Living The Rest of My Life Alone: An Inevitability?

I like the background of this photo, the sun shining on the water and the little round house towards the left. Photo courtesy of the growthlist.com

 

To assess my situation with regards to friendships and the matters of the heart:

It’s very pathetic, arguably the worst of all time.

I’m fifty-one years old, and for various reasons, stemming from being on the autism spectrum and being mainstreamed into the neurotypical community since age six due to my being high functioning,

I have never really been in a relationship.

I was seen by too many folks as being too much of a so-called “geek” or “nerd” to have any girl be really attracted to me in that way during my school days.

And being, according to an acquaintance I had in college, sometimes very rude, and not even knowing it, doomed me to essentially spending my social life alone with a pronounced lack of interested female suitors.

Now don’t get me wrong, I had a few friends in those formative years, some of which I’m still friends with today; it’s not like I was or am completely all by my lonesome.

But as far as romance and finding and having a life partner, though I’m fully aware that I’m not alone in being without a significant other,

The writing is apparently on the wall.

The way that my brain is wired, socially and otherwise, combined with my having been in the neurotypical world for over four decades,

In my opinion renders it more or less futile for me to have any female of substance be interested in me to the point of wanting to spend a lifetime together.

For those who think I’m just playing the victim in a proverbial, “Woe Is Me” way (and I know you’re out there)…

I have to disagree with that, as that is definitely not my intent.

I also know what at least some people who might be reading this are saying:

 

“You need to get out there and take some risks! A significant other is not just gonna fall into your lap!”

“Why don’t you join some meet-ups or support groups of fellow aspies?”

“You need to make yourself more attractive to women!”

“Why don’t you find a girlfriend who is likewise on the spectrum?”

 

Those are all legitimate suggestions, but in the twenty some-odd years since I discovered that I had Asperger’s, I realized one particular thing that pretty much took me every one of those twenty some-odd years to realize and accept…

 

I am not really a people person.

 

I pretend to be, and have tried to be for the bulk of my life.

But I have miserably failed much too often for those efforts to be effective, as the lack of a someone who cares about me romantically and the fact that I have either been fired or forced to resign from nearly every job I have ever had, never lasting more than three years in any place of employment,

Illustrates the realization that I’m not really a people person, never was, and likely never will be.

In a way, as far as having someone in my life, it’s a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.

On one hand, like anyone else with a heart, a brain, and flesh, pangs for female companionship bubble up within me periodically.

But I know that if I did happen to get involved with someone, even someone whom I was attracted to, the way that my natural personality is I’m convinced that it won’t last long.

In other words, a significant reason I have no one is by my own choosing; I don’t want to hurt anyone or have anyone end up disliking me.

And unlike most neurotypicals, I truly feel that I wouldn’t be able to emotionally handle someone I was romantically fond of – if not in love with – break up with me and say “I still want to be friends”, which to me is perhaps the biggest lie in existence.

In short, I’ve found myself choosing to be alone because I don’t want to hurt anyone.

It makes for a lonely life, which being a human being  has not and is not pleasant.

But considering the kind of person that I am, I think that it’s also inevitable.

It would have been nice if my brain was better wired to be able to be in a relationship, but it’s not.

Which is why I predict that I’ll die alone.

Am I happy about it? Of course not!

But I would have also been unhappy if my life trying to have romantic relationships matched my life in the workforce, which ranged from needing to improve to flat-out terrible.

I suppose that’s the way it is.

Being alone is something which I’m forced to accept.

I only hope and pray that God gives me the strength to do so.

 

OH, BY THE WAY: About finding a female who’s likewise on the high-functioning autism spectrum…

That’s a good idea in theory, except for the fact that males outnumber females on the spectrum by an average of five to one.

Which makes finding a girlfriend in that community akin to finding a needle in three haystacks.

Just saying…

 

OH, BY THE WAY, PART TWO: I know that many aspies and folks on the spectrum are married and have relationships, and I am happy that they are able to be successful in that.

I want to make crystal clear that in this context, I am not speaking for anyone on the autism spectrum except for one person:

Myself.

