About Bob Christian

Aspie, Poet, Dyslexic, Blogger, Father & Husband. Author of Behind the Mask, Scribblology & Alexithymia.

Rainy Day Parade

Grab your umbrella for my latest scribble. Titled Rainy Day Parade

(NB this is a first draft, final results may vary).

Looks like all fallacies become

Self-fulfilling prophecies, huh?

You’ve no idea, life without dad?

Really?! Poor you, that’s why you’re sad?

I wrote the book on this supposed

Life you’ve had.

I was eight, Mother’s Day morning 

Mum trying to be strong. Asking 

Where? Why? But my dad was gone.

I was sent to boarding school, beaten,

Bullied, hated. Difference is I’ve lived

Your fantasy.

A nightmare thinking ’bout that stuff.

Daily school beatings, so much anger

Aimed everywhere, mistakenly. Not

At some sperm donor who bolted.

Tried to run from me, but tripped, fell 

Broke his legs

You lie for sympathy. Hurt others. 

i had to learn how to mend myself.

To walk again I’ve made mistakes.

Made me much stronger than him

Made me the man I am. Granfather

Time, to stop

These damaging lies. Truth is, you’re the 

Only one who believes your home-made

Horror story. Look out behind you!  Its

The door-smashing axe-wielding bogey

Man! I hope he’s not too drunk. No angel. No devil either. 

National Poetry Day

As it’s national poetry day I figured I’d share a scribble with you. I performed it for the first time at a poetry slam last year, just before I released my third anthology Alexithymia,

It’s called Stop.

Please, stop for a minute.

Yes, I’m talking to you. 

Don’t do what it is that,

You’re planning to do.

Let these words reach you

While I have your attention.

I won’t try to say that I know 

The things you’re going through.

Just know that this pain 

You’re feeling right now?

I’ve been there – reaching

For the solution in whatever 

Form it might take – cold steel,

Booze or pills. So, even though 

I don’t know you, we have, at this

Point, something in common.

I was twenty-seven the first time

I felt I was out of options. Taking

The ultimate step that day

When I tried to put myself away.

I felt like I was screaming inside.

Remember, I’ve been where you

Are. I’ve walked that mile in those

Shoes; I want you to know this:

You are stronger than you realise.

This is a fight you can win, even 

If your doubts drown everything 

Out, hold on a little longer. Stay.

Let me talk to you. Let my words

Through, even if you don’t 

Think you can do it. I’ll share

This pain; be a voice of reason.


You have better times ahead 

Believe me, try to see, I beg of

you. Don’t take your life. Instead,

Take my hand – we’ll do this together.

Weekend Paradox

Last weekend was a paradoxical one – the same yet, very different. It began with my trip to the barbers on Saturday, as I do every two weeks or so. If you know me, then I’m sure I just heard you yelling or laughing at the screen. Mainly asking why I go to a barber! Well, I need my beard trimmed and sculpted to maintain this look. Here’s where it began, at the barbers, I waited for my usual guy, Marc, who I’ve been going to for a long time. He’s into the same things as me and I really enjoy talking to him about fantastically geeky stuff. He was very busy, though, and I was told I could wait 40 minutes or so, or step out of my comfort zone and see someone else. I decided to go for it. This was a strange situation for me, as it’s taken nearly two years to get to the relaxed stage with Marc. It was slightly awkward to begin with, but I managed to avoid the silences nicely with the new guy.

Then I spent the weekend doing the usual relaxing and occasionally annoying Mrs Bob. I even managed to get a trip in to a (different) supermarket with Mrs Bob, which after the other weekend was good going for me. I got a couple of my medals engraved, grabbed some snacks and we headed home. Then to do something different, i decided to clear my office as it was getting cluttered … EMRACING CHANGE!

Strangely, it was a nice feeling. There were lots of things that I don’t need now, and it was quite therapeutic to rearrange stuff if I’m honest, but shhhhhh I may get my Aspie card revoked!

