many a times you cannot It takes time for what has happened to sink in Then the feelings hit The result can be Feeling like a deer caught in headlights To others they may think You do not care As you do not react as they had expected For at times You have no idea what to do with you emotions Which can be very confusing or overwhelming Because of this when someone asks How are you feeling? You are unable to find the words To express what you are feeling

79

BOX A OR B
A test is placed before your

Multiple Choice This one is about How you would do things How you see things And how one would react Your heart drops to your toes You read the first question Are they wanting answers C or D? If they tell you the reason for the question You will be able to answer it You are told to stop over analysing it Just answer the question But how? You don't know what they want! The dread grow within you with every question you read You do your best to soldier on You try another question It is about what you think you are like Great there are 4 boxes as usual But there is no box for you You are told you must choose the one nearest to what you are like How? You fall between answers A and D They look at you in exasperation Stop taking so long Just answer the questions It is not that hard But how am I supposed to answer such questions correctly? Not given the correct information or reason for the question How do you choose an answer when not provided the means to choose it? I hate these kind of tests. I can never find the box that fits!!!!

80

I JUST AM
Some have asked questions about myself

Many I cannot answer No matter how I try Like asking how I do things Or overcome problems Er... Which specific problem? Which specific incident? Your question is too general You are causing me to freeze in indecision Overloading my brain Too many things all running around in there at the same time Now no answers will come When it come to questions about emotions I know I have them I feel them But their names sometimes elude me Or the words to say to another Unable to describe them Even if you ask specific questions That just require me to say yes or no I just am Interacting with people On the surface seems fine But look closer Things are not The way I react The way I do things But I do not realise many a times Only when others say something Or give me a look I do know I have done something wrong I have done something weird I just am Even when you try to ask your question More directly More clearly Even then many of the questions you ask still baffle me I cannot find the words I don't know why I react or do it that way I just am 81

TATTLETALE OR GOOD CITIZEN?


You have been told

If you see someone doing something they shouldn't You have been told to tell So in Std 6 you did You got into trouble with the teacher for doing so You get told you do not tattletale You do not tell on another You are confused It has been constantly drummed into you By the police and other organisations When you see people doing things they shouldn't You must tell You are been a good citizen when you do So could someone please tell me what is the difference?

WHO ARE YOU?


'Who are you?' The teacher asks the question What do you mean 'who am I?' I am me. She explains. Now what? Frantic thinking. Quite a while later, put down, I am a child of God. Teacher says no religious answers. I am confused. If I'm not that, what am I? Says describe yourself. Now what? Rest of the class begin to read their responses. I listen. Write down what I think the teacher wants. But is it really me? For still inside, my first response is: I am me.

82

WHERE IS MY SCRIPT?
In this play of life

On this stage Everyone is saying and doing their parts I try to follow and respond to those around me The look of disapproval and disdain the give Keep to the script, they say. What script? They hold up the one in their hands I look down at my hands but they are empty I do not have a script How do I get a script? They look at me in surprise Not understanding why I have none You were handed one the day you stepped on this stage Is their response Now use it or go away I stand there in despair What am I to do? I stand aside I began to watch Playing detective Seeing a pattern Then trying to follow it Time has now passed Most times people not do not know I have no script But every so often one does slip up And you are told once more Keep to the script

83

WHY AREN'T YOU LISTENING?


The teacher says something.

She immediately asks you a question about it. But you are unable to respond. She gives the questioning look of disapproval. Why you are not listening? But I am. It's just that I can't answer right now. If she asks five minutes from now you will be able to. You know this is weird. You cannot explain it. So you do your best not to be seen in class. The less questions you are asked the better. It is not a nice feeling you get from the teacher as she gives you a look when she thinks you are not listening. Yet inside you are screaming, I am listening. I just need time to think!

84

FEELING SEPARATED FROM THE WORLD

FEELINGS
While most show their feelings at a drop of a hat

Many a times you cannot It takes time for what has happened to sink in Then the feelings hit The result can be Feeling like a deer caught in headlights To others they may think You do not care As you do not react as they had expected For at times You have no idea what to do with you emotions Which can be very confusing or overwhelming Because of this when someone asks How are you feeling? You are unable to find the words To express what you are feeling

LIVING IN BETWEEN
I am an adult in body But a more of a child in spirit Never fully fitting in either world I am living in between My condition is also an irritation at times I am not debilitated by it enough to need special care But I am not free of it enough to live without it causing challenges from time to time I am living in between The worst for me Is others do not see it When they need to Most do not understand I may look fine Yet I do not always react like them Though they expect me to be like them But within I am struggling at times I am living in between

85

FRIENDS
People may think I have lots of friends

Not so I am friendly to all But that is all Besides my family There is only one Yet even then for me It still feels forced I see in others Their joy of friendship with others For me the connection is not there No matter how I try Others make it look easy Yet not for me It feels like I am trying ever so hard By the end I am drained Because I am friendly by nature Helpful too Therefore many may think I have tons Yet I am standing in a crowded room alone

JUST VISITING
If I were from Uganda And did what I had done You would not give me a look of disapproval You would help me learn the culture Guide me along the way If I were from Russia And did what I had done You would not give me a look of disapproval You would help me learn the culture Guide me along the way But because I sound like you Look like you Then I do not always react like you You do not Yet I am too just visiting 86

I AM NOT DISABLED
I am not disabled

No more than if I was a foreigner in this land Like them I do not fully understand your culture Mine is different to yours Despite all my years of been here I still do not fully get it True many of my counter parts Do need special help from time to time And perhaps even me one day But a lot of it is because of other issues Many brought on by your culture Who can't seem to accept That not everyone fits into your neat little boxes As the years have passed I have noticed This has gotten worse Not only for someone like me But any who do not fit the mold To not accept those who do not think like you Your culture is doomed to die For all the forward thinkers Nomatter the culture All thought out of the box Isn't it about time you did too?

