Applying For a Passport

UK Passport Cover

Last Monday I went to an interview to apply for a British Passport.

I was a little nervous as I got the letter back from the Passport people saying that I was required to have an interview, which was not really a problem. It was my first time that I ever went for a passport interview. It was going to be a completely new experience, however, on the leaflet it says that if you have a disability and you need someone to be in the interview with you, please let them know. Mum came with me as I don’t travel by myself and in case I got anxious and didn’t understand the procedure.

As is so happens I totally forgot about the arrangement and only remembered the day before. Haha. So, the anticipation build up wasn’t as bad as it usually was. I can probably handle situations better when I don’t have too long to think about it.

I didn’t really know where this place was but I enjoyed having a good walk around in the warm sun. We found the place eventually and I went into the reception area with my parents.

We actually learned, there and then, that nobody was allowed in the booth with me. I started to get nervous at that point. The problem wasn’t me going in on my own it was the lack of understanding shown by the receptionists. This did not fill me with confidence. She was also rude to my Mum and was a little patronising towards her.

My Mum tried to explain why she would go in with me, not to speak on my behalf but to re-word questions if I didn’t understand them. This is a big occurrence in my life where I don’t always understand what people say, especially when they generalise. However, the receptionist wasn’t really listening or rather she was too busy enforcing the rules.

So far I wasn’t impressed with how unwelcoming the passport people were. If the receptionist was not very accommodating then how accommodating would the interviewer be? I started to lose confidence in the fact that they weren’t going to consider my needs. It seems like they don’t really cater for people with Learning Difficulties or Autism.

The interview lady eventually called me in and she was actually really nice and friendly. By the way that she was talking it seemed like she was more than familiar with people with special needs. She was very open-minded and she did seem experience when it came to communicating with people like me. All the interview questions were very simple to understand so I didn’t have any trouble answering her questions.

I spent about 25 minutes in there and I felt actually ok by the end of it. I was somewhat surprised how well I handled the situation, especially when the receptionist dropped the bombshell that I wasn’t allowed to bring someone in with me. I could have buzzed Mum to come in if I wanted but I was doing ok by myself.

I handled that situation really well actually but I was disappointed with the lack of consideration that the staff did show. It stresses in the leaflet that if you have Learning Difficulties and you need someone to come in with you then to let the passport people know. In a way, I did find this misleading. If it was clear that I wasn’t allowed to have support in my interview, then that would have been fine. But if it’s not ok, why mention it in the leaflet in first place?

I was more disappointed and bewildered by the principal of the staff not accommodating my needs, rather than going in by myself for the interview. However, it’s all done and finished now and I’m certainly losing no sleep over it. =)

THANKS FOR READING

Bell and Aiz Artwork Endcard

All I just have to do now is play the waiting game… by reading the rest of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Light Novel Volume 2. =D That’s such an awesome book and anime and I’m really enjoying it. For all I know the passport people might refuse my application but I’m pretty confident that they’ll accept it. =)

Thanks for Reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

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The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Three)

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On this very day, at this very time, exactly four years ago, I self-starred in the auto-bio play “Ryan’s World.”

If you fancy reading the other parts, you can see the links underneath.^^/

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-one/ 

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-two/

  1. DECISION

Choosing the right songs and implementing them into the show was tricky. However, Mr P and Mum suggested certain songs for me to use.

For the intro, and the audience coming in and settle their bums to the floor, I opted to use Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful.” We all thought that this would be an ideal way to start the performance as that song is about individuality and self-confidence. For good measure I added a picture of me when I was 5 holding a Thomas the Tank Engine train. Whilst I was incredibly embarrassed I wanted to give everyone an idea what I looked like when I was young. That and I think it adds to the realism of the performance.

I was behind the stage of the intro and the first video scene. Nerves started to grow up inside me, but I felt myself getting into the moment of my youth. The first video scene is the doctor diagnosing my condition and explained to my Mum (the character) what to expect of me in the future. It would be highly unlikely that I would ever come out of my own bubble. Listening to this really helped me to get into the moment as it set as a reminder of what I was like when I was young.

  1. SCENES YOUNGER THAN TEN

I walked into the open space and parked myself on the outer edge of the gazebo. I used the gazebo for the purpose of holding up the screen which showed the videos. I was very conscious that I was going to knock the whole thing down so I took great care not to bump into it. Haha.

These few scenes were all about me when I was a toddler. The video showed scenes whilst I held up phrases on the cards to show what I was thinking at that time. I couldn’t explain myself at that time but I was aware what was happening. I held up a cue card that said “I know you’re talking about me, I’m not stupid.” I also held up a few sad faces to show the audience that I was feeling sad in certain moments.

