Our Strengths

There are a lot of things I can’t do that others find easy.

I can’t ride a bike; I did have a bike when I was a kid but I never made it to the stage of not having little helper wheels.

I can’t tie my shoelaces. This is one thing that I struggle with that almost nobody else does. I was sitting in a group the other day, and I noticed how many people were wearing trainers with shoelaces. It was a lot of people. There are obviously people out there that struggle with it as well, but I haven’t met them. If you see me wearing shoes, I will most likely be wearing black ankle boots. If I’m not, then perhaps I’ll be in my slip-on trainers.

I can’t do a lot of things to do with clothes actually. I can now do buttons (I couldn’t at all for many years) but it’s slow and usually, I’ll put the wrong button in the hole, so my mum will have to correct it for me. I don’t understand how collars work, and often get that wrong too. Don’t even get me started on my childhood of wearing ties that I couldn’t do up. I learned to loosen them at middle school, but sometimes they’d fall out of it and I couldn’t correct them. Also, ties mean the top button has to be done up, which is torture. I also can’t do up bras, so I wear sports bras all the time. They’re more comfy, anyway.

I struggle with going on public transport alone. I used to be able to do it, but due to a break in confidence, I haven’t been able to do it in a while. I’m hoping to regain my confidence but it could take a while. I can’t buy stuff in shops. Again, I could do that when I was younger, but I haven’t had the confidence to in a while. Also, I need help ordering at restaurants. Occasionally, I have the confidence to talk to the waiter, but usually I can’t.

There might be a lot of things I can’t do, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a lost cause. These things I can’t do just set me apart from what’s ‘normal’. Normal is knowing how to do most of these things. Often, you can’t survive in this world if you don’t have such basic knowledge. I know I struggle to survive, but I have knowledge of other things. I read poetry daily, and you learn a lot from poetry. I have an inability to express myself properly, when speaking, and poetry taught me that expression isn’t about speaking. You can express yourself just fine on paper. I might be an awkward speaker in person, but putting it down gives me time to know exactly what to say.

I also learnt about morals and philosophy, not from any lessons at school, but from simply opening my own mind. I opened my mind to the thoughts and opinions of everything around me. I even thought about what inanimate objects would be pondering; it helped me to open my mind. From that, I felt the suffering of the creatures around me, and I wanted to help them. So, I became vegan. And the fact that I have maintained it for almost four years gives me the courage to say that I have perseverance. I used to think I was weak, and perhaps I’m fragile in some ways, but I’m stronger in other ways. My fragile emotions just show I’m sensitive, and that I care deeply, so is that such a bad thing? Caring? I don’t think so.

I think everyone has something special about them. They all have things they struggle with, but they have something else which makes them who they are. If we were all the same, we wouldn’t have names. But we do: that makes us different and individual. If you don’t know what your strength is, then perhaps it’s modesty, or perhaps it’s such a great strength that you’re the only one who can’t see it.

I’m not talking about what you’re good at. I’m talking about what strength sets you apart. We’re all different, and often you can tell who someone is just by hearing them walk. It’s a privilege to be ourselves, so why don’t we appreciate what makes us that way?

We’re all special. Remember that.

Lia

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My Christmas

This is my Christmas post!! For Christmas, I brought presents for my mum, dad, brother, and brother’s girlfriend. I got my mum a nice dress, my dad some chocolate penguins, an electronic bug, and a bike t-shirt. I got my brother a Mr Poopybutthead figurine, which you’d know if you watch Rick and Morty. I got his girlfriend an animal crossing K.K. Slider plushie, which she seemed to like. My brother was jealous though, perhaps for his birthday…?

I got a new phone for Christmas too, because I haven’t had one for a while. It’s cheap but it seems nice and it has that new phone feel. I also got the best surprise ever: a Pablo cushion! I screamed when I opened it because it’s the best thing I could have gotten. My brother got a Smiler cushion. For my stocking, I also got a magnetic poetry kit, which I’m going to start using for my instagram. Also, my dad got me a book that he brought when he was with me, except he told me it was for my brother.

My roast was lovely, with Tofurkey… mhm. I love roast potatoes and mash too. And sprouts.