 

 

I really like the background of this photo, too, the clouds and the lake and the wide open spaces. Photo courtesy of hevria.com

 

 

THE HARTLAND CHRONICLES’ 200th POST

The San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Riverside, CA, my original hometown where I spent a happy early childhood. Photo courtesy of nationalleagueofcities.com

 

MARKING AND CELEBRATING A PERSONAL MILESTONE

I was having a little trouble thinking about what I was going to write about here, when I suddenly remembered something…

This is my 200th post on this blog!

Spanning a little over four years.

I can’t speculate on how anyone else may think about that, but I think that’s a pretty big milestone.

If nothing else, I suppose it shows how I have stuck to something.

I’m not going to say that a whole lot of things have happened in my life since I started this blog right after the 4th of July in 2014, but some fairly significant things have happened in my life, most importantly…

 

* My stroke scare four years ago this month, and my subsequent commitment to getting and trying to stay healthy.

When I look at photos of me during the years right before my visit to the emergency room after my cousin’s 50th birthday party, my thoughts are that I look like a combination of a fat pig and Fat Albert’s brother and two other words:

“Never Again”.

Though I haven’t become a complete health nut, I have given up red meat – I wasn’t really eating it for the past few years anyway, so I went ahead and made it official sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year  – opting for chicken and fish (lest I get withdrawals, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a vegan), I’m eating more salads,

And I’ve been on an exercise regimen; doing various forms of abdominal crunches and cardio, including running on the hill next to my house, plus weight training on the Nautilus once a week, for the past four years, doing something, even if it’s only walking and/or sit-ups and a set of push-ups, five or six days a week.

Another thing that’s happened to me over the time I’ve had this blog was…

 

* I began my own sports fan blog (here’s the link): http://www.socalsportsannals.wordpress.com

For all intents and purposes, SoCal Sports Annals is my own business, which I will have had for four years this coming January; time sure flies at warp speed, doesn’t it?

Although it hasn’t been financially lucrative, my sports blog has been a good way for me to feel productive in society without working for – and essentially being at the mercy of – someone else.

The feeling that my well-being, whether I was able to eat, wear clothes, and pay bills, depended on someone whom I felt I was every bit as good a human being as and equal to him/her in every way, rather than inferior, was extremely depressing and, (I’ll go ahead and say it) suicide thought-inducing.

More than anything else, being a writer has made me more peaceful than I would have been if I had continued to work for a boss.

 

 

A good aerial view of my other hometown, Santa Monica, CA, where I spent my adolescent and early adult years (1976-1998). I always liked the view of Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains (top) from the Santa Monica Pier (lower left). Photo courtesy of criterionpromenade.com

 

 

* My book describing my being on the Autism Spectrum (Asperger’s Syndrome to be precise), “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, is more or less done.

It’s just a matter of finding the time to go on Lulu.com and get it self-published.

My commitment to having the book out and in your hands by Christmas has not changed; I have been doing some final editing on different chapters lately, and as soon as I find the time to completely commit myself to beginning the self-publishing process – probably after Thanksgiving and into early December, as the weeks before that will be VERY busy for me on SoCal Sports Annals – you will be reading my lifelong (and to this day) struggles with having Asperger’s in a non-Asperger’s world.

Which I’m looking forward to.

 

* Of course, entering my fifties and officially becoming a middle-aged person is a big thing that’s happened to me these past four-plus years.

To be honest, my feelings vary regarding the state of my life at age fifty-one.

On one hand, I’m definitely blessed that I’m still here.

On the other hand, however…

Even though I do feel blessed, there’s something about having been mainstreamed into a non-asperger’s world that has made me feel that I have been shut out on and denied certain things that pretty much all of my peers have freely taken part in.

I’ve basically felt that life has been more fun for my non-aspie peers and friends than for me.

I have elaborated on that in “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”; if you want to know specifics, sorry. You’ll just have to read that book.

Or maybe I’ll be generous and merciful and elaborate on these feelings in a future post on this blog.

 

To wrap up…

Two hundred posts on any blog is a pretty cool milestone.

It’s been a good way to express myself, which is why I have no plans on ending Hartland Chronicles at the present time.

Even if there have been plenty of times where I could count the number of reads I’ve gotten on a typical day on one hand with a couple of fingers to spare.

By the way, I have to remind myself to try to find out why that’s the case.

Anyhow…

To state an obvious cliché, here’s to the next 200 posts being as good as the first 200 – I hope.

