Friendship from the Aspie’s Viewpoint (Response Letter to Karen Willis’ Blog)

 

7/24/2014

 

Good afternoon Karen,

My name is Timotheus Gordon Jr., also known as Pharaoh or T.J., and I am a freelance writer, blogger, and event photographer in Chicago. I’m also an aspie…well technically I have high functioning autism because my communication abilities regressed around age 2 1/2.

I read your post, “Moving Forward in Life with True and Real Friends“. I was so moved by your post that I decided write a response/commentary to it. Being autistic myself, I definitely can relate to struggles with finding and keeping true friends. The following quote in the blog stood out to me:

My advice to you on this subject is that be on the lookout and be careful because people deserve to have friends that treat you right, accept you for who they are, and they give you a chance to socialize. A real friend is someone who accepts you for who you are as a person, they’re always there for you, and they treat you with respect. If someone doesn’t treat you right and be respectful to you, that person isn’t worth your time and not a real friend to you.

I should take advice and apply it to my own life. I agree with you wholeheartedly that real friends accept their friends for they are and be loyal to you. They don’t try to change people just because they don’t like lifestyles or ways of thinking that are different from their own. And true friends support you no matter what, even if they have to be honest and tell you the truth out of love.

Your post speaks to me. I go through a similar thing with my friends. In each stage of my life, I end up with only a handful of loyal friends. I start off with a lot friends and associates, but by the time I transition to a new phase of my life, my friend circle shrinks dramatically. I don’t know why. Perhaps most of my “friends” were only people who used me for my knowledge or wanted that chance to interact with someone on the autistic spectrum. Maybe I was unfit to hang out, because I rarely get invited to stuff. Or possibly life just happens and sometimes things happen. In some cases, my friendships did end with disagreements or conflicts-of-interest. I really don’t know why my friend circle is small, but I don’t worry about much. I know who would go to war with me and lead me to the right direction. Those are my true friends.

We, as people with autism, struggle with finding and keeping friends. They can be cruel to us or use us for our talents and information. Sometimes, we may not understand why some friends don’t want to deal with us. It can be due to our struggle to understand unspoken & complex social cues or follow certain social norms. We can’t read people at times. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t know about finding and keeping loyal friends. In fact, I would like to add something to your advice: a real friend is someone who can tell the truth and cares about your well-being. He or she doesn’t lie to your face or say things just to make you feel good.

I pray that you continue to blog and inspire those with autism; we sure need more voices in that community that can speak to the masses about what we go through on a daily basis. It’s time for us to tell OUR story on autism acceptance. I’m sure that you are inspiring people through your blog and book; I know that you’ll continue to do so after the book hits stores.

Best,

Timotheus

P.S.: I am looking forward to your book release. In fact, I think I’ll write a review for you once I get my hands on a copy of the book. :)

 

Pharaoh’s Principles: Navigating Worlds

world

  • the earth, together with all of its countries, peoples, and natural features.
  • all of the people, societies, and institutions on the earth.
  • denoting one of the most important or influential people or things of its class.
  • another planet like the earth
  • the material universe or all that exists; everything
  • a part or aspect of human life or of the natural features of the earth, in particular.
  • a part or aspect of human life or of the natural features of the earth, in particular.
  • a region or group of countries.
  • a period of history.a group of living things.
  • the people, places, and activities to do with a particular thing.
  • average, respectable, or fashionable people or their customs or opinions.
  • a person’s life and activities.
  • everything that exists outside oneself.
  • a stage of human life, either mortal or after death.
  • secular interests and affairs.

One word, but so many definitions to consider. That’s how a world works. You may be living in at least three worlds at one time. You can be in the world we call Earth, in which it is governed by universal rules. Then you have a world where you’re living in a local environment and society is according to that place. Add on your viewpoints based on factors such as upbringing, dramatic events, ethnicity, medical condition, etc. Add all those and you’ll have multiple worlds that may collide with each other at one point in time.

I’m writing about worlds for two reasons. The primary reason is that I’m starting my non-fiction book and the introduction will focus on how people can live in worlds within a world, based on circumstances and beliefs. Additionally, I want to show people that not everyone can fit into another person’s world. The second reason behind the post is my own personal viewpoints on living in multiple realities.