On boxing day, I went to my aunt’s. It was really nice. One of my cousins gave me a box of delicious vegan sweets (honestly, best I’ve ever had). The other cousin gave our entire family a David Attenborough collection of DVDs, but also gave me a box of vegan chocolates, and no one else anything extra. I’m obviously her favourite. I got a lovely poetry book and top from my aunt and uncle. But my uncle’s sister got me a VEGAN YULE LOG. Okay, it wasn’t really a normal yule log, it was more dark chocolate in the shape of a yule log, but it was delicious!! I love my family. We also played some games, including Bananagrams, which I love a lot. It’s kinda like Scrabble but quicker and you laugh more.

I also won a competition a few days before Christmas. My favourite author, Patrick Ness, ran a competition where 10 winners would win all these prizes and 100 runners up got some good prizes too. I was one of the 10 winners, and it makes me so happy, because one of the prizes means I get to go see A Monster Calls as a play in the Old Vic, London. I also get some cool other stuff but I think that’s the one I’m most excited for, especially considering the star of it is a tree. I’m just wanting to see a tree walk on stage, really.

Overall, my Christmas was the best time of year, because I got to go see my family. I don’t care about much else, it’s just nice to see them. The rest of my year wasn’t really much to beat either. I also played ‘Who Am I?’ and one of the questions I asked was ‘am I female?’ My cousin answered ‘you are… now’ and I instantly knew I was Doctor Who. Hehe…

The pets got a ton of presents this year too, including a bum for Pablo. Yes, a bum. My cousin got him a cuddly baboon’s bum, which he loves.

Thank you for reading,

How was your Christmas?

Lia

When You See Me

When you see me, you see a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She can see, she can walk, she’s got nice clothes. That girl is lucky. Perhaps you’re right; I live in a house, with a family that cares, and I’ve got pets too. I am writing this on an iPad, that’s nice as well. I’ve got a lot of things I should be thankful for. I am thankful for them, but life isn’t a breeze either.

As a stranger, I look normal to you. But I have a hidden condition, and it’s called autism. For me, it means that I crave social contact but want to run away when I get it. It means that I won’t speak up about something I dislike until hours later, when I tell only my mum. It means that I can’t go out alone, can’t navigate alone, it’s too terrifying. It means that sometimes my words get scrambled up and I say things wrong. It means that I can’t currently work, because it would be too much; the people, the tasks, the deadlines— it would all get too much. I wouldn’t even survive the interview. It means that I stay in my house most days.

It means that I am not who you think you see.

People with autism look just like anyone else. Sometimes, they’re even extroverts willing to party (they do exist, I know a few!) and sometimes they’re not. Each person with autism is different, no two share the exact same difficulties. But we all blend in. Just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It’s very real and very frightening.

Thank you for reading,

Lia

What Am I Doing With My Life?

So, two people in one day asked me the same question: what am I doing with my life? One conversation went something like this:

Them: Are you going to university?

Me: No.

Them: Are you working?

Me: No.

Them: Are you breathing…?

The other conversation was just a catch-up with an old friend, whom seems to have a really cool job as a teaching assistant with tiny children. I love children, so that seems fun. We talked a lot about our pets, and then about what we’re doing at the moment.

Anyway, it made me realise that people don’t understand me that well at all. These people that I’m friends with aren’t very similar to me. There is one friend I have who is very similar to me but we don’t meet up much, and it’s pretty much just her emailing me jokes that make me laugh. She thinks they’re not funny but they’re really my types of jokes!

So, I don’t have any prospects. I’m just an eighteen-year-old living with her parents. A lot of eighteen-year-olds live with their parents still, so I’m not too abnormal yet. My brother lives with my parents too — he’s nineteen! FYI: My mum moved out of her parent’s house at nineteen. I wish my brother took after her, because I really like the quiet. Just thinking is nice. And I can’t just think because he is constantly loud. I think I’ve complained about it a few times in blog posts… I have hyper-senses due to my autism, so every little sound really disturbs me! And he doesn’t even try to be quiet sometimes. The noise can be so loud…

Sorry for getting off topic! Basically, I think I should tell everyone a little thing about me: I don’t find it easy doing most jobs, or going to university. Both things involve interaction, and I have constant anxiety over every little thing, so something like that really wouldn’t work for me. I don’t know if I’ll get a job somewhen in the future, but right now, I don’t want one. I know that it would send my anxiety levels skyrocketing and my parents are fully supportive of me in everything I do. They want me to try working on my writing, but honestly, I’ve been stuck for ideas lately. Somewhen, I might go to university, or the open university, but it isn’t this year, or next. People need to live life at their own pace.

