The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part One)

cropped-ryans-world-border-2.jpg

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.

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WWE Raw and Liverpool Experience

Raw in Liverpool

Winter Greetings.^^/

  1. Post-London, Pre-Raw

A lot has happened in November, especially around the time when I went to London. I found that even though I came back home, I still couldn’t really relax my mind. It seemed that everything was happening at once and I was dealing with lots of things at the same time. If it’s one thing, I usually find a way to work with it. However, too many things give me a head mush. At that point it did feel like my head was about to explode.

To cut a long story short, I had to make a decision whether I wanted to go to a surprise birthday gathering and to WWE Monday Night Raw with a few of my peeps. For the life of me I could not decide what I wanted to do. I enjoy celebrating the happiness of other people but I decided to reject the party invitation in the end. There would be lots of people there that I did not know. I didn’t fancy it in the end and decided not to go.

*

I haven’t watched Raw in weeks. I sort of lost interest in WWE since Daniel Bryan and Bad News Barrett became absent. Did I really want to go to this live event when I wasn’t feeling very well? Not just any event, but an event that I’m not really that into at the moment. I literally decided to go in the last minute, an hour before I was being picked up.

It was at that point when I started to rush around. I had a shower, washed my hair, picked out my clothes and had dinner. I got it in my head as well that we were eating out, but I received a text explaining that we weren’t…oh my. So, with quick thinking, I had jacket potato with melted cheese. I fancied doing beans but as I was on my own I didn’t want to risk doing anything to myself. It’s one thing to harm myself if my parents were around, but if I’m on my home and cooking, that could spell trouble…

I tried to relax, but I couldn’t fully relax. I felt sick, dizzy, had a poorly chest and was eating a luke warm jacket spud. Haha…you’ve got to laugh in those situations. =) I decided to go to Raw as I already paid for my ticket, and, it could be interesting.

  1. Liverpool

The other reason I didn’t want to travel to Raw is because it was in Liverpool. Travelling to this city appears to be a bad omen to me. Throughout my life, every time I go to Liverpool, something goes wrong. It’s not that I dislike Liverpool it’s just that Liverpool dislikes me. XD

  1. I was going to college (which borders Liverpool) but went to the completely wrong campus! I think the driver was taking me to the technology campus. So, I was an hour and a half late for my first college class…. Later on, it was established that I was in the wrong class. Then, it was established that I was actually in on the wrong day. So yeah… I won’t forget about that day in a hurry!
  2. My Dad was taking me to Liverpool, since he used to be the kit man for a none-league side, when we broke down… the policeman helped us, but he came up to me and said ‘this is all your fault!’ It took us a full day to travel back home.
  3. I went to Liverpool to support the Foundation Degree students by watching one of their theatrical productions. However, we got completely lost and had to turn back. We asked for directions but none of the locals knew where the performance location was… silly people.
  4. I was going to perform as the violinist at the Maritime Museum and we were going to take the train, but…the train was cancelled so we had to walk in the scorching heat, take 4 buses, one underground train, and we made it with 15 minutes to spare. We only had time for one full rehearsal.
  5. We went to the theatre to watch Jonathan Pryce in a Harold Pinter production, but the show was cancelled because he was ill…

I really hoped that this trip to WWE would break my trend. I’m sure some day Liverpool and I can settle a truce and drink a J2O like old buddies. =) …that night wasn’t going to be one of those days though, as an incident occurred. It’s a recurring joke that I bring bad luck to Liverpool, but what happened was not a funny matter.

There was a car crash on the motorway involving four cars, which in turn made the roads very busy. I felt instantly bad. I thought “they had a crash because I came to Liverpool.” Thinking rationally now, that’s not really the case. Accidents happen all the time, especially when drivers get impatient on the road. Regardless of everything, I pray that they are all safe and recovering at the speed of light.^^/

  1. WWE Monday Night Raw

We just made it with five minutes to spare. It was an absolute rush. I don’t handle travelling very well, I tend to get sick. I felt unwell to begin with, but the long journey didn’t really settle me. It unsettled me more when we had to rush to our seats, and that took a while too. A gent actually hijacked one of our seats so we had to ask him to move.

The show started pretty quickly. Well, actually, it began with WWE Superstars. Then, it went to WWE Raw. All the while I was still battling with my emotions and tried to focus on the show. The trick I used was taking photos and video clips for my Uncle. I sat on an end isle seat as I could escape whenever I want. However, the Echo arena was a very big arena and I didn’t really fancy getting lost in that building. Haha.