THE SHATTERED MIRROR


You see the reflection of the world in all its glory in your mirror I see it in my shattered pieces as it lies upon the floor I only get to see fragments of what the world is really like Each shard reflecting a portion of what is Finding which piece goes where Trying to place all the fragments together To try and get a better picture But even if I find all the pieces The view of what I see is still fragmented. And of what you see of me reflecting back at you

87

THE ALIEN
Interacting in a world that is not your own

Doing your best to hide the fact Struggling at times to understand how those in it interact with each other Or why they do certain things Especially when there seems to be no meaning to it Doing your best to avoid situations Doing your best not to offend Though at times you have no understanding why they are offended What you think is funny They do not What you think is normal They think is weird When you do something that really upset or annoys them They ask or give you the look What planet are you from? A answer you cannot give All you know it is definitely not this one

THE INVISIBLE BARRIER


You see the world You want to take part You want to connect But you're unable to do so There's an invisible barrier between You are unable to tell What you want or you need When you try The message doesn't get through There's an invisible barrier between People can't seem to see it or understand But it is there No matter how much you or they try to deny it There's an in visible barrier between At times it's like watching a play You are there as things happen But you cannot take part There's an in visible barrier between 88

THE LONGING
You want to dance in the rain

Out in the open But the looks that one gets Make you want to hold back You want to build sandcastles Out on the beach But the looks that one gets Make you want to hold back You do not like crowds You want to go where you will not be bothered But you can't get away You've got to be there For the crime is too high There is so much that you would like to do But the looks that one gets Make you want to hold back It hurts you deep down inside When they look at you that way Like you've done something most horribly wrong When all that you've done Is to be all of yourself Yet no laws have been broken So you do your best to avoid those looks But as time passes on You are screaming inside You want to get out You want to be all of you But you know that you can't It will hurt a lot more So you hold back Only letting all out you out When you know that it's safe

89

THE WALLFLOWER
For most of the time in your life you are a wallflower

You fly under the radar Many a times you have tried to move away from the wall Only to end in disaster You learn quickly it is far safer to remain by the wall You are not subjected to looks When you get things wrong or cannot keep up People tend to forget wallflowers are there They leave you alone No unwanted attention they give So you remain where you are observing the world as it goes by

WHAT'S THE POINT OF IT ALL?


I am not perfect by any means But one things for sure I find it harder than many to lie What's the point of it all? Some say it makes things easier Others say they it's the only way to get ahead in life Others get rich But as I said What's the point of it all? You are going to be found out Weather it's now or after you die When you're standing before him The Master will ask Why you did that Your head will be hung low The punishment hard So the question is this What's the point of it all?

90

WHERE IS MY SCRIPT?
In this play of life

On this stage Everyone is saying and doing their parts I try to follow and respond to those around me The look of disapproval and disdain the give Keep to the script, they say. What script? They hold up the one in their hands I look down at my hands but they are empty I do not have a script How do I get a script? They look at me in surprise Not understanding why I have none You were handed one the day you stepped on this stage Is their response Now use it or go away I stand there in despair What am I to do? I stand aside I began to watch Playing detective Seeing a pattern Then trying to follow it Time has now passed Most times people not do not know I have no script But every so often one does slip up And you are told once more Keep to the script

100

HIDING SELF

THE LITTLE GIRL INSIDE


From the outside I look like everyone else

But inside I am not as old as I look My emotional age is much younger But I have been able to an extent hide it from others It is far from easy Sometimes taking much effort But it has also become a way of life To protect myself from others not understanding To the point now Difficult to find some of those parts that I have hid Taking time now to unearth At 15 going on 16 I still played with my dolls Played with my Lego and Playmobile But I began to see that the other girls no longer did When they noticed They would give a look of what's wrong with you? Then I went through a very stressful part of my life Trying to keep up in school Pretending more to be like the others The stress of it all Playing with my toys had helped till then to de-stress But because of the way others reacted I no longer did it openly unless at home But the pressure was beginning to build At one point I thought this was going to be too much Then one day I found a way To release the pressure To still play without anyone seeing By going inside My imagination became my playground I can do it for hours on end But had no way of knowing how to express it to others What I was thinking in there Words to express is not my strong point Only years later I began to find a way to put it to paper But at first it didn't feel comfortable in doing so Then frustrated I couldn't get everything down Even now so much is still running round this head of mine So much I am still unable to express Even though the number pages of what I can has grown But there are so many different sides to the same issue This is going to take a while So when I get stressed I go back to the world inside my head But now the worlds I have created in there I can now start to let others see Though when stressed the written word evades me 101

I need to relax to get most of it out So while others think I have matured I am still very much a little girl inside Who has now found a way for you to join me in my playground

HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE


Everyone has a part of them they do not reveal to others Only yours is a bit more As you grow up you realise you are not like everyone else You know not why You have learnt to show that difference, brings looks of disapproval Yet you have broken no laws that you know of and do not understand why So you try bury that part of as deep as you can Hang onto it so tightly Fearing to let go To do so, would mean loss of control and others seeing You do not want those looks The years pass and nothing changes Then you discover why you are like you are Though you only tell only a few why You start to let go The freedom it brings The relief The load has been lifted But still a large part of you still wants to hang on for dear life, to that part of you that was hidden Will you truly be able to let go? You know it will take time But life is much better knowing whats wrong Denying it only makes things harder, if not, much worse

102

PLAYING THE PRETEND GAME

Be careful when playing the pretend game The objective is not to be found out If you are You have failed. Failure brings shame. You mustn't let people see fully who you really are. They will not understand So you do your best The 'Normal' world can be harsh if you fail. So the facade stays rigidly in place But when they see though the cracks in it, panic sets in. They mustn't see all of the real you They will not understand. So you try even harder to master the pretend game. You hope and pray that you get through this hiccup, in the game. Relief sets in when you do Till the next hiccup crops up Then you panic once more. The pretend game is not just something to amuse one self with to pass the time. It's the difference between surviving the world out there or yours falling apart infront of everyone. The last thing you want, is to be treated like some freakish thing. So be careful when playing the pretend game The objective is not to be found out If you are You have failed. Remember failure brings shame.