Not everyone should feel pressured to do what everyone else their age is doing. Sure, other people my age are at university or at a job: that isn’t me. Not right now, anyway. I have autism and it limits many of my social skills. Lots of people with autism do go to work or university, but I don’t find it works for me at the moment. I’m also pretty tired a lot of the time. I don’t know why, it’s kinda undiagnosed, but it stops me from being able to just go out and do things.

Remember that you shouldn’t feel like you have to do what the world is doing. You should do your own thing, be your own person. You can go to university if you want, that’s cool, but you should do it because you want to do it, not because everyone else is doing it. You can wait a year or two to try and figure out what you want to do in life. I want to be a cat, but unfortunately I haven’t figured out how yet. Maybe, one day…

Thanks for reading,

Lia

Questions

When we’re children, we see things for the first time, experience things for the first time, and our reaction is pure. We question the world too, asking stuff that we would never ask again because we’d grow up and develop a narrower mind. It’s true. Our minds are very open when we’re young, and then the experiences start to define us, and we close our minds, so that we don’t have to think about stuff we can’t comprehend.

What makes philosophers great is that they never stop questioning, and their minds become as open as the world around them. Though some of them still have narrow-minded approaches to certain things (*cough*Aristotle*cough*), they still see the world in a way that very few do. They would ask the simple questions that nobody would ever answer. It’s not about receiving the answer, but about letting the question out in the first place. In today’s society, we are still deeply narrow-minded and more selfish than we have ever been in history. We don’t stop to think about why we get scared over trivial things like doing a presentation in class (one of my own fears) when we actually have the advantage of education. Education is supposed to broaden our minds but, in my opinion, it does the opposite. This is simply because we learn stuff to do well in exams and exams are all we ever see in education. We don’t think about the bigger picture. As well as this, we don’t get taught about the bigger picture. We get taught things that will never matter, they’re only for an exam paper. Back in the day, there were philosophy schools, founded by some great philosophers, like Plato. If more schools taught us about philosophy and the questions that really matter, then we wouldn’t worry about our future so much. The future is a very temporary thing, as we are very temporary. We worry about our own tiny lives, without realising that our own lives are very trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, it is a perfectly human trait to worry about yourself, and your own life, but I just like to think about the bigger things sometimes, and that makes me stop worrying, at least temporarily. I think about how our existence is a wonderful thing, yet we continue to abuse it. We are not monsters, but I am sure other species think of us as that. The way we treat the Earth, and the other living beings on it; we were given these minds so that we could use them kindly, but instead we use them like a weapon. Why do we use our minds as a weapon? What are we hiding from? Our minds are tools, and they should be sharpened like other tools, but they should not stab other minds. They should sharpen each other. Then, we’d be able to see the bigger picture, instead of our personal pleasure.

The questions are waiting to be asked. You don’t need to answer them; only ask. Just like when you were a child and you questioned everything. Become like that again.

What questions did you ask when you were children? I asked ones that could be seen as offensive if I wasn’t a child! I was just curious!

Thanks for reading,

Lia

What Dictates Us?

From a young age, our minds are programmed.

  When I was young, I was once rude about another girl (who was actually my friend) because she didn’t come into school often; this was because I had been programmed to think that good attendance would reward you, and bad attendance would not. I did not think about how it would make her feel or why she might not be in very much. I guess I was just upset about her not being in much. She didn’t mind though; she was that kind of person. But the thing is: schools reward pupils for perfect attendance, 100% — you have to be perfect, perfect, perfect, or perhaps just lucky.

It doesn’t mean you’re better than someone else if you go in every day, though schools decide that you are. There are children who are sickly, there are those who suffer emotional problems too, there are those who are grieving and perhaps need a nice trip out to distract them, but they will not get it, because only those with perfect attendance earn a treat. We think this is fine, but it is not. Without understanding why the pupils don’t go in, they are punished. That will have an impact on the way they feel about themselves, and perhaps make them feel even more isolated.