You see, I think that people on the autistic spectrum get ridiculed a lot for not understanding the neurotypical world. Sure, we may not get social cues or expectations on how to survive in the NT world. And their world may be scary due to triggers that aggravate over-stimulated senses. But we can say the same thing to NTs about not understanding OUR world. For instance, I can blog all day about people not understanding why I choose to talk about societal topics more than reality TV shows. I can lament about NTs’ failure to understand my thoughts without expecting me to communicate through feelings (I normally rely on events, facts, and tangible things to convey my points, not societal norms or complex emotions).

At the end of the day, and in any group on Earth, people aren’t meant to convince others to accept a particular way of life or thinking. Otherwise, we would argue about how to each a sandwich “correctly”, which varies from person to person. It would bore people and maybe even cause unnecessary conflict. If more people want to understand autistic people, then would it be better if more people can stop and explore the aspie world in depth? Matter of fact, don’t just limit it to just understanding aspies. Try applying this rule to any one you may not be familiar with. The more you listen and understand another world, the more giving and respectful you’ll be to that person. You might even begin to change perspectives on how you interact with things and people with in your own world.

Practicals:

  • Never preach to a person if your opinions differ from those of the person you’re interacting with. Give wisdom after looking into his or her world first. Also allow the person to explain the viewpoint(s) in question.
  • Research the aspects of a person’s life. In my case, I would appreciate it if you can ask my inner circle about how autism affects me. Reading credible books on my condition helps too.

Otherwise, that’s all I have for looking at different worlds…for now. Heheheh. No worries, I’ll be more in depth once I finish the introduction to my upcoming book.

VERY Close to Getting My MFA

Good afternoon everyone! 2014 is getting to be a better year for me so far. My hunger to work hard and succeed is coming back, I feel renewed in job hunting again, I may be moving again soon (place to be announced), and I’m trying to expand my spirituality by reading both the Bible and the Qur’an.

Also…I’m proud to announce that though I’ve have a few more revisions to make, I’m officially slated to finish my MFA program by next month! I’ll know by next week about details on when I’ll defend my thesis.

It’s about darn time! Pray that my thesis will please the thesis committee.

Check out my new video for more details of my announcements.

SN: Thank you all for the love y’all been showing me, through follows, comments, shares, etc.

Astrology

Good evening everyone! I love to read up on anything spiritual, whether it’s Christianity, Greek/Roman myths, black folklore, or horoscopes. Below is what they call an Astrolabe Free Chart, where it analyze my personality based on birth date, zodiac signs and cosmos.

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from Astrolabe Free Chart

Hi there, here is the interpretation of the astrological chart that you asked for. Also attached is a .GIF graphic file which depicts your chart wheel. Thank you for visiting the Astrolabe WEB site at http://alabe.com This report has been created especially for you. It represents your Unique picture at the time you were born and at the place you were born. If you are unsure of the exact time of day of your birth (or the date or the place), the reading will probably not seem as accurate as it could be in certain places, but other parts will seem to be very appropriate. You will notice at certain places in the reading that contradictory information seems to be given. This is to be expected, because the personality of most people is extremely complex. For example, at times we are quite shy and at other times we are very aggressive, and so forth. You will also notice that, at certain points in the reading, certain patterns may be repeated over and over, especially in a longer more detailed report than this one. This is also to be expected. This simply means that your horoscope has an extremely strong focus on this particular pattern and that you should pay extra close attention to what is said about it. Now, on with your Report!

Name: Timotheus Gordon, Jr.
October 15, 1987
1:22 PM Time Zone is CDT
Chicago, IL

Rising Sign is in 08 Degrees Capricorn
You are practical and reserved but very ambitious. An achiever and a hard worker, you respect success. Older looking and very serious as a youth, things lighten up and you relax more as you mature. You have a serious view of the world as being a difficult place to be in. Very envious of those who seem to have an easier life than you have, relaxation and play do not come easily. It is important that you had abundant parental support as a child so that you do not feel lonely and isolated as an adult. Generally, you have a good, earthy sense of humor that can carry you through when times really do get tough. You are purposeful, self-willed, industrious, realistic and responsible.

