So, I’m Autistic.
In our current times I doubt that having such a disorder is as dauntingly apparent as are those who might be either struggling with jobs, money or, most of all, physical health. Yet, inasmuch as many are truly going through a trying time, I can assure you all that a syndrome such as ASD is as malevolent and even fatal as a respiratory virus.
There was a post by a Doctor who specializes in neurological disorders who mentioned a term called “Masking”. She was kind enough to offer an allowance to me to write a brief auto-biography about my journey with Autism. Yet, months later, as she posted this letter upon her own blog (or whatever platform it was) I wrote back to her and informed her of a full-fledged panic attack due to an acute revelation at the expense of what it meant to be masking. The short hand is this: I’m putting on a front in my behavior; I’m acting normal because society has deemed that my natural behavior and coping mechanisms within my ticks, gestures and stemming are too wrong, bad and not to be performed. Thus, here I am; working a job; talking to people; socializing et cetera….
Furthermore, the doctor stipulated that often those on the spectrum have become so consumed with their acts of masking and covering their natural inclinations that it evolves to their normal functioning system of behavior; loosing, therefore, their true identity and what makes them, them. All my life I have fallen to this delusion that I was to perform and behave in a manner associated truly with the social normality of society, no exceptions. What is worse is that such delusional thinking has metastasized into my writing. Looking back into earlier posts, I remember exuding such grandiose eloquence of words and sentence structures tantamount to the apex of high-English vernacular. And now I have succumbed to the ways of the world and have fallen victim of everyone around me saying “you should dumb that down because no one is going to be able to understand you or what you’re writing about.” I am not totally unbecoming to conformity and I will follow rules and I will exhibit every form of cordiality to family, friends, acquaintances, guests and strangers at the store or wherever. But, I refuse to be lectured, criticized or supposedly educated on how I am supposed to write or speak. Going back to the aforementioned tale of the article of masking, I fell to such an acute panic attack because I had worked so hard, tried so tirelessly and spent years, decades in fact, of counseling, to behave as a normal person; and now I feel there would be no going back to who David truly is, was or would have been. I fear my character is lost forever behind a method actor.
That being said, I have ironically found my niche. I don’t know what I wrote or have written of to the extent of what I want to do with my life (a common song of many that are usually in college changing majors again and again) but I definitely know now what would make me happy and that it is a pursuit that has my total passion and commitment. Herein observe the story which lead to this marvelous discovery of myself (by the by, I’ve been searching for such a revelation for nearly 40 years of my life, so this is pretty big news).
I work at a memory care and assisted living facility. All proper nouns and names will be anonymous. I’m required by law not to disclose anything. I’m a receptionist. Nevertheless, working here warrants the company of many elderly people. I was instructed during my interview that I will be confronting the passing away of our company and that I need to be careful that it does not inhibit my work. Recently we have had a person pass away. The family came by to visit under the disposition of emergency the day before they had passed so they might say their goodbyes. The emotions were that of sorrow, yet the person passing was 96 years old, I believe; having lived a full life with many members to their family. To comfort the family, I pulled out my violin and began playing nice comforting music. The granddaughter of the passing person began weeping albeit in comfort because she could not have asked for a better means of hearing beautiful music played during a time of upcoming bereavement and grief. It then dawned on me: I want to use my music to comfort, heal and allow for beauty in a time of sorrow or joy in a time of mourning. More background on this revelation is as follows:
An old friend of mine, when attending his church, introduced me to two people. After the conversation, he confided in me a little later that they said, “your friend, David, we sensed such a healing nature in him.” Flattery aside, the occurrence of this story transpired over ten years ago. The impactful nature of it just seemed to resonate. Since that time I’ve always held strongly to the notion of healing. I delved into music therapy and had generated many concepts of my own invention to try and conjure a practice which I seemed to have been nudged by God to partake in. But nothing would stick. I wanted to play the violin since I was a little boy. I’ve now been playing for nearly seven years and have become a professional. I literally get paid to play for anyone and everyone, anywhere and anytime, if the setting permits soft and lovely violin music.