THE SHATTERED MIRROR


You see the reflection of the world in all its glory in your mirror I see it in my shattered pieces as it lies upon the floor I only get to see fragments of what the world is really like Each shard reflecting a portion of what is Finding which piece goes where Trying to place all the fragments together To try and get a better picture But even if I find all the pieces The view of what I see is still fragmented. And of what you see of me reflecting back at you 103

THE LOOK

I may miss some body language and expressions people show at times But the one that hurts and affects me most I am cursed to know To me the look people give That says they are extremely disappointed in me Like a parent would a child With the threatening look behind it Just wait missy till we get home You are in big trouble now! Most times I have no idea What I did wrong But I do my best Not to do it again Of what you think I may have done But the feeling one gets From the look that they give Makes you want the ground to swallow you whole

THE PRESSURE COOKER


Your life has been like a pressure cooker And over time It has gotten worse People expecting you to be like them People expecting you to be able do certain things Especially at their pace Not yours Trying to hide the fact you cannot Not understand why you are the way you are But when you do Oh! What a relief The pressure that was building Has now been released The guilt and blame is no more You can now say No Not feeling like you are doing wrong Or that you have failed at life somehow Things just move at a different pace for you You will get there when the time is right for you 104

WHATS IN A NAME?

How many times have you found this The name someone has Weather given or chosen Says something about them? My online name was chosen out of desperation All other names came back taken I had had enough After hours of searching each time I wanted to join something To choose a different name Eventually finding one that seems no one has chosen Dapper Muis In English Brave Mouse From a childhood nursery rhyme But only now do I see how fitting it is for me Like this little mouse who was boastful Saying he was not afraid of anything But when confronted Could not deny it in the end He was petrified of everything In many ways that is me The view of me everyone sees Is not really me completely Underneath my stiff upper lip facade I panic most easily Scared of loosing control Scared of things going wrong Scared of letting people see how badly flawed I am Scared of how people will react as they do not understand So like that little mouse I too, am trying to not let people see my fear For if they do They may try to take advantage of me For sadly to say many would do so They do not care about others So long as they can get what they want So next time you see a name What it is or means Could tell volumes about someone All you need to do is look For most likely more than not Strangely the name seems fits to whom it was given 105

YOU DON'T HAVE ASPERGERS

You don't have Aspergers You hear people say when you tell them. You seem fine. Even the psychologist says that, after she tells you she doesn't believe it is condition. But admits on paper you show strong signs of it. You try walking in my shoes for a day or two and see what you have to say then.
The severity of my symptoms over long periods of time ebb and flow. But I have them. Not as bad as some may get them, but I still have them. Aversion to certain smells, tastes, textures, lights, sounds and even touch. My co-ordination is up the creek. I have difficulty in: Recognising faces Hearing on the phone Spelling Processing my emotions Understanding and interacting in social situations I even have difficulty in unfamiliar places finding my way many a times Taking the scenic route to get there is not my idea of fun, especially when one is in a hurry. That's even sometimes when I use a map. But when people look at me they don't see that. They don't see the hours and hours of hard work, just to keep up the appearance that everything is fine, including the routines I have developed to get though the day or to deal with certain situations. They don't see the panic, when things start to go wrong. When they do see you do something out of the ordinary, the looks you get are not always pleasant. Or when you refuse to do what everybody else is doing, they hound you and will not listen to you. You try to explain, but have difficulty in doing so. Your conditions seems to baffle them and the reaction from most is the same every time. They just say get over yourself. I am still lucky, most of my symptoms many a times are more of an irritation to me at times, than debilitating. But the embarrassment from doing something you shouldn't have, infront of others, is very real and very unpleasant. That on its own can be very debilitating. So to those who refuse to listen. Spend some time in my world and you will soon change your tune. I do have Aspergers. It's just that I am good at hiding it.

106

FRUSTRATION WITH OTHERS

A BAD DAY TO BE A BULLY


When people try to step on my toes

I do my best to avoid it But there is just so many times that I can sidestep Then when this little twig decides to snap Oh beware! They taunted me Calling me names The one the liked the most was Granny Just because I got glasses in Sub B As the years went by they didn't stop I already wasn't a social butterfly This just made it worse But one day In about standard 3 I had had enough A Filipino boy in my class He got the fright of his life When he started Instead of just 'taking it' I lifted him by his shirt off the ground He was at least a head shorter than me His eyes grew wide I told him if he tried that again he would be sorry In the meanest voice I could He was so in shock he didn't try to resist I had never reacted this way before Then I calmly and gently deposited him on the ground And turned to leave To my shock The principal our small school Was only a few meters away watching He said nothing But later he did not punish me either for reacting with violence I guess he knew I wouldn't really follow through I normally shyed away from that kind of behavior Yet I had made my point After that no one bothered me in primary school