 

 

I know this doesn’t look like much, but this is Van Buren Blvd. in Riverside, the street where I lived from 1967-1976 and spent summers and holidays until early 1981; it gives off a VERY sentimental and peaceful feeling in me. Photo courtesy of realtor.com

 

 

 

Some Autumn Scenery To Enjoy

68841cb8-8f3c-42bc-a416-b45c17c7f0b9 Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

 

 

Just a few photos and images of this just-begun fall season to induce a peaceful sensation to the eyes, mind, and emotions;

I’ve always liked the earth-toned colors that the leaves turn into every September and October, particularly the gold.

These scenic pictures are for me as much as anyone else; it gives me a peaceful feeling, along with photos of spring and winter scenes.

Hope they are enjoyed, and if you have any negative or stressful feelings at the moment, I hope these pictures help to alleviate them…

 

 

Photo courtesy of freepik.com

 

 

Photo courtesy of leveragere.com

 

 

Photo courtesy of wallpaperswide.com

 

 

Some pretty autumn scenery from China. Photo courtesy of xinhuanet.com

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of wallpapercave.com

 

 

 

Mac Intosh Brook, waterfall, brook, stream, autumn, wood, forest, autumn wood, scenery, landscape, Indian summer, cape. Mac Intosh Brook, waterfall, brook, stream, autumn, wood, forest, autumn wood, scenery, landscape, Indian summer, cape Photo courtesy of robertharding.com

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of mariakumar.org

 

 

 

Fall, New Hampshire, USA Photo courtesy of blog.trafalgar.com

 

 

 

A SATURDAY AT MY HIGH SCHOOL ALMA MATER

Santa Monica High School, four blocks from Santa Monica Beach, where I matriculated at and graduated from in 1985. Photo courtesy of samohi.smmusd.org

 

SPENDING A SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT THE OLD HIGH SCHOOL

It had been seven years since I set foot in the place.

But out of curiosity and as a decent way to spend a weekend day, I decided to take advantage of the annual Santa Monica High School All-Class Alumni Reunion, which has been held since the mid-1990s.

The last time I had attended that shindig was in 2011, and I must be honest…

Except for the year before in 2010, when my class of 1985 was holding its 25-year reunion and several of my old friends and acquaintances were subsequently there, I had felt a tiny bit lonely at these reunions, due to the vast majority of attendees having gone to Samohi (take the first two letters of Santa, Monica, and High) in the 1960s and before.

This was especially the case in 1995, when it seemed like I was the only person from the mid-1980s at that year’s all-class get together.

I am happy to say that that was much less the case this past Saturday, as a larger number of people who went to Samo during the years from 1982-1987 – in other words, people who I grew up with, knew and remembered quite well – were at the outdoor soiree.

As I arrived at the town I lived in for 22 years a bit earlier than the all-class reunion’s 11:00 a.m. start, I thought it would be nice to spent a little time at a place where I hadn’t been for over 20 years – Santa Monica’s famous beach, where countless numbers of tourists flock to whenever they venture into Southern California for fun and frolic.

I was fortunate that I was able to check out that shore before it got really crowded; after watching the various yachts and boats float on the sea for a few minutes, I headed four blocks east to the high school where I could have done SO much better, both academically and especially socially.

As was said, a larger number of alums from the mid-to-late 80s were there, and that made the day for me.

As was the thought that as time goes by, I speculate that an increasing amount of classmates and schoolmates that I studied, played sports (particularly baseball), and played music with are likely to come to these gatherings.

The fact that I was seen as more or less an undesirable outcast whose academic career left much to be desired during my years as a Samo student felt irrelevant, as I felt quite welcomed by my fellow alums and the current students.

Not surprisingly, the students, who were holding bake sales – student body officers, class representatives, and others – as well as the cheerleaders, choir and the band (which I was a member of), who performed for us alumni, were quite impressive.

 

 

Image courtesy of samohialumni.org

 

 

As an illustration of how much I’ve aged, Samohi’s marching band director, who has done a fabulous job with the musical organization that I was once a part of, was a 7th and 8th grader when I was a noon aide at my former junior high (now middle) school, John Adams, while I was a student at Santa Monica College across the street.

The ones I talked to (and everyone else) were bright, articulate young people who evidently have their acts together, showing me that my old high school was in good hands.

And of course I couldn’t write a piece like this without giving a shout-out and props to the folks from the Samohi Alumni Association who organized this party, and do it every year.