The biggest chants were “Where’s our network?” Apparently, this does not bode well with the WWE officials. When Raw was on TV, they edited this out as best as they could. Other bigger chants were Miz and Mizdown, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Sheamus and the crowd.

The crowd were bantering with each other. If the match bored them then they would find a way to entertain themselves. One guy held up a sign but he had that confiscated by a security gent and everyone chanted “you sold out!” The biggest boos were directed at another security guard. The bottom crowd were playing around with a beach ball during the Sheamus and Rusev match. He got heavily boo’d when he confiscated the beach ball, probably more than Cena. They chanted “you suck!”

The intro was funny, when everyone chanted “John Cena sucks” that went along with his entrance song. The UK really does have a good crowd.^^/

I didn’t join in with any of the banter as my head was really bad and I felt unwell. The sheer noise was not very pleasant, and it did detract from the Raw show somewhat.

Paige got a few standing ovations. I know I stood up and clapped, and I even went down a few steps so I could snap a good picture of her. =) I liked how Lilian Garcia sang our national anthem, it was sweet and touching. Some of the top tier crowd were booing though and chanting about the network. I thought that was disrespectful and in bad taste, but I just ignored them and listened to the anthem.

I also liked the Sting promo and Triple H making an appearance. I kept on anticipating Bad News Barrett making a sudden appearance though, and was gutted when he didn’t.

When the show finished we all darted out asap. I thought the show was ok but I was certainly glad when it was over. I would say that I’ve enjoyed last year’s Raw more, this year I somewhat lost interest in WWE and I was going through a lot this time around. I am focusing on what I enjoyed about the show though, rather than recalling what went through my mind at that moment. I know I’m talking all about it now, but I’m feeling much better and more open to talk about it. =)

  1. Going home

I was asked if I wanted to take a detour to McDonalds on the way home. I declined. It didn’t matter whether I was hungry or not, I just wanted to go home. When I got home my Dad bought me and my Mum McDonalds. I was pleasantly surprised as I didn’t know that there were any McDonalds that were open 24/7.

I’m not a fast food lover, but sometimes fast food is better than no food. 😉

THANKS FOR READING

I was spotted on TV courtesy of a close friend. It’s a blur, but my T-Shirt has made it on TV. I was spotted during Paige’s entrance. Haha. Fame at last. =D Here is the picture.^^/

Me on TV

I wasn’t going to upload this blog until I give account of the 1st Year Anniversary blog, which I plan to post on the 16th November. I’m still recovering from a very busy couple of days. However, my gut instinct told me to upload this blog right now instead of waiting.

With all that is said and done, I can finally relax. I have nothing pressing to focus on. It’s always important to remember to focus on the positive points. It can be hard at times when your head is in a mush, but it’s not impossible. And I like to think that I’m capable of doing that, even when I’m not in the best state of mind.

I endure a lot inside with my Autistic quirks but I always mask my face and feelings with a smile. =)

See you all for now.

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

London Trip Part Three: The Final Fantasy Concert

Distant Worlds logo

  1. Fun Fact

Believe it or not I actually had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall many years ago. There is this talented group called WatchThisSpace, ages 14-21, and they do a lot experiment with dance movements. They were going to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010 and they held auditions to be part of that group.

A friend at Uni suggested that I should audition since I’m quite dandy with my Ballroom. I declined, for many reasons. Why? That’s for another blog. 😉

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini Ramble

This was such a surreal experience.

I had a rough idea of what the Royal Albert Hall would be like, but I never appreciated how big it truly is until I went inside… it’s seriously massive. I actually think it’s bigger than my local arena. I was sitting on the top tier, right near the fire exit. It’s no secret that I get apprehensive in massive crowds, but I felt reassured that I was near the fire exit. If it got too much for me I would just dart off.

Before the start of the performance a kind looking gentleman took to the stage and bowed. The crowd literally erupted in a chorus of cheers. I thought to myself, “He must be important.” But then Mr Conductor, Arnie Roth, announced that that man was actually Nobuo Uematsu. He has composed 90% of the songs from the Final Fantasy games. And, apparently, it’s rare for him to make an appearance but being in the Royal Albert Hall was a must for him. Can’t say that I blame him, it is a beautiful building. =)

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini-Review

What I liked especially about this concert was how Mr Conductor rambled briefly about each song and shared with us the facts about his orchestra. This was their 98th tour and 3rd in the Royal Albert Hall. He was a friendly man. He was the sort of dude that commanded respect without even trying. I’d love to have a drink of J2O with him one day. =) I believe the 99th tour will be somewhere in Europe.

