Autism And Depression: How Bullying Plays A Part

After a while of not writing any blog posts, I’m back with a new post about autism and how depression has had a history in coinciding with it.  Because there are many people that believe that a lot of those with autism don’t feel many emotions, not much thought is given to the fact that autistic people are capable of having depression.

Like any neurotypical people, autistic people are completely capable of experiencing depression too.  I’ve touched on my history of depression in previous articles not too long ago, so I can say that I’ve experienced it firsthand as one with Aspergers Syndrome, and I’ve known others with autism that struggled with depression.  To touch on one factor of depression in autistic people specifically, I will mention bullying.

Young people with autism are unfortunately the target of bullying in schools.  According to a 2012 national survey conducted by the Interactive Autism Network and Johns Hopkins University, children with autism are three times as likely as their neurotypical siblings to experience bullying, and according to the parents that took the survey, 61% of children with Aspergers, 28% of children with autism, and 37% of children with other autism disorders have been affected.  Being bullied by others simply for what makes them different absolutely has the potential to make a child with autism experience depression because of the feelings of loneliness and worthlessness that is provoked through being bullied.  Sometimes other children will do things on purpose that negatively affects an autistic child’s senses.

The issue with depression in an autistic child or even a little older is that it’s harder for the parents or other adults to recognize when an autistic child is depressed.  The symptoms practically ‘overlap’ when it comes to autism and depression.  If someone with autism is emotionally distant or socially withdrawn, people are quick to decide that the behavior is part of the child’s autism, rather than it being linked to something else since social withdrawal and emotional distance can be common in certain autistic people anyway.  This is why it’s all the more important that parents pay closer attention and make sure to have conversations with their child about how things are going at school so that they will know whether or not things are going well.

While it’s obviously sad that autistic children get bullied at school, particularly in different fashions than others at times, this is fixable.  It can be prevented.  What needs to happen is that the school boards need to have more motivation to handle serious matters like these, and it’s the parents’ role to see to it that these issues are recognized and fixed.  As someone who has heard dozens of stories about the treatment of autistic children in schools, I can say that this is something that saddens me and I hope so much that autistic children get better treatment in the future soon.

 

Autism’s Role In… Social Interaction

I was homeschooled growing up, so most of the social settings I was involved in was church or youth group (which is more or less the same thing, just with different age demographics).  After getting my high school diploma, I had the opportunity to get involved in other different social settings like my first job, then eventually college, and get exposed to a lot of people from different walks of life and different cultures and mindsets.  While my exposure to others on the spectrum started before college, I had the opportunity by the time I went to college to meet a lot of other people on the spectrum.  I’m positive I’ve said this before in previous posts, not one autistic person is exactly the same as another.  All autistic people have different personalities, mindsets, and strengths and weaknesses.  There may be some similarities in terms of weaknesses and even strengths, but no two people are exactly the same, as is the case with pretty much anyone else in general for that matter.

So what can it typically be like for autistic people in a social setting?  If they’re different, what different kinds of scenarios are there for people on the spectrum in public?  There are many different kinds, but to keep this short, I’ll list several that I’ve observed, including my own personal experience:

1. There are autistic people who are completely anti-social.  They prefer the company of themselves instead of interacting with other people.  Interacting with other people can be considered intimidating to them and they feel more comfortable alone, staying within the borders of their minds to brainstorm and sometimes even talk to themselves.  If they have no choice but to be in public, they will stay away from large groups and stand to the side to keep to themselves and let their minds take them wherever they want to go.

2. There are autistic people who actually want to interact with others, be heard, and talk about things they are very interested in.  The third thing there is one of the truest of them all.  They want to talk to people about things they’re passionate about and interested in, but that’s about as far they’ll go.  They can sit with someone and have an almost one-sided conversation by continuing to talk about what they’re passionate about with very few breaks in between to allow the other person to talk.  As I’ve said in previous articles, autistic people hold their passions and obsessions very near and dear to them, and they want to share it with others, sometimes unaware that others are simply not interested.  I’ve learned that the best thing to do is to let the person talk and try to listen as best I can, and then when I’m ready to move on, I can politely inform the person that I’d like to talk to someone else or move on to a different subject.  If done politely and calmly, this usually works.

