Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

You know, the world has become a fairly messed up place. Violence, dishonesty, manipulation, power hungry, isolation at a core level, families broken, etc. I use the term fairly in the loosest possible way. I, in literal terms, mean that the human race has been degenerating socially. We make incredible strides in technology but don’t use it to help the human race but to build empires and powerful companies. We use our brilliance and every novel idea to ensure our families stability and wealth. Even within the wave of the new world religions and spiritualists, there is this idea of the law of attraction which is used to change our own lives, gain whatever our heart desires, and explain away suffering as another persons’ fault (shortcoming of their ability to control their thoughts/energy). Always people are a step away, an explanation away. We try to control ourselves and better ourselves with no responsibility for those around us. Our justice is still mostly enacted without internalizing forgiveness or expecting an elevated inner responsibility to rehabilitate our neighbors, friends, community from the problems that causes the malfunction to begin with.
Then here comes Austism. Not just another spiritual sickness like depression, bipolar disorder, etc which holds its own incorrect labels and judgements but a different neurology. It cannot even be categorized simply but holds many different facets, dimentions, and expressions on a neurological level. The world again tries to take the outward symptoms and classify it away in the DSM models as a sickness or a disease or a malfunction of some sort. This is where the world is horribly wrong.
The 21rst century, accross the globe, is primarily neurotypical. There are pockets of places that express and live based off of a slightly different model but primarily life runs the same way. As a whole we can see each country like an organ in the earth body. Each has a different place, a different function but we are all connected and all fairly similar in makeup. We are all on planet earth. We are all human. But we do not all perceive and internalize the same way. Those with Aspergers/austism are like stem cells. They are highly specialized souls that don’t operate like every other cell they are around. But if given the chance can be inserted anywhere and enact great healing. They weren’t made to be like every other cell. If they are seen as hostile or foreign or broken they will always be rejected and no good can take place. But imagine the good that they can do if allowed to stay.
The other day, my son was watching spy kids (the one with Jessica Alba) and the dad got angry that Jessica Alba’s character had hidden that she was a spy in their marriage. My son makes me stop the movie and demands to understand this scene.
“why did she lie? good guys don’t lie”
“why did he hurt her? if he loves her he shouldn’t have put his hurt before her needs”
“why do good people do bad things? doesn’t that make them a ‘bad’ guy”?
There were a million questions like this all centered around one key idea. What separates bad people from good people that make bad choices or simply accidentally make a mistake that hurts someone? My answer? It is in the intentions. The key to all of life is in intentions. If one makes a mistake and they try to repair it, they are still a good person. If a person intends to do something bad because they rationalize inside of their head that it is justified they can still be a good person but they have an error to correct INSIDE. And of course a truly bad person is someone who intends hard, no matter how much they rationalize it or not, but they never intend to fix it. Their hearts have slammed shut for whatever reason and they just don’t care about another person anymore. Their ideas and feelings have become too powerful to allow themselves to care and now they are part of what is destroying humanity. One person at a time. One person gets sacrificed because someone is too angry, too hurt, their ideas need defending too fiercely, etc. My son KNOWS on a deep level that this interaction (that is seen as so normal and healthy) is in fact destructive. He knows a better way. He is trying to come up with a better way. I can teach him that this is just how it is. People need time to explode, get angry and walk away. OR I can teach him a better way to deal with anger betrayal, not having to hide or lie, and repairing friendships when flaws do come up. He is only five and he knows this is possible. Not easy but possible.
I love and hate this wonderful quote:

I love how it teaches one to invest their mind deeper than gossip. Be a part of this human world, do not simply attack and demean others. When you see a flaw in someone (every person has them) don’t pass this information along and tear them down. If you see a leader with his shoes untied don’t make fun of it and ignore all the good he is doing. Take responsibility for helping uplift humanity and their flaws will naturally be left in the dust. We are better than all of that. We HAVE to demand more of ourselves than that. But on another note, People are the most important part of life. Ideas, strongly held beliefs, events in history are all nothing without people. Human beings. If one person is lonely or isolated, they don’t just start to matter when a tv station picks up their story, they don’t start to matter when someone starts to bully them, they don’t start to matter when they snap and inflict violence on victims. The fact is THEY matter. We need people who see that life itself matters. Souls matter. Standing against bullying is a powerfully good goal but a far better goal is uplifting the lonely and different. A far better goal than fighting against bad is fighting to include those who are trying to fit in.
Autism is a spectrum disorder (I use disorder very very lightly because I don’t actually view it as that). It is a spectrum of those who shut down with all the stimuli of the world. They might be affected so heavily that they can’t use their senses correctly. It breaks their precious souls because it hits them too hard, too fast, and they aren’t able to keep up. A person on the spectrum can be high functioning and have SPD (sensory processing disorder) where they either seek additional input to feel calm or they run from it to feel calm. Aspergers affects some to the point they can’t handle people at all and become reclusive. They break. It affects others to the point it is always a struggle to not succumb to anxiety, depression, social exhaustion, etc. It is a challenge to be sure. But here enters the world again with labels. As if the only way to see the world has to be to label the shortcomings of people. Imagine a world where kids who enter school neurotypical kid was given a label with all of their weaknesses and given a ‘classification’ of how they could never grow up and become ‘normal’. Every teenager would be doomed.
Instead, I like to see ASD as a gift. The world should see its gifts. We all have to learn to work together. There is nothing random about the genetics or the environment bringing about such a high population of those on the spectrum. Autism/Aspergers allows a person to see things very logically. If one does not shut down to all of the feelings they can sense, then they can learn to have an extremely high emotional intelligence that can be passed on to other generations. They can learn to not only read others but read themselves. They can demand more of others and of themselves. Those that work with autistic children know what a challenge and an equal blessing it is. These kids, teenagers, and adults can see the world in a real way, they see beauty deeper, they feel deeper, they can yank humanity from the coma of unconscious action and make it conscious again. It is a choice each individual can make. To see someone unable to function and know internally that it is YOUR time to love them, to shield them, to help them to be free to raise up in strength and succeed. As people do this for others, they will have others do this for them as well.
Irene Gut Opdyke, who wrote the book In My Hands, saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust at great risk to her own life. She led a remarkable life and never lost her faith in people. When she moved to America she traveled around the United States sharing what hate does to people and sharing her story. She always started out every lecture with these words…”I am here because I love you”. This is what Autism can do for the world. It is here to help shake us from apathy and our disengaging from others. It is here to rattle the belief that just because something appears broken or flawed that we need to dismiss it, control it, or demand justice for it. It is here to raise humanity to the next level. For those on the spectrum to keep moving forward and loving yourself no matter how overwhelmed your spirit gets. To find peace in the small things and accept who you are. For those whose minds think neurotypically and who feel other challenges every day. To demand more from yourself. To safeguard others, to uplift others, to use your mental strength and grit to be inclusive and show love. Because at the end of the day, what we learn from each other can raise humanity past this roadblock into a more peaceful future. Every difference, every challenge has a beautiful future.


I started out in the business of traveling and photographing the United States quite awhile ago. I first moved to West Virginia where people slow down to merge onto a freeway and where everything is super green and trees everywhere. I got honked at quite a lot because, from the area I was in, it appeared I was the only one who did p90x, took daily showers, and practiced oral hygiene. This was great for my self image =) 
Onto Cherry HIlls, New Jersey…Land of the peeps with Attitude (Capital A). Any smiles i shared at the local market were met with “Pft…what the, are you smiling at?” Philli was right over the bridge and I got to drive past the museums (Wishing I could go in without my little toddler) and instead running to the zoo where people are fine with us running a million miles per hour around every cool attraction.
Onto my favorite eastern city…Pittsburgh. I lived across the street from the Pirates Stadium. Yes, baseball reviews are correct, It IS one of the three prettiest stadiums in the United States. The city’s buildings and yellow bridges a perfect backdrop for the game. I loved the Marriott hotel and living amongst the hustle and bustle of tourists and game night events that happened atleast weekly. Ethan running down to flirt aka…weasle his way into candy and goodies from the staff. The only downside being the ticks. I didn’t even mind all the traffic because I loved the bridges and the city so much. The green of the land was fine…but MEH…all I saw was TICKS TICKS TICKS. I was fine leaving for Chicago.
Chicago had a feel all its own. I loved how fast people drove. But they were sane. The city really didn’t drive, they all just rode public transport. Which was awesome. More room for me when I drove for SUSHI!!!
Michigan had fantastic fantastic lightning storms. The kind that light the entire sky and make you feel as if you are a part of something extremely powerful. I didn’t get to see much of it because I was on bed rest most of the time i was living there. And their food at restaurants was awful….Not that I could eat anything twice (some babies are pretty picky in the womb..aurianne was one of them)…but still. AWFUL. I was quit glad to get back to SLC.
Green land is awesome and all but seriously can’t compare to my desert. The majestic mountains of Utah are one of a kind. My personal postcard living. They are my streets. I had my Coffee shop, My crazy drivers that won’t let you merge, that flip you the bird if you do something they don’t like, and the ‘I need a sign I am just that plain stupid and mean’ drivers. But meh, it was and is home. Familiar streets I grew up on were a welcome site to have my daughter.
Fast forward to the now. I reached my countdown for Texas.
Miles and miles of new…yet it all looked the same as most of the United States. I will say that Navajo land is beautiful and their culture fascinates me. Further south we got the more plain the land…flat…reminding me of all the westerns I used to watch with my dad growing up. i wised up around the oil towns with no hotels rooms empty at 1am ‘I want to quit driving and sleep time’ that there is a new way of driving in Texas. Big Semi Trucks have deadlines as urgent as New York City people take their daily tasks…They weren’t going to slow down…they will plow you right over or risk hitting oncoming traffic to shoot around you (yes I narrowly DIDN”T get hit or see an accident to the side of me atleast 5 times)…New rule learned. Big trucks pull over to let other cars/trucks go past. They don’t slow down and pull over, they just move onto the side of the road and keep their speed expecting you to drive by. Interesting. smart. Slightly loco.
Then we get into Texas cities and realize there is no such thing as a speed limit anymore. Move your butt. Expect to be tailgated. speed up and waste all your gas at the starting line…er, I mean green light. Only cops to be seen were for wrecks (Yep, there are signs announcing the Texas death toll on the roads is already up to 464…shocker). They don’t give tickets unless you are extraordinarily stupid or insanely fast (clocking over 100 I am sure). So that is refreshing news. i get to be crazy chica driver! I am such a bad butt 😉
This place has a FEW palm trees. Almost paradise…It is working its way to how cool Florida is. It is a mix between Florida and my memories of my cabin at Lake Tahoe with tall beautiful forest trees. The roads are fun. There is a nice highway of sorts following both sides of the freeway so you can hit all the stores along the way or just avoid traffic if you want to…I like that. The ocean in Galveston isn’t too far away and it is a lot of fun to be near a big body of water again. I am a water child in every way. So my family is now burrowing into Texas. Lots of changes. I have lots of goals. Tons of fun pictures. Enjoying the new culture. Americans from coast to coast really are quite similar. The same ideas attacked in different ways, expressed vastly differently, but all making this a beautiful wonderful country to live in.