I liked the fact as well that the Royal Albert Hall has the second largest organ in Europe… I can see why. The building was tall, but the organ pipes were massive. They were even taller than the top tier seats. The building was big but the organ pipes literally vibrated the entire arena.

They premiered quite a few songs that night. Two of them were based on the Final Fantasy 9 game. I liked all the instrumental music that was played that evening but I think the most significant instrument was the organ. Mr French came on (I didn’t catch his name) and played the guitar. He was good. Then Mrs Kelly came on (I didn’t catch her name) and sang a beautiful ballad for the Final Fantasy 14 online music.

I can’t really say I had any particular standout favourites since they were all as equally as good, but, I did appreciate certain songs that I’m more familiar with. Like the theme songs from Final Fantasy 7 and 9, especially the Rose of May. The Chocobo song at the end was a nice touch. =)

It was good as well that they had a screen. Whilst listening to the music we could watch the video that was being played that went with it. FF6 looks like it’s a humorous game, judging by what I saw. However, I did get confused when that joker clown like character fought against the pretty brunette lady and won. It looked as though the villain beat the hero… I think? I think it’s on that PSP Vita. I still enjoyed watching the screen though. I think it’s good that the orchestra made that available for us, the audience. =)

The most significant moment, without a shadow of a doubt, is Nobuo. I read in the programme that the man himself hoped to perform live on stage at some point. And… he did just that. Apparently, Arnie suggested that idea to Nobuo and he said that he will play the keyboard if Arnie plays the violin. And Mr Conductor played the violin. Hoho.

That was the first ever time that Nobuo Uematsu has performed on stage, and I was there to see it. It truly was a memorable moment. 🙂

*

It was good experience. I did cringe and clench my teeth a lot when the audience clapped, cheered, stood up and erupted. I was able to enjoy the orchestra just about enough since some of the instruments were soothing and they were playing the songs that I liked.

But, I didn’t like the huge noise from the crowd. It made my head swirl and chest feel unpleasant. On two occasions I had to go out to get away from the crowd, and when I thought rationally enough I went back in. I actually missed the start of the second half of the performance. I did feel worse after that. The duration of the performance was nearing three hours and near the end I actually wanted it to finish so I could go back to the hotel.

I did enjoy the orchestra. For some reason there seems to be a difference to listening to the music rather than listening to someone sing. In a way, this was the best way for me to debut a concert. Haha. It was good experience. In truth I would say that my brother appreciated the overall experience a lot more than me. He is a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. =)

If I were to rate this, I would say…

Two Thumb’s-Up. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

  1. Overnight

I went back to the hotel asap with my brother, had a nice long shower and watched Match of the Day in my room. I put on BBC1 before I left for the concert. With assistance from my Brother I managed to work the TV. That way, when I came back I could watch the TV from the get go to be organised. I think that was quite wise on my part, if I do say so myself. =)

*

I cut down on my football time since I tried to get some sleep…

I was tired but my body didn’t really want me to sleep. My body became aware that this wasn’t my room and I wasn’t sleeping on my bed. The cushions were comfy though. Since I couldn’t really sleep I decided to read some manga. I read Monster Musume, D-Frag and See Me After Class. I even listened to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack on my ipod.

I felt very relaxed. This was the only time I could relax on this trip. Being organised in London was certainly exhausting and then I had to try and force myself to sleep. After relaxing, I gradually fell asleep. I didn’t get much sleep though.

I woke up very early. We set contingency plans to ensure that me and my brother get up at 8. I woke up at 7 O’clock. Before getting ready I decided to have a bru. I put on the kettle… I suddenly remembered that the plug didn’t work so I went to press the button to stop when I actually burned my finger. XD It was morning and I had long forgotten that the kettle was not working properly. Haha. Wait, that’s not funny… anyway, I spent five minutes running my burned finger under the cold tap…

*

We got the train, first class, and went home. I thought a couple kept on looking at me and they would often turn away if they caught my eye. I kept on building myself up to smile every single time we catch eye contact, alas… it never happened. Not to worry though.

