Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Open Letter to Little Holly

I was on Facebook today looking for material and I came across a post by Tyler Perry.  He mentioned writing a letter to the child you once were.  What would you say to your “kid self?”  I spent some time thinking about this yesterday and I’m still not sure exactly what I would say to myself.  Maybe I would say “There is nothing wrong with you.  Just because you see the world differently does not mean that your view is wrong.”  Or perhaps, “Don’t be sad little Holly, everything will turn out great.  You are going to grow up to be an outstanding individual with lots of friends and people that love you just the way you are.”
I can’t for the life of me figure out why I’m tearing up as I write this…  I suppose we choose to rewrite our past to make it better than it actually was, right?  I seem to “remember” having a great childhood.  I didn’t have a care in the world, right?  I think I was a happy child, wasn’t I?
So Little Holly, as I write this letter to you, I want you to know that you actually have this condition called Asperger’s Syndrome.  It’s a mild form of autism.  You don’t understand, huh?  No worries Holly, neither does anyone else in your life.  It’s okay though, your parents will make sure you turn out just fine.  It’s going to be difficult sometimes but hang in there.  I promise you are going to be okay.  It’s okay that you have trouble with sports or fine motor skills.  You are brilliant young lady.  You can read and understand information that college freshman read and you are only in the fourth grade.  Do people tell you talk funny?  It’s okay Little Holly they don’t understand what you are talking about because your vocabulary is off the charts. It’s because you read all the time and you remember the definitions of the words and use them in the proper context.
Finally Little Holly, do not ever get down on yourself!  You are awesome!  It may take you far too long to realize that but you are!  I know things seem rough sometime kiddo but you have a great life and it’s only going to get better!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The value of knowing yourself

I missed a very important trip this past weekend.  A few of our friends went to D.C. to visit Saxwell's mom, now affectionately known to our group as "Momma Sax."  I really wanted to go too but I just couldn't bring myself to make the trip.  You see with all of this recent self-discovery, I realized that I just didn't feel emotionally strong enough to handle making the trip.  I have a very odd situation going on with me.  I have to mentally prepare myself for travel in order to get through it.  I love the idea of traveling but yet I find it quite stressful and exhausting.  You know, getting to the airport, checking your bags, going through security all to end up sitting at the gate waiting...  Then, finding a seat on the plane, stowing away your carry-on luggage and so forth...  I thought better of making the trip because for some reason, my nerves have been frazzled lately.  I have no idea why.

The idea of going through all that and then getting there and being in the very place that our friend spent so much of his time and made so many memories was just more than I felt I could handle.  I'm getting stronger everyday but now I have other demands on my time and emotions.  There just wasn't enough of my inner strength to go around.  I am incredibly grateful for the recent success I have been enjoying but make no mistake, there are days when it takes every fiber in my being to get out of bed.

At one of my recent book signings, I was asked to speak to the youth group at my church. What in the world am I going to say to these young people?  I know for certain that I can tell them to trust in God because some days I feel that He's the only way I'm making it through.  I know I will tell them to listen to that inner voice.  More often than not it will not tell you wrong.  I get in far more trouble when I don't listen to it than when I do...  So I listened "to her" when she told me to stay here and save the trip for another time.  I think that was a good decision because I believe there is great value in knowing yourself.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It has been one month since I published my book

I did not think I would be doing a "re branding" job so early in the game but here it goes anyway.  One month ago today I accomplished something I was beginning to think I never would; I published my first book.  It is an autobiography but not in the sense of being self-promoting and self-congratulatory.  Okay, maybe a little self-congratulatory but if you don’t pat yourself on the back, who will?  This book is so much more than that though.  It’s about overcoming obstacles, learning to be comfortable in your own skin and living up to your full potential.

The fact that I recently discovered I might be mildly autistic or high functioning autistic is a big factor but it is not the total package.  I want people who are autistic to read it but I want people who have never really had any dealings with autism to read it too.  Yes, there are individuals among us that are severely autistic and probably “easier to spot.”  But there are far more individuals  out there like myself who you would never even give a second thought about having “something going on…”  We look “normal;” whatever that entails…

I’m having my first in a series of book signings in a few days.  I hope you will come by and talk to me and ask questions.  The thing about people with High Functioning Autism, we are painfully honest which means if you ask me something you are going to get a direct answer.  And no worries, if I feel it’s out of bounds, I will let you know that too