On stage I kept my face and body language neutral to reinforce how I would have been feeling at the time. However, I did feel trickles of tears running down my face. “That’s not supposed to happen,” I thought. That was the first time ever that I genuinely cried during a performance. I cringed every time I heard myself scream or cry out. It felt like a stab in the heart. I wanted to hide my face behind the big cards as I didn’t really want the audience to see tears running down my face. Haha. I spontaneously took a few deep breaths to regain my composure.

I did receive a few laughs when I got kissed with a lipstick in the video and when I showed my sad face for the first time. I think everyone laughed at first probably because they thought the face was drawn in a funny way. I put up a smiling face when the lady at the school residential read me a Thomas story.

I think the audience were very touched by this. I even added the song “Thomas, You’re the Leader.” I felt this was very appropriate as I was trying to tell the audience that Thomas was my saviour in many unhappy moments.

Eventually, I went off stage, gearing myself up to reappear in a certain scene.

  1. SCENES OLDER THAN TEN

On the video it showed the actual footage of me being the mascot for Charlton Athletic when they played Bolton in 2000.

I came onto the stage feeling excited as I gained confidence and started to understand the surroundings outside my bubble.

I spoke only basic words at that time. In hindsight I wonder if I should have spoken in a monotone voice because I used to be expressionless with my words. However, in the live performance I was representing my thoughts. So I figured it would be appropriate to speak with emotion.

The most important scene involves the Football School. I was pretty nervous about this. It was important to get this right. We filmed the parts where all the lads were making fun of me and showed a huge lack of understanding. The coach was no different. I was too meek and polite to not stick up for myself as I didn’t want to “upset” anyone. It went to the point where I started to get changed in front of the other lads, something which I was very uncomfortable with.

On the video I actually did get changed but my back was to the audience so only my back was visible. Haha. That was another big moment as I don’t like getting changed in front of other people. I think if the scene wasn’t so serious the audience would have had a good chuckle at this.

The video was pretty emotional as I kept on making mistakes and kept on being the victim of “being different.” I tried to be strong and be tough but I kept on making mistakes, especially when I missed the penalty and ran the full length of the pitch to score an own goal… My spirit eventually wavered and I broke down in the middle of the pitch, all alone… On cue- Girls Aloud’s cover of “I’ll Stand by You,” plays as the video zooms out and fades.

This was definitely challenging to perform on film. I was caught up in the emotion of that part of my life. The Football scene and hanging out with “normal people” was the main reason why I started to become insecure about being Autistic. Was it ok to be different? I made my feelings known at that very moment how I felt about the world.

“I hate normal people. I hate special needs… and I hate myself.”

And it was at that very moment that I started to become insecure about myself. I had a long string that kept me from the audience. When my confidence grew, I’d pull the string back, allowing the audience nearer. If my confidence was knocked, I would push the string back and push the audience away. The strings were held up by three stools. When I said “I hate special needs…” I started to push the stools back.

However, I managed to compose myself enough not to charge into Mr Ian who was right behind the stool that I was pushing. This was quite reassuring as I’ve never felt this emotional during a performance. It showed me that even though I was in the zone I was still aware of my surroundings. That was quite a proud moment. =)

  1. INDIVIDUALITY

From that moment on I tried to fight for individuality and to be accepted for whom I was and I tried this tactic in different situations. I bought a Thomas DVD at school but my teacher disapproved as she thought that it was “too childish” and so she took it back. Why wasn’t I allowed to express the things I like? Why couldn’t I get the things I like? What was wrong with being myself?

  1. REACHING COLLEGE

I had the option of attending two different colleges. One was my local college and the other was the college that I eventually went to. I was very determined not to go to this certain college as I knew that I would have to start in the Supported Learning Department. I really, really didn’t want that to happen.

I expressed my anger and stubbornness thoughts to the audience. Was it fate that I would never progress? On the video it showed the letter that I would be in the SLD department. It also said in the letter how it would have been “too much for me” to be in the actual Performing Arts course with the “normal” mainstream students.

It turns out that college has treated me very kindly and the SLD department was actually a good stepping stone for me to study and perform with the “normal” mainstream students. I went from expressing my anger on stage feeling to expressing my pride and happiness.

  1. I AM RYAN

On film, I spoke about the overview of my time on the course. I learned that my biggest achievement from this University Course wasn’t the high marks on paper. It was learning how to be myself. In those last couple of months I completely let myself go and allowed everyone to get to know the real me and who I really was.

I’m not Autistic, I’m Ryan who just so happens to have Autism.