I came home, and spent literally the entire day just chilling on the couch without saying a word. I didn’t want to talk. I was just extremely pleased that things were back to normal. It took a while for me to sink in the information though…

  1. Overall Experience

It was good. It was most definitely one of my most significant moments. Going and sleeping London felt so far way, yet, it was here and gone. It really is amazing how time flies, especially when you’re having fun. =)

Pre-anxiety always dominates my mind whenever I’m going into the unknown. Sometimes I will deal with my state of mind just fine, other times, it becomes hard to endure. I just have to go with my gut instinct.

London wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite the opposite, in fact. I felt constantly safe, a little iffy around the roads, but I was able to retire to my room for peace and quiet from time to time. And because I was constantly busy, I wasn’t as anxious. I distracted myself and times. It felt like I got used to my room quickly, and for a brief moment I thought I was playing the role of Alan Partridge. XD

A friend summed it up perfectly. “Focus on the parts you enjoyed about London, instead of remembering how you felt.” I knew this philosophy but he’s absolutely bob on with his words. =) And it’s the thing of, just because I feel sick, apprehensive, dizzy and so on, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take away the positives from this journey. Or anything really that is outside my comfort zone. I went to London to enjoy myself, not to pay attention to my nerves. =) It was a struggle at times but I coped and I was never in danger of losing my mind. Haha.

With that in mind, it actually made me appreciate my own life even more.

I have the luxury of a house, my own room, a space to play games, hang out with people, watch movies, write stories, watch anime, watch Thomas, read manga, and all sorts. I didn’t have that much freedom when I was away but I have the freedom at home. I already knew this, of course, but it still makes me appreciate my life even more, and I will continue to cherish it. =)

*

The biggest question remains… will I do this again?

Well… I’m split. Before this trip I might have said “I will never 100% do this again.” But now I have experienced it… I can safely say that I will not rule out this kind of outing again. On the other hand though, I’m not in a rush to do this again. I mean, I’m in no rush to go to London any time soon. If the concert was to be played in the nearest area then I think there’s a strong possibility that I would go again. It all depends how I feel at that time though. =)

It’s just as I mentioned in the wedding blog many months ago. Just because I did something once, doesn’t mean I would find it easy to do it again. It just means that I’m more capable then I thought myself to be. It’s all about endurance and concentrating on the positives. So far, I’m doing myself proud.^^/

THANKS FOR READING

That’s it for my London blogs. I wonder what’s in store for me next.

Nearly one year ago, 16th November, I opened up a WordPress blog account. I plan to post a blog on that very day to summarise my year of blogging. I hope you will drop by and have a read. =)

See you all for now.

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

London Trip Part One: The Preparation

Virgin Train

London baby!

Ahem…This was a very significant moment in my life and I can’t convey all of my thoughts into one blog post. I chose to divide this London Trip into three parts. =) Here’s the first…

  1. The Introduction

About a year ago my brother asked me if I wanted to go to watch the Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds concert. He explained that this is a rare occasion for the tour to come to England. I looked on the site and saw that the orchestra band last came to England in 2012. I thought, ‘two years ago? That’s not so rare if it happened recently.’ Haha.

Tickets went on sale so really I had to make a prompt decision. My mind was very muddled at that point. I felt huge pressure on my shoulders and I kept thinking about the circumstances rather than the concert itself. In the end I more or less said no as my mind went blank and I’m not very talented with prompt decision making.

Afterwards my brother unveiled the fact that he actually bought all three tickets for me, himself and our friend, Cheese. It was a good job that he did as the tickets for the concert sold out in less than two hours! In truth, I did feel more pressure when my brother bought the tickets, but in hindsight, that was actually a smart move. To my understanding, it’s a record sell out. 🙂

I more or less said that I will think about whether I want to come or not, since going to the concert was not going to happen overnight. If I was unhappy with this then all I had to do was sell the ticket and refund my brother…

*

Along the way Cheese dropped out, so that would mean my Brother going by himself. At that point I started to think more about him then myself. He would have been fine on his own by all means but it’s not really the same when there’s no one to share the fun with. Plus, I probably appreciate the Final Fantasy series more than everyone else in our circle of friends. However, my brother appreciates the music a lot more than me.

I decided at that moment that I was going to the concert. Yes, it was a musical orchestra. Yes, it was a concert. Yes, it was at the Royal Albert Hall. Yes, it was in London. Yes, there will be a lot of people there. However, instead of brooding all of that in the present time, I would deal with those issues and worries when the time came.