3. There are autistic people who want to be part of a group or talk to other people but they feel uncomfortable when placed in that setting because if no one is talking about something the person is familiar with, then it can be hard to be engaged in the conversation.  There’s also the possibility of the person feeling left out because very little attention is payed to him.  This can lead to the person feeling awkward and deciding to move on, feeling ignored and not valued.  While this can type of scenario can absolutely be relevant for other kinds of people, autistic people can tend to feel the weight of that much more significantly and will tend to think a lot afterwards about how much people may or may not value them.

So those are some concepts for you guys to think about.  One more thing to mention is that I’d say that when you meet autistic people in public, they can surprise you, intrigue you, maybe even wear you out a little bit (even have the tendency to do that), or maybe you won’t even notice them at all because they’d rather stand to the side.  Personally for me, when it comes to going out with friends, I’ve always preferred just going out with one friend because it feels good to give special attention to one friend without all the distractions of other people, even if I really like them too, and it’s easier to find my words and follow conversations.  In groups a lot of times, there’s the tendency for someone to get left out, and I don’t like the thought of being responsible for that nor do I like to find myself in that position myself.  I love to talk, and I love to meet new people and form relationships, but as you’ve learned a little bit of just a second ago, I’m pretty particular about how I go about it.  There’s no single way that all people on the spectrum approach people or conversations in public, and for people who are higher functioning, you probably won’t even realize that the person is autistic on some level until later, but regardless, I hope that listing these things helps increase  your awareness and helps you think of ways to manage these scenarios when they come.

Announcement For A New Series: Autism’s Role In…

For a few months now, I’ve written article upon article about what it’s like for me to live on the autism spectrum and how I relate to others on the spectrum that deals with some of the same issues.  Now I’m launching a new series called Autism’s Role In….  This series is meant to explain what it’s like for autistic people to interact or engage in different aspects of our culture and society and how culture and society affects them back based on my own research and my own personal experiences.

Politics, social settings, entertainment, religion, and social media are some of the topics I’ll be exploring in this series.  One of the challenges of creating a series like this though is the fact that autistic people are all different.  As I’m sure you already know, it’s not like people on the spectrum are all clones of one person with the same personalty, thought process, and mannerisms.  Most autistic people all have different ways of approaching certain aspects of our culture, but those ways are usually very unique and tend to make ‘neurotypical’ people do a double-take.  This is part of how it can be difficult and even frustrating for people not on the spectrum to relate and connect with those who are, so learning the perspective of autistic people in different areas such as politics, social media, etc is key for ‘neurotypical’ people to better grasp and understand where autistic people are coming from, even if they may not be able to understand fully or even agree.

Next week, I will post the first part of the series, starting with simple everyday encounters, then move on into more complex territory (yes, along the way you may get to learn a thing or two about my own political views).  My hope is that these articles can be read and understood by people with or without autism and that they will benefit from learning what I have to say.

More About At the End Of the Day

Well guys, for the first time in forever (yes, I used a Frozen reference), I’m posting a second article on the same day.  With the second draft of my book At the End Of the Day completed and currently being proofread and edited by a ‘vicious’ proofreader friend of mine, I am finally coming out and discussing some of what to expect from this book.  My intention is for this book to have an ebook release on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, and I’m hoping and praying that this book will see a Summer 2016 release.

To start off, I’ll admit that I’ve attempted to write a good handful of books in the past.  Some got their rough drafts completed, were half-heartedly edited a little bit, then never looked at again.  Some just got their rough drafts done and that was that, and others didn’t even get their rough drafts done and were never looked at again.  Yep, the life of a writer is not an easy one.  Many ideas that pop into my head and sound like storytelling gold typically don’t end up on paper the way I thought they would and as result, they end up facing the axe and I go back to the drawing board.

I can promise you this though: At the End Of the Day is different.  I came up with the premise and started the rough draft while I was still living with family friends for a while.  The premise came to me when I was taking a free online fiction writing class and it challenged me to come up with the characters and premise (admittedly I never actually finished the class though).  I started writing the draft, and was drawn into the world and the characters that I created, and what made this book more meaningful then the rest is that I made it far more relatable to me and my own life, which helped me come up with ideas to drive the story along.  Also, I mentioned above that I just recently completed the second draft.  With the exception of one short story I wrote a few years ago, never in my history of writing books have I ever even started the second draft of a novella/novel.  It was always so intimidating to do that, but I’m happy to say that this time I did it, and it’s something for me to be proud of.