107

A FLASH OF BRILLIANCE
That's beautiful

Or That is really good A flash of brilliance They say Why do you hide your talent? Not use them to make a living out of it Or at least aid you along the way But that is where the problem lies A flash of brilliance A flash is all it is Only here for a moment Then it is gone Unable to permanently harness its power It comes and goes in waves Most times with very long periods in between Any pressure to perform And it doesn't come at all Skills learned quickly by others Sometimes comes slowly Many times in random bits It's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together at times And when enough comes together at the right time People seem to think you know a lot more than you are letting on Not realising there are huge gaps in your skills Or understanding of a subject You just happen to know that bit Or what to do in that exact situation But not a similar one And the panic that comes When people expect you to be able to do this all the time Not always understanding that you cannot

108

AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION
A while ago my great uncle died

My Dad, brother and me were able to do But not my Mom The funeral was at such short notice Two days after he died Only to be told late the night before about it We were expecting it to be at least a week Took my nausea pills for the long trip Two or so hours later we arrive Thankfully not too much worse for wear Once there did I only realise How much I rely on my mother to unknowingly help me Though such and other family affairs My great uncle's sons greeted us at the church gates Took me a while to figure out which one was which Then a lady greeted me in side by the gate I greeted politely and carried on Much to my embarrassment To hear my Dad greet her by name She was my Aunt! One of the wives of my uncles I had greeted outside! The look that she gave me When I came back to apologise Even after trying to explain About my problem with faces Now a bit dazed and shocked at my blunder I continue on And nearly did it again This time with the daughter of that same uncle! Thankfully my dad saved me from this one By greeting her first The only reason I didn't do it again at the door of the church With the daughter of the other uncle She was the only curly redhead girl I knew! It is sometimes much less stressful to be in a room full of strangers Trying to make small talk Than be by oneself at a large family gathering Where not recognising faces Or remembering names Doesn't leave you with egg on your face

109

BLINKERS
All your life you have had blinkers on

Only seeing some of the world Only what is right before you You cannot see the rest of the world But you do not know you have them on When you do notice something is off You are told by others that you are imagining things Stop trying to get out of things Or looking for ghosts that are not there Even the professionals refuse to see you have them on Then again they too have blinkers on If it doesn't fit their little neat boxes it doesn't exist Only looking in one direction Ignoring anything along the way But those blinkers are beginning to chafe They cannot deny that you have them You can tell they are there But they keep trying Then one day You come across what someone has written Your blinkers begin to come loose The more you read The looser they get And when you really get it They are now gone Some still try to deny it But free of the blinkers You know who you are You understand things better You now have a voice And no matter what others say They cannot take that away.

(For those who do not know what Blinkers are. The are used on donkeys and horses, a covering for their eyes, that only allows them to see what is strait infront of them and nothing else.)

110

ACCEPTANCE
It seems that Acceptance

Comes easy for some Harder for others In some cases It can be those around Those who are struggling Who cannot accept Not the person dealing with the issue They who have embraced it So the tables are turned Those who would normally be their support Being patient with them as they deal with things Now need the support and patience To accept that this is the way life is For a loved one or friend Mourn the hopes and dreams they once had for them To work through things as they are now And what they could be

DENIAL
Why do people not want to face the reality of the situation? Rather live in denial Stick their heads in the sand Struggling through it on their own Instead of facing it No matter how scary it may seem to be Taking one step at a time Bringing light to the subject Talking to others that are or have gone through the same Sharing the load Instead they are blundering in the dark Doing more harm than good To themselves and to others

111

DO NOT LIMIT ME
Many who hear what you have

Try to hem you in Most do not realise that they do Limiting your options But I will not let this be Not accepting that you say I can't I know I am limited in certain ways But that doesn't mean I won't try It is my choice of which battles I wish to face Not yours There will be times When I kick and push against these barriers that I have Do not stop me Help me instead

FINDING WORK
Looking for work Finding it hard No maths No science No car license Only bike Frustrated Want to improve my lot Unable to do the things now mandatory Most jobs that don't need this 200 or more people ahead of you wanting it Pay is much less than cost of food and rent per month Also hard on my sensory and social issues Lucky to work for parents For now But what happens when they retire? Want to work Don't want hand outs

112

GET THE MESSAGE YET?

People keep saying, Where have you been We've missed you Most times in a patronising voice of some kind. Nothing makes my blood boil quicker. I said I was going to be away I said I didn't like been in crowds Yet they still ask. They don't listen. I don't tweet and twit. I don't use facebook. I don't use mixit. I barely use my cell phone. I was born before personal cell phones, computers and the internet. When cell phones were available, they cost a pretty penny and were sizes of bricks. Most didn't have computers, even when I was in high school. The internet was only something you heard about and was expensive to use. You may be addicted to your little electronic boxes. I am not. It has resulted in you constantly being in communication with someone all the time. The problem is now you don't know how to be by yourself. Well my message is this. Don't make your problem mine. 113

I WANT TO BE ALONE
I don't mind being around people some of the time

But I need my alone time The constant bombardment of things happening around me Constantly trying to readjust to it It is very draining I just need to get away from it Being constantly being on my toes Must not make a mistake Can be very stressful People say you don't have to take part You can just sit there and watch They do not understand Even just sitting there trying to be invisible is still too much The noise The going ons And people will never truly let you be You are continually trying to fend them off You are tired of doing so The looks you get are not always pleasant So when I say no Or want to be alone Please respect my decision

NOW WILL YOU LET ME BE?


I said I wanted to be alone You wouldn't listen I said I don't like crowds You wouldn't listen Well I've done the deed I've taken the test I am not anti-social I am Autistic Now get off my back and let me be.