Sun is in 21 Degrees Libra.
Very sociable, you enjoy being with others and definitely prefer not be alone. Warm and affectionate, you go out of your way to make others like you. You despise ugliness, for you being surrounded by beauty and harmony is a necessity of life. You prefer fine clothing, an attractive home and pleasant surroundings wherever you are. Your refined tastes apply to music and to art as well. At times, you are very indecisive you waver and falter when forced to make a choice because you have the ability to see both sides of any question. The positive part of this is that you are very fair-minded and can be trusted to settle disputes. Your greatest challenge is to take any one- on-one encounter and make the most of it.

Moon is in 02 Degrees Leo.
You always want to be proud of yourself and will never do anything that will make yourself look bad. You need the respect and admiration of others and enjoy attracting attention to yourself. Everything you do tends to be self-emphasized and self-exaggerated. Very stubborn, willful and independent yourself, be sure to allow others who are close to you the similar right to “be themselves.” Your need for love, affection and reassurance, and your tendency toward vanity, allow you to have your head easily turned by flattery. The more insecure you are, the more you tend to be a showoff. You love games and sports as a matter of fact, you would usually rather play than work. Be careful of a tendency to be snobbish and uppity — it does not become you.

Mercury is in 13 Degrees Scorpio.
You are a born investigator. You are fascinated by secrets and mysteries and unanswered questions of any kind. When you become upset or angry, your emotional reactions are overpowering — reason and logic disappear in an uncontrollable passionate outburst. You tend to keep your thoughts secret and bottled up and this makes others regard you with suspicion. It is not that you are trying purposely to be evasive, it is just that you would rather not deal with the explosions and hassles that often occur when you reveal your true feelings and opinions. Your sense of humor tends toward sarcasm and irony.

Venus is in 06 Degrees Scorpio.
Your feelings about others are deep, powerful, intense and complex. When you like someone, you do so totally and obsessively if you do not like someone, they do not exist. Your faithfulness and loyalty to your lover is unquestioned, indeed at times it is too much so — you get so possessive that you almost smother your partner. At times, your feelings are kept deep within you and, because they are so complex and intense, they frighten you — this is the way that you try to ignore them. But the more you try to do this, the more explosive things get when you eventually do express them.

Mars is in 04 Degrees Libra.
You are very aware of the need to cooperate with others in order to further any effort. You are usually willing to compromise with others, although you can be quite competitive in a friendly way. Very fair- minded and impartial, you have the ability to sense injustice and the desire to take corrective actions to make proper compensations. You see both sides of issues and questions, but you tend to be undecided or wavering when forced to make choices that might make you vulnerable or unpopular.

Jupiter is in 25 Degrees Aries.
The way that you grow and develop is by being an uncompromising individualist. You have a great need to be yourself and to explore your latent talents and abilities. Do not be afraid to let yourself go and develop self-confidence and pride in your accomplishments. But try not to become so self-centered that you ignore the needs of others. Also, you may have to build up your self-discipline in order to focus your energies properly.

Saturn is in 17 Degrees Sagittarius.
Basically quite conservative, you respect traditional authority figures and are very thankful and supportive of the laws and institutions which govern your life. You learn and accept new ideas only after having very thoroughly examined them. Ideals and abstract concepts are important to you only if they can be used in some practical fashion. You are so practical and so orderly that you have natural skills in planning, administrating and organizing.

Uranus is in 23 Degrees Sagittarius.
You, and most of your peers, have the tendency to think that all ideas, customs and traditions from the past are outmoded and irrelevant. You are attracted to radically new ideas, philosophies and religions that will, hopefully, cause sweeping changes throughout the world.

Neptune is in 05 Degrees Capricorn.
You, and your entire generation, will idealize work, practicality and the ability to attain reasonable goals. But, because you will also stress the need to be selfless and giving, you may find it difficult to attain your goals unless you have lowered your expectations on all fronts.

