Tag Archives: Poems

“Telling Your Story with a Purpose”

It has been awhile since I wrote. I am a single mom working three jobs and home schooling my two children at the same time.  I have just been a wee bit busy lately.  Now that the end of school rush is over and summer break is upon us, I am down to working one job and teaching only one home school summer course. This leaves me with enough time and energy to devote to writing again.   

I started writing a blog on Tumblr back in September 2012. I was just beginning to find my “voice” back then and was encouraged by a fellow teacher and parent to start writing in a more public venue. It took a lot of encouragement by my friend, but eventually Geeky Science Mom’s Tumblr was born.  I didn’t really have a focus of the blog in the beginning. 

At that time a Tumblr blogger still needed to know the codes in order to properly format their blogs. I was learning and experimenting and reaching out to people in cyberspace to see how I could help. My Tumblr may have started as a cat, fandom, art, science, parent, and autism information page, but my blogs eventually became longer and longer.  My writing became more focused as well.

I was diagnosed in December 2011 at the age of 36 after both my children were diagnosed. Here we are five and a half years later. During that time I have completed a Master’s degree that started out with a focus in Science Education and ended with a focus in Autism Education.  We moved across the state to start a new life where my children could have access to better opportunities.  My marriage fell apart shortly after.  My ex-husband came back three years later, but it didn’t work out due to his abusive nature.  

For more information about my experience with emotional abuse and how to deal with it:

Invisible Scars – A Tale of Emotional Abuse  (June 9, 2014)

Dealing With Emotional Abuse in Families (May 5, 2016)

So many things have happened in my life in what feels like such a short time. I just turned 42 a couple of weeks ago. I never ever thought that I would be a single mom with two teenagers, homeschooling, and working three jobs just to make ends meet.  I have been a teacher for 19 years. We are on Medicaid, because I am not eligible for medical insurance through my employers due to my part-time standing. We are on food assistance.  My daughter is on SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).  We live in a rural community.  The three of us live in a very small two bedroom apartment.  Part of the living room is partitioned off so my son can have a bedroom.  Everything we own is old.  We can’t even afford the luxury of television services, but we have a Wii player that was a Christmas gift that we play Netflix through.

The Aspie Teacher blog was created to tell the story of my family’s journey, but I tell the story through my perspective.  When I tell my story I am coming from a lot of different angles that I have personally experienced.  I don’t just share my story to complain.  Yes, I have experienced a lot of heartache in my life, but the purpose of my blog is not to just complain about the hardships I have experienced. 

I have a personal philosophy. To me, helping one person at a time is worth all the effort I put into my work.  If I can help make one person not feel alone, help one person make their life better, then it is all worth it. I believe in the idea of paying it forward.  I help one person, then that person will go help another, and so on and so forth.

I had a friend help me find my “voice” after a life time of feeling ignored, dismissed, and squashed into a box that I didn’t fit in. I have spent a life time of having to deal with things on my own, crisis after crisis and feeling abandoned and not understood when I reached out for help.

“What I remember most about emotional abuse is that it’s like being put in a box. How you end up in there is the biggest trick – I never managed to work that one out. Maybe you think it’s a treasure box at first: you’re in there because you’re special.

Soon the box starts to shrink. Every time you touch the edges there is an “argument”. So you try to make yourself fit. You curl up, become smaller, quieter, remove the excessive, offensive parts of your personality – you begin to notice lots of these. You eliminate people and interests, change your behaviour. But still the box gets smaller.

You think it’s your fault. The terrible, unforgivable too-muchness of you is to blame. You don’t realise that the box is shrinking, or who is making it smaller. You don’t yet understand that you will never, ever be tiny enough to fit, or silent enough to avoid a row.”

It’s time to make emotional abuse a crime – Lauren Laverne  (via trashysnacks)(via gularasi)

I don’t want others to have to go through what I did. I want to help them find their “voice”.  I want them to feel safe to tell their story if they want to.  I want others to feel that they are being heard and understood, but this requires that the writing have a purpose so you can grab the audience that the writing is intended for.

How does one tell their story with a purpose?

Recently I went to a training that was entitled “Telling Your Story with a Purpose”. A lot of good advice was provided and what was shared reminded how I struggled over the years with disclosing about my disability, my PTSD, and how much should I disclose about my family and personal experiences.  It took me eleven years to finally be able to share all the parts of my medical trauma publicly in one place, which you can find here –The Volcano is Awake.