The following day I went to the beach with Mrs Bob. “It’s nearly October,” I hear you say. Well, it may be, but it’s still warm down here. In fact, I’d say it’s warmer than last year. We hit the pier and played a couple of games in the arcade there, chips on the seafront, and a walk on the beach with my girl. This was the high point of my days off. It’s also the memory I’ll hold close while doing ten days straight at work this week and next. I can’t think of anything better at all than being by the sea with her.

So, the result was a weekend that was the same, but completely different at the same time.

Stay Safe

P.S Thank you for the recent chats on social media and all the likes & follows. I love interacting with each and every one of you.

One Little Phrase

After the incident  at work with my “I’m Autistic” badge the other day. I decided to share a scribble with you all, it’s taken from Scribblology

(Also known as my angry old man phase)

 

“Invisible Cripple

 There’s this one little thing,

One stupid little phrase

I hear almost every time

I say to someone new

That I’m autistic:

 

But you don’t look autistic

 

Oh really?  So, how’s my autism

Supposed to look to you?

It’s as messed up and stupid

as saying, You don’t really look gay.

Just because your eyes don’t see it,

Doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

 

Your attitude is what’s ultimately

Wrong with this world and the

Way it views disabled people.

Just because I’m not in a wheelchair

You think that there’s nothing wrong.

That I just need to be more social

Perhaps I should just… cheer up”?

 

Have you ever considered that my

Struggle is not a physical one,

But a battle within my psyche?

Trying desperately to be more

Like the rest of you and your world?

It’s taken years of trial and error

 

To become this good an actor.

I should be nominated for an Oscar

For this portrayal of one of you.

I’ve had to study you and through

Making mistakes and being misunderstood;

Countless hard lessons learned.

 

Become the person you criticise.

Who you look down on and who you

Call a fake or a liar, because clearly

I’m so very normal and not

The stereotypical disabled person.

Would you feel better if you could see

The way my brain is different to yours?

 

Maybe that would make it easier for

People to start to believe us.

Or accept that, hard as it may be,

Not every disability is visible.

Not every disability has a look.

So, before you judge me,

Stop. Think. Take a second

 

Before you make yourself look like an

Ignorant, ableist, waste of space

Spewing that hateful phrase

That turns my stomach to acid.

Hurts me.  Feeds my anger.

You don’t look Autistic”.

 (C) Bob W Christian

More Reasons to be Happy

After all my fun and excitement yesterday when I tried shopping like a normal person not on an iPad, I woke after a bad night. After discussing things with my wife, we decided I needed to get back on the horse, as it were, and go to another supermarket. My driving force here was a hankering for pork scratchings and corn chips.

Obviously, Mrs Bob came too, as we’ve decided we must do these things together from now on, and she drove to a different chain of supermarkets, 10 miles away. As we drove, we talked and discussed certain topics of the day – I think that’s a ploy by Mrs Bob to distract me – but it was typical middle-aged couple type stuff, set to the soothing sounds of Radio Two. It was a calm and uneventful trip, and I devoured the chips… they made me feel much better.

Upon returning home, I started watching Hotel Artimus while Mrs Bob did her thing. Later, we just cuddled up with no phones, tablets, or TV and discussed where we wanted to go with our writing, while chilling out. I made us a hot drink and trimmed Ericsson, our Dracaena, while Mrs Bob started changing the bed upstairs, singing along to Motown hits. I went up, as it sounded like a party. Who knew that changing the bed together and dancing could be so brilliant? It’s amazing how time and the right person can make things so much better. I’m not saying we’re perfect or that we have all the answers, just that this is our little life. Just Mrs Bob, Dog the cat and me. I love it.

It’s days like this that really make you forget all the horrible stuff that’s happened.

So, look ahead and…..

Stay Safe X

More Reasons to Despair

Yesterday, at half past seven at night, I decided that I fancied some ice cream. Unusually, there was none in the freezer, so I decided to go to my local supermarket. When I suggested this to Mrs Bob she also asked me to get her some frozen peas, as we had forgotten to get some in a delivery from a different supermarket earlier.