I know they were real busy putting this all-class gig together, and they were fantastic at that, as they are every year.

The bottom line was, I had fun spending time at my former high school.

I had fun chatting with various fellow alums, particularly those who I knew well as a 15-to-18-year old; and in a few cases as a 12-to-14-year old.

A big factor in the successes of events like this is the fact that at schools like Samohi, which has been around for over 125 years and is very well-known with an excellent reputation in many areas,

Whether your high school days were during a time when girls couldn’t wear pants and boys couldn’t wear jeans,

Or you’re a current student,

There’s always a bond there, the fact that you have a famous high school in common.

That was a source of my fun this past Saturday.

And if my schedule allows it, I’ll certainly make an effort to go to future all-class reunions. But for now…

Thanks for a good time, fellow Samohites!

I’m going to do my best to make sure that it won’t be another seven years before I visit that alma mater of mine.

 

 

While this wasn’t from this year’s all-class reunion, here’s Samohi’s (my former) band entertaining the alums a few years back. Photo courtesy of westsidetoday.com

 

 

THREE DECADES IN BRUIN NATION: My Thirty Years (and counting) With UCLA

Anyone who’s ever been involved with UCLA in any way, shape, or form knows what this building is. Photo courtesy of knock-la.com

 

MY CELEBRATION OF BEING A PART OF MY DREAM INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING AS A STUDENT, ALUMNUS, AND A BRUIN SPORTS FAN FOR THIRTY YEARS

 

Saturday, February 13, 1988.

I was at home in Santa Monica, CA, killing the afternoon by watching The Buddy Holly Story, the biopic starring Gary Busey as the rock and roll pioneer from Lubbock, TX who, along with Ritchie Valens and J.B. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, tragically met their fates riding in a small plane on an Iowa cornfield.

The mail came through the slot in the door, which included a thick manila envelope addressed to me.

The contents in that envelope would, at the risk of sounding clichéd and corny, change my life as the letter accompanying the contents said…

“Congratulations! We are pleased to offer you admission to UCLA’s College of Letters and Science…Your application has shown that you are capable of doing college level work.”

To say that UCLA was my dream school would be an understatement, and not just because my mother attended there in the late 60s and early 70s, thus explaining my initial exposure to that place.

And though it was a fair-sized factor, it wasn’t just because I was a big fan of the Bruin football and basketball teams either, the football team in particular in those days as they enjoyed a peak during the 80s, chock full of triumphs over crosstown rival USC and Rose Bowl wins.

Which gave me some nice bragging rights over my ‘SC friends in high school.

As I progressed through high school and Santa Monica College – my high school career wasn’t very good – UCLA didn’t seem to be a realistic goal as horror stories of students with straight A’s getting turned down and the ones that did get accepted suffering through seemingly impossibly high standards in their classes abounded.

 

 

The UCLA Bruin Marching Band, where I was a member from 1988-1991. Photo courtesy of alchetron.com

 

 

Though I did significantly better at SMC, considered one of the best community colleges, what with me getting into Alpha Gamma Sigma (the honor society) and being elected president of the University of California Club – we took a tour of U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Santa Cruz the weekend before – and although I did apply to UCLA and U.C. Santa Barbara, where my mother wanted me to go to,

I had no expectation whatsoever of matriculating in Westwood, as I fully expected to transfer to Cal State Northridge.

So when I got that thick envelope and that “Congratulations” letter, what with me dancing around the living room like an idiot singing the fight song (I didn’t know the words yet) and calling a close friend of mine as well as my grandmother and mother, who was staying with grandma that weekend, to read that congrats letter,

And subsequently photocopying it to give to certain teachers and friends, writing on it, “Well, aren’t you shocked?!”,

Let’s put it like this…

Getting accepted to, attending, and eventually obtaining my bachelor’s degree from UCLA is akin to the nerdiest, dweebiest boy in the 1950s asking Marilyn Monroe to be his girlfriend.

Or the geekiest guy today asking Beyonce to dump Jay-Z and marry him.

And Marilyn and Beyonce saying yes!

That was exactly how I felt when I got that thick envelope from UCLA’s admissions office in Murphy Hall, as I made my induction into Bruin Nation official when I signed my Statement of Intent to Register on the kitchen table that sunny afternoon.

