Updated Bucket List

Hot air balloon

The hot air balloon ride that I went on back in September at my church’s festival.

Last June, I blogged my bucket list. For a while, one of my writing ideas was updating this list. So much has happened in the past year. Realizing what I have accomplished and what dreams have been added to my goals is important for me.

Looking back actually made me very inspired and hopeful. I accomplished more than I ever dreamed that I would in the past year and several months. Riding a hot air balloon, going to Oxford, a (short) relationship, returning to theater – it has been a huge year. I look forward to thinking back in 2015 and seeing my progress once again.

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Being “Loved” Not “Liked”

Chinchilla

Sometimes I feel like this little chinchilla – in need of friendship.

“I love you, Anna Rose.”

Someone said that to me today, and memories flooded back to me. For years, people in theater or other places said this. Although the words were kind, something about that phrase always troubled me. Finally I realized. No one said that to other people. It was a way of stating, “You are different and strange. We are not sure what to do about you, but that is not exactly a bad thing.”

Love was something that set me apart from my peers. Everyone else went to haunted houses, but I was too sensitive to be invited. Others joked crudely with others before biting their tongues when I entered the room. Even some of my dearest friends still treat me differently.

I am loved but not always liked.

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The Danger of a Single Story

In class today, a professor showed this video. The speaker and her subject impacted me. How often do we view someone and only see part of their story? When in your life has someone done that to you?

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

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Top Ten Kinds of Smiles

Christine

My friend Christine from Oxford

“Did someone send you a nice text message?” My roommate just inquired. With a little laugh, I shook my head. However, her words stayed with me and made me wonder about smiles.

There are many types of smiles. We all grin, smirk, and beam for different reasons. This is rather confusing to me with Aspergers. I just want to know what is going on in someone’s head. Yet, there is also a beauty in the diversity of smiles.

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Life’s Great Debate: Should I Let Them Know I am Angry?

Fear of Anger

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou

Anger – that emotion elicits more fear in me than almost anything else in the world. Showing it to others terrifies me. Even admitting it to myself is a struggle.

Letting someone know that I am angry – perhaps even furious – with them…that is that most horrifying of all.

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Seeing Someone’s Life Apart From Your Influence

My friends and I in front of the Stonehenge

My friends and I in front of the Stonehenge

I have made a horrible mistake. I judged someone and lead others to as well because of my own hurt and blindness. It took taking myself out of the picture to realize my selfishness.

People with Aspergers struggle to focus on others and not equate things with themselves. That is a constant battle I have faced. Trying to manage that urge to put myself into everything makes me feel like a rotten person. I need to remember that this trait is common in those with Autism and not necessarily wrong by itself. However, we must strive to keep seeing the world through the eyes of others and not blame ourselves for the good and bad.

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Have People Abandoned Me All My Life?

Callie and me

Standing with Callie in Oxford

The first day of school turned out to be much better than yesterday. One of the best parts was running into so many people who I dearly love. To my great joy, they seemed as excited to see me as I was to see them. Days like this remind me why I wanted to move onto campus and be part of this community.

Seeing my friends and having them react so positively made me ponder why we tend to assume people think the worst about us. For me, it seems to be a coping mechanism. If I think others hate me or are at least annoyed by my presence, then it hurts less when they abandon me.

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My Mom is Not a Therapist

Family upon couch
Family upon couch

My family

My mother is an amazing person. She cares for and loves me to the best of her abilities. However she is not perfect. In fact, she is not even my therapist.

Often times, I interact with my family as if they were my medical caregivers. When I self-harm, their confused and angry response terrifies me. Times when I need consoling, they might be warn out and unable to listen. The way my Aspergian brain works still bewilders and annoys them. Thus, I am left longing for therapy from people who (despite their love) do not have the training or energy to give me that.

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Perfect Everywhere Except with Family

saint on building

A saint at Oxford

Growing up, most people had one of two comments after talking with me for a little while – “You are so sweet/perfect/nice/angelic/holy/happy!” or “Did you grow up under a rock?’

Neither one of these comments is completely true or fair. I certainly was not raised under a rock, in a barn, or locked in a tower. Also, I am not perfect. My family can attest to that.

Being thought of as an angel on earth was reassuring at times but also stressful. Suddenly, the pressure to be perfect came not only from myself but also others. Everyone seemed to expect me to do the right thing, keep a smile on my face, and never understand anything crude or kind. Thus, I constantly worked to be innocent, cheerful, and sweet.

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What I Am, What I Am Not, What I Could Be

Ruth and me

My friend and me at her wedding

Today, my mother and I went to the baby shower of my best friend through high school. Since then, we have remained close at heart but taken very different paths. She did two years of mission work, finished college two Mays ago, married last November, and is now pregnant with a little girl. That is miles away from anything that I have experienced.

Going to Oxford proved to myself that I could accomplish great things. Now, I am more confident about my future. Although nothing is easy, the strength to go far and be a bright light is inside of me.

Balancing what I am, what I am not, and what I could be one day is difficult. Sometimes I wish that I was different and had a life more like my friend. Thus, this post is mostly a coping skill for me to practice learning to accept where I am and press forward with hope.

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