  1. The Anticipation

I was generally relaxed about the trip at first. I arranged the tickets for Virgin Trains and booked reserved rooms for the Queen’s Gate hotel.

I must be honest when I say that I was very reluctant to stay in a hotel. In an ideal world we would watch the concert and go straight home via trains. That wasn’t really feasible though and so it was more necessary to stay in the hotel overnight. I really didn’t like this but I of course understood that travelling back would be more hassle then its worth. With much reluctance I booked two rooms at the hotel. My brother allowed me to make all the arrangements and I did with assistance from my Mum.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but I lose a lot of sleep every time I spend a night at my brother’s. I’m very aware in those moments that my bed was not around. Sleeping at someone else’s house has always proved difficult. How am I going to handle the experience in a hotel?

*

In some ways I think I tried to avoid the topic about London as much as I could. I was in the frame of mind that I need to handle situation in the given moment, as oppose to thinking about it and talking about it needlessly.

I think my other folks and sister were more excited about the London trip than I was. When my sister asked if I was looking forward to Saturday, I asked, ‘yoga?’ Deep down, I knew she meant London, but I was really determined to not think about it. If I think about it, I worry. After she clarified what she meant I said, ‘I’m not thinking about it,’ and the topic ended.

Everyone was very encouraging though. My mum was especially encouraging. She was actually born and raised in London, so she knew London like the back of her head. She reassured that I will be fine. I felt reassured that I was going to be safe but it still didn’t change the fact that I was going into the complete unknown.

*

It dawned on me two days before that I was going to go to London… In that time I was busy trying to get my travel kit sorted and fixing my costume for the Halloween party. All the little niggles and quirks that I would laugh off or ignore became important issues. I had a lot on my mind so I ended up getting headaches, pent-up anxiety and I lost a lot of sleep.

Ideally, I would have liked to have an evening all to myself so I could prepare myself mentally. However, the day before we went to London I went to my Brother’s Halloween party. I was aware that there were new people coming so I started to get nervous about that. I found that my anxiety about the London Trip mostly overshadowed my anxiety of meeting new people at the party.

My head was not in a pleasant state because I did not have many opportunities to relax and unwind. I felt rushed and in the need of hurrying up. I don’t like running, rushing or anything at a fast pace. I always prefer to take my time, so bustling about and getting things ready did not help matters.

I did have an hour here and there and I spent that time re-watching particular anime. I also listened to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack since it’s pleasant on my ears. When I was relaxed and happy I was able to think positive. I might have felt ill and had a wave of headaches but that doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom. =)

I left the Halloween party early so I could prepare myself for the next day. I watched anime and settled for bed. I was still a little anxious but I felt happy…

  1. Arriving at the Train Station

I woke up at seven O’clock sharp and straightaway I found myself that I was able to wake up and get up with ease. I opened the window, saw a tree and thought ‘that would make a good picture!’ So I went outside and took a picture of it. It was beautiful. =D

Ahem-

I re-checked my bag, got dressed into my outfit, and re-watched anime before I left my house.

*

My Dad picked up my brother and dropped us off at the train station.

It was certainly a massive place. We found that we had a lot of time to spare because we arrived an hour early. We decided to grab a drink to quench our thirst. We went into Starbucks and I grabbed a lovely creamy hot chocolate. =D

Coincidentally, there was a massive chalkboard which said “AUTISM”. Around that word were different words that were generalised symptoms of Autism. Apparently, that was Starbucks’ charity of the month. In some ways, it makes you wonder if this was a sign. I certainly feel that it could have been, even if it is just a coincidence.

*

We found our train! I asked my brother to take a photo of me beside the train. I posed and he took the photo. I walked towards him, turned around to find that the train was just departing… I was posing next to the wrong train. Whoops. We eventually found the right train and scrambled aboard. We were right at the very back. 😉

  1. The Train Journey

I felt slightly under the weather to tell you the truth as I had a headache and felt jaded due to lack of sleep. The pendolino train, being rickety on the lines, sort of amplified my mental state. After that I felt very sick and very nauseous. Haha. For some reason I was expecting it to be smooth like an Aeroplane (I took part in Child Flight back in the 1990’s but that’s another story) and be a lot smoother. How wrong I was. XD

As I was on this train journey I figured I would use this time to write the Halloween blog as well as start my reviews on Non Non Biyori and Locodol. However, writing these reviews amplified my mental state by ten folds! XD

Despite feeling ill I chose to think positive. I had a lot of good banter with my brother. On the odd occasion I would look out of the window and at the beautiful scenery that were flashing by. We even played noughts and crosses for a little while and had a right good laugh about it. Haha.