114

MOUNTAINS OR MOLE HILLS?


Ever hear the saying.

Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill. Meaning it is not that bad So don't make it sound so But the problem for me is What you see as a mole hill Is a mountain for me No I am not over reacting This is how my life is What is easy for you to deal with Is not for me I have to learned to climb everyone of those mountains Or figure a way round But it takes time and patience Rushing me Or telling me to get over it Is the worst thing you can do So just remember this So what you see as a speed bump On your lovely tarred road of life For me there is no road I have to hack my way through to my destination Creating a pass though the mountains While avoiding the dangers lurking in the jungle

THE IRONIE
I Know I think out of the box I know I am different But you would not listen I'm tired of defending my actions that fall on deaf ears. I have accepted that I am who I am Without having to know the cause. But you still won't Why do I have to try and get a piece of paper from a psychologist, stating that there is something wrong with me to get you to listen? Now I've spent a small fortune I'm stuck with a label Are you listening now? Or is this still not enough? I AM AUTISIC!!!! LEAVE ME BE! 115

RECOGNITION

You remember most faces like this

I remember most faces like this People just don't get it They laugh it off Saying they too forget faces from time to time That too comes with age Er.. Hello I am in my 30's You bristle with frustration They are not listening You have had this problem all you life You cannot remember the faces many a time Just a few minutes to a day later after meeting Yet you spoke to them for at least half an hour Even those you have known for years you do not recognise Just because they are not where you normally meet them Or they have changed something with their appearance Even in small measures this can throw one into turmoil 116 You are constantly playing detective Trying to figure out who is before you By their style of dress

What they say Or how they move And where you meet them You have learned tricks to hide the fact That you do not recognise them I have learned to greet people without using their names I have learned to get people's attention without using their names If I know have have to speak to them later once more that day I take careful note of their clothing Or get others to find them for you and get them to come to you In group settings I stick to someone like glue Usually a family member Let them break the ice with others Thereby helping you figure out is is who Without either of them knowing it Listening to the conversation for clues I may have perfected these tricks over time But they are not fool proof It can be quite embarrassing when you slip up The looks you get from others For not recognising them Rangers from confusion to disgust And trying to explain doesn't always help.

117

RECOGNITION PART 2 THE EXPERIMENT


Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness)

IS NO JOKE! It is far more serious than many seem to realise Since so many just don't get it We shall do an experiment Ask a friend to gather 20 random people you know From anywhere Church, work or friends you know well Even someone you know from the shop you go regularly to Their choice You are not allowed to meet them till later Once they all have been gathered Have them all put on the exact same ski masks Making sure that their heads are completely covered Including their hair Now you may enter the room where they are You must identify each person One by one Without them telling you their names Either by the way they dress Sound Move Or what they say No obvious hints may be given Not so easy is it? Welcome to my world I live like this 24/7 This is how I see most people to some degree So give a thought Before you brush someone off When they say they have a problem Just because it doesn't sound or appear to be that bad As they say it is Doesn't mean it isn't You may only be seeing what they could not cope with Or hide about their condition And definitely not the tremendous strain it puts them under to keep it up

118

SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES


A mystery has always been around shopping for clothes

Why is it while others find what they want within minutes While for me it can take months just to find one item? And its not for the lack of trying How do they do it? Is it because I am between sizes? Between clothing for normal and larger people? A Girl, but need hardy clothing not flimsy office wear? The wrong shape? Too modest for the ever shrinking or see through clothes? Issues with my sensory problems? Or is it the simple problem of sizing? These are the questions I have to ask Is it made in China? Is it made in South Africa? If so, was it a South African or Chinese pattern that was used? Or was is it made in America? Why ask which country? Here is the answer China at least 2 sizes too small, sometimes more South African the size they should be American about 2 sizes too big When it comes to shoes We shall not go there That is another whole story on it's own. If someone knows the secret to finding clothes Please let me know!

THE SHATTERED MIRROR


You see the reflection of the world in all its glory in your mirror I see it in my shattered pieces as it lies upon the floor I only get to see fragments of what the world is really like Each shard reflecting a portion of what is Finding which piece goes where Trying to place all the fragments together To try and get a better picture But even if I find all the pieces The view of what I see is still fragmented. And of what you see of me reflecting back at you

119

SOMETHING IS JUST NOT RIGHT


All your life you know something isn't quite right with you.

Others too see it too. But what is it? No one knows. To others you're just quirky or one the who thinks out of the box. You try to explain what you are experiencing. But can't most times. When able to do so in part, you are told: You are imagining things. To get over yourself. Everyone is also dealing with that. So you keep quiet, put your head down and carry on. You want to be alone. People don't want to accept this. You don't like certain foods. Like Onions. They call you a picky eater. How would you like it if all you tasted was onions and nothing else of the food? Yuk. Need order. Not amused when someone disrupts that. People must leave your things where you put them. Must not be late for things. Even better, arrive earlier. Certain touches make you want to climb the walls. Loud noises are a pain. You react badly or show displeasure at your world been disrupted in some way. People shake their heads in amusement or are puzzled. You are frustrated that no one seems to understand you or is willing to try to. Everyone seems to expect you to be like them. How can you when you don't seemed to be working from the same script as everyone else. Frustration builds. You have a blow up about the way people are reacting to you. You seek help once more. This time the you recognised some symptoms from an article on the net. The psychologist listens. Some help she is. She says you have Aspergers, but doesn't believe it is a condition. So refuses to state it on paper. You are angry at first. Then you realise that you have the answer of why you are different, even if there is no paperwork for now. Your actions make more sense Many of the others you tell about this are now starting to listen to you. Now knowing what is the matter, you can deal with it and make life a little easier. Never give up. You may see the world a little differently to others, but so what, we were never meant to be the same. 120