Being Ryan was my identity. After this revelation I stopped acting at this point and I was genuinely myself. It was definitely natural as I completely forgot my line at that moment. Haha!

I changed clothes into a more casual outfit, cut the tap and invited the audience into “my space”. This was to signify that I now felt more comfortable with how I was. I personally am not comfortable with physical contact but it’s my way of letting everyone know that I’m opening myself up to them.

At this moment I walked out of the room and the video of me, wearing the same casual outfit, came up. This was the scene where I said my “THANKYOUS” to all my friends, colleagues and tutors for treating me kindly for all these years. I would be too embarrassed to say it to their faces so I coped out and made them watch the video instead. Haha. Ironically, this was actually the very first thing that I and Mr P did, shooting this video of “THANKYOUS.”

In this video I played the soundtrack “The Island Song” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” These songs are very poignant to me as I used to severely dislike music. However, these were the very first songs that I liked and they were the platform for me to open myself up to all kinds of music. Now, whilst I still don’t like noise, I can handle music better and I’m very open-minded about it. Once again, Thomas the Tank Engine helped as The Island Song was actually a soundtrack from Thomas the Tank Engine. Haha.

  1. POST SHOW

I came out and took a bow. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the loud clapping and I literally couldn’t look at any of them in the face. After the bow I ran as fast as I could so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I was a little caught up in the moment. Well, that’s a fib. I was VERY caught up in the moment. Haha.

I actually get very embarrassed when I’m the centre of attention or if everyone is looking at me, which is among the reasons why I ran off. If I had spoken to people straightaway I probably would have been too caught up and cried and I really didn’t want that to happen.

After calming down I spoke with my friends one by one and had a good chin-wag with all of them. It was a strange moment as I was talking with them as if I had never performed the piece. It felt natural, very natural. I really did like that feeling and it was at that moment that I realised that all my Uni friends were actually my friends.

By revealing my autism to everyone has turned out to be one of the best moments in my life. I can now say that I have autism without feeling ashamed or insecure.

THANKS FOR READING

Thomas and Gordon 2

Since this day, four years ago, life has been great and for the first time I felt free of doubt. I have never looked back… and I never will.

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Two)

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  1. DECISION

Right! I’m now going to do this Autobio play starring as myself, but… what on earth do I do? How do I execute this piece? How do I act it? How do I direct it? What parts of my life are most significant and what might people be interested in? Do I do live or film or a mixture of both?

I discussed the key parts of my life with my co-director Mr P as well as my family. After much discussion we decided that my life before Uni was the way to go. Obviously, people at Uni only knew me as I was then. They had no idea about my life prior to the Uni course.

At that point I had a rough idea how I was going to perform this piece. I decided to make this mostly live theatre but to include multimedia and film. I felt that I could express my thoughts live but portray certain aspects on film. To me that was the most practical and sensible solution. Realistically speaking, I don’t think there was any way I could have done it. Mr Ian came up with great artistic ideas but I needed to do what I was comfortable with. Well… everything I was doing at that point was far from comfortable! Haha.

I decided what scenes I was going to film, what characters to use and who I would ask to play those parts.

With the cast chosen I then had to think about which scenes I would film and which I would perform live.

  1. OVER-ACTING

In the first two weeks I did find it difficult to play my character. I learned that I kept holding back when I was rehearsing so I decided to stop rehearsing altogether, choosing to act and improvise when I was being filmed.

I did this one scene where I was playing with my biro trains and Thomas trains where I would scream and get upset if my brother tried to join in the fun. I think I was ok but I wasn’t natural… I was extremely uncomfortable and I think because of this I started to over-act. It’s not easy when you’re 22 and you’re trying to act as you did when you were 4.

Acting as my younger self playing with my trains was probably the most difficult part of the whole performance. The scene wasn’t really done right. I couldn’t rehearse it as it was a challenge to keep it up. If I was going to do this then I had to do it in one take. My family members watched my scene back and they felt that I wasn’t being natural either. They watched me grow up so they could remember how I acted and behaved.

With much reluctance but being sensible, I decided that I should do this scene again, but in a more natural setting…I chose to do this, for the second time, at my sister’s house.

  1. EPIPHANY

There was a period where my confidence was low. I did start to doubt myself and my capabilities of being able to pull this off. Could I do it? I needed an inspiration from somewhere…

My university is actually based in a college. The correct term of studying that I did was Foundation Degree. Basically, you do two years of university work at a college but you do the final third year at an actual university. The third year is only optional though. I decided to take a look at my local university, with the thought of carrying on the third year, to obtain my full degree. It sounded ideal to me at that time. So, I went along to the open day and spoke to one of the course tutors with my Mum. We explained to her about my individual needs and what my strengths and needs were.