The train ride, in truth, was enjoyable to some extent. It sort of felt no different than a normal modern train. We were just travelling farther away and a lot faster. I think because me and my brother were passing the time and enjoying ourselves it just seemed that the train journey ended a lot quicker then we’d expect it. Needless to say we both nearly fainted when we left the carriages. Haha.

The train came to a gradual stop and finally we have arrived at London Euston train station. =)

And- but I mustn’t tell you anymore, I’ll save that for part two. 😉

Thanks for Reading,

Stay tuned.^^/

Ryan.

Insecurities

Happy

Autumn Tidings!^^/

 

  1. Insecurities

Some of us have personal insecurities that others know nothing about, some more than others. Insecurities tend to arise through lack of confidence or through a bad experience. For me, I suffered with insecurities when I was younger.

My past insecurities were centred on Autism and to some degree I still have these insecurities. I never really communicated with anyone or spoke with anyone until I was about ten years old. I felt comfortable enough to try and speak but I never felt comfortable in social situations. I started to grow my own personality and sense of self when at home. But, for many years, especially in my college years, I left my personality, quirks and everything I represent at home. When I walked out of the front door, I felt very insecure and anxious.

I was fairly ok at my school. I attended there for 13 years and I grew accustom to it. It was quite a culture shock when I left school and attended college on a full time basis. Back at that SEN school there was an average of 30 students per year. In my last year, there were even less than that. Suddenly, I went to a facility from 30 students to 30,000 students… quite a significant difference, especially for someone like me.

I can’t express how quiet I was, I severely lacked confidence. For many college years I was very quiet and subdued as I was overwhelmed by the amount of people, big place and different atmosphere. Back at my old school I was somewhat confident and could somewhat be myself. In my college days I completely held my personality back, leaving it all at home.

I didn’t know how to represent myself to everyone else. I was often judged for being quirky during various activities during school and outside of school. So, I figured the same thing would happen in my college years. So, to avoid being judged, I kept quiet. If I didn’t do anything bad or say anything memorable then I won’t develop an unnecessary reputation or leave an impression. Because of my conflicting thoughts I never truly enjoyed my college years and at times felt lonely. I felt lonely in other social situations too. All because I was scared of others judging me for being the way I am.

I often mention in my blogs that Autism is the root of my insecurities and it still plays a part today. Back in my younger years I felt very vulnerable and hopeless. I’m happy talking to other people like me, but, if I go to an Autistic environment I get a rush of anxiety. I don’t hate myself for being Autistic, far from it, it’s just that when I go to an Autistic environment my body and subconscious remembers what I was like back then. In those situations I remember feeling vulnerable, feeling worthless and feeling as though I have no voice or a right to make my own decision. It’s unfortunate that I have these insecurities, but, they’re not as bad as they were in the past. It’s just an intermittent occurrence.^^

 

  1. Body Image

Body image has never really been an issue for me. When I was younger I started to grow hairy legs. Every time I did P.E. all the girls would laugh at them. As I result I became embarrassed and self-conscious. It was only until I got to college that I realised that having hairy legs is not uncommon for a man, so, accepting that part of me was not a problem. One of the children I once knew used to call me a monkey as a result of having hairy legs… that was funny and I had no problem accepting that whimsical nickname. XD

I would say that I’m more health conscious rather than looks/weight conscious. All food is healthy if you eat it in a balanced manner. I actually go out of my own way to ensure that I have chocolate and biscuits at least two or three times a week… life is good. =D

 

  1. The Way I am

My issue is all about me expressing myself and being myself in social situations. It’s only these last couple of years that I could leave the house without leaving my sense of self behind. I’m in a really good frame of mind and in good health. I like the way I look as well, if I wasn’t happy with how I look, then, I would have overhauled my entire appearance. Haha.

