2.0

Three hundred sixty five days

One hundred eighty degree turn

So much difference as time moves forward

So many bridges I’ve already burned

 

I’ve walked down the path and into the fire

Where I melted to the floor

Now I rebuild, like a 2.0

Stronger than before

 

Before smiles had to be sewn on
Then I pulled the stitches out

Now I am free to feel what I please

And show it with my mouth

 

I’ve gone across the ocean

With storms and angry waves

Without the lightning, my life wouldn’t shine

Now I’m here today

 

I didn’t think I’d make it

But I’m standing straight and tall

Through the highway, I came from Hell

I’ve made it through it all

Shedding My Leather

Out of control

No place to turn to

I’m on a roll

Of old, never brand new

It feels like we stole

When I’m gone and not you

I’ve run into the pole

While you got to come through

 

Life starts to whittle

Away at my skin

It starts as a little

Then turns to a sin

I’m stuck in the middle

All’s left is my kin

Nothing is left that I will

Remember again

 

I suppress all my thoughts

Try to push them aside

They all have me caught

I’m fine on my outside

Within all is stopped

I’ve faked it and lied

For years, they have bought

Now I’m sick of it all inside

 

Lend me an ink pen

And some paper to draw

The paper is too thin

When you need to draw it all

Capitalize every sentence

So the words will not fall

To read, you’ll need a lens

The writing is too small

 

I’ve let out my past

My future and right now

Hopefully this won’t last

I’ll get better somehow

It will not be fast

I’ll need some time to be loud

Get my head out of the cast

I’ll be fine, but some time must be allowed

 

I’m working on my letter

One that’s hard to write

I’ll send it to make me better

So they will see I’m right

I deserve mean words for never

I’ve survived their bite

Their words engraved my leather

But I’m shedding it tonight

Emotional Roadshow Earned It’s Name

I was sitting in my dorm room on the computer when I first saw that my favorite band in the world was coming to my state in June. I whisper-screamed in excitement when I found out. I needed tickets with every part of me. Next step was to ask my parents if I could go. My question was answered with a yes. My night was made, as I knew I was going to get to see twenty one pilots.

 

My mother got the tickets during a pre-sale. She had no idea what the code to get into the pre-sale was, but guessed the name of their most recent album and was correct. We got awesome seats, under the roof of the amphitheater. I did not want to be in the pit. I tried that at a Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens concert. As soon as I got into the pit, I walked out and stood on the side with my dad. Too many people moving around, making you feel trapped, after waiting 6+ hours to get a good spot, was not how I wanted to spend my evening. I’m happy we got seats.

 

My dad and I left to go up to where the show was, about three hours away from home.  I finished my sixth time of watching Deadpool and then listened to the setlist over and over again while playing my DS and resting. We got up there and checked into a hotel. I thought it was a fancy hotel, but dad said it actually wasn’t that fancy. We looked around, and decided we needed food. It was decided that we would walk down to the amphitheater and then go eat. On our walk to the amphitheater, we saw zero restaurants. When we got to the amphitheater, there was a huge line of people. I’m guessing that they were in the pit, so they had been there many hours to get a good spot.

 

We walked the other way and found a seafood restaurant on a dock. It didn’t look too good and was super expensive. I was not feeling well from walking outside in the 90°+, so dad said we could get room service and go sit in the room before the concert.  Room service seemed really fancy to me, so I was excited.

 

While we were eating and resting, it started raining and stopped. Then it would start again. By the time we left to get to the show,it had stopped raining, so we didn’t stop at the car to get an umbrella. We walked down there right at the gates opening. We didn’t have to get bags checked, as we didn’t have them. We found our seats, and dad said to go to the merch table. The line was very, very, VERY long. I told dad that I didn’t need a shirt. He kept saying that he didn’t want to hear me complaining about getting a shirt the whole three hour trip home. Then it started raining on us, and we went throught the whole conversation again.We ended up waiting around 35 minutes, and I got a t-shirt that I love and am wearing today.

 

We went back to our seats and watched Chef’Special. They play alternative pop and are from the Netherlands. How cool is that? I enjoyed their music a lot.

 

Then Mutemath came on. I didn’t enjoy them at all. They put on a good visual show, but I didn’t like their music. At one point during their set, my dad leaned over to me and asked what their name was again. I told him that they were  Mutemath, to which he replied “Why are they not just Mute?”. I slapped him on the arm but then gave him a thumbs up.