Her reaction to everything that we said was quite peculiar. She pulled a lot of funny faces and she especially made a quirky face when I said that I don’t understand generalisation. From that moment she started to discourage me from the course as she didn’t think I could handle it. There were going to be many social gatherings and she didn’t think that I could adapt enough to meet the course requirements. I was rather speechless at that moment…

I was a bit shocked on how quickly she discouraged me, and even went so far to suggest a writing course as no social interaction was required. Haha… I decided from that moment that I was not going to go on that course as the tutor didn’t seem open-minded and she did not understand people like me. Even if I did join the course I think I would have dropped out because of her. I was unimpressed with her attitude, and to be honest, I was unimpressed with the SLD facilities that that particular university had to offer.

After I spoke about my thoughts to my family and I had the chance for all this to sink in…a fire started to ignite in my stomach. I started to get annoyed that someone would pre-judge me and my capabilities without even getting the time to know me first. There have been people in my life who have doubted my capabilities, and I was always determined to prove those people wrong.

The only people who doubted me were the people who did not know me. They just judged my capabilities through papers, reports and assessments and probably what they’ve researched about autism on the internet. I wasn’t going to let anyone doubt me ever again. I was going to prove to everyone that I shouldn’t limit my capabilities just because of pre-judgement. I especially was going to prove to everyone and to myself that I shouldn’t limit my capabilities just because I’m Autistic.

I was angry. I was determined. I was motivated.

This was the answer. This was the epiphany that I was looking for. The confidence that I had lost came back and it was stronger than ever before.

And now, back to the Performance.

  1. NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE

I asked the National Certificate group to paint me a wall of a mountain that represents my personal journey. Me and Mr P went to their class and explained what we were looking for. At that moment Mrs V turned to me and said, “Are you going to tell everyone about you?” and I was like “oh my…”

I was so focus on proving a point to my doubters and to myself that I completely forgot that I was going to share with everyone about my Autism. Was this going to be a first time? Initially, I was very hesitant. I’ve never openly told this side of me to anyone, only a close group of people. I knew the National Certificates by their faces but I didn’t know any of them personally. How would they react? I took a deep breath and said, “I am autistic.”

I got a positive response. I was asked a lot of questions regarding Autism and how I cope with autism. It really warmed my heart and boosted my confidence. I even got a round of applauds.

It boosted my morale even more and for the first time in my life I wasn’t afraid to say that I have autism. I became much more open about myself and I generally became chattier with people who I didn’t know very well, which used to be an enormous challenge for me.

  1. FILMING THE SCENES

What was initially daunting turned out to be a lot of fun.

The football guys were wonderful to work with. I explained to them what my condition was and how I cope with it. Coincidentally, they were doing a course about bullying so I was actually called into that class to talk about being different. I never thought I would speak about my autism in front a bunch of strangers! And like the National Certificates, I got a positive response.

The football students acted out their parts very well but I must say that Chris, the tutor, was particularly outstanding. His sister has learning difficulties so I think he was able to relate to my problems to some degree.

I decided to include some of my family/family friends in certain film scenes. They were fun to work with.

The scene I did with Nat and Mr Andy was not very loud on film so I went to Mr M, who is a record producer that I know and a good friend. He had a studio so offered to help with the sound on the film. He was kind enough to help me out so I went over to his house and did the over dubbing. What should have taken a few hours took all night. We worked on it from 4 O’clock in the afternoon until 5 O’clock in the morning! It took me 58 goes to get the speech pattern right! Haha! We experienced all kinds of emotions that night but it was definitely an amazing night and one of the best that I’ve experienced. =)

  1. SHOW TIME

There was a lot that I wanted to talk about as this had been a really good experience. I had a lot of fun with many people during the filming. I decided to only talk about significant parts of the rehearsals and filming and how I over-came problems.

Next time, I will share my thoughts with you about going into the performance, during the performance, and after the performance.

Show time!

The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part One)

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It’s show blog time!^^/

  1. INTRODUCTION

This blog is all about a play I wrote and starred in. This play is about my life when I was small. I showed everyone what it’s like to live with Autism and explained how I saw the world from my point of view. However, before I talk about the performance itself I feel that it’s necessary to dig further into the past. By doing so, it will explain a lot of things and my past going into the performance. It won’t take long. I promise. =)

  1. BEING DIAGNOSED / NOT SPEAKING

I was diagnosed with Autism around the age of 2, when I was attending nursery education unit. It was usual for children to attend the nursery for one year. However, since I was part of the special needs area I stayed there for 2 years. The doctor who diagnosed me with Autism said that I my quality of life will probably never improve. I will never look anyone in the eye, I will never engage in a conversation and I will more or less be trapped in my own world. For a few years, he was right…

When I turned 5 I started to attend a SEN school. It was literally just up the road from my old nursery, so that was a bit of good fortune.

