My Theory about Autism and Repetitive Movement

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I came up with a little theory about Autism that I wish to share.

Sometimes I get asked “why do you like Thomas?” My answer is usually “I just do.”

It’s a known fact that people with Autism have strong interests in machines or vehicles. We tend to be fascinated with vehicles like trains, cars, tractors, planes and helicopters. In my Mum’s school there are people with Autism who have been intrigued by fans, umbrella, drainage system etc. The question remains, why are we fascinated with things that move?

My personal belief is that we become hypnotised by the repetitive and steady movement of certain objects.

It’s not like being hypnotised by a magician for instance. It’s more like being mesmerised by repetitive movement. You could say it’s similar to someone being engrossed in a good film. However, instead of people with Autism being engrossed by films etc we become fixated with moving objects.

With toy trains, for example, if you put the rails in the circle that train will move around continually. That and trains, in my opinion, are majestic to look at. They are glossy and stylish.

That’s where Thomas the Tank Engine comes in.

You have an interesting vehicle, a train, which has us Autistic people engaged. However, give that train a face, a paint job and a personality that children can relate to and we are officially hypnotised with Thomas the Tank Engine.

I genuinely believed that Thomas could have been real. With cartoons, we couldn’t touch them or see them in person as they were on paper. However, with Thomas, you could actually go to the studio and watch him and physically touch him as he was a model. In that aspect, he felt real.

Not only was I fascinated and hypnotised by a train, I was fascinated and hypnotised by a train who has a human face and a human personality. To this day my enthusiasm for Thomas has never weathered and as I have mentioned many times before I owe him a lot. If it wasn’t for Thomas I’m not even sure I would be able to talk and socialise let alone type this up for a WordPress blog.

What do you think? What’s your opinion? I will be interested to hear your views.

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

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Triage X Episode Six Thoughts

Triage X anime

I can’t help but wonder if the comedy parts were inappropriate in this episode. I do always appreciate comedy moments, especially when they involve Oriha. However, I do think some of them moments did undermine the seriousness of the overall situation. Especially when you consider the fact that many people died and one of Oriha’s good friends, Aya, was shot and killed at point blank range. I’m glad she managed to avenge Aya’s death with the help of Mikoto and Arashi. I’m glad there were comedy moments but it probably would be more appropriate to leave them out of this episode.

That Wild Hunt person has a unique ability when it comes to hearing heartbeats. I’ll refer her as she as she was a lady but spoke with a man’s voice… it seems like she can mimic people’s voices and read their minds as well. I was correct with my guess that she was aware of the Black Label and was certainly aware of Oriha’s presence. Perhaps she wanted to use Oriha as bait to lure the rest of Black Label so she could take them all out.

I’m glad all the idols and the lady in the bunny outfit escaped death. It was somewhat humorous when the rest of the girls called her a ‘Grandma.’ I did enjoy that bit but I still think that too detracted from the seriousness of the situation. In that situation I would have thought that the other girls would be more desperate rather than being annoyed and name calling.

We find out at the end that Wild Hunt and the rest of the evil people were there to actually distract Black Label. This must mean that something bigger and more dangerous is going on.

Oh dear, that ending where it looks like Mikoto gets shot. Fingers crossed that she makes it out.

Thanks for Reading. =)
Sayonara.^^/

Ryan.

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

Triage X Episode Five Thoughts

Triage X anime

This was quite an intense episode. When I read the episode title “Idol Sacrifice” I assumed that something was going to happen to Oriha, but it turns out that it’s more than one idol being sacrificed.

I had some weird vibes from those mascots. From the get go I had a feeling that they were using their costumes as criminal disguises rather than fun props. Then, those disturbing scenes happened when those mascots killed that innocent man. It was a quite upsetting when that pretty girl got shot too.

It turns out that those evil mascot people are somehow connected with Ogawa Makoto and wanted to avenge him. I’m not sure if they know that Black Label is responsible but I get the feeling that they knew that Oriha was on the scene. That means that they probably knew as well that Oriha was going to be at that building in the evening and took the opportunity to try and take her down… maybe. That Wild Hunt dude, the evil leader, said that they’ve already accomplished his plan. What is that plan? Maybe he knew about the existence of Black Label after all and everything he’s doing is his way of sending a message. Or maybe he knew that Oriha was in the building after all and he shot the girl, Aya, as bait to draw her out.

I’m certainly interested to see what Oriha is capable of without her bombs. She managed to hold her own against that white haired man. I think it might have been a bit much of Oriha and Sumire to ask of Haron to do a karate move there and then, especially since she was frightened. I think Oriha will confront Wild Hunt and they will both have a brawl. In the meantime I think the police should now get a parachute so they can catch the idols when they’re forced to jump from the eighteenth floor.