Then it was almost time. My favorite duo was about to come out and present our eyes and ears with beauty. My dad went to go get us drinks, as he thought I would dehydrate, which was probably a good idea. I was worried that he wouldn’t be back before the concert started. I kept hearing people screaming, but it was for the drums, or the workers, or whatever else needed to be set up. I was looking for a yellow hat and a gray shirt until I finally saw him. I was then able to relax.

 

It got black. Voices started talking over the speakers. Then, Josh Dun (the drummer) came out and started drumming. Then Tyler started singing. They were wearing orange and black suits and black ski masks (ski masks are their signature piece). They were playing the music. Next thing I know, Tyler Joseph, singer/ instrument extraordinaire, was 30-40 ft away from me on a stand right beside my row of seats. I couldn’t help it. I broke in ugly crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes and was having to suck air in. It was totally embarrassing, but totally worth it. He ran back up.

 

Then, when Tyler changed into his black kimono with roses on it and white sunglasses, the whole crowd knew what was happening next: Ukulele songs. This meant we got to scream “yeah, yeah, yeah” whenever he counted to three during We Don’t Believe What’s On TV.  Most of us knew when to do it without him counting, but it was still fun to hear him count.

 

Traveling on through the concert, Ode To Sleep was played. This song goes really fast between Tyler rapping faster than a racecar and then to a slower, happier sounding part. Apparently this was the first tour since 2014 that they played the full song.

 

I think the next part caused the most screaming. They played some songs from the self-titled album that was made before Josh was in the band and Tyler and Josh’s first album that was self-produced and is not available for sale anymore. This was so so so cool. All of my favorites were played in a medley that flowed so well with each other.

 

They played some covers, with the opening acts returning to stage. They played a Beatles song, a Celine Dion song, a Justin Bieber song, and a House of Pain song. Guess which one most people were sing to? If you guessed Justin Bieber, you are right. I have to admit that I was singing along with it.

 

My favorite song, not just by the band, but ever,  played after a few of the radio hits they’ve had lately. Guns For Hands means so much to me. He wrote it because several of their early fans struggled with mental health and self-confidence issues. The song speaks to me and I spoke right back to it, as loud as my singing could go. The video I have was taken by my father with my phone because I didn’t want to watch them through a screen.

 

Check out these lyrics from Guns For Hands (credit to AZ Lyrics)

 

Let’s take this a second at a time,

Let’s take this one song, this one rhyme,

Together, let’s breathe,

Together, to the beat,

But there’s hope out the window,

So that’s where we’ll go,

Let’s go outside and all join hands,

But until then you’ll never understand.

 

This song made me so happy. I have it on video right under this, which includes Tyler in a hamsterball in the crowd (with credit to my father): 

 

Then, it was Car Radio time. This could possibly be their most popular song they have ever released. Tyler normally climbs one of the towers on the stage during this son, but after having to cut a show short because of it, he doesn’t. At the concert, he climbed a small tower with a platform on it. Once again, this one was probably about 50 ft away from me, and I cried again. This was a very tearful show, but they were all happy tears.

 

After the two encores, Goner and Trees, it was time to leave. I left the happiest person I’d ever been. On the walk back to the hotel, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and had to be told to be quiet when we got in the hotel. It was the best night of my life. Dad asked me if it was the best concert I had seen. I said yes, because it was the first concert I had gone to where I knew most songs within the first note, and most of the lyrics to every song. I also loved it because I felt welcome at the concert. We were all a little different, from all over, but still supportive. I had been worried all day about my concert attire. Everybody I saw was wearing a twenty one pilots t-shirt. I have a sweatshirt, but it’s a bit too hot in summer. I was wearing a Pierce the Veil shirt, and before the show, a girl walked by and said that they were going to see them soon. I missed her saying it, as I was zoned out, but my dad got me out and told me and I said thank you to the girl. We were all supportive of each other. It was the perfect concert experience. It was more than worth having to wake up at 4 am to go home.

 

Every time I go to a concert, I always say “I’m not going to sing, scream, or do whatever hand motion people are doing.”  
This time, I sang. I screamed to the top of my lungs, and moved my hands however Tyler wanted us to (at least for a little bit). I was in a place, physically and emotionally, I had never been before. The tour as called Emotional Roadshow, and let me tell you, this roadshow was as emotional as it could get.

First Interview

Many of you know that I was recently interviewed for a job. I officially got hired today. Quick on their part, and relieving on my part. The job was for a shelver position. It definitely wasn’t based on the salary or hours. Salary is 25 cents over minimum wage an hour and it is only 12 hours a week (the job description said 16 hours, but I’ll get to that in a minute). I still think that is pretty good for my first paid job. As I say to people when they tell me that I should try to get a good salary, “2 cents would be more money than I’m making now.” I honestly don’t care about salary for my first job.

I had no idea  that a part time shelving job had opened at the library. One day a little less than a week ago, I was in the children’s programming room, sitting in a kiddie chair, and  folding flyers about the summer reading program. One of my supervisors came in and asked me if I had applied for the shelving position. I gave her a strange look, as I had no idea what she was talking about. She then told me that the library had emailed all of the volunteers, to which I told her that they hadn’t included me. She then made it her mission to make sure I could apply. She asked the front desk to extend the deadline, just so I got mine in. When she got back, she said to fill out the online application that night and to put her down as a reference. So I did.

Between the approximate hours of 5:30 pm-10:30 with a break for dinner, I worked on the application with a lot of help. Fortunately, I had made a resume for a paid internship for a magazine about drones (only applied because it was writing and paid $10/hr). I never heard from them. Changes were needed on the resume. I focused more on my eye for detail and caring for others, instead of tech skills. I do know about some technology, but the new focus was a much better fit for me.

I filled out everything. I explained my volunteer jobs. It wasn’t terribly difficult. I put down the children’s librarian one of my high school teachers, and my old supervisor at my first library, who happened to have been promoted to assistant director at the library I was applying to. I had to call her and ask if she would be a reference for me. She told me she definitely would.

I was worried I would be waiting for the phone call for a long time. My family told me it probably would be a while. Then on Friday (the next day), they contacted me and asked me to come into the interview on Monday. They had just received my application that day, so either it was really good, or not many people were applying. I hope it’s the former.

I have never officially interviewed for a real job. With Asperger’s I have self-soothing techniques, or stims, that wouldn’t be appropriate for an interview. I rock a lot, rub my lips, shake my leg, and wring my hands. I also have a hard time keeping answers short, forgetting the questions people ask, and making eye contact.

To help fix this, my dad held a mock interview with me. He had me sit in the dining room. He called my name, shook hands with me, and he took me to his “office”. We had our introductions and then he asked me several questions that I tried to answer. We went through it all, while mom was listening to hear what I could improve on. Afterward, both mom and dad gave me feedback and helped me figure out ways to make answers better.

I also went to my therapist the morning of interview day. She interviews new employees, so she gave me some hints of what kinds of question I should ask the interviewers.

Now onto the interview.

The morning of it, my dad encouraged me to call the library and find out who would be running the interview. I found out that the director, another worker, and the assistant director (!!!) were going to lead it. I was so happy when I found out she was going to be in on it.

I got to the interview 20 minutes early. Part of that was because I wanted to show punctuality, but most of it is because I stress out if I’m not somewhere at least 15 minutes early. I went to the front desk and told them I was here for my interview. She told me to wait in the comfortable chairs or look around the library. Sitting for a long time was not an option for me, so I decided I would say hello to the children’s librarians. Then I thought it would be a good idea to try to learn my way around the adult section. After I figured that out, I sat down. The worker came out and introduced herself, as I did the same. The fear was huge right then. She led me into the room.

She opened the door and introduced me to everyone. I asked where I was supposed to sit, as it was a long table. I ended up sitting next to the director. The worker was in charge of asking questions, but first she told me that she had heard a lot of good things about me from the assistant director and the children’s librarian. That was a good start. We got started on the questions.

She gave me the information about what I would be doing, my salary, hours. All the basics. Then she started the fire of questions. There were no hard questions, but I did think of better answers afterward. There were questions about who I was, what I liked to read, where I saw myself in three years, strengths and weaknesses, hobbies, and others that I cannot remember. I was running on autopilot.

The ”Where do you see yourself in three years” question was hard, but my answer was simple. “I would like to take some classes at the community college and have a job as a journalist”. It was the truth. I had thought about being a librarian, but I’m not going to a 4-year college and I definitely won’t get the master’s degree needed to be a librarian. I wasn’t going to say it just because it would look good. I might as well tell them the truth.

I had gone over strengths and weaknesses with my dad as it was difficult to answer. He told me they probably wouldn’t ask it. Unfortunately, they did. Afterwards, I should have told them my strengths included eye for detail and following instructions well, which are both true. However, I told them that I was caring and loved helping others. I had practiced the weakness much more. My answer was that I was sometimes slow at shelving, but it was because I checked all the books carefully and made sure the shelf was neat.

Then comes the question about hobbies. Of course I told them writing. I was prepared for this as well. I was told to say poetry and say nothing about my blog, because it was about my mental health. Dad told me that he didn’t think it was right, but they might look down on me if I disclosed my mental illnesses and Asperger’s to them. Fortunately, they didn’t ask what I liked to write about.

During the questions, I felt very unlike myself. It was like my Asperger’s and mental illnesses had….disappeared? I made good eye contact , answered slowly, didn’t rock or rub my lips or even shake my leg. I didn’t forget what I was talking about or the question in the middle of answering. I only asked somebody to repeat a question once, and he had a strong accent that wasn’t too difficult to understand. I just missed what he was saying. I also asked some questions about opportunities for extra hours (my therapist recommended this one)  to which they gave me a surprised looks and answered. Then I asked about one of the tasks listed in the job description. The worker looked confused, but the director said that they must have put the old description. That meant that instead of 16 hours a week, it was only 12 hours. That made me a bit upset, but I didn’t show it.

When it was time to go, I initiated shaking everybody’s hands and thanked them for their time. When I left the office, I heard the worker go “Whew!”. I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad on my part or if she had just dropped something, I’m going to believe it was a good sign.

I waited for the phone to ring. I knew it was too early for them to choose. They also told me that they had a few more interviews to do. Yesterday morning, I set my ringtone and vibrate to the highest setting so I could listen to music and still hear it. Within the first hour the library was open, I got a phone call from the worker, telling me I had the job and needed to get a drug test for employment. So today is going to be scary, as I have one pill that causes a false positive for PCP, and another that tests positive, because it contains 4 types of amphetamines. I’m going to take my medicine bottles in to show the testers that I have a prescription for all of my meds.

All in all, I got the best first job ever. I get to spend my shifts  organizing, reading books covers while moving them to their correct spot, and use my alphanumeric skills. I even get my exercise, with all of the tiptoe standing, standing, crouching down onto my knees, sitting on the floor,and then getting up and tiptoe standing again. It’s an all around good job.

I go in to volunteer tomorrow, but it will probably be my last time in that position. That makes me really happy. I’m hoping the children’s librarians will still let me help with summer children’s programming when I have the time.

First job, here I come!

Hypomania Or Happiness

Dancing. Singing. Talking nonstop. Theses are a few examples of what my hypomania looks like. What is hypomania? The first thing you need to know what mania is. Mania is a part of bipolar disorder. It’s on the other end of the bipolar spectrum. and is opposite of depression. We feel on top of the world, happy as we can be for the first little bit. Then the scary side of mania kicks in. The hallucinations, not being able to sleep for several nights, thoughts of  not taking medicine, and those actually do stop the meds. Most people that enter the hospital with mania have not been taking their pills.
Now that we understand mania, we can move on to hypomania. It is basically a lower form of mania. Most people who live with hypomania are not hospitalized for the symptoms. For me. hypomania is not scary at all. It leaves me with a bowl full of happy and energy. I run down the hallway at my house instead if walking. My parents would probably zip my mouth (There is no maybe for my sister, as she would zip it after one word) if they could so they don’t have to hear my voice singing the same line over and over again from a song. Thoughts are racing inside my head, but it’s nothing bad. Mostly its just lyrics and ideas for the blog.
How do I know it is hypomania? When it’s  hypomania, I can tell because I talk way too fast and too much, I have worse hallucinations than I have during homeostasis mode.
I can’t stop moving. This doesn’t stop when I sit down. My hands are either snapping, clapping, or flapping (which is a stim I deal with due to Asperger’s that comes out when I’m nervous) I also stomp my feet a lot, shake my legs, or wiggle them. I just look happy.
Except that you’re not. Happy. that is. Hypomania puts on a mask and tells you that you are happy. It doesn’t tell you that this is not happy. You haven’t experienced happiness for years.  Bipolar and a mix of other diagnoses won’t let you be happy. Eventually people start believing that hypomania is their happy. Let’s take a little look at what happiness, true happiness, is.
Being happy is easy for some people, and not so much for mentally ill people. Yes, it’s possible it is true happiness. Many mentally ill people have settled on feeling okay instead of being happy. Happiness is unfortunately not a side affect of any pills. They can bring you up, but just to “I feel fine”, not “I feel happy”
What exactly is this thing we call happiness? How do I know what it is if I haven’t felt it so long? I had two years where I was pretty much happy most of the time. There are also times when I felt truly happy. Disney World, one with friends and one with family, color guard, helping out in the special need’s classroom, Autism Awareness Week (That my favorite teacher is doing it for me this year with her students). graduation from high school. There were many times that I had found something that made me happy. Happiness means many things to different people. I don’t your happiness, but for me, happiness is feeling at ease with myself. It is being with my family. It is helping other people. I remember one time, when I volunteering at the hospital, I was pushing this man in a wheelchair. He told me that I had done such a good job. He then took out a 20 dollar bill and tried to hand it to me. I couldn’t accept tips, but the man wouldn’t give up. Eventually I took it because his ride had arrived. I took it in and asked what I should do. I ended up taking it to the gift shop. That is the perfect example of what happiness feels like to be happy. He was so happy with me that he tried to tip me. I was just happy to see a man much older than me appreciate me so much. That is my happiness.
Hypomania is very different from happiness. For one thing, it isn’t fun to deal with hypomania. it can be hard on you and your loved ones. There is always the chance of mania, and if it doesn’t turn to that, depression is sure to come. It’s scary to not know what the day will bring and what the next say will be like when you are going to bed. Happiness rarely cause problems. It doesn’t hurt or scare you. It doesn’t define who your day is like. Happiness is a true feeling that comes out of the good things that mentally ill people may not notice. Mentally ill people can be happy. You just have to appreciate the little things and build your way up to loving the bigger things. No matter what people think. Happy and mental illness do not contradict. Hypomania is a raging fire. Happiness is the firefighter, and he always wins, if we let it.
 

Leaving The Devil’s Den

Listening in church
Always told I was safe
From hell, because he loves everyone
Other people tell me
I’m going down to the devil’s den
Just because of who I’ve become
Who I’ve become, as they see it
Is who I’ve been my whole life
I’m just letting it out now
For years I hid from the thought of damnation
Even at a young age, I feared the fire below
So I held my true self deep down
I tried the straight path to being saved
It didn’t work, no matter how much I ran
Then, I found another road
One with curves and turns
It might be harder to drag my feet
down the road to my true self
The prize at the end it far from my reach
I’ll keep on trudging along
Until I’m in paradise , and far from hell
Hell for me is living a lie
Heaven is when I am free from the cage
Limbo is where I am now
Not quite bursting the bars
Still in it for some
Others have heard I’m proud
Proud of who I am now
Proud of who I was
Even when things got hard
Now I am ready to stand up
Show the world I’m not who I love
But who I love is more than one part
Difficult to get to this point
The twists and turns have become line segments
On a coordinate plane
They are not straight and not curved
They are leaning one way
While I do the same
One way for me to thrive
One way for my happiness to show
There is only one way for me
To go down the path I choose
Not the one that is accepted
But the one that makes me happy

To The Girl I Love

To the girl I love,

 

Nobody knows who this is about.You don’t even know. I thought I’d write a short note explaining all the great things about you that make me love you.

 

First of all, you are so freaking beautiful. You might hate yourself, but there is absolutely no reason for that. It’s not just your physical features that make you beautiful, but your inside. Your laugh kills me and brings me back to life at the same time. The sound resounds in my ears for days, even when I am not near you. It’s even worse then, because I know I am no part of the laugh. It still makes me happy when others make you happy.

 

That’s all I want, for you to be happy. On the subject of beautiful, let me mention your soul. You might think you annoy people or people don’t like you, but that is the complete opposite of the truth. You are loved by every person you’ve ever come across, at least when from what I’ve seen. I don’t know what is going on inside your head or what demons haunt you.

 

Well, I know a few. I will forever try to help you beat the hard things and build you up so you can handle anything. You are so strong. I might not know your true feelings, because you always put on a happy face. It is okay to let your emotions out. It truly helps to spill out your deepest fears to people you trust. I am lucky to have gotten to see that part of you. The real you, who cares for me, needs to know that I want to care for you as well.

 

I have seen you when you look at yourself and can say nothing positive. You deserve to feel good about yourself. It comes from deep within to find it yourself. I honestly see nothing but the most beautiful person in the world when I look at you.

 

I can talk about anything with you. You actually care for me, which is strange for me as a friend. I have always had to care for the other person involved in a friendship without getting any care in return. I want you to know that you make me feel loved. I also want you to know that I want you to feel loved, and I want to be able to see you on your journey as you find yourself.

 

You are never going to know this is about you, but someday I hope I will actually be able to write a letter to you with your name on top and not just “the girl I love”. I think you are the most amazing person in the world, and I want you to know that. You are the best person to ever come into my life. I will not stop feeling this way until you say not to. I probably won’t listen and never will.

 

Thank you for walking into my life and teaching me that I deserve love, friendship, and happiness.

 

With monstrous amounts of love,
AJH