Looking back, I should have known that I had gotten into UCLA due to the information about housing and various other programs that were mailed to me in the days before I got that big letter; that should have tipped me off, but that’s neither here nor there.

 

 

A part of what first attracted me to UCLA: the school colors as shown on these game-worn jerseys from the 1980s. Photo courtesy of sports.ha.com

 

 

Fast forward seven months:

After taking a political science and writing class in UCLA Transfer Summer Program and joining the Bruin Marching Band, playing tenor saxophone and taking part in their week-long band camp where I learned the fight songs and lots of other UCLA stuff,

Though I can’t remember the exact date, I remember the first class I walked into that fall quarter, a sociology class which included none other than superstar quarterback, eventual Super Bowl champion and pro football hall of famer Troy Aikman.

Thus started my thirty years as a full-fledged, card-carrying member of UCLA’s Bruin Nation, with my student days being spent in the marching band, where I flew on a plane for the first time – to Dallas, TX for the Cotton Bowl – saw roughly 90% of the football games at the Rose Bowl (which certainly gave me a thrill to be on the field of that iconic stadium) and home basketball games in Pauley Pavilion, and (again, at the risk of sounding clichéd and corny) made friends whom I’m still friends with today.

It was those friends who, after I achieved what I consider the biggest achievement of my life in getting my degree in history in 1991, got me to join the UCLA Alumni Band that fall, my first game being (unfortunately) a 27-24 loss to Cal.

And it is through the UCLA Alumni Band that I have been able to stay involved with UCLA and Bruin Nation, as I reckon I have played my tenor sax at roughly 175 football games and fifty women’s gymnastics meets; that band has played for that Bruin gymnastics team since 2003.

I have met countless well-known Bruin folks, had classes with basketball standout Tracy Murray and softball legend Lisa Fernandez along with Aikman during my student days, and consider football games at the Rose Bowl – as well as the alumni band – my own personal Kiwanis Club of sorts, seeing kids grow up and have kids of their own among other things.

 

 

The jacket I used to wear all the time during my college days, especially while I matriculated in Westwood. Photo courtesy of worthpoint.com

 

 

Not to mention having the pleasure of witnessing significant UCLA football triumphs such as:

  • The wins over USC in 1996, 2006, and 2012 in particular, the ’96 triumph the only game in the Crosstown Rivalry that went overtime and the ’06 win being the rivalry’s biggest upset, knocking ‘SC out of the national championship game,
  • An exciting win over a very highly ranked Washington team in 1997, and,
  • Big victories over such elite powerhouses as Miami in 1995, Texas in 1998, Alabama and Michigan – where it was 110 degrees and fifteen people had to go to the hospital for heat exhaustion – in 2000, Ohio State in 2001 (about a week after the 9-11 attacks), Oklahoma in 2005, and Nebraska in 2012.

Of course I must mention the 1995 Ed O’ Bannon and Tyus Edney-led basketball title in 1995; I went to the celebration rally in Pauley a few days later, and to this day I haven’t heard that building be as loud since.

As well as the huge stand that the UCLA and Oklahoma gymnastics teams took against sexual earlier this year after their epic meet, which I saw, that was very memorable even though the Bruins lost the meet by the smallest of margins; don’t worry, we paid OU back and won the national championship two months later in a Hollywood-style epic fashion.

And how can I write an article like this without mentioning meeting the greatest coach in the history of sports, John Wooden, and getting his autograph on a program as a student in the band (which I still have!) and on the front page of one of his many books?

I could go on and on; if I wrote about every UCLA experience that I have had, it would end up becoming a full-sized book.

My main point is this…

I know it’s a cliché, but it’s quite difficult for me to believe that I have been a member of UCLA’s Bruin Nation for three full decades.

The time has gone by warp-speed fast, seemingly (I know, another cliché!).

To say that it has been, and will continue to be, a great time; well, that should go without saying.

I only hope that the next thirty years are as good as the first thirty years.

And maybe, just maybe, I can have the pleasure of seeing that Bruin football team win a national championship one day.

 

Oh, before I go, I have to mention two things that I wish I would have done while a UCLA student – I won’t call them regrets:

  • Taken more political science classes, as I liked to debate issues, and,
  • Tried out for the baseball team; I would have been among the first ones cut because of my weak throwing arm (though I could hit some), but at least I could have said that I tried.

