Learning Not to Fear Differences

Me with red flower in hair

I am slowly learning to be different and enjoy that as well as talk with others who are different from me.

When I am different than others, it scares me.

What do they think of me? Are they judging how I look or who I am? How can I not draw attention to myself?

I have tried to be normal and blend in, but this always fails dramatically. Instead, I must learn to deal with being different and caring for those who are not like me.

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Social Observations From an Aspie: What Makes Guys Uncomfortable 1

Boys in The Yellow Boat

Most of the boys who were in The Yellow Boat with me last spring

As someone with Aspergers, I tend to struggle to read social situations. People chuckle and shake their heads when sarcasm goes over my head and I respond literally to questions asked. At least that means they are enjoying my confusion. In the past (and still sometimes now), people might have scolded me or been exasperated. Now, most just see me as quirky and literal.

The other day, however, a new idea came to me: what if my way of reading people actually was useful or interesting to others? Sure, I am not always perfectly accurate. Yet, my view on social situations is unique. Sometimes I walk into a room and am bogged down by the emotions. Do I understand them? No, but I certainly feel what others are going through at the time. Even when someone says something and I misunderstand it, the situation is fascinating to analyze.

Thus, I am planning to do some posts from now on about how I understand people and social situations. Maybe you will find them helpful, relatable, or simply amusing. Theses posts are meant to give you a little look into my Aspie mind. Please know, however, that I do not speak for everyone with Aspergers or Autism. These are simply musings from my own experiences.

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Advice from Red Carpet

So often, people complain about the media and the way only thin women are shown to be beautiful. However, it is important not to judge celebrities for looking a certain way. They are people as well who are beautiful and insecure about their bodies.

When I found this video, I was touched. These gorgeous women spoke to girls (and guys) in a sensitive, considerate manner. Hopefully, you will also be touched by their words.


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Coping Skills: #75. Getting a Haircut

my headshot with short hair

2007 when I had short hair

Since childhood, I have hated having my hair cut. Just the thought of it causes me to shiver. A woman who lived with my family had hair longer than the bottom of her back. Watching her comb it every day (as well as my love of princesses) inspired a longing to have flowing hair.

However, I allowed myself to sit in one of the dreaded barber chairs this week for my annual trimming of an inch or two. Doing this is a difficult but important coping skill.

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Being Comfortable in Our Own Skin

How many people can admit to being comfortable with their appearance? Oddly enough, those who are sometimes are criticized as being vain or deluded. Why is it that characters in movies and books who are confident in their appearance are Gaston in Beauty and the Beast or the self-consumed mean girl?

This video brought tears to my eyes. The truth of it hit me really hard. As we grow up, we listen to what other people say about our bodies and take those cruel comments as truths. Instead of seeing our bright green eyes, we focus on our freckles. The lumpy shape of our calves blinds us to the dimples on our cheeks. Our rosy blush is seen as awkward instead of charming.

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Ten Things to Say to Someone with Anorexia

Dining room table with the quote "The people who give you their food give you their heart." - Cesar Chavez

“The people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

After my article from yesterday about what not to say to people with anorexia, someone requested that I write on helpful remarks to make to someone who struggles with anorexia. Right away, I loved that idea. So often, we are told what not to do. That is helpful for knowing what not to make mistakes about but leaves us in the dark regarding how to act instead.

Hopefully, this list will be beneficial to those who support people with anorexia nervousa. These are some of the most encouraging comments that I have received as well as things that I wish people would say to me. Also, I would love to hear encouraging stories about kind comments you have heard from others. Affirming that positive is something that we should not forget to do.

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Listaliciousness: Motivational Mirrors, Celebrity Response to Me, and Top 10 Lists

So far, my fall break has not been very relaxing. However, I am hopeful that I can find peace and rest even in the business.

I would love feedback on some of these links. They might be a be a bit controversial, and it would be great to discuss them if you have any thoughts.

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Beauty Looks Different Around the World

Studying in Oxford and seeing museums with figures from around the world opened my eyes to how unique beauty is to each culture. For centuries, ancient peoples saw rounder bodies as gorgeous signs of childbirth and new life. Being as pale as possible used to be ideal to show that one did not work outside but had wealth. Now I have come to realize that others regard my pale skin as gross because one should be tanned.

All of the different ways that people think of beauty is fascinating to me. It is interesting how we feel the pressure of the society that we are in instead of thinking of how our appearance would be seen as lovely in another part of the world or another era. Of course, it would make sense that we would want to be accepted where we are currently residing. However, maybe we should take more time to realize how subjective appearance is and how standards vary everywhere you go.

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Ten Things Not to Say to Someone Who Self-Harms

Self-hate and self-harm

When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves. – Chuck Pahlahniuk

For centuries, people have used self-harm to cope with life or discipline themselves. From religious ascetics to depressed teenagers, SIB (self-injurious behavior) can be found in all cultures and eras. Some societies have embraced it while others criticize it. Currently, most people lack awareness and even empathy for this symptom of mental illness.

I am not going to debate what drives every form of self-harm and the validity behind those motives. There are people who believe one can self-harm for good reasons. However, any form of inflicting pain on oneself (outside of for some extreme purpose) is problematic. Yes, that is very controversial and black-and-white. Yet, I have seldom, if ever, seen an exception to this.

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Recovery in the Media: #53. Frankenstein

Frankenstein

Frightening but powerfully emotional, Frankenstein explores deep themes like nature vs. nurture.

53. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of my favorite novels of all time is Frankenstein. Reading it broke my heart but also made me contemplate deep questions. When you find a book that makes you both think and feel, you have found something special. This book might not address anything explicitly related to mental illness or health. However, anyone studying nature vs. nurture and the effects of our actions would do well to read this book. Thus, I decided to highlight it for Media Monday.

Synopsis: The novel opens with a captain attempting to sail to the South Pole. On the way, he encounters a dying, miserable man named Victor Frankenstein as well as glimpsing a large, horrifying creature. Opening up to the captain, Victor tells his life story, beginning with his fascination with life and its roots. This young man leaves his family (including his beautiful adopted semi-sister Elizabeth) to further his studies. The pinnacle of his achievements is piecing together human remains to make a creature. Once given life, this monster terrifies Victor to the point where he runs back to his family. However, Victor finds that he cannot keep running from his naive-turned-murderous creation.

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