When I finally was able to publicly share my medical trauma that led to my diagnosis of PTSD, it was such a release. It was finally out there.  Once it was out there I was able to make some very important decisions about my life.  Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries were absolutely necessary if I was going to be able to make any further progress in my recovery.  The story that first started The Aspie Teacher blog was to jump-start a necessary step in my recovery, but also to let others know about autistic burnout and about trauma bonds. The purpose of my story was not only about helping me. It was to help others as well.   

Telling your story doesn’t have to be in the form of a blog. It could be in poetry, or song, or dance, or in a painting or drawing.  The list goes on.  In June of 2016, my son was finishing up a unit on poetry.  The final assignment was to write two poems in the form of his choice.  He worked very hard on metaphor usage.  His poems told stories and you can find those stories here – An Awakening.

It takes a lot of time and a lot of courage to come out and tell your story. It is not an easy thing to do and it is not for everyone.  Finding your “voice” is also a challenge, but social media platforms are making it easier for people to find a way to express their “voice” and reach out to others who will hear them and connect with the story. 

I follow the three C’s – You have to make a Choice to take a Chance or nothing will ever Change. I made a choice to take a chance with telling my story and things changed for me.  I began to feel more empowered and more sure of myself and my abilities.  Finding my “voice” changed my world for the better. 

Here is a video that I thought fit with the message of this blog – One Small Voice | ASL | Educational Songs | Kids Videos | YouTube for Kids | Jack Hartmann

Here are the lyrics to “One Small Voice”

With just one small voice
Singing out a song
With just one small voice
Singing sweet and strong
One by one they’ll grow
And together sing along
And then soon all the world
Will be singing

With just one small voice
Singing out a song
With just one small voice
Singing sweet and strong
One by one they’ll grow
And together sing along
And then soon all the world
Will be singing

The following lists were put together by the Seattle Children’s Hospital – Center for Children With Special Needs and the Washington State Department of Health

Things to Think About When Telling Your Story in Public

  1. You have some distance and perspective on your experience vs. being in the midst of it or still actively working through it.
  2. The story has benefit for others. It’s not about your personal agenda, frustration, or current issue.
  3. You feel ready to share it. Trust your instincts. Share parts of the experience that you are ready for now – you don’t need to tell it all.
  4. You are relatively comfortable talking about your experience. It’s not at your expense – you don’t feel overly vulnerable, exposed or shamed.

Guidelines for Self-Disclosure When Presenting

  1. Stay with the focus of your message – less is usually more.
  2. Protect the privacy of others.

**Remember – When it is put online, it is online forever. Privacy of others must be protected.

Hear My Battle Cry

Here I am sitting at my lap top again trying to find words and at the same time I am listening to “Battle Cry” by Imagine Dragons.  I am in a battle now, a battle to just hold on, to make it through, and to survive.  Life shouldn’t be this hard.  How did my life get so hard? I will not give up, though.  I will keep fighting. This is my battle cry!

Hear My Battle Cry

I will make it through!

I will survive!

Hear my battle cry!

 

I may be hungry.

I may be cold.

I may be in pain.

 

But, I will make it through!

I will survive!

Hear my battle cry!

 

I may feel hopeless.

I may feel lost.

I may feel alone and isolated.

 

But, I will make it through!

I will survive!

Hear my battle cry!

 

My body may be taxed.

My mind may be flooded.

My spirits may be shattered.

 

But, I will make it through!

I will survive!

Hear my battle cry!

do-not-give-up

An Awakening

My son is thirteen years old and he just finished 8th grade.  He has proclaimed for years that writing is his nemesis. He is autistic and has been diagnosed with two writing disabilities, dysgraphia and a written expression disability.  He is highly verbal.  So much so, in fact, that his brain often times goes faster than his mouth and he ends up talking so fast while clenching his jaw that people have a hard time understanding him.

He sees such wonder and beauty in the world and is a total knowledge junkie like me.  He saw the ocean for the first time when he was seven years old and the way he describe what he saw was pure poetry, such detail and emotion wrapped up in wording that is not typically used by a seven year old.  He didn’t realize that he had described the scene before him with such beauty. He was so overwhelmed with awe that the words just came out of him. He still doesn’t believe me when I tell him the story of that first trip to the Pacific Ocean. He continued to express himself in poetic terms when describing new experiences, but he never clued into what he was doing.

My son struggles a lot with self-esteem when it comes to producing written material.  Reading and speaking come easy to him. Science, math, history are all subjects he enjoys, but when it comes to writing, he wants nothing to do with it. He explained to me as I was writing this blog, “I want to run away from writing. In fifth grade I didn’t even want to acknowledge that writing existed.”

The thing is, writing is necessary. It is everywhere in everyday life.  It is essential to learning and it is an essential job skill.   Writing skills are an important part of communication.  If writing is so important, what do you do when it is incredibly difficult to get your thoughts down in written form?  What do you do when you don’t have access to a keyboard and your hand doesn’t want to cooperate in forming letters with a pencil?  This is what my son has struggled with all his life. In most cases he has avoided writing when ever possible. Then came the option of typing, which he also struggled with, but has greatly improved upon with ongoing practice. The schools where he attended before also would not address his writing difficulties. With the help of a special education tutor these last few years, my son has really blossomed in being able to articulate his thoughts in the form of writing on the computer. 

My son has been homeschooled full-time these last two years. In the state we live in, students are required to show proficiency in interpretation of other people’s writings.  Interpretation can be difficult to someone who is autistic, particularly due to many who think in literal terms. My son is no exception. My son’s tutor recommended poetry to him as a way to try to practice slowing down when speaking to people. He was to start reading it out loud, but he did not feel comfortable doing that.  What I ended up doing instead this last quarter of the school year was help my son learn how to interpret other people’s writing by completing three poetry analyses and then having him write he own poems in any form that he wanted.

He has definitely struggled with this project.  The first poem he tackled was “The Road Not Taken”, by Robert FrostMy son is very literal and this first poem caused a lot of difficulties for him.  What we decided to focus on was helping him understand what a metaphor is.  The second poem he tackled was “A Bird, came down the Walk”, by Emily DickinsonThis poem was a little easier for my son to analyze, but he still had some trouble trying to figure out the meaning behind the poem was.  The third and last poem he analyzed was “The Raven”, by Edgar Allan Poe. This analysis came easy to my son.  He connected with the poem.  He knew right away what the poem was about, which is depression.  Unfortunately, my son is very familiar with depression.  He was diagnosed with depression when he was six years old. In fact, it was his depression that lead him to a counselor that began questioning if he was also autistic.  This questioning lead him to finally being diagnosed with Autism along with various anxiety disorders. 

With this poetry project, My son has become much better at interpreting other people’s writing, but I am also sadden that the poem he connected with was a poem about depression. This whole project has been an eye opener to both my son and I, a kind of an awakening. Again, I saw this ability in my son that still hadn’t been really tapped and brought out into awareness.  It seemed the right environment, a little prodding, and LOTS of encouragement was what was needed. My son learned that he could express himself in ways he hadn’t really consciously explored before. He still doesn’t think he is very good at writing poetry, but I reminded him that he is just starting.  It takes practice and patience to develop a skill.  

The last part of the project was for my son to write his own poems.  He has graciously allowed me to publish them here.  Again, he had so much trepidation about writing these poems. He felt it was something that he really couldn’t do very well and this thinking he had about his ability as a writer really bothered him.  He worked very hard on his metaphors. He really wants people to understand what he is trying to express in his poems.  He wrote them all on his own.  He had no help from his tutor and only a little advice from me on ways to structure a poem All the words are his.  All the imagery is his.  All the metaphors are his. I hope you enjoy.


Poem #1 – Written on June 2, 2016

The Unknown

The unknown, a place of festering dreams, ambitions, and fear.

A place some never dare see.

Some throw themselves into the fog of war, to fall into fire.

There are those who sidestep the smoke to never move at all.

Even the armed can be flatted if they sway.

Some spot greatness beyond the fog, but do not cross, they do not change.

Those who do become colossus.

A well-chosen path can turn an infant into a giant.

Traverse the unknown and find greatness.


Poem # 2 – Written June 8, 2016

Britannia’s Call Against Rome

Against the red flood, against the force of extinction!

They think us barbaric; think us monsters, even though genocide is their trade!

Their discord is they bring prosperity.

In which twisted life is loss of identity a paradise?

Their accursed banners have reached our shores.

We shall stop our quarrels to stop these invaders.

If we do not, we will fall into their maws!