 

 

 

I’ve always liked this view of UCLA and downtown L.A. Spectacular, isn’t it? Photo courtesy of sustain.ucla.edu

 

 

ASPERGER’S RECKONINGS: What If I Were Never Mainstreamed Into The Neurotypical Community?

I like this illustration, showing how Asperger’s and Autism are essentially fusioned together. Photo courtesy of spectrumnews.org

 

Recently I was lying in my bed, randomly thinking about different things, when a particular thought popped into my head, a thought that had entered my head quite a few times…

 

What if, as a person on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome to be precise), I were never put into the mainstream community at age six?

What if, as opposed to being put into a regular classroom from the first grade on, I stayed in special education?

How would my life had turned out?

What would my life be like today?

 

As detailed in my book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” – which is coming out soon, it’s just a matter of finding the time to start the process on Lulu.com – I spent kindergarten in what was then called a “Special Day Class”, in the days when the concept of special ed was so new, it wouldn’t be made law until 1975, three years after my time in that SDC classroom.

My memories of that special day class were not fond ones, due to being whacked by rulers and put into closets for various infractions as part of a behavior modification program; details of such are featured in “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.

However, the harsh methods that were used apparently had a good effect, because at the end of that school year the powers that be determined that I had progressed to the point where they felt I would be able to be mainstreamed into a regular classroom for first grade, which is exactly what happened.

Though I continued to behave like an animal at times, my grades were such that I apparently wasn’t seriously considered to be returned to special ed, as I never saw the inside of a special education classroom again.

After 18 years (including college) of being in the educational mainstream and roughly two decades of being in the mainstream workforce, socially and otherwise, I have wondered what my life would be like today if I had stayed in a special education program until age 22, and never saw a regular classroom.

 

 

I like this image! Courtesy of bloomfieldpsychology.com.au

 

 

Here they are – keep in mind that these are strictly my opinions:

1.  Though I would have been able to attend a two-year community college, as many people on the spectrum are, I wouldn’t have been able to go to, and get a degree from, UCLA.

2. I believe I would have had a limited social life, as my only peers would have been people on the spectrum, mostly guys as males outnumber females in that population by an average of five to one.

In other words, though I wouldn’t have been shunned and bullied the way I was, I think I would have been essentially, for lack of a better term, segregated and Jim-Crowed into a community strictly consisting of folks like me, plus teachers and supervisors and the like.

Which would have left me feeling extremely bored and restricted while wearing a permanent strait jacket, as I would have felt that in too many ways, the neurotypical world would have been closed to me.

3. I would have probably been in one of those adult programs, where they take groups of folks on the spectrum and with other developmental disabilities field trips to the library and various other places. I would see these groups, which includes people around my age (early 50s) and older from time to time at my local library reading magazines and surfing the internet on the computers and think one prevailing thought:

“For many if not all of those kids in special ed right now, that’s where they’ll end up.”

4. I believe I would have also probably, at best, been in some type of (so-called) menial labor job set up by my adults with disabilities program, doing janitor-type work in an office, picking up trash on the roadside, taking orders at a fast food restaurant or at a coffee-house or – as two developmentally disabled guys are doing right now at a Ralph’s across the street from my house, one of them for around twenty years – working at a supermarket pushing a broom down the aisles and collecting shopping baskets from the parking lot.

I hope no one thinks I’m denigrating that type of work or that I’m implying that such jobs are low-class crap and beneath me, because nothing can be further from the truth.

I’m sure that all those autistic folks pushing brooms, making mocha lattes, and cleaning up supermarket aisles are as happy as clams in mud. I know that there is dignity in all kinds of work.

But though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a janitor or a fast food worker, I would not be happy doing such.

And I’ve always felt that the best kind of jobs are those that make you happy.

By the way, I’m fully aware that many people on the spectrum are doing things like owning their own businesses and are embarking on many professional careers today.

Unfortunately, those options were not nearly as available in the 1970s through the bulk of the 1980s, the time when I was in school.

 

 

A comparison between an aspie brain and a non-aspie brain. Image courtesy of quora.com

 

 

OK, I’ve written a lot here; let me sum up…

It’s safe to say that my life would have been a lot different if I had not been mainstreamed into a regular classroom in the fall of 1973.

