About Bob Christian

Aspie, Poet, Author. Creator of Behind the Mask, Scribblology, Alexithymia & (Re)Mixtapes

Antisocial Media

Did you know that, on average, we spend two and half hours each day looking down at our phone screens?


That’s over nine hundred hours or 38 days that we lose each year in a corporately created black hole.

In this digital era of smart phones and touch screens, we are drifting apart, losing touch with the reality of each other.


This place where a person’s worth is measuredIn likes on (anti)social media platforms It’s all about our digital self – our selfies.

Popularity is measured in followers or how long our friends list is, while in real Life, most of these people are lonely.

Why don’t we take that time to hug some real people who LIKE the real us not some virtual doppelgänger.

18 Minutes

The earth is 4.543 billion years old. Man, as a species, is a baby at only 200 thousand years old. This means that if you were to take that time, Condense it down into a single year, then man has existed for hardly any time. Just a little over 18 minutes.

What have we done in those 18 minutes? Arrogantly declared ourselves to be alpha species in a world full of incredible plants and creatures that all existed peacefully for aeons before we arrived. Those we don’t destroy will outlive us. Yet we humans believe we are clever?

Maybe we are. Some intelligence is good, but not too much. We’ve recently made leaps and bounds in science, technology – spending billions searching for a new planet to Call home. To ravage. While using Our “intelligence” to destroy this one.

In 18 minutes we have wiped vast numbers of beloved animals off this planet. We have accelerated the extinction rate to a staggering 10,000 times above the base rate. These creatures connected to us all in DNA. How many must disappear off this planet.

Before we open our ears to mother nature’s screams for help? All the while continuing the constant neglect and mistreatment. Open your eyes to all her warning signs. Global warming. Larger storms than ever. Rising drought. Deforestation. Acid rain. The cause of this destruction? It’s us.

Thankfully, this tale is not completely bleak or apocalyptic. Some people are waking up, realising there’s a sacred connection between Mother Earth and mankind. They refuse to Let it be destroyed – for its beauty to be ruined -For future generations. Can she be saved? Or are we responsible for writing her eulogy?

Stop

Stop

(from Alexithymia)

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.

Labelling

I was invited to join a private group on Facebook for people on the Autism Spectrum. I was told that it was run very well, and that the admins kept a keen eye on posts. This was because a particular group had been spammed repeatedly with religious posts saying a certain monotheistic religion’s deity needed the person to share a post to ten groups, or his arch nemesis (a red guy with horns) would win.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for religious freedom of speech. I mean, I own – and have read – three different books of holy scriptures, so I’m pretty diverse and tolerant – or at least I’d like to think so.

I decided to take this person up on the offer and join the group. I’m not going to mention the name, for obvious reasons. As a private group, I had to confirm I’d read the rules before being allowed to join. Mostly, they were straightforward, like no promotion of ABA therapy or Autism Speaks, etc. Fairly standard stuff in most ASD groups I’ve joined really. But then there was a question I thought was a little strange. It read:

“Do you understand why functioning labels (including Aperger’s and Aspie) are harmful? If no , are you willing to learn?”

I was curious as to why this was the case. Sure, I understand tha functionality labels like high or low functioning can be harmful, as they’re not really applicable, and I covered this very thing in my post Higher or Lower in December. I can at various times seem either low or high functioning so I understood that bit. The term Asperger’s, though, I didn’t understand, as it’s still used as a diagnosis in the UK, even if the Americans stopped it being used in 2013. So, I answered the questions and waited.

Ping..!

“You’ve been approved to join the group”. Hurrah!

Then I got a notification to say that I’d been sent to a page explaining the question about labels, so I could be educated on why I was wrong, and the things I needed to learn to be able to stay within this group.

The article read: “No functioning labels or “ Aspie Supremacy” we’re all autistics here, there’s no need to “other” yourself in this way. Functioning labels are ableist and Aspergers/Aspie are particularly ableist as well as being rooted in Nazi history.