I feel that my life is the work of fate. There’s a reason why I grew up this way. There’s a reason why I look the way I do. There’s a reason why I experienced what I have experienced. And there must be a reason as to why I was born Autistic… I feel quite special (no reference intended) for being the way I am. I feel like being Autistic was thrust upon me since birth, just like how a title is thrust upon the future King or Queen of England. =)

 

  1. Parting Wisdom

In the last yoga session the yogi instructor finished the session with a wonderful valediction (yes, that is a word, I didn’t make it up…honest!). She said that we all have the capabilities of changing the world but we shouldn’t get caught up in the troubles of the world. Don’t let the world influence you, you influence the world! I rather like that sentiment and I will try and steal those words and say them to someone. Muahahaha.

 

THANKS FOR READING

Well, that was fun. Oh, by the way, I watched classic movies recently like High Society and Dances with Wolves, they’re fun to watch. I’m also spending the time re-watching Non Non Biyori and Locodol. I’m attempting small fanmade comics of them for my own use. I’m enjoying them very much. =D

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

Thomas the Tank Engine TV Anniversary

Thomas and Gordon 1

Peep, Peep Tidings!

 

Today we are all celebrating. On this very day, 30 years ago, Thomas the Tank Engine first aired on television, produced by the good company of Britt Allcroft. =D

 

HOW THOMAS HELPED ME

Thomas is very precious to me, as he is too many others. One of my earliest childhood memories was Thomas. It was a basic play-set with Thomas and his two coaches, The Fat Controller, Percy, Bertie and a couple of troublesome trucks.

 

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I have made many links between my Autism and Thomas. I can’t express enough how instrumental Thomas was in my younger years. He helped me in many ways unimaginable. I was trapped in my own bubble and I never interacted with anyone or uttered a single word. Being young was difficult. The only time I would utter a sound is when the music started to play and I would scream very loudly. I would relieve this horrible tension in my head by banging it against the wall. Haha.

 

Some people started to talk to me through Thomas and made references through Thomas, to gain my attention. I can’t explain why I liked Thomas; I guess I felt that he was real. In cartoons you know it’s animated, but, I knew deep down that Thomas was a model. So, it felt like, I could just go down to the studio and see his model up close. I would be able to touch him. From my point of view, Thomas was an actor but playing the role of himself. Haha.

 

Till this day I still watch the first series of Thomas the Tank Engine, it was only yesterday when I actually watched Thomas Comes to Breakfast.

 

Through the world of Thomas, I started to open up my bubble and, even though it took time, started to open many paths that I would never have thought were possible. I started to share my toys with my brother, since we shared a common interest in Thomas. When I first listened to the songs of Thomas, like the Island Song, I started to listen to other songs. I disliked music at that time, but, I found that music wasn’t so bad because Thomas had music too. I also started to read, because Thomas had books. I like all different versions of Thomas and I especially like the Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry

 

Most importantly, it helped me to relax. When I was anxious I was unable to find a cure, so I was in a constant upset state. But, as soon as I learnt the existence of Thomas, I found a source of happiness. It cheered me up every time I was upset or anxious. There have been other attributes to what made me gradually come out of my shell.  However, this blog is dedicated to Thomas so everything else at this moment is irrelevant. =)

 

NOWADAYS

Thomas has now entered into the CGI stage… I can’t really say that I’m happy about this. I’m not questioning its change; it’s just that I prefer the model stage since it is what I’ve grown up with. I still collect the annuals, dvds and blu-rays. =) I started to narrate the classic Thomas stories and send those clips to my Uncle, who enjoys my narration a lot. I’m hoping to sometime in the future to send some of my recordings to hospitals etc as it helped me so much I know it could help lots of other children. =) I also started writing my own short stories about Thomas and his friends, and I’m having a lot of fun with that.

 

Nowadays I can go out and socialise more confidently then I could when I was younger. I went to College, went to University and got a 2:1 degree in performing arts, which I’m very proud of. =) I can even tolerate loud noise and music for a short period of time. Having Autism is not easy, but, I feel that the gateway of me coming out of my bubble is the result of Thomas being on TV. If it weren’t for Thomas who knows how my life would have turned out.

 

I’m not the sentimental kind but I would to take this opportunity to thank Britt Company and everyone involved for bringing Thomas to our screens. It helped me immensely as I’m sure it helped everyone else. Not just thanks for helping, but, for bringing happiness into our lives. I for one am truly grateful. =)

 

THANKS FOR READING

Thomas and Gordon 2

It’s weird to think that Thomas has been airing for 30 years. It’s always been a dream of mine to get involved with the creative side of Thomas. Mainly writing and narrating. My main dream now is to be an author, but that’s another story! 😉

 

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan