A Response To My Father’s Previous Blog Post About Growth


My dad, Lee Bezotte, has his own blog where he covers a variety of different topics related to personal growth, whether it’s working on trying to get healthier, smarter, or more spiritually adept.  Recently, he published a blog post called ‘4 Reasons Why Personal Growth Is So Hard’, which you can read here.  To sum it up though, my dad explains how it takes humility, investment, focus, and time in order to experience personal growth in different areas of your life.

While reading his post, I couldn’t help but look at the publication date and think that maybe, just maybe, this was written in response to some issues I was facing around that time about pushing myself to do the things I need to do to become fully independent.  I can’t speak for him obviously, and there’s nothing wrong with the post to begin with, it’s just that the timing of the post seemed both convenient and right, so you can look at this as me expanding on my dad’s ideas from a different perspective.

For some people, they may struggle to find the motivation needed to make something of their lives, but for me personally, it’s a little harder.  I get tired easily, which speaks about my lack of sleep routine and sometimes even my lack of drinking water or eating healthy (although I’m happy to say that drinking water has gotten better for me, including having completely avoided almost all sodas).  The obsessions for different media such as movies, games, and books that come with being in my place on the autism spectrum tends to put me in a position where I might feel stuck.  Let’s be perfectly honest, whether you’re autistic or not, thinking about the different aspects of certain movies and TV shows is far more pleasant than overanalyzing relationships and thinking about where you’ll be in the next ten years.  For me, thinking about the things that ultimately don’t matter gives me a sense of comfort.  When I’ve been confronted in the past for messing up, my thoughts turn to more pleasant things because I get overly stressed from all the emotions piling on in my head.  I may have a wider emotional range than others on the spectrum, but that doesn’t exactly mean I’m great at managing or juggling them.  When I was a kid, the way I expressed or felt emotions were typically to the extreme, and in a way, that’s still the case today.  They keep me from going to bed at times and they can stress me out when I’m at work.  My mind gets easily distracted and I zone out.  Things I could’ve easily gotten done in a timely manner sometimes don’t get done.

By no means am I trying to use these things as excuses for my lack of motivation at times.  They’re things I struggle with.  They’re obstacles that keep me from moving at a pace that I should be moving to shape the life I want for myself.  Technically I have pretty clear ideas of what I want to do with my life.  They’re all things that I want and wish to work towards, but no matter how much I may want them, I still struggle to make progress.  As my dad said in his blog post, we’re a very easily distracted culture, and I as an individual who dwells within this culture am no exception, except I also have some of the autistic traits that make it harder for me to be the most productive I can be day in and day out.  It’s going to take a lot more discipline for me, just as it does for others on the spectrum.  Some of that discipline will require sacrificing things that you love doing most, which can be a painful process but a worthwhile one.  On top of that, people on the spectrum typically can’t obtain the discipline on their own.  When I decided that I wanted to take a break from Facebook for a while, to ensure that I would actually stick to that, I asked my mom to block Facebook on my devices using an app where she could do that with any device in the house connected to the Wi-Fi.

To wrap this up, I’m going to admit something to you that would probably make some people feel uncomfortable but it’s necessary to say: in order to have the time you need to have a better focus on achieving your goals, get rid of any and all potential distractions.  Tear down your Facebook app for a while, or better yet, turn off your phone completely unless you’re expecting an important call.  If you’re working offline and you don’t need the Internet, turn off your Wi-fi.  I’ve actually done this before, and it’s rather effective.  The more distractions you eliminate, the greater your chances will be in getting work done and getting it done right.  Know what distracts you the most and do what you have to do to overcome that.  By doing so, you will be exchanging momentary pleasure or entertainment for greater and more fulfilling things in the future.  Admittedly, this is still a lesson I’m currently learning, but I take comfort in the fact that I’m actually thinking about this and wanting to reshape parts of my life.  Sure ‘wanting’ is not the same thing as ‘doing’, but it’s a start, and if you’re already wanting to do more to benefit your life in a way that’s more lasting and you formulate your own plan to get there, you’re already taking an enormous step.


Decision Making RPGs Can Be An Introvert’s Worst Nightmare

There are a lot of different ways you can learn the personality traits, habits, and quirks of an introvert, but in my most recent memory, no learning experience is quite like when you’re playing a decision making RPG with an introvert.

I recently played the video game Life Is Strange with my introverted girlfriend.  To explain briefly what it is, Life Is Strange is a decision making game where you the player is given choices throughout the game that will affect certain outcomes in the story.  Some of the decisions you make are even some of the simplest things such as choices in dialogue when you interact with other characters.  And that’s pretty much all you really need to know about the game in order to understand the context of this post.  What transpired throughout this hour and a half playing with my girlfriend was some of the most informative and mind-bending time I’ve ever spent with her (and we’re still only in Episode 1 of 5 in this game).  In this time, I’ve learned several things about her that nods to her introvert side, as well as her autism and even a little bit of her moral compass.  When playing video games like Life Is Strange, it’s pretty easy to just cast aside most of our own moral viewpoints and try different things in the game out of curiosity of how it impacts the story.  We have a desire to explore the depths of the game and see what kinds of consequences arise due to our actions.

Well, my girlfriend has no such desire.  In entering the game, she does not leave her moral values, introverted personality, and routine mindedness at the door.  By bringing everything she is with her, she brings a rather jarring but honestly oddly inspiring play-through of a video game.  Allow me to list some examples.

1. Every decision she made, whether it was the words she said to characters or the decisions she made that affected the story, had to be ‘just right’.

My girlfriend said once when going into Dungeons and Dragons that she didn’t want to do anything in a game that she wouldn’t do in real life.  In a game, she is completely and thoroughly herself.  When faced with a decision to make in Life Is Strange, even smaller ones that really have no impact on the storyline at all, she feels instantly pressured.  As an introvert, she has proven that she needs time to really think over decisions, so when she needs to make a decision within the moment, she blanks out.  While playing, she asked me what I would do in certain situations.  That pressure to make a decision that’s the right one was there and strong, despite the fact that in the case of this game, your character has the power to rewind time and go back and make a different decision than the one you made before.  She had an undeniable persistence to make decisions that were within her moral compass.  One example of this was being kind to a bully even though that bully gave her no reason to be.  Risk-taking has no room in her mind, and not knowing what was going to happen when she would finally make a decision was the most nervous I had ever seen her.

2. Her introverted personality means that she doesn’t just have a difficult time talking to people (particularly strangers) in real life, she has a difficult time talking to people in a game too.

Over the past couple months, it has become increasingly obvious to me that talking to people she doesn’t know is intimidating to my girlfriend, and that if someone isn’t with her like me or a family member, she would rather stay away.  This is really no exception in a video game like Life Is Strange.  Even though I was sitting next to her while playing, her mind was immersed in the reality of the game, and as far as she was concerned, she was talking to strangers alone.  She preferred keeping conversations short, and not prying other characters for details about their personal lives.  It was all about saying the bare minimum that needed to be said and then moving on to the next thing, keeping a brisk pace as she went about it.  At several points while playing the game, she was presented with several options for dialogue that she criticized because of the fact that all the options were practically the same, just worded differently.  She also criticized how unnatural some of the dialogue sounded, pointing out that people simply don’t talk that way (I never said it was the most well written game out there).  Criticisms like these actually stumped her at times, because she didn’t know how to proceed without the conversation feeling awkward.

3. And finally, the stereo story and breaking into a room

My girlfriend is a person of routine, which I suppose you can connect with both autism and the personality of an introvert.  What had to be the most jarring part of playing the game with her was when I attempted to be funny by turning on the stereo in the main character’s dorm room and then leaving the room with the stereo still on.  My girlfriend hated this, and insisted I go back and turn the stereo off since it’s ‘a waste of electricity’.  Yes, that’s right.  My girlfriend was thinking about the electric bill in a video game.  That sense of routine and responsibility is with her even when playing a video game like Life Is Strange.  When the main character had to go into someone else’s room while she wasn’t there in order to find something of importance, my girlfriend urged me to be fast so that we wouldn’t get caught, even though I knew we weren’t going to.  I assured her of this, but she wanted me to be quick anyway, which again emphasizes how meticulously she thinks of everything, even in a game.

Even now, my mind is racing trying to figure out what all of my girlfriend’s habits and quirks while playing the game link back to.  Some habits were very obviously her introverted personality but others seemed like something else entirely.  Autism possibly, but not overtly so.  My girlfriend told me it was simple immersion, though in this case I’d argue the immersion was far deeper than even find myself in in video games.  Often times I just play them for the fun of it.  If nothing else, this story illustrates what certain scenarios can present for a couple on the autism spectrum, or even simply a couple with one person being introverted.  It’s a wild, weird world and I’m speechless at times when I’m a part of it, but I also can’t help but be drawn to it.  So yeah, if you’d really like to see what makes you and your significant other different from each other, play a game like Life Is Strange.  You might be surprised what you’ll encounter.

Bringing A Little Compassion To Valentine’s Day

It’s the week of Valentine’s Day again for the world.  For some people, it’s considered a holiday excuse to go out with their significant other and have a good time while for others it’s Singles Awareness Day.  In the past, I’ve posted blogs with dating and relationship advice, including specifically for people on the autism spectrum.  This is primarily a blog site about life and experiences on the autism spectrum after all.  To mix things up and try something different this time however, I will be tackling how people who are in relationships should look at those who are not, more specifically how our perspectives should be on people who are single and on the spectrum.

For me personally, the truth of how much it can hurt for a person on the autism spectrum to feel alone comes out the strongest through my middle brother.  Many times he has pointed out to me how he doesn’t feel like he has it in him to attract any potential partner and that no girl will ever like him.  Sadly, this sort of mindset can be common in other people on the spectrum as well.  The documentary Autism In Love is an excellent example of showing us an individual on the spectrum who feels like he has no real worth that any woman would find in him.  In this case, the young man even goes so far as to hate the fact that he has autism, because he feels like it is ultimately the obstacle blocking him from being able to be successful with dating, and even successful in other areas in life.

If you’re in a healthy relationship with a good partner and find yourself happy in it, congratulations!  You jumped through some high hoops and worked hard to get to where you are now.  Obviously, you should feel proud of yourself for making it in a dating relationship and for doing all the hard work that comes with it.  It is never okay however, to think that you’re above people who are single and haven’t succeeded in winning someone over.  You’re not ‘better’ than that person.  The same goes for autistic people who have struggled to get into a dating relationship.  If a person on the spectrum is struggling to romantically bond with someone, chances are that person is struggling in other areas too.  Like anyone else, that person has areas that he or she needs to grow in before being able to take certain steps in life.  Everyone has to do that, and everyone does it in different ways.  So when a person on the spectrum is having trouble, understand that that person has limits and needs extra help doing things that others take for granted, and that includes being able to bond with others, even if it’s to be just friends.  It’s hard enough sometimes for an autistic person to make friends, so naturally it’s an even greater challenge for an autistic person to date someone.

It’s alright to point out the things that a person may be doing wrong, but it’s important to be encouraging as you go about it.  Believe me, as someone on the spectrum myself, I can confirm that encouraging words make a world of a difference.  They can inspire and motivate anyone, even autistic people who can prove to be challenging to communicate with.  It might take a little more time and effort, but it does leave a positive effect.  Autistic people are more likely to work towards changing some of their behaviors and habits that are inappropriate socially if the person telling them what needs to be fixed is encouraging and life-giving.  Be life-giving, and you may see that person with someone else, be it friend or date, in due time.

Valentine’s Day is a romantic time for people in relationships (the consumerism and Hallmark leadership of the holiday is irrelevant here) while it may be a somewhat depressing time for people who are not.  It can play as a reminder that they’re alone.  If we see ourselves on the same level as everyone else though, and choose to carry compassion for those who feel alone, then you might just be partially responsible for a Valentine’s Day where someone who once felt lonely is now happily out with a special someone.

When A Story Goes To Die

It is with a heavy heart that I recently had to shelve a story of mine for the time being until further notice.  It’s possible that I won’t even ever get back to it.  It’s a book that I worked on for over two years and spent two and a half drafts trying to get right.  The story went through major plot changes as the process went along, to the point where by the time I was on the third draft, the story was barely recognizable from what it was in the first draft.  Eventually, I reached a point where, even though I had a few solid ideas to drive the story, I still didn’t have a real, defining factor to outline the point of the story or enough real ‘plot’ to help the story have a tight, readable pace.  In other words, there’s not enough there.  In the end, there are plenty of other ideas for stories I have that have greater potential for being successful, and I also have my nonfiction book The Pancake King in the works, which also has greater potential.

One of the reasons why I was so consistent with this book as opposed to others I tried writing is because so much of it was inspired by a certain stretch of time in my own life.  The main character and me had a lot in common, which helped keep the passion I had in the story alive for so long.  It was the most for a book I’ve ever written and brainstormed for, which I tended to pat myself on the back for because of my persistence.  I even requested help from a family friend who had a lot of experience in editing after finishing my second draft.

Having to shelve or completely discard a story, especially one that you spent so much time in, simply put, sucks.  You thought you had something and you were desperate to make sure you got it right, but no matter how many times you try, you can’t get it just right.  You can’t get it exactly the way it should be.  Having to discard a story is nothing to be ashamed of.  It happens, even to some of the best writers.  It doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer.  It doesn’t even mean you don’t have a good story in you.  Even some of the most mediocre of stories have at least a pinch of ingenuity (believe it or not, I thought the movie The Room could’ve been great as an actual story and not as one of the most beloved movies to be hated if, well, almost everything about it was changed).

If a story you’re trying to write isn’t working out, and you’ve spent so much time trying to get it right, maybe it’s a sign that you should take a break and try something different.  If we spend too long struggling to “perfect” an idea we have, we miss out on all the other things we can accomplish.  All of the better ideas wait on the back burner while we try and get an idea out there that’s only half-baked or not even fully realized.  If it’s clear that something you’re working on isn’t working out, this doesn’t mean it never will.  It’s possible that while you’re working on something else or even doing something as simple as taking a walk (preferably not now for the latter, it’s currently freezing out) that one amazing idea you needed will pop into your head, and you’ll have exactly what you need to go back to your original project and give it that touch to keep moving forward.

As for me, I will continue writing new material based on new ideas and continue to work on The Pancake King, with every intention to make the latter the best I can make it be.  My hope is that it will be a start for my own life as a published author.

“I wrote a book. It sucked. I wrote nine more books. They sucked, too. Meanwhile, I read every single thing I could find on publishing and writing, went to conferences, joined professional organizations, hooked up with fellow writers in critique groups, and didn’t give up. Then I wrote one more book.” – Beth Revis

‘What To Say Next’ by Julie Buxbaum Book Review

Normally I don’t write book reviews on this blog, but in this case, I feel obligated to thanks to a book I just finished today.  What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, released on July 11, 2017, is a YA novel about a teenage boy with Asperger’s (the book specifically uses the word too) named David and a ‘neurotypical’ girl named Kit meeting each other and forming a special bond.  Together, they try to learn all the details surrounding the car accident that killed Kit’s dad in the hopes that Kit can reach a greater sense of closure.

Going in at first, I had no idea either of the characters were going to be autistic, so I was caught off guard pretty quickly by David’s POV, taking into account his heavily analytical way of seeing everything around him, and how he records his observations in his notebook.  He is an incredibly intelligent young man with all the skills he needs to be at the top of his class, also possessing a heavy reliance on math to answer all of his questions.  These are all good things except for one problem: while he succeeds in numbers and analysis, his greatest weakness lies in social interaction.  He fails to understand or be able to pick up on social queues.  Emotions are difficult for him to comprehend or be able to handle on his own.  That all being said, making friends is nearly impossible for him, which even leads him to say that his own sister is his ‘best friend’ because she’s the only person who will really listen to him and hear him out, giving him the best advice she can in turn.

While David ended up being the main draw for me (this isn’t to say that Kit was a bad character by any means), this book is told through two different perspectives: David’s and Kit’s.  This creates an intriguing structure for the story because not only do we get to see a story unfold through the eyes of someone on the autism spectrum, we get to see it through the eyes of someone who’s ‘normal’, which means we see a normal person’s reactions to the actions of someone with autism–and boy do we ever.

David’s personality, social experiences, and overall worldview not only reminded me of myself but also multiple people on the spectrum I’ve met and known.  This book does an excellent job giving us a character who feels believable when it comes to autism, rather than just giving us a stereotype that ends up negatively affecting people’s thoughts on the subject.  Some of the things that David says in this book hit very close to home for me, and in some cases even made me laugh, not because I like mocking people like him, but because it’s refreshing to read about someone who’s like me in a lot of ways.  I felt sympathy for him when he was getting bullied, I was happy for him when he succeeded in his goals, and I rooted for him when he struggled with emotions that he didn’t know how to deal with.

At first glance, it would seem inevitable that this is a YA romance and that David will win the girl in the end.  Fictional stories about young people on the spectrum finding love seems to be something fairly new springing up in our entertainment like the Netflix Original series Atypical, or in real life cases, the documentary Autism In Love (another thing you can find on Netflix).  I’m happy to say that while romance is indeed something you’ll find in this book, it’s hardly the focus.  It is ultimately a story about a boy on the spectrum trying to maintain and hold together a friendship, which can be hard enough without romance in the mix.  This book deals with other themes such as loss and regret, both of which are handled effectively.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, not just because of the insight it provides for both sides of the coin when it comes to autism, but also because it’s just a really well-written story with a few great plot twists weaved in to keep you reading.


Night Of the Living Anxiety Cyclone

For some people, anxiety doesn’t come from any specific source or thought, whether it be a single one or multiple thoughts.  For others, it’s an overwhelming number of different thoughts and sources of worry.  For me personally, it’s usually just one single thought that can put me through an anxiety episode.  Something that gets my heart racing fast, gets my hands shaking, and my stomach twisting.  While having one of these episodes, all I can do is sit and stay in the same place for a prolonged period of time.  I feel frozen in place and stuck in time.  The source of my anxiety is all I can think about (with dozens of different images from completely unrelated things cycling through my head as I discussed in a previous blog post).  I can’t watch any movies or TV shows I haven’t seen before because a) I won’t be able to focus long enough to enjoy them and b) whatever conflict or drama the characters experience only makes me feel more anxious.  I’ll drink a lot of water, try to pray, and try to start a conversation with someone via call or text so that I don’t feel alone.

It can be a challenging struggle, and will usually last a couple hours.  I’ll end up spending a significant amount of time analyzing the source of my worries, and even if I have enough evidence to support that there’s nothing to worry about in the first place, my mind keeps searching, constantly feeling as though something isn’t right, until I’m too tired to keep thinking and I just sleep.  It’s tiring, overwhelming, and simply no fun.  It has been a periodic thing for me growing up, and while those episodes are not nearly as frequent for me as they used to be, once in a while I’m reminded of some of the things I’ve had to endure growing up, as someone who has fought with anxiety, and someone who has the tendency to overthink things and analyze the smallest details.  This insistence on uncovering the most insignificant of things is part of the source of my anxiety, because if I struggle to find a solid answer in my analysis, I grow worried about what I could be missing or that something is seriously wrong.

You’d think that with how increasingly deep I get in my analyzing, I’ll end up tearing a hole in the universe itself, exposing a whole new one beyond.  Being an analyzer and an overthinker has its merits for sure, but anxiety is guaranteed to come as a side effect, which is why a little more mindfulness in how you want to proceed thinking about something is important.  You need to ask yourself the question: Is it really something worth looking into?

One way that has actually helped me from overthinking about meaningless things, therefore getting anxious over it, is to just shrug and say ‘I don’t know’.  When you’re about to overthink something, it already means that you don’t know the answer, and it doesn’t matter how much time you spend analyzing it on your own, you’re never going to find the right answer.  By just saying ‘I don’t know’, it’s being humble and confessing that you really don’t know all the answers and that that’s okay.  It’s shutting down the endless, anxiety-ridden train of thought before it even has the chance to begin.

People who overthink may be smart, but not a single person knows every answer about the universe.  In certain situations, it’s okay to shrug, be humble, and just admit that you don’t know.  It’ll save you from a lot of trouble in the future.

What Does It Mean To Doubt Yourself?

What does doubting yourself mean to you?  I know a little bit of what that’s like.  Two and a half years ago, I would be going home on the bus and then walking the rest of the way wondering if I was going to get confronted about something, typically a mistake I’ve made, upon walking in.  I wasn’t living with my parents, and more often than not, I felt very alone.  I hated myself for having autism.  I hated the fact that there was something ‘different’ about me, even though I welcomed a different way of thinking and seeing the world.  At the time, I started really looking for different ways that I could view the world than the one I already had, because more and more it was feeling like my stance wasn’t doing anything good for me.  So much was happening at the time that caused me to see things differently, and the more I did, the more I wondered if it was remotely possible for me to fit in in the world somehow.  I would come to learn later that fitting in in the world isn’t a priority that I need to have my gaze fixed on.  Instead of trying to figure out other people, my attention should be on trying to figure out myself.

I’ve had the tendency to question every action I take and every word I say, and those questions usually had seeds of doubt sprinkled across them.  The question I usually asked myself is ‘is there anything even remotely wrong with what I’m doing?’.  Now the question I ask myself is ‘what can I do to stop doubting myself?’  When can I actually kick back, relax, and feel comfortable in my own skin?  I think we’ve all asked ourselves those questions at one time or another, and for some, it’s something that weighs heavy on their shoulders on certain days, and it threatens the good things they have in their lives.  My own self-doubt has threatened to taint the good things in my life and cause me to view them as too heavy a burden to maintain and preserve.  Our self-doubt prevents us from succeeding and moving forward and making any progress in our lives.  Mastering our self-doubt is no success to be proud of, as allowing our self-doubt to take control of our lives eventually leads to fear, which is even more crippling.

Mastering self-doubt is no feat that I want to be successful at, but self-doubt is something that I can know a lot about, so that it’s easier to recognize it, then be able to confront it and fight back.  Self-doubt becomes particularly apparent when you act in a certain way around other people that you simply are not.  I believe that if God created me, then I must have some worth to begin with.  To spend time questioning that and beating myself up for the mistakes I’ve made is time that could be better spent searching for what makes you something with worth.  To act completely as yourself is a sign of acceptance for who you are, and it’s also the most attractive to other people.

So what are the things in your life that causes you to doubt yourself?  Do you doubt yourself as a whole or just some of the things you participate in or want to participate in in life?  I’ve been known to feel self-doubt in both cases.