There are other things too that are programmed into us when we are young: I never once played rugby when I was at school. Although, I guess I’m grateful, I think I should have been made to, like the boys were. Many of the boys didn’t want to but they had to, and some of the girls wanted to but weren’t allowed, because it wasn’t a ‘girl’s sport’. These little things, they all change our mind, from the pure thing it was when we were born, to something very confused.

Where do we stand in the world? What is our worth? Who are we? What dictates us?

Children and young people with mental health conditions is on the rise, and it’s because of the way society breaks us. It confuses us with so many different things, one thing says this is acceptable, yet another says this — we become so overwhelmed by all of society’s rules that we can’t deal with them, and then we end up as ants, carrying several times our body weight, before eventually being crushed.

What do you think? Are our minds really our own?

Lia

17 Things I Learned By 17

So it was my birthday yesterday and I decided to do a post on things I’ve learned by 17. Hope you enjoy!

  1.  You aren’t alone. I was in a very bad place a few years ago and I felt like I was completely alone but then I realised that, actually, I’m not. My cousin messaged me and we talked about our problems together and then I saw that there are people with similar problems who want someone to talk to about it too. It’s nice to know that others feel the same.
  2.  School will be tough: heck, life will be hard, but there will be an end to this. You won’t have to endure this forever. It is temporary; eventually you can be who you want to be. Just wait and it’ll come. 🙂
  3.  Cats are awesome. This is more philosophical than it sounds, OK! I wouldn’t be alive without my cats. Their constant love and purring has helped me stay on this planet all these years. I just cannot thank them enough. I love them so much.
  4. I’m not as bad as I think. Sure, I might be awful at writing and a horrible person, but I’m not as awful as I think, and not as horrible as I think either. I’m slightly better than I imagine, I guess. 🙂
  5.  You can’t make everyone instantly like you and want to be friends with you. As hard as you try, some people just don’t like you. Whatever that reason is, though, it isn’t your fault.
  6.  Being bullied is not your fault either. It’s not because you’re dumb or because you’re mean or because you’re ugly; it’s because they have nothing better to do. Maybe you’re quiet enough for them to have an advantage over you but make sure you don’t listen because you are worth more than that poison they throw at you. Trust me.
  7.  Stop thinking about the past. It is stopping you from becoming who you want to be. It is breaking you and you can’t let it — sometimes, even if it’s hard to let go, you just have to think about now and tomorrow. Think about who you want to be, not who you were.
  8.  Not everything is going to destroy the world. I have severe anxiety and, often, that stops me from doing things I want to do. I have too many fears and I need to realise that not all of them are required.
  9.  Steeping out of your comfort zone is OK. It’s gonna be hard but it’s also going to help. It will make you be less anxious, less afraid, less awkward. You will be better for it.
  10. Making mistakes is a part of being human. Everyone makes them: you’re not alone. Although you might think that you’re terrible for making them, you’re not. We learn from them, it’s okay.
  11.  Things might be bad right now, but the phrase “it’ll get better” is true. I know it doesn’t seem like it but it is. You might feel like this for a long while, but it won’t be forever. Nothing lasts forever.
  12.  Don’t worry so much about what others think! Their opinion of you does not define you. Sure, it might affect how others see you, but don’t let it affect how you see you. After all, you are the most important person in your life. Respect that.
  13.  Decisions are so hard to make, but you can make them! I really, really struggle with decision-making. I’m always like “I don’t know” or “can you choose for me?” or “help” but I do make a decision, in the end. If I scream and cry, I’ll still make it, in the end. Just listen to your heart. Do what keeps it beating.
  14.  You can’t change everything about yourself. There are some things that will never go, and that’s okay. You just have to learn to love those parts, as hard as that may seem at the moment.
  15.  There isn’t a solution to every problem, but there is  a way of managing them. It’s okay to have problems, especially ones you can’t solve, and you can learn to accept them. It’s alright.
  16.  Remember that no one else thinks about you the way you think about yourself. They are too busy with their own problems! They probably think you’re awesome! 😀
  17.  Growing up is hard, and scary, but we all have to do it. Don’t worry about it. It’s natural.

Thank you for reading this post,

Lia