In some ways, my life has been better by being mainstreamed; I have been able to do things that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

But in other ways, I wouldn’t have been bullied, shunned and misunderstood nearly as much had I stayed in the special needs community.

I wouldn’t have had such a socially volatile experience in school, especially high school, and wouldn’t have had (seemingly) so many of my peers dislike me, reject me, misunderstand me, or a combination of such.

I wouldn’t have had such a checkered life in the workforce, my social issues that were caused by my being an aspie being partially responsible for being either fired or forced to quit 12 jobs in a 17-year span, with three years being the longest I have lasted in one place of employment.

And I might even have had a spouse, like that couple who’s about to get married in the A&E reality show Born This Way.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m okay with how my life has turned out, and am quite grateful for all my fortunes and blessings.

But there are times where I just can’t help wondering how things would have turned out for me if I wasn’t mainstreamed as a little boy with a wild afro.

And I’ll probably continue to wonder such.

That’s all I’m saying.

 

The symbol for the autism rights movement. Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

 

 

Just A Few Random Ponderings That Have Been On My Mind

A prominent sign of the times in this day and age. Photo courtesy of national review.com

 

Here’s the number one pondering, among quite a few ponderings, that has been kept in my mind for quite some time…

1. Why do white, far right conservatives have seemingly such contempt for people who don’t look and think like them – liberals, African-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQs, women with progressive views, people who believe in a woman’s right to choose, anyone who’s not Christian (not just Muslims), and anyone who’s less fortunate?

And here are some other ponderings…

2. Why do far right conservatives have such an animosity against the government – or anyone else – helping those who fell down on their luck through no fault of their own, who (for example) due to a layoff was forced to become homeless?

3. Why do far right conservatives hate anyone from Latin America coming north to try to better their lives – or hate anyone brown-skinned or Spanish-speaking, period? I’ll bet anything if those so-called “illegals” were flocking from Scandinavia, they’d be welcomed with open arms.

4. Why do far right conservatives see anyone not like them as needing to be kept “in their place”, and would seemingly like nothing better than a return to the Jim Crow, segregation laws and a lack of equal rights for anyone not white, Christian, male, conservative, wealthy, or straight (or a combination of those six attributes) that plagued this country for over 100 years?

5 Why do far right conservatives see anyone who doesn’t look like them (like me, being a black man of African descent and all) as inferior beings?

 

 

Isn’t this a CUTE picture of preschool kids of different races? Photo courtesy of carwad.net

 

 

Being someone on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, I have a few ponderings regarding that topic, too…

6. Why does it seem that people on the spectrum are “the last oppressed minority” in regards with such a high percentage of them being unemployed and otherwise not accepted or understood by “mainstream” society?

7. To be brutally honest, considering my social struggles with having Asperger’s throughout my life, I have wondered why I was born with that gene that has caused me to behave like an animal in my early childhood and has caused other difficulties like being understood and accepted at school and (particularly) in the workforce?

8. Why does life have to be so seemingly hard for me sometimes while it seems easier (I’m not saying easy, I know everyone has had some kind of struggles) for those around me?

9. Why does it seem like it’s the world’s mission to make sure you’re kept down and unable to succeed, with those succeeding in life doing so at a seemingly huge price?

10. Why does it seem to be human nature to bully as children, as I was? Why can’t people be nothing but nice instead of causing nothing but misery?

11. Why do the rich always seem to get richer, and the poor always seem to get poorer?

And one last pondering…

12. Why do so many people not seem to care that in roughly 100 years, much of the planet will be under water (global warming), or that a large part of the planet’s population may be wiped out because of countries like North Korea (nuclear missiles), or that at this rate, within (in my estimate) ten to twenty years, this country may well be embroiled in a second Civil War between liberals and conservatives and the “Blue” states and the “Red” states, if not an all-out race war between the “alt-right” and people of color and their white progressive allies?

 

These are just ramblings, I’m aware of that.

But that hasn’t stopped them from being on my mind.

Al I can do is to pray and count on God that He’ll straighten things out and work out all these bad things for good.

One particular quote is prominent in my mind as I end this post…

 

“Why must we go on hating? Why can’t we live in bliss?”

– Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), from “Peace Train” (1971)

 

 

I really like this picture of a dove bring an olive branch to this planet; it’s what I and every decent person wants. Image courtesy of scross.co.za