I thought this was a bit harsh, as I am diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.

It then continued to say “Aspergers specifically is much worse than just a functioning label. Aspergers syndrome was a functioning label featured in the DSM for 19 years (1994-2013) and has now been removed because it is inaccurate.” This is only the case in the USA – the UK still uses it. They went on to say: “The only recognised autistic diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder. Aspergers was used by high functioning people to separate themselves from their autistic peers. Even if you were diagnosed with Asperger’s, it’s not ok to use that term here. If you’re caught using said ableist Nazi labels, you will be muted for 24 hrs and sent to this page to learn why such labels are offensive to all autistic people.

Really? I’m autistic and I don’t find it offensive.

What I do find offensive is the fact that I can’t refer to myself as I was diagnosed. Admittedly, mostly I’d say to people that I’m autistic, as I have a form of ASD. But to be called an Aspie Supremacist is not only rude, but also it’s the kind of attitude that drives a wedge between all of us on the spectrum. I don’t think I’m better than another fellow person on the ASD, just because I occasionally say I have Asperger’s. For goodness sake, there are times when I stutter and become non verbal or meltdown like any autistic person. We’re all one big neurodiverse tribe, so why can’t we just get along, instead of creating issues that don’t exist?

I didn’t join the group…

Stay Safe X

Future Stories

“Future Stories” by Bob Christian

This is a quick scribble called “Future Stories”. Please feel free to drop me a comment on what you think.

To my younger self


Take the time out to Enjoy those precious Times, people, places. Make another memory. You’ll thank yourself in the future.


Take the time out to Heal those wounds. Keep moving forwards Physically and mentally. You’ll thank yourself in the future.


Take the time out to Create those stories; Ones that your future Generation will re-tell You’ll be remembered in their future.

New page

I’ve had a great few weeks, creatively. I feel as if I’m really on form with my scribbles, which is unusual for me. My writing is finally at the stage where I’m just starting to believe the nice things people are saying about my poetry.

Yes, I’m finally starting to see what I do as actual poetry. I’m no Oscar Wilde, Burns or Kipling, though, that’s for sure! Still, I do share a fraternal membership in common with those heavy-hitters of the literary world. – I’m certainly happy with my creative path.

I’ve now turned my head to creating ways of advertising my work, and getting myself out there, not for fame or fortune, but in the hope that I can raise awareness of two things that I have a lot of experience with: Autism and depression.

I’m guessing there have been times in everyone’s lives when you’ve felt sad or low. It might be that, when these feelings arrive, they last for a few weeks and get in the way of day-to-day life. It could be a period of depression, which has a range of symptoms that vary from person to person, and could be mild or really severe.

It’s no different for someone like me, on the Autism spectrum, to deal with depression than a non-autistic person. I’ve done some research, and at least 20% of people in the world will experience a form of depression at some point in their lives. Sadly, it’s even more common in people who are on the Autism spectrum.

In my humble opinion, depression and suicide should be treated much more seriously. That way, it might make its way into books and education curricula everywhere and the message can be repeated over and over to our children and grandchildren that it’s ok to not be ok. We need to make it ok to talk about it.

Stay Safe X

Tickets please

I recently took a 4.5 hour each-way train journey to see my daughter and granddaughter. While it was a fun and exciting trip, it also reminded me of a saying: “not all disabilities are visible” because of some of the comments and ignorant attitudes I was exposed to from (in this particular experience) the older generation.

I got on the train and went to find the seat I’d reserved. I always reserve a seat, even if I’m just going one stop. The seat I had reserved was, by chance, one of the disabled priority seats. Unfortunately, it was being occupied by two older ladies, who were engaged in a loud conversation. Not wanting to cause any disruption, I sat in one of the seats opposite, which also happened to be a disabled priority seat. I got settled and prepared my iPad and my new (awesome) headphones, and was about to press play on Netflix, when I heard one of the women say to her companion “I thought those seats are for disabled people”. I bit my tongue and let it slide, until the conductor came round to check my ticket. I then showed him my e-ticket and announced (rather louder than normal) while showing my railcard, “here’s my disabled persons railcard!” The conductor said thank you and went on his way. The ladies were suitably silenced.