Pluto is in 09 Degrees Scorpio.
For your entire generation, this is a period of intense research and discovery in areas that were heretofore considered mysterious, remote or taboo. The root causes for many complex occurrences will be unearthed due to the intensity and thoroughness of the search.

N. Node is in 02 Degrees Aries.
You’re at your most comfortable when involved in group activities outside of your immediate family circle. You delight in getting involved with others in neighborhood civic or political activities, especially if you can be a part of the leadership of the group. Your zeal and overabundant energy bring out your real creativity when you can work toward tangible results — things that will immediately benefit those around you. You have a real gift for getting the most out of charity drives and community benefits. Take time out between projects though, because you tire out easily and your effectiveness becomes greatly diminished when your energy is depleted. Also, don’t even think of trying to get involved at a peripheral level — you need a total commitment to feel personally fulfilled. Let others bake the cookies and set up the chairs — you should be the one to tell everyone what to do and when to do it!

Welcoming our 2013 #AuburnTigers #Football Team home (1-7-2014)




Via Flickr:
Proud Auburn fans, despite the freezing temperatures, thanking the team for a remarkable seasons. The sky is the limit next year! #WDE

Photos can also be found on Timotheus “Pharaoh” Gordon FB like page: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.588682301187177.1073741…

It’s a New Year…Thank You Lordy!

As Mike Lowry would say in Bad Boys II, I’m putting 2013 in a huge box, wrap it up, and throw it into the ocean.

To those who’ve been around me this past year, I apologize for the increased edgy demeanor and my semi-suicidal thoughts (as in saying “Y’all better off with me”). Some would think that I just had a negative outlook on life. But in reality, I was dealing with so many failures and changes that I couldn’t handle things well as I normally would. I started off the year by fighting off a cyberbully, followed by a removal of financial aid (which impacted funding for thesis and living expenses). Also add the fact that I’ve tried to find full-time work since April, with no success whatsoever and my will to not become another statistic (i.e., refuse to live my life as an unemployed, talented Aspie who lives at home with family and appears helpless). I also had to deal with a lot of personal turmoil, a death of a close friend & high school football teammate, and moving from city to a small town while still looking for full-time work to pay bills and other living expensive. To top it all, I’ve felt more and more like a pawn to other people’s success while I’ve been left abandoned, struggling to get my life back to normalcy and land full-time work. Sometimes, I felt like an outcast to familiar territories. It seems that I’ve been reminded  a lot of things that disqualifies me for being “normal” in a “normal world”, like conversation topics and looking at facts & events vs emotions. I don’t know this world anymore, for I’m being an alien to this known world. It seems that I’m increasingly convinced of my inability to succeed socially in the neurotypical world. I felt like I’ve become a burden to people instead of a key player.

It got to the point where, since May, I began to have constant panic attacks,  depression, and occasional thoughts of my existence (sometimes close to suicidal thinking). I was sick of failing what I expect to accomplish and other people’s expectations of me. I was disgusted with being subtly criticized for being autistic by nip-picking at how I see things as opposed to how neurotypicals see things. It seems that everything was my fault.

But out of that darkness came some extraordinary moments. I had plenty of chances of giving up, but my fighting spirit won’t allow me to do it. I’ve continue to work hard to reach for the stars, despite my shortcomings. In fact, I think I’ve worked harder than ever before, since I feel that my career and well-being is now on the line. Either I succeed or come back to Chicago as a failure. Timotheus hates mediocrity. I started to write articles for Football.com, usually on the Atlanta Falcons. I’ve continued to look for full-time work in my fields, shooting for the starts and not settle for less. I was privileged to take pictures of campers with special needs and blog about the camp experience as a Public Relations intern for Camp ASCCA in Jackson’s Gap, AL, thanks to the suggestion of Joystick Journey author/blogger Shanae Heard. Through local jazzman Andre Marcus, I’m currently working part-time at Auburn University Club, washing dishes for 5-15 hours a week. I was very lucky to be a fan photographer for the Auburn Tigers football team. Not only that I took pictures of fans enjoying the magical season, but I also got to capture moments of my own during the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship celebration. I’m geeked for the BCS National Championship on Monday; my Canon Rebel is ready to take pictures of people celebrating (crossing my fingers) the victory at Toomer’s Corner. Plus I’ve ended the year with taking my first New Year’s Eve party pictures in an Atlanta nightlife venue.

What kept me sane throughout 2013 were God, my fighting spirit, and dedication to the mission(s) in life. All three have saved me from complete self-destruction. I would have been gone in July, September, or even yesterday if I would have gave up and either drift to oblivion or disappear from Earth. But those things kept me going.

I honestly don’t know what 2014 would bring, thus I won’t promise you resolutions and goals. I do know that I have people to reconnect and burnt bridges to repair caused by my constant anger at my failures. I apologize to those who I’ve pissed off due to my frustration at the crumbling world around me. I also want to thank those who’ve still reached out to me and loved me, even during my most darkest hours. And to those you only came during my glorious hours, I love you also and I forgive you.

More importantly, I have to succeed in 2014. I cannot live like a loser anymore. “Succeed or die trying” is my motto for the year. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around, and I don’t want to waste my life with “what if’s” and “just be normal”. I want continue to the mission that God is setting before me. Though I still don’t know what I’m doing exactly, I’m confident that I would do something great and inspirational. Pray that this year, I’ll be more dedicated to my craft(s)/mission and more in-tuned with my Creator, no matter how many people support or criticize me.

Letter to White Castle, Sevenly, and Spring Free on Supporting Autism Speaks

December 20, 2013

Dear White Castle, Sevenly, and Spring Free Executives,

I applaud you all for taking the time and money to give back to communities in need. The media give you crap, along with other major companies, about only focusing on the bottom line: profit. However, supporting organizations like Autism Speaks show that you all have kind hearts and want to be good ambassadors to the public.

While the support of Autism Speaks may seem to be only that of good nature, I will have to disagree with the partnership because it doesn’t fully support the majority of autistic (namely adults on the autistic spectrum). Autism Speaks may help bring autism awareness to the masses, but from my understanding, it only helps children on the spectrum. The voices for Autism Speaks are usually parents, educators, doctors, and politicians. We don’t hear about autistic people talking about their experiences, triumphs, and struggles. To make matters worse, they support plenty of treatments and possible cures for autism, but focus less on providing the adequate resources for autistic people excel in mainstream high school classes, college, and the workforce (the area that we’re struggling in the most). I don’t even recall them recognizing accomplishments of Temple Grandin, Jason McElwain, Donna Williams, Stephen Wiltshire, or any of the people with autism who made immense, positive contributions to society through their respective works.

As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome and a part-time worker, this support of Autism Speaks is not got good for business. Think of the diverse groups of people who work for White Castle, Sevenly, and Spring Free. How would your workers feel if you supported the Ku Klux Klan, knowing that a chunk of your employees are of color? Or how about the reactions of workers in the LGBT community when they find out, for instance, that at least one of the companies donated to anti-gay groups? In both cases, workers may quit their jobs and possibly even sue you for supporting “hate groups”, while customers boycott the products each company produces. Same scenario applies to workers in the autistic spectrum. If you all support groups that doesn’t favor them, then those workers would leave because that can send the message that autistic people don’t belong in the workforce. I don’t wish to see that happen to solid companies like those I mentioned.

So instead of wasting money on Autism Speaks, try researching and supporting groups that are for the autistic community and allow autistic people to speak up. Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Autism Women’s Network are great organizations to give to and support. Talk to autistic workers about any work-related things that needs to be changed, accommodations that can aid them in working successfully, and anything that can be addressed (work conditions, treatment from co-workers and bosses, daily life as person on the spectrum, etc.).  Read up on more material on why supporting Autism Speaks, and other groups like that one, may be a controversial and bad idea.

Sincerely,

Timotheus “Pharaoh” Gordon, Jr. (a.k.a. T.J. Gordon)
Proud Writer, Event Photographer, and Aspie

Timotheus “Pharaoh” Gordon’s Flickr Page

Good day everyone!! I’m now on Flickr. If you like event photography, then follow me on Flickr @ Timotheus_PharaohG4. 2013 Iron Bowl pics are on there. ;)