In my school days, especially when I was younger, I was extremely quiet. Because I was quiet and was unable to communicate, the teachers found it hard to understand me. Not necessarily because to be mean, more likely through lack of knowledge/experience. They would often talk about me and my “problems” in front of me, assuming that I didn’t know what they were talking about. However, I could usually read the situation by their facial expression and tone of their voice.

The majority of my school life was frustration. The frustration of not being able to talk. I think I was probably capable of speaking but I didn’t know how to. I think my subconscious held me back from speaking and interacting with others. I was able to string sentences together when I was 10 or 11. Before then I just spoke words every once in a while. I even started to open up my bubble a little bit. I somewhat started to understand how the wide world works.

Being able to speak was good and it did feel like a massive personal achievement. However, since I started to speak, it did cause some troubles every now and again. I could speak, but I didn’t realise the words that came out of my mouth. From a teacher’s point of view, whatever I said, I must mean. I have said a lot of rude things that I didn’t realise were rude or inappropriate. I never meant to be rude or upset anyone so it was a big deal if I did this. This is where the frustration came in. The teachers took what I said at face value. If I said it, I meant it. I could never explain my words or what I meant. So, I had to end up apologising even if it was all a misunderstanding. Situations like this knocked my confidence completely and discouraged me from talking.

That was all just one part of the problem.

  1. QUESTIONING MYSELF

I went to the Bobby Charlton’s School of Excellence that one time, and I must say that it wasn’t a happy experience. It was the first time that I interacted with people who were “mainstream” i.e., secondary school students. Out of everyone in the local area I was the only “special needs” student that attended the whole programme. It was a big problem for me. As I was the only “special needs” student attending, there was a lack of understanding, I feel, for people like me. It seemed that the coaches in general were more used to secondary students rather than special needs students and so they didn’t really bear this in mind. The secondary students were not very understanding towards me either. They often whispered about me under their breath and called me “weird”, even when they were right next to me.

By lunch time I really wanted to go home. However, my pride kind of kept me there. In my eyes I refused to be defeated even if I did feel everyone there was against me. I strived to be as good as they were. That special needs students like myself could cope on the same stage as them. My hopes were dashed when I scored an own goal…

We all laugh about it now, especially me. However, it was a very humiliating experience at that time. It was also from that minute on that I started to question myself as a human being. Why was I being treated that way? Was it because I made that mistake? Was it because I was weird? Was it because that I had “special needs”? I started to dislike being in an SEN school, I started to dislike the mainstream people and I started to dislike myself. Why was I born like this? Why couldn’t I’ve been “normal?” I saw everyone who went to mainstream school as “normal” and myself as not normal. Haha.

  1. COLLEGE SUMMARY

I left my school when I was 18.

I went to a college that specifically catered to people with “special needs”. It went under the title of Supported Learning Department. I severely disliked being part of that department. I was determined not to go to that college because I didn’t want to go to that department. Haha. However, my local college didn’t offer the support that I needed. I was then offered a place at a different college which had an SLD department. I attended the SLD department for one year. I was lacking a lot of confidence and spent the rest of my experience being reserved.

However, I attended a Mainstream programme on a part-time basis, within the same college. It was the Performing Arts class. I felt happy yet very anxious. Was history going to repeat itself? Is this a chance for me to “redeem” myself? My thoughts were very conflicting and it was a constant battle with my own thoughts. In the end, I decided to be quiet and neutral when I attended these classes. If I didn’t say anything, then I wouldn’t get on the wrong side of anyone. I promised myself to not tell anyone about my Autism. I maintained that persona for most of my college life, even later when I started to attend that Mainstream programme full time.

  1. OPENING UP

Things got easier when I started University, which was based at that same college. Usually, I would have to attend the follow up course to prepare for University. However, all the tutors deemed that I was ready to start a full University programme, and I accepted a place on the foundation degree course. =)

On the first day, with a fresh new faces joining the course, I decided to tell everyone that I had Autism. With discussions with my tutor we decided that it would be best to tell them, and strangely, I felt ok with it. It’s probably the first time that I didn’t hesitate telling anyone about my Autism. I opened up to everyone and to my surprise no one isolated themselves from me. That was odd, I thought. Was I perhaps worrying for no reason? Or, is it because some of the Uni students were adults and they were more open-minded? Whilst I opened up to my fellow classmates and gradually started to be myself, I still kept my guard up.

  1. FINAL PERFORMANCE PIECE

It was March and we, the Uni second year students, were discussing what we could do, as individuals, for our “Final Performance” module. I was struggling for ideas myself.

All I could think to do was to do these bunch of comedy sketches that I had written myself. However, I wanted a decent mark and doing these little sketches wouldn’t constitute a high mark. Do I turn these sketches into a lengthy play? It was a concern. Comedy is my forte, I think, since it’s a style of play that I am most relaxed in. Although I was aware that this was my forte and it’s for my final performance piece, I anticipated that it was going to be a disaster. I would probably have been over the top when acting out the sketches and too energetic.

I spoke with my tutor about my concerns. I then spoke with him privately about an idea that I came up with on the spur of the moment. I did have some difficult times at Uni but I did remain mentally strong in most of situations. I appreciated my classmates and everyone I spoke to for making my Uni life easier and happier.

I’m not one for being sentimental so I wanted to thank everyone but cop out at the same time. So, I thought, what if I did a video to say “thankyou” to my classmates and to everyone else who had supported me. I was prepared to open up about all my worries and doubts and how everyone’s support had made my Uni experience much easier.

It was at that moment, Mr Ian said:

“I think it would be amazing if you did an Auto-Biographical Performance of your life with Autism.”

 

…there was a bit of silence. It took me a long time for this suggestion to sink in. An Auto-bio performance? Like an auto-bio book but in play form?

“Like, talk about my life?”

 

I asked, but deep down I knew full well what he meant.

“Absolutely. It has been done before.”

 

It really was a surreal moment. A bunch of things entered my head. It wasn’t that long ago that I revealed to my classmates about my Autism. I was still iffy about revealing more of my Autistic quirks. Could I manage to talk about my past and experiences? Thinking about my past is difficult, let alone talking about it. How would I fair?

Part of me was screaming “go for it!” but there was still doubt in my mind. I decided to ask for family and classmates opinions; somewhat hoping that some of them would oppose the idea. I asked… all of them thought it was a great idea. The votes were unanimous. Haha.

I had to think about this for a week. I did get stress thinking about it. Was this a good idea? In one way, this may be a good chance to get a lot of things off my chest. Then again, was this going to break me? Doing a performance about my life was certainly a lot easier than forcing comedy sketches to be funny.

  1. DECISION

A week went by and I made my decision…. Am I going to do a performance based on my life with Autism?

…yes.

A New Yoga Place

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Peace Tidings.^^/

Ever since my Yogi instructor opened her new studio I’ve been determined to go. I didn’t know when, but I knew I wanted to go. After months of thinking I decided, in an impromptu moment, that I was going to attend her class on the upcoming Wednesday morning. I was kindly informed that the Wednesday morning class did not have many participants. That was more than an ideal class to start in. However, that did mean that I attended by myself rather than with my sister. My sister works full time.

The only place I go to by myself is the hairdressers, and that took me many years to do independently. I became familiar with the hairdressers as I’ve known one of them since my school days. I didn’t know exactly where the yoga studio was and I haven’t known the instructor for very long but my gut instinct was telling me to go alone. My Dad walked me towards the building but I entered it by myself.

I think that was the first time I did something like that without much supervision. Usually it takes me time, like with the hair salon. But here, I just entered the building and found the yoga studio just as I did when I went to the other studio with my sister. I had a rough idea what it looked like since I saw the photos on Facebook. It was a bit of a weird experience in more ways than one. It was the first time that I did Yoga without the company of my sister, but especially weird since I did it on my own. I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I normally would. I did get somewhat anxious before I left  home as that’s what happens every time I go out. But I was ok.

I tried to watch Non Non Biyori before I left as that always makes my mind relax. I couldn’t fully relax but it certainly took the sting out of it before I went out.

Ahem-

I made pleasantries when someone looked my way or someone was talking to me. I was probably a little bit stiff to tell you the truth but not so stiff that I talked like a robot. The session itself was good as well. As it was morning we did Gentle Yoga. We did balance moves so I was expecting for us to do my favourite pose, Warrior Three, but we didn’t. I was slightly gutted about that but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I did learn something from this session… no matter how many times I do yoga poses I can never remember the names of any of them, with the exception of down facing dog and Warrior Three… I know there’s a move called the “Mermaid” but I don’t know what’s supposed to be bent and what isn’t. I will probably never memorise any of them. Haha.

THANKS FOR READING

 Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

I would call this day an achievement. I entered in a building, on the first go, on my own. It took me years to achieve that when I went to the Hair Salon but I did this on the first go. I’m not sure if I can get to the place by myself per se just yet but I know I can enter one by myself. So yes, all is good. =)

Thanks for Reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

Applewood Farm: Half-Term Pub Quiz

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Good Tidings.^^/
I decided the week before that I was going to go to the Pub Quiz and thought no more about it. If I dwelled on it, then it would have become a big issue. And so I didn’t… One week later, Monday morning, I remembered that on that night I was quizzing… I was still going to go regardless.

I went there and became a guest participant in Team Densa. Hoho. All was well, but it only just occurred to me whilst in the pub that it was half-term. That meant that there were plenty of people about, and the whole place was rocking and lively. That’s good because it means that the atmosphere is vibrant and happy, however, it wasn’t so good for me.

I ended up getting a massive headache and felt closed in, and it wasn’t because I hit my head in the car. It did leave a ringing in my ear though…

Ahem-

In one way I can see it as unfortunate because it does feel like I can never enjoy being in a big crowd. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt not being in big crowds as I see it more as a preference. Socialising in big crowds can be a good change of pace from time to time but I wouldn’t like it if it became a regular occurrence. I always do tend to get headaches and a massive head mush when I go out, especially if there were a lot of people around. My headache did get worse as we were sat right next to the speakers. This caused me to miss a lot of cheesy, ahem- I mean hilarious jokes made by my team. I suppose, looking at it like this, I ought to be thankful. Haha.

All in all we came 6th out of 57 teams with 68 points. I was mightily impressed I must say. I got three answers right. “Excalibur” (I’m quite knowledgeable about fantasy and myths) Stranger on the Shore (Famous album) and Baby Jane (my Mum likes all of Rod Stewart’s songs). I did know about the answer to Victoria Secret though but I convinced myself that I was going to be wrong, so I let it go. It’s quite typical, because it was the only time when I didn’t shout out a random answer. Haha.

Despite my uneasiness I did take away some enjoyment from that night…I always do.

THANKS FOR READING

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I whole heartedly believe that we should have a “Thomas the Tank Engine Round”…just because I know I’ll waltz through it all. Haha. Then again…wouldn’t that be unfair to the other teams? Well, I think that’s more of the Quiz Master’s problem, not mine, so I won’t bother give that another thought. Haha. =D

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

The Acting World: Hat-Trick

Football

It’s show blog time!^^/

One of my all-time favourite performances comes in the form of “Hat-Trick”. It’s about an arrogant footballer who looks down his nose at other players and is a big womanizer. He doesn’t realise that other people make fun of him and he fails to realise his own faults, due to his high ego.

INTRODUCTION

The character Mr Hat-Trick actually came from a past college project. With many other characters he was in purgatory and wanted to ascend to heaven. He was a Football player in his past life but died in a Blimp Explosion. I bet you can all guess where I got that idea from. 😉

Ahem-

He actually started off as a romantic family man who cherishes his wife and adores his three children. Then, the tutor gave me an emotion of “sarcasm” and from that point on I developed him into someone who is very lofty and very arrogant. A little bit like Alan Partridge if you will who doesn’t realise that he is the butt of many jokes.

If I remember correctly he ends up being on the “bad” side rather than the “good” side. Haha.

UNI PROJECT IDEA

On this certain performance criteria we had to perform a community project of some sort. Around this time there were controversy involving John Terry and Wayne Bridge and the England squad was announced for the World Cup 2010. An idea immediately came to me. What if I play some football player who attends a press conference and gets asked a bunch of questions?  Random spectators from the audience can ask random questions and I could react in my character. Another idea came to me, what if I recycle a character from a past performance, I.e., Mr Hat-Trick? I love this idea so I decided to go with it.

Technically, this would probably count as a prequel to the college show as he died and resides in purgatory. Haha.

UNI-PROJECT BUILD-UP

I had quite a lot of fun on this project but at the same time I probably took it a little seriously.

As this was going to be a comedy I felt that the spectators could only appreciate it if they saw it once. I decided that it would be best if we had closed rehearsals, thinking that the comedy factor might wear thin if they had to watch it over and over in rehearsals.

I wouldn’t let anyone watch the rehearsals. In insight I believe this was unnecessary on my part. I never thought myself as unapproachable but I do think I might have taken some of the fun out of it. If I were to describe how I felt about it, I would say that I probably made it too precious.

*

I worked on this project with a good friend a mine, let’s call him Mr Rodders. Mr Rodders worked on the technical side. He took several photo shoots of me posing wearing a Chelsea polo shirt and in a smart suit. He also filmed me running around in the park and playing football. I had to imagine that I was playing against the opposition. That was fun. I even got on the bus with him in an impromptu visit to the park. That was good experience for me as I don’t handle impromptu decisions well.

I had a few photoshoots with my fiancée, Mrs Hat-Trick, Jaclyn Delacroix. That was good experience for me too as it’s rare that I have to act lovey-dovey and embrace a lot. Hugs are not my thing so I was asking a lot of myself here.

One of the funniest moments during the build-up would was what I refer to as “the pink shirt moment”. The Character, Pippa, wore a pink shirt with a picture of my face on it and a huge “I” and a heart above my face. I.e., I love Hat-Trick. With assistance from Mum I managed to iron the image on. It turned out that the top was absolutely massive on the actor, and it actually went below her knees! You guessed it, I bought a size far too big. You see, in my head it was “A PINK SHIRT! I MUST GET THAT BEFORE IT SELLS OUT!” Nothing else really went through my mind except the colour “pink”. Haha.

*

I felt that overall, despite being out of my comfort zone a little, I was a good leader and director. Usually I’m not very good at giving orders and when I’m in that position I’m hesitant and unsure. However, if I’m comfortable with the project, I know what I’m doing and I’m good at communicating.

I like to think I managed to accommodate the actors to their needs and I was able to process 5 questions at once… this often happened back when I was at school so it was a useful habit to have. =) The most important thing is that I never panicked and I never once took out my slight nerves on the actors and Mr Rodders. I’ve never been one to take out my frustration on others or humiliate them and I certainly wasn’t going to start then.

Leadership skills are not my strongest asset but I did myself proud. =)

UNI-PROJECT PLAY

The show started with me walking towards the main tech building with a young lady on my arm. The audience were in the foyer and my agent, Chip, played by Mr Rodders, phoned me and asked me where I was. On cue, when I was close enough, he walked outside and made a fuss out of my appearance. Then, he went back in and gathered the audience back in the facility where the “press conference” would take place.

My actual family was in attendance as was a good friend of mine. When I’m playing serious parts I don’t want my family to see me, but when I’m playing light-hearted parts, I like my family in attendance.

Usually, I take my roles seriously and it takes me little time to learn my lines. However, I feel that I’m only natural when I play the parts that I’m comfortable with, I.e., Hat-Trick. When I play parts seriously, I make little mistakes. When I play parts with good fun and they bring the best out of me, I’m prone to many mistakes. And that’s what happened in the actual play… I made plenty of mistakes but for the first time, I didn’t panic. I didn’t get annoyed either. I think it’s because I was calling all the shots and felt that I could get away with a “mistake or two”. ^^/

I loved the performance. I really let go and acted out Mr Hat-Trick. I was a bit of a womanizer and had plenty of banter with some of the actors in the audience. I even cursed a couple of times which I won’t repeat on here. 😉

One of my favourite pieces of dialogue is:

Hat-Trick: Besides, he’s s***

Mr H: Your s***

Hat-Trick: He’s the s****** of the s***

Mr: No, you are S***! You look like s***! You smell like s***! You are S***!

Hat-Trick: No, no, no, mate… I am THE S***. He’s just… S***!

The performance was concluded when Chip embraced me, groped my bum and pushed me out of the “conference” room…. The audience literally laughed their rockers off when that happened. I must admit, I thought it was funny too. I didn’t really know how I didn’t laugh myself.

UNI-PROJECT CONCLUSION

I was very natural. I was familiar with the football world and the sort of thing footballers may get up to. It was a comedy as well, so I could really let go and allow Hat-Trick to take over me for a little while.

My marks didn’t go as high as I could have got since I completely forgot what the original criteria assignment was about. That was to get the “audience” involved and since the actors I “hired” were “planted” it became a regular play rather than an interactive theatre. I didn’t mind this though because I was really proud of what I’ve accomplished and it’s all thanks to the help of Mr Rodders and everyone else who got involved to make it a good play. =)

THANKS FOR READING

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I should mention as well that I did create a Facebook Fanpage for Hat-Trick in order to advertise the show. Looking at this page made me remember how much I enjoyed performing this piece. I’m even laughing right now as I recall some of the funny moments. =)

However, it seems that since then, a few people genuinely believed that I was an actual Chelsea player. In the near future, I’m going to cancel this account to prevent any more confusion. For now though I’m going to share this link so you all can check it out, if you like. =)

Here it is:

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin-Robinson/116259388403366?ref=ts&fref=ts

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed writing it. =)

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.