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this type of attitude. It’s the same as people saying to me. “You don’t look disabled” – which in this day and (supposedly enlightened) age is wrong and damaging.

It can be easy to make certain assumptions about someone from the outside. With autism spectrum disorder, the majority of what is going on is below the surface, much like an iceberg. A smile doesn’t always mean happiness. Illness doesn’t always appear as wheelchair-bound or missing limbs. It can present itself in a number of ways, some of which are not always visible or obvious. That doesn’t mean they are less disabling than a missing limb or blindness, for example

There are numerous people all over the world who are struggling with invisible disabilities. They may also have problems with employment, due to restrictions that may not be obvious to others in the workplace. If you can prove your seemingly invisible disability, then you you may receive help and support.

No one knows how much courage it took for a person to get out of their house that day. Or how how long it took afterwards, to recover from what most people see as a small, minor outing. Should they just become a recluse to avoid the stresses of day to day life? Of course not.

As one of these people with an invisible disability I find that I have to keep providing proof to people when I go out. Even in the workplace, at times. I fortunately have found the courage to face the outside world on a daily basis. I’m not asking for a gold star or a medal for taking part – I, like most of us, just want a level of acceptance and a lack of judgement. For people to realise that having an invisible disability doesn’t mean that the pain or struggle is any less real, just because it’s not visible.

Stay Safe X

Artwork

I’ve been working on some artwork to go with my Scribbles, it’s nothing special just me trying new ideas.

Estate of Mind (2019)
Estate of Mind (2019)
Two Sides (2020)
Website Ad (2020)
Gone (2019)
Panic Disorder (2019)
Let Me (2020)
Voicemail (2020)

Two Sides

It’s pretty obvious what this piece might be about. I felt inspired to write about something that happened many years ago, but I won’t expand any further on the subject. I’m proud of this verse, which I wrote today. I hope you enjoy it.

Two Sides (Return To Sender)

You said…

I was punching above my weight.

Truth is, the fight was fixed.

One hand tied behind my back,

Referee turning a blind eye

While you repeatedly

delivered low blows.

You said…

I was reaching, while you settled.

Truth is, the relationship

Was sinking. I was clinging to

The wreckage of second best.

You reaching up to your ex

On his pedestal.

You said..

I had lots of relationship issues.

Truth is, you just hid yours better.

You packed them up neatly –

Emotional baggage by

Louis Vuitton. Same problems

Classier façade.

You said …

I’d never find anyone like you.

Truth is, I’m glad that I didn’t.

(C) Bob W Christian 2020

Let Me

Here is one of my latest scribbles. In the Christian household, we have never really done Valentine’s Day on the 14th. We choose to do it on the 12th instead.

This isn’t some anti- Hallmark protest sentiment – rather, it’s to mark the passing of a wonderful man, Mrs Bob’s beloved father. He left us only three months before I met Mrs Bob and we are both very sad that I never got to meet him. Mrs Bob likes to think that his energy might have somehow influenced our meeting …

Yesterday, I was sat at home listening to my music, while Mrs Bob watched something on TV that didn’t interest me. I started scribbling about her, and a few minutes later I had this (at the time untitled) piece.

I’d like to dedicate this one to my late father-in-law, and to my beloved Mrs Bob on the anniversary of her losing her adored dad. Love you xx

Stay Safe X

Let Me by Bob W Christian (c) 2020

I just want you to know
When you’re feeling down
I’m lifting you back up.

Let me show you what
You’ve never had – a sense
Of love and protection.

Let me show how love’s
Supposed to be; you’ll
Feel it as intensely as me.

Let me show you the true
Beauty I see with my eyes,
When you’re blinded by life.

Let me love you for all our
Lifetimes. Grow old while
Never ageing, for an eternity.

Bob W Christian #Ap

Take my hand