On a side note, it was nice seeing Hinako again. It was great that Arashi took the time to go to Hinako’s restaurant and dine there, although not so great as Mikoto ended up being jealous. Haha.

THANKS FOR READING

Avengers Age of Ultron

I went to watch the last showing of Avengers: Age of Ultron tonight. As it was Election Day I assumed a lot of people would be out casting their votes. Luckily, it was a small crowd. I thought the film was amazing and the action was literally none stop. You will hear my views of the film in a day or two. =)

Thanks for Reading. =)
Sayonara.^^/

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.

The Acting World: Being Natural

acting

It’s show blog time!^^/

I always thought I wanted to be an actor, and I began to pursue the acting road when I was 14. I enjoyed performing at school and started to attend drama classes. Everyone in these drama classes I would refer to as ‘the normal people’. Back then I would refer to people, who didn’t have autism or additional needs like myself as ‘normal’. It was the time when I was very insecure about myself and lacked self-confidence. My confidence grew throughout the years and it skyrocketed in my last year at university.

My main weakness in the acting field, I think, was not being ‘natural’. Some people would often say to me, “it’s good, but try to be more natural,” and “you’re being too OTT.” Sometimes they told me through a joke and sometimes they told me this seriously. For the life of me I didn’t understand their constructive criticism when they told me to be more ‘natural’. What does being natural mean? Why am I being too over the top? In my eyes I was being natural. I knew the characters I had to play and tried to relate their feelings with my own. Yet, because I wasn’t being ‘natural’ I often have lost parts and roles.

I remember this specific task at university where I was asked to narrate. Again, I probably over acted whilst narrating. In my eyes, I needed to act since acting is part of performing. The role of narrating was eventually given to someone else and I was really disappointed by this. Why wasn’t I being natural? Because I thought I was. I just didn’t understand. Of course, it all hit me when I left university.

Basically I was never natural in certain roles due to my lack of experience in society. It’s mostly due to my lack of experience interacting with ‘the normal people’. I couldn’t relate to how ‘normal people’ think. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship, I never argued with anyone, I’ve never been in a fight, I’ve never been drunk, and the list goes on. It’s one thing to witness a dramatic scene on TV but since I never experienced that in real life, I couldn’t relate.

The only thing I could do really was comedy. I could relate to comedy as I enjoy it. I felt that I could make people laugh in a variety of ways. I like to think that I made people laugh without trying as I like to think that comedy is my forte in terms of acting. I enjoy making others laugh, whether it’s impersonating characters, re-acting scenes from comedy shows or performing my own sketches.

However, there was one serious part that I was natural at that wasn’t necessarily a comedy… it was when I starred in my very own auto-biography performance. I basically acted out myself when I was child and when I was growing up. I was just recalling my past experiences. I actually cried a couple of times during this performance and this was the first time that I genuinely cried. I intend to talk more about my auto-bio play at some point as there is a lot I would like to share. What I will say though is that this was probably my best ever performance that wasn’t necessarily a comedy one. It had a few comedy moments in it, albeit, not intentionally.

To date, the auto-biography performance was my last and it was most likely my best ever. =D

WILL I ACT AGAIN?

In all honesty, since my writing epiphany, I have no intention of pursuing acting as a career. That’s not to say I will never act again but I will never audition for a role.

If I were to act again it would have to be on my own terms. I would have to relate to the character strongly and I have to have 100% confidence that I will bring out the best in that character. Although, if you asked me to perform a Rowan Atkinson sketch then I would accept it in a heartbeat. Haha. The same applies to a superhero character… perhaps Iron Man. Wink, wink. 😉 I’m definitely not ruling out doing my auto-bio play again. I have better ideas on how to improve on it if I were to perform it again.

I understand from a ‘normal’ person’s point of view now and I’m pretty sure that if I re-visited all my past plays I would be able to do better in my roles. However, if you gave me a time machine and gave me that as an option, I wouldn’t do it. Learning is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it can take someone years to learn something, especially me. It might be ironic that I learnt what it means to be ‘natural’ when I’ve stopped pursuing acting, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. What’s meant to be is meant to be.

I do fancy the voice acting work though. I understand how to use my voice naturally… I just need to speak as myself. I don’t know how I want to pursue this but I’m currently practicing by reading books of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and sharing them with people who enjoy listening to my style of narrating. =) I haven’t thought about it as a career or as a volunteering option but I’m enjoying it as a hobby. =D

THANKS FOR READING

Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

It’s been a slow and steady progress but I think that being in the acting field was the perfect direction to boost my confidence. Not only that but it gave me the opportunity to make friends with the right people. =D

And I just thought I mention that I no longer refer to ‘normal people’ as ‘normal people’ as I see them just like me, but with their own needs as an individual. I have used the term ‘normal people’ to explain things better. =)

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.