“You Have a Way with People.”

Drinking butterbeer

Here I am enjoying my first butterbeer.

My roommate said this amazing phrase the other day: “You have a way with people.”

“Yeah, a way of making them annoyed,” I wanted to quip. However, the negative remarks just stayed in my head as I smiled in thanks.

Her response had to do with a story I had told her about my day. Earlier that afternoon, I went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios for the first time. Stepping into Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade was truly a magical experience.

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“You Have Gotten So Good with People!”

Daniela and me

With my friend Daniela

The other day when I was grouping people onto the carousal – AKA herding them into a small space to count how many people will be on the next ride – which is a job that terrifies me because I need to tell guests to do something they hate doing, a fellow cast member and great friend named Amanda said one of the sweetest things ever.

“You have gotten so good with people!” She beamed. “I feel like a proud mother.”

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Am I Good with People?

With my lovely friends Daniela and Claudia at training

With my lovely friends Daniela and Claudia at training

“I admire how you so easily talk with people and make friends.”

I was astonished by my roommate’s words. Is that true? Never in my life have I thought of myself as someone who attracted people or made friends easily. If anything, others saw me as a replaceable friend – good for when no one else was around but pushed aside when someone better came along the way.

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Coping Skills: #81. Take Time to Change Your Mind

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change. - Thomas Hardy

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
– Thomas Hardy

“I’m sorry, but you have to put on your shoes here, sweetie.”

The request from the woman at my school was simple enough. However, the fact that she touched me on the shoulder unexpectedly while I was speaking to a friend and standing so near while looking straight into my eyes upset me. Silly, I know. Yet, my automatic response was panic. Instead of staying like a rational adult and just putting on my shoes, I stormed away in search of a safe place to hide in shame.

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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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How Do You Respond to That?

Looking in the Mirror

How do you respond to certain comments especially when they make you question your worth?

Preparing for my audition for being a Disney character or performing tomorrow has been very stressful. Although excited, I am terrified. After all, the other girls will be thinner, prettier, more talented, and sweeter than me. That keeps repeating in my head.

Hearing the responses of my friends and family to this big event has been both helpful and disheartening.  Most people have given me great encouragement. Others promise to pray or think about me. Even my coworkers warnings about safety or horror stories all come out of a place of being helpful.

Still, I do not want to get my hopes to high. After all, this program will be amazing even if I am not a character. Sure, that is part of my dream, but I will love working attractions too. There is not a loss just because I am not cast as a princess. That is what I keep trying to remember.

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Why Are People So Blind to Others?

Who Will Love Me

The biggest disease this day and age is that of people feeling unloved. – Princess Diana

So many people are struggling in the world. Just think of a five people (coworkers, friends, family, etc). Then think about what they are dealing with right now. You will probably notice that most are dealing with something difficult. Those who are not currently will in the future or did in the past; either that or you do not know about their current difficulties.

If that is the case, why are people so blind to others? How come instead of reaching out to each other, we draw back in fear? Why are others so closed to seeing the pain of those around them?

Lately, this has bothered me a great deal. Whether I am congratulating others for getting into a show and they fail to ask about me, nearly in tears over confusion with my faith, or working while others chatter with friends, I constantly feel alone. When no one reaches out to me, anger boils up inside as bitterness towards the whole human race increases.

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Coping Skills: #78. Give a Valentine

Flower heart

A flower heart that I left on the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien

Happy Valentine’s Day! For some people, this day is a special event that is planned for months ahead of time and greatly enjoyed each year. For others of us, this is simply another day to get up and feel lonely. In any case, this holiday brings a set of standards that are hard to live up to fully: have a romantic partner, look nice, spend the right amount of month, find a great gift, enjoy a great date or party, etc.

To get my mind off of the romantic aspect of this day, I focus on those that I love dearly and try to show them this. One way that I did it this year was by sending my mother Shari’s Berries. Hearing her joy and surprise was well worth the money and effort.

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Fat Talk Scarily Becomes Easier

Looking in the MirrorThrough my teenage years, I never engaged in fat talk. After all, why draw more attention to my disgusting body? When other girls complained about their appearance, I cringed inside because I knew that they were healthy while I was obese.

However, anorexia and losing weight has made talking negatively about my body easier. Scarily, each day this talk becomes even more simple. Now, I can spout out the very language I hated other people saying. Worse yet, there are sometimes people who weigh more than me in the room. I am, in fact, becoming the very person that hurt me growing up without ever intending to be cruel.

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Coping Skills: #74. Challenge Someone to a Friendly Match

Making Brazilian coconut beans

A cook-off can be another fun form of a challenge.

When I am down, my mom will often challenge me to a game of Bananagrams. Although I usually win (sorry Mom), her attitude is mostly cheerful which makes the competition friendly instead of intense.

Sometimes, we need to be challenged in order to distract ourselves from worries or prove that we can face something difficult. Competition also can teach us how to deal with life’s ups and downs. If we lose, we must learn to be gracious while thinking about how to improve next time. When we win, our response must still be gracious as we think of what we did right.

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