THE LOOK

I may miss some body language and expressions people show at times But the one that hurts and affects me most I am cursed to know To me the look people give That says they are extremely disappointed in me Like a parent would a child With the threatening look behind it Just wait missy till we get home You are in big trouble now! Most times I have no idea What I did wrong But I do my best Not to do it again Of what you think I may have done But the feeling one gets From the look that they give Makes you want the ground to swallow you whole

THE UNWRITTEN RULES


You get the look. What? You shouldn't have done that. Done what? You broke the rules. What rules? You don't know of any rules written down, that say you can't. Not all rules are written down. If they are not written down, how are you supposed to know them? You just do. You have no idea what they are talking about. You get the look once more, but no one explains

121

YOU DON'T HAVE ASPERGERS

You don't have Aspergers You hear people say when you tell them. You seem fine. Even the psychologist says that, after she tells you she doesn't believe it is condition. But admits on paper you show strong signs of it. You try walking in my shoes for a day or two and see what you have to say then. The severity of my symptoms over long periods of time ebb and flow. But I have them. Not as bad as some may get them, but I still have them. Aversion to certain smells, tastes, textures, lights, sounds and even touch. My co-ordination is up the creek. I have difficulty in: Recognising faces Hearing on the phone Spelling Processing my emotions Understanding and interacting in social situations I even have difficulty in unfamiliar places finding my way many a times Taking the scenic route to get there is not my idea of fun, especially when one is in a hurry. That's even sometimes when I use a map. But when people look at me they don't see that. They don't see the hours and hours of hard work, just to keep up the appearance that everything is fine, including the routines I have developed to get though the day or to deal with certain situations. They don't see the panic, when things start to go wrong. When they do see you do something out of the ordinary, the looks you get are not always pleasant. Or when you refuse to do what everybody else is doing, they hound you and will not listen to you. You try to explain, but have difficulty in doing so. Your conditions seems to baffle them and the reaction from most is the same every time. They just say get over yourself. I am still lucky, most of my symptoms many a times are more of an irritation to me at times, than debilitating. But the embarrassment from doing something you shouldn't have, infront of others, is very real and very unpleasant. That on its own can be very debilitating. So to those who refuse to listen. Spend some time in my world and you will soon change your tune. I do have Aspergers. It's just that I am good at hiding it.

122

DETERMINATION ATTITUDE

A NOTE TO PROFESSIONALS

Getting a diagnosis Does not mean the end of my world Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will give up on life Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will use it as an excuse to do nothing Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will expect everyone to wait hand and foot on me Getting a diagnosis Does not mean I will live my life recklessly And blame it on my condition Getting a diagnosis Means things make more sense Understanding why you do the things you do Getting a diagnosis Means I can get help when I need it Getting a diagnosis Means I can learn to work around the problem where possible Remember if you don't acknowledge that there is a problem, how can you deal with it? Getting a diagnosis Means people are more understanding if I struggle with something Getting a diagnosis Means I can be free to be me And not have to pretend I am something I am not Getting a diagnosis Means I can make informed decisions in my life On what I can and should do Without it things could go badly SO WHY THE HECK ARE YOU PEOPLE SO RELUCTANT TO GIVE ME ONE? You are here to help Not hurt You took an oath remember?

123

ACCEPTANCE

It seems that Acceptance Comes easy for some Harder for others In some cases It can be those around Those who are struggling Who cannot accept Not the person dealing with the issue They who have embraced it So the tables are turned Those who would normally be their support Being patient with them as they deal with things Now need the support and patience To accept that this is the way life is For a loved one or friend Mourn the hopes and dreams they once had for them To work through things as they are now And what they could be

DO NOT LIMIT ME
Many who hear what you have Try to hem you in Most do not realise that they do Limiting your options But I will not let this be Not accepting that you say I can't I know I am limited in certain ways But that doesn't mean I won't try It is my choice of which battles I wish to face Not yours There will be times When I kick and push against these barriers that I have Do not stop me Help me instead

124

DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE DISABLED?

People have asked If I miss not been like others But I was born this way How can mourn for something I have never had? True at times, I wish could do some of the things others can do But don't we all wish we could do something amazing that you have seen done by others? So how to I explain this to you? Well here goes.... If all the people in the world had four arms And you only two You would be aware at times you are different But would you see yourself as disabled? Do you really know what it means to have four arms? Not really You can just imagine You take note what others can do They do some things with ease Where you would struggle with it Like closing a over stuffed suitcase By holding the case closed with one set of hands And using their other set to close the latches Tying that a annoying parcel By holding the string with one set of hands Then tying it closed using their other set of hands They can carry many more things in their hands When moving small things They can move double the amount you can when doing so They can also do things faster than you An advantage of having an extra set of hands Many who have four arms Would either look down on you Or have pity on you As you only have two arms Some even ignoring the fact Life may not have given you four arms But you have learned to adapt The over stuffed suitcase? You sit on it Then close the latches 125 The parcel?

