When I was with my friends yesterday in Portland, I walked past a man playing a musical instrument and selling stained glass pieces. I gave the man the cursory look I usually reserve for crafts, long enough to make sure there wasn't anything I was missing, but not so long as so they'd think I was interested and stop me. This time, though, something grabbed me.
I am not usually an arts and crafts person. I think the little creations people make and sell on the streets are pretty, and I admire the colors, but I would never buy one. What would I do with it? I don't wear jewerly, and any knick knacks would get lost in a day's time, never to be seen again. Plus, most of the crafts that I might consider buying just for the hell of it are quite expensive and out of my price range.
This stained glass peace symbol, though! Wow! First of all, I love peace symbols. I always have. It's a symbol of my love for the '60s. Second, it was beautiful. The colors jumped out at me. Sky blue, light green, dark blue and dark red. Different but complementary textures of glass. I didn't know why I liked it so much, but my heart was calling out to me in a language I couldn't put in words. I felt connected to that piece. Usually I only feel that way about junk food and music. I was surprised. :)
When I was in sixth grade, my grade class all made stained glass items. I had a very creative teacher. Mine was a heart, with the most beautiful tint of red for glass. I don't remember much about it, but the shape, size and patchwork-style of this piece reminded me very much of my heart from long ago. The school auctioned off the pieces to raise money for some cause I can't remember. Of course, everyone's parents bought their kids' pieces. Even my mom, who swore before the auction that she wouldn't. Luckily, mine only went for $40. Some went for more than $80.
My heart ached for this similar piece in downtown Portland, or maybe just for the memories that went along with it. I thought, well, maybe this peace symbol can be a bridge. A bridge from the person who I was in the past to the person I am now and will be in the future. Hopefully, when I look at it, I will be reminded of strength, and peace, and the healing power of time. Maybe I will just smile at its beauty.
I stood there for the better part of ten minutes, considering, before I finally made up my mind. I wanted it. It was going to be mine. And for only $10, it was quite a good deal. I made up my mind I wouldn't spend more than $15 before I asked the price, and was pleasantly surprised when it fell within that range.
Either way, it's the first crafty thing I have ever bought in my life, and for once, I spent money on something that will hopefully have more lasting value than pack of crackers. That feels good to me.
If you like this, please be sure to visit my other website, Accepting Asperger's. A lot of my older writing is stored here, including an editorial I once wrote for the Baltimore Sun. Click here to see it: Accepting Asperger's.
What's it really like to be a 20 something with Asperger's? On this blog, I hope to explore that question. But this blog is not just limited to an audience of people in their 20s - this is for anyone who ever wanted to know anything about autism. I plan to delve into the nature and experience of autism, and examine it from as many angles as possible. I would like to start a conversation between people with Asperger's or autism, parents of kids with autism spectrum disorders, and anyone who just wants to know more. Let's explore what autism means, together.
My goal is to start a discussion on and build a community of people affected by autism - parents and adults with ASD - so feel free to leave your two cents in the comments section of any post. If you're too shy for that, however, or want to speak to me personally, you may feel free to email me at KGoldfie@gmail.com.
Asperger's Book for Sale
Common Scents: Adventures with Autism and Chemical Sensitivity" is the story of a young woman's search for physical and emotional safety as she journeys through the mountains of the Cascades, small coastal towns on the Oregon coast, and out-of the-way towns in upstate New York. Along the way, she experiences things she would never have dreamed possible had she stayed in her Maine hometown, and begins to learn the power of human connection.
Common Scents is the story of the last three years of my life. It gives a gripping view of what it is like to experience the world as someone on the autistic spectrum, and some would say, is an entertaining travel story as well. Because of chemical sensitivities, I engaged on a three year journey for a place I could call home.
Comments from readers:
"The Asperger's element is remarkable. I feel that I understand my son better, so much better. I laughed at this part.... because I've stared at my son in the same way for the same thing." - mother of an Asperger's kid
"Your writing style is SO engaging and interesting. It brings me right into the subject and I always experience a little emotional punch towards the end. In other words, this is the third time I've teared-up reading your work. Kate, you've highlighted ALL the problems with how social skills are usually taught." - mother of ASD kid
"I stayed up entirely too late reading the first 14 pages. I can relate to so much of what you write. I really think you are expressing the true experience with MCS and autism in words that convey the experience." person with chemical sensitivity (MCS)
"Absolutely interesting, insightful and witty. You've blended together your three themes beautifully (Asperger's, MCS and travelling). It seems seamless."