It was then my decision to embark on something I had been praying for wisdom to receive all my life: I want to play music for families who are grieving or for individuals who are sick.
I have been playing professionally for about 10 years, now. I’ve noticed a category of listeners who are as follows: children: the most eager and the most absorbent of the music who delight in all its melodies with no discrimination whatsoever. The homeless: individuals who are given a great hope and a feeling of encouragement as music fills their ears despite an empty stomach. Also, I have received more tips and generosity from the homeless community than any other person. The elderly: individuals who fall under a parallel of the children, save that their age warrants a much larger song-list of request in which I can play into their nostalgia and even touch on their emotions in an enormously sentimental way. The Autistic community: parents, children and adults with ASD are affected in likely the most profound way, in that they see an adult on the spectrum behave as if he wasn’t on the spectrum (foreshadowing). Also, giving the children and the adults a good feeling not so much of the music, but of the man playing and actually in public performing. Finally, the last category are adults and young adults: unfortunately, most of these typically have a disposition of pride and would like nothing better than to listen to the music but walk on indifferently; pretending that they’re not interested but rather more afraid of me as a stranger or someone who is in fact 6 feet 4 inches tall and likes to wear long coats and blinder caps. Nevertheless, I do in fact touch on quite a few in this demographic and they do stand pleased.
Moving on, my goal right now (and at least until this quarantine has been lifted) is to promote myself as a solo-acoustic musician and composer. The field I wish to specialize in is in fact wakes, memorials and funerals. My desire is to bestow respites and perhaps even assist in the healing that comes with the loss of a loved one. My heart broke as I witnessed this beautiful family weep before me as my music was played preceding the passing of their mother, grandmother and even great-grandmother, for all generations were present during my little performance. I had never played better in my life. I feel my empathy has been at one hand my greatest demise whereas it has also been my greatest strength. Moreover, during a season in the lives of all around the world, we as a populace that are facing a crisis such as this virus will definitely need the sonorousness of music in that I can think of no greater way to heal than that by harmony. I’m calling my practice “The Music Maker”. My slogan is “A Gift for You.” I just want to do something that I know I love, which suites me, as well as giving to others in a manner which is undeniably of mutual benefit; especially during a moment where the slightest thing could send it over due to such manifold sensitivity.
Readers, my friends and the fellow Autistic community, I could really use your help. I am not sure what I wrote in the past; regarding desires of careers or supposedly chosen professions. I know that I have not been well for upwards of about 5 years and my decisions have been anything except resolute or substantial. But, I’m hoping that this blog finds its way into your hearts in which you may mention a person who lives in Southern California that follows God to the point of a desire to comfort grieving families via music: violin; piano; singing; percussion; composition. As a simple recompense all I can ever imagine to rise to any success is that of an established healthy family and a safe and beautiful home. What more could any man of God want; Autistic or otherwise?
I’m building a website on Wix.com. It seems like it’s a pretty handy website builder. This is the link to that website The Music Maker Link to Website (under construction). I will also be trying to form a new YouTube Channel (right here: YouTube Link) to show certain examples of my styles so as to perk interested parties. The YouTube site will also feature more about myself, my story and what I wish to symbiotically offer. If you have any inclination to support me in this, I ask only that you simply share this link to my website with others. I really, really and thrice really desire to see the look of comfort on the faces of the mourning as I did when that family all sat around awaiting the passing of their beloved loved one. Also, I will try to make updates as often as I can. I pray that this profession can gain ground and not just I but we will be able to tell more about how hard times don’t have to be without some sort of healing, therapy and ultimately a comfort that transcends crisis. Music therapy is a science fact, after all. Let us spread the good news.
Thank you, readers, always for listening and inclining thyselves.
Always forever with blessings from God and my greatest sincerity,
-The Giver of Words.