I headed out to the supermarket in search of some frozen treats, grabbed my favourite beanie and put on a hoodie as it’s starting to get cooler at night. Both things help me with the sensory and anxiety issues I have with supermarkets – sunglasses are another aid, but it was night time and dark.

Upon reaching the store, there were a number of young blokes clustered close to the entrance, who were being very aggressive towards customers entering the store. I put my hood up and head down to avoid eye contact or any unnecessary confrontation with them. This worked, as they made a couple of comments but nothing too bad, and I headed to the frozen food aisle as quickly as I could. I grabbed some ice cream and Mrs Bob’s frozen peas, paid and began to walk out of the store.

That’s then when the problems began. As I went to leave, the security guard went to grab me. As I don’t like being touched, I stepped away and politely asked if I could help him. He began to lecture me on the fact that “You teenage shoplifters always keep your hoods up so I can’t see your faces.” I tried to explain that I’m Autistic and my hood was up due to a combination of anxiety and autism, but he wasn’t having any of it, and continued to insult me. I was really struggling by then, but managed to ask to speak to the manager. The guard wouldn’t cooperate, though and said “why should I bother him?” I insisted that I wanted the manager’s details, but the guard pointed at me, and instructed some poor member of staff to “deal with that”. The member of staff printed a receipt with the details and gave it to me.

I then asked the security guard for his company details, etc, as he had hidden his identity card. I tried again to explain to him that I’m Autistic, and as a disabled person I struggle with certain things. He laughed, and exclaimed that “I’ve heard all these excuses before.” He told me I had to leave the store or he would have me removed. He said that I was banned from the store and I was never to return again, or the police would be called.

I left, unable to say any more because I was feeling so unwell, but this left me very upset, angry – a whole kaleidoscope of emotions. So much so, that I struggled to relax that night and became grumpy with Mrs Bob even though she was trying to help me. I’ve been unable to get a good night’s sleep due to nightmares resulting from this episode, so I get to spend my day off today stressed out and tired.

I guess this store should take a leaf out of one of it’s competitors books. Tesco’s have now introduced a sunflower lanyard system so that staff know the customer has a disability or issues but they won’t know what the disability is. It’s a fantastic idea, and although it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, will really help many people.

When it comes to assisting people like me every little helps I guess.

Stay Safe X

Frustration

I did something that I shouldn’t have done recently. I made the mistake of looking at the trip advisor account for my place of employment. It was a painful mistake that I won’t soon repeat.

Nevertheless, I did learn a number of things from it. Firstly, I realised that some people complain about the slightest of things. I’m sorry that I’m a coeliac and can’t test your lager before I serve it to you. It would make me very ill for at least a week, and leave me in a great deal of pain. I’m fairly sure you’d find it a bit weird if I did, too, and yet you complain that I didn’t.

Secondly and more importantly, people see someone like me, who is not obviously Autistic but who is, let’s be honest, trying his hardest to do the best he can. I try to be a good barman, and serve with a pleasant chat and as much eye contact as he can. They don’t realise how very hard that is for me, and all they can say is “he’s blunt” “comes across as rude”, “doesn’t seem to be paying attention, as he’s looking elsewhere”.

I would love to see these people do the hours I do in my public-facing (sometimes fast-paced) job, with my disabilities. These are probably the same people that would call me a sponger and a benefits cheat if I were to stop doing what I do and go off long-term sick. They wouldn’t last a shift, let alone a week.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: It’s clear to me that I’m not Autistic enough for most people to realise my difficulties and disabilities. This also happens with the Autistic community at times. I’ve taken one thing from this whole experience. I’m not going to care about what someone who doesn’t know me says, or those who don’t want to acknowledge that I’ve worked a lifetime to get to the point where I can do such a social job. Those people that love me know I’m trying my hardest to do the best job possible, with limited resources.

Please, everyone, think before passing judgement on someone like that. They could be on the Autism spectrum and trying their best to stay in employment.

Stay Safe X