Use packaging tape As for carrying lots of things You would use a box or bag To move the same amount of items So when it comes to doing things You may be a bit slower than others As you can only do it at half the speed But you persevere Knowing in the end you will get it done Though at times you may need to ask for help along the way You have grown up seeing this way of life as normal As no one made a big fuss about you only having two arms Instead of four So for the most part Unless someone points out that you do things differently Or you realise that you struggle with something others do not You do not realise things are supposed to be different

I AM A GIRL
I am a girl That part is true But not the kind of girl most people expect I am not into fashion I hate frilly things I do not paint my nails I hate the colour pink I lean more towards what boys like But not too much I think I like to ride a scrambler And learn to survive in the bush I like my Blue Jeans Dresses are not for me So needless to say I do not fit the mold Although it has taken time I have accepted who I am I am a girl who likes to do things a little differently 126

HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE


How is it that you are always happy? They ask Despite what you have faced Despite knowing what you will still face Or what you may face in the future? My answer is simply this Besides my inner strength and faith that comes from Heavenly Father I was blessed with parents who raised me well While many would wallow in sadness At knowing something was wrong Though no one had answers for them They did not As I grew older they passed this knowledge on to me Some of it by words and other by deeds Focus on what you can do Work as best you can at what you struggle with If you can't get it right like others can Work out a different way of doing it If that doesn't work Work around the problem Never give up You can do it I am not super human I do have my off days But the love of ones parents And with my faith in Heavenly Father I know I will get there Being happy is a beautiful gift But it is also a choice Seeing the joy in life Despite what may ale you We all in our lives have challenges Just some are bigger than others Though at times it may take a while longer to get to where we need and want to go But if you face the journey of life with a happy heart It will make the journey more pleasant and seemingly less long!

127

I AM NOT DISABLED
I am not disabled No more than if I was a foreigner in this land Like them I do not fully understand your culture Mine is different to yours Despite all my years of been here I still do not fully get it True many of my counter parts Do need special help from time to time And perhaps even me one day But a lot of it is because of other issues Many brought on by your culture Who can't seem to accept That not everyone fits into your neat little boxes As the years have passed I have noticed This has gotten worse Not only for someone like me But any who do not fit the mold To not accept those who do not think like you Your culture is doomed to die For all the forward thinkers Nomatter the culture All thought out of the box Isn't it about time you did too?

WHICH IS BETTER?
It is a question I have often asked myself. To be aware that I am not always doing things the way others do The looks I get at times because of it. Then the upward battle to make sure you don't do it again Or to be blissfully unaware Of the looks or of my actions not being exactly right But then I think of the heartache this may cause My parents do not deserve to have that They have sacrificed and dealt with so much So as I think of this dilemma I know what the answer will be But still at times you do wish That life was not always feeling like Mount Everest While others seem to be crossing life with ease

128

JUST BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE IT


There are many things I do not like Or feel comfortable in doing That most do without thinking about it That to them is just the way it should be Just because I don't like it It doesn't mean I won't try some of it From time to time But not when pushed Encouragement is welcomed But not by force Let me set the pace For me the time you want me to do it in Is just not right to me But if gently encouraged along the way This delicate flower that stands before you Will begin to bloom The wonders you will see So just because I don't like it Do not give up on me But learn a different way of seeing Of what my world could be

OUT OF THE BOX


You don't think like others You think out of the box But so what? Look back in history What do you see? Those that made the biggest contributions to the world They thought out of the box True you may not be a genius like many It doesn't mean you can't make a difference. You still can Help others to see things from your angle Help them too, to think out of the box Imagine a world where no one is in their own little world A box so small That they do not see there are other ways of seeing things How much better this world would be If we all thought out of the box.

129

JUST PLAIN STUBBORN


Your world is difficult at times You put down your head and just carry on You are just plain stubborn Things can be overwhelming at times You take one step at a time You put down your head and just carry on You are just plain stubborn Others ignore your cries for help Or just don't understand. So you do your best to figure things out on your own. You put down your head and just carry on You are just plain stubborn You struggle to do things, others do with ease. It takes you hours, even days what others do in a few minutes. You put down your head and just carry on You are just plain stubborn While everyone else seems to know the script to life by heart You do not and seem to loose the plot at times. Others do not react well to this You put down your head and just carry on You are just plain stubborn You look back at all have done, despite all you have faced You are amazed. I did all that? you say in disbelief. Many of the things, you seem to be dealing quite well with in you own way. Others are surprised, knowing what ails you. It is not normal for someone like you to do some of those things willingly. You realise why. You put down your head and just carry on You are just plain stubborn Remember no matter what life throws at you, there is away to get around those stumbling blocks. If you can't go around it or over, DIG! It may take you a little longer to get there, but you will get there. The key is never to give up. So in the mean time, put your head down and just carry on. Being just plain stubborn has it's rewards!

130

THE LESSON OF THE ROLLER SKATES


I wanted roller skates for my birthday You will be turning 6 this year Both your parents are in utter shock at the request You cannot even ride your bicycle without training wheels Now you want this?! I got them for my birthday Because I had asked Despite my parents fears for me As ungainly at times I could be They firmly believed If I wanted to try something new They would not stop me Despite their misgivings To their surprise and others I took to them like a duck to water Yet I was nearly 8 before I could ride my bicycle without training wheels And struggled with so many other things When it came to trying new things Only if in danger Would my parents say no Otherwise they would encourage me as much as possible Not been hung upon seeing my limitations Which as a child I didn't see Allowing me to the surprise of many To go beyond what they thought could be Allowing me to find my own path Spreading my wings as I did so

131

THE RINGING DOORBELL SYNDROME


People seem to ignore me when I speak This seems to happen quite a lot Especially when I am trying to get them to give me an order number for work that was done Or for them to fix a problem on their side I have found a way Without screaming and shouting Or using four letter words To get what I need It may take patience and the determination of a bulldog at first But with those who continually ignore you Especially in the line of business related problems With companies or people You know you will have continuous contact with This works best Have you ever tried to ignore a ringing doorbell? Not so easy is it? You have to answer it eventually When people hear me on the phone I can hear the cringe in their voices Yes I have now phoned for the hundredth time But eventually they give me what I want It doesn't mean I don't get stressed Having to do this over and over Does eventually get to me I am highly strung in that regard And would prefer I didn't have to But once the hard work is over I have found not too many can be as stubborn as me Most now quickly jump to When they hear me on the other end of the line Knowing it is the only way to get rid of me So when people try to ignore you Keep ringing that doorbell They will have to answer it in the end But the trick is don't stop till they do

132

WONDERINGS OF WHAT WILL BE


It is good to have found out Before certain choices were made If they were made before what I know now Things could and most likely would have been much harder for me But it does leave me with some questions of what will be Will I be able to find someone in this lifetime? Be with him? I know that most likely I will not have my own children Shocking but true I do so love children But I am a realist too I need a lot of time out from the world The older and more stressed I get The more I seem to need to Such neglect I cannot do No child deserves that An absent or half hearted parent But what love I do have I can still give to another who has none Or to one just needs a little extra Even if it is only for a few hours But in the mean time I will place my trust in Heavenly Father. What I may want or think I need He may require differently of me Knowing there is reason for all things And a time for them too.

133

YOUR INNER STRENGTH


Many say: You are so strong You are coping with what? How are you able to do what you do? You are always smiling when I see you How do you do it? This I can tell you One cannot deny it That strength is there when you need it the most When you come to the end of your tether When you think you cannot no more It fills you with hope You know he is there So give him your thanks and your praises And never forget Heavenly Father is there

134

MISCELLANEOUS

A VERY DIFFERENT STUDENT


We want you to be a Primary Teacher They say For kids with special needs When you are give a calling There is only one answer YES! Though at times it can be a huge leap of faith when doing so Most have little or no idea of how to do their calling when they start You are luckier than most this time You know how to teach little ones You did it for a number of years You know what Autism is How in some ways it can affect a child You have it too Just not as badly So, much studying has been done The week before your first lesson Many questions are asked So you can best prepare for your class of one Though you know it will take time to get things right Every child with Autism is different The next week comes around quickly The 'little' boy is there In class he cannot sit still for very long He is looking at everything in his hyper active way When he does sit for a moment He plays with the little plastic disks Not putting them in the tin But rubbing them over each other on the floor Enjoying the noise they make Any interruptions From others opening the door Upset him greatly Then all he wants is out You know this problem has to be solved Or this class will never work As the lesson time continues You watch as he tries to make sense of this new world he is in You feel the spirit whisper too you This child is special And despite his screeches and screams of upset or wanting to go where he cannot You do not feel the rise any panic or loss of control That a normal child would have you feeling

135

Things are strangely calm You feel the spirit whisper Everything will be ok Also knowing it will take time For him to get to know you And you to know him

135

Index
A Bad day to be a bully A Flash of Brilliance A note to professionals A Very Different Student Acceptance Always Been Misunderstood Always lagging behind An automatic reaction An Embarrassing situation Are you ok? Blinkers Box A or B Broken Telephone Cannot find the words Cleaning House Dealing with Smells Denial Difficulty in explaining Do I know you? Do not limit me Do you know you are disabled Feelings Finding work Fragile Writings Friends Get the message yet? Hanging on for dear life Having a positive attitude Hermione's Bottomless Bag I am a girl I am not disabled I don't want to play Tennis I hate forms I just am I like order Ignored I want to be alone Just because I don't like it Just plain stubborn Just visiting Lemonade Lesson of the roller skates Living in between Look at me Make-up Mind your manners Mountains or Mole Hills Move faster Page 107 73,108 1,123 135 111,124 5 68 5,79 16,29,77,109 15 110 56,80 6, 30 7 61 31 111 7 33 112,124 125 79,85 112 65 86 113 15,102 127 26 126 87,128 50 57 8,81 17 9 114 129 130 86 32 131 85 33 34 51 115 52 136

Mustn't be late No imagination Now will you let me be Out of the box Paperless is better Playing the pretend game Playing with children Please don't touch me that way Recognition Recognition - part 2 - The experiment Shopping for clothes Something is just not right Sorry we can't help you Sparkly things Spelling Stressed Stuck in time Tattletale or Good Citizen? The Alien The Baptism The Bee in my Bonnet The car ride The Clumsy one The Collection Bug The conversation The dance The Food Minefield The invisible barrier The Ironie The lesson of the Roller Skates The Little Girl Inside The longing The look The picky eater The Pressure Cooker The Rat Race The realization The relevance of time The ringing doorbell syndrome The Shattered Mirror The slow poke The sound of an argument The 'Tantrum' The Terror of Responsibility The Tightrope Walkers The Troublesome Toothbrush The unquiet mind The unwritten rules The wall flower Tintin the Movie Tired Unlocking the door

17 10,65 114 129 53,58 18,103 68 35 36,74.116 38,76,118 39,119 120 2 41 59 19 69 82 88 40 60 43 54 62,78 11 43,52 42 9,88 115 55 20,66,101 70,89 104,121 44 22,104 22 10,67 18 132 11,30,87,103,119 21 44 12 24,71 23 45 63 12,121 90 46 64 13 137

What on earth is going on? Whats in a name? What's the point of it all? When inspiration hits Where have all the good doctors gone Where is my script? Where is the order? Which is better Who are you? Why aren't you listening? Woe is me Wonderings of what will be You don't have Aspergers You got lost....where? You inner strength You're an adult now

47 105 90 13 4 25,83,100 28 128 82 14,45,84 3 48,133 106,122 49 134 27,72

138