So, here is the summary of the book, the kind you would find on the back of a book or the sleeve:

Henry Sanders is a young “unique” man that keeps himself far apart from the real world to stay comfortable in his own.  He braves his parents’ fights and he keeps to himself without any friends to push him any direction.  He loves sitting in the park obsessively studying the bridge over the river, and he writes in a notebook that he takes with him everywhere.  When a girl that he met once a long time ago suddenly comes back into his life and he’s sent to stay with his uncle and his abusive cousin for a while during the summer, Henry is forced to make decisions that will influence the people around him and his own broken self-esteem.

Ultimately I really wanted this book to focus on the mindset and psychology of a single individual as he goes through trial after trial.  What I believe makes Henry great is that he’s like me in so many different ways.  The way he thinks and processes things and some of his own experiences were things that I myself have thought and experienced, which made the book a lot easier to write because I found myself rooting for the character.  Keep in mind that this book is purely fiction in the end, and while some of the experiences Henry goes through are also my own, a lot of the others are either exaggerated or things I didn’t go through at all.  It’s a great mix of real life and fiction to create a compelling and down-to-earth story.

Something that I need to point out however is that while I identify myself as a disciple of Christ and I hope this book can glorify God in some form or another, this book is not for Christian audiences specifically.  I wrote this book with the intention of it being able to connect with a broader audience.  Therefore, the world depicted in the book is not sugar-coated and is not family-friendly.  While I make sure to keep the content on a PG-13 level and try not to go too over-the-top, I have no problem delving into some pretty heavy themes in order to get the message of the book across.  Henry has some qualities that a lot of you would probably admire and respect, but he goes through trials that some people may find difficult to read about, and Henry lives within a sad atmosphere where a lot of it is due to those trials.  The world is ugly.  The world is not completely comprised of Christians walking around doing everything right and not saying anything dirty or wrong (I will say right now that Henry is not a Christian, in fact he’s a self-proclaimed agnostic but he has his own moral system).  So with that being said, I would say to be careful about letting younglings read this book.

However, I’m also not afraid to mention God or make references to the Bible and church either.  God does get mentioned in the book and there are some interesting spiritual themes sprinkled throughout the book that I believe Christians will appreciate but will also not be a complete turn-off for nonbelievers reading the book.  My hope is that Christians will be able to read and understand or learn where I’m coming from with the material.  Most importantly, despite the dark material depicted in this book, I’m happy to say that this book also offers hope, even in the darkest of circumstances, and the ending will at least leave you feeling satisfied but also, I hope, challenged.  I can’t wait for you guys to get to read this book later on down the road.  Just be patient and I will keep you guys up to date!

 

How Feeling Sad For Others Can Actually Be A Blessing

inside out sadness

 

You all remember that amazing Pixar film that came out earlier this year?  Inside Out did a beautiful job of presenting how it’s okay to be sad sometimes, because being sad can allow you to express how you feel to someone that you love and trust, and it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders.  We can fight to be happy 24/7, but it’s almost impossible when there’s always that sadness that keeps pulling you down, and you have no choice but to either keep it bottled up, or spill it out and let someone hear you.

I wrote in a recent blog post that I have trouble feeling empathy.  I only analyze what I can see or feel myself, and I think very little about how someone else may be thinking or feeling at a given moment.  With this in mind, that doesn’t mean I’m not at all a stranger to sadness, in fact it’s a trait that keeps up with me often.  The most common reason for me feeling sad personally though is that other people often tend to put me in that place.  This isn’t usually because other people are treating me poorly or putting me down, it’s because when I see that they’re miserable or when I can detect that they’re ‘down in the dumps’ through their tone of voice and the way their eyes are behaving, it makes me feel sad for them.  When they tell me things about them and how they feel, that’s what puts me in that place.

I see feeling sad for other people as a gift.  Can it feel like a curse sometimes?  Absolutely.  Who actually ever wants to feel sad?  Who wants to go to bed at night thinking about someone and just wants to start crying?  I don’t, but I do anyway.  So what are the benefits of feeling sadness for other people, and what are the pitfalls?

Benefits

1.  By feeling sad for someone, this means you have compassion for another person.  You don’t want this person to struggle or feel miserable or even hopeless.  You’ve either cared about this person for a long time or you’ve just recently gotten to know this person and have come to care pretty quickly for him or her.

2.  Having compassion for someone usually means that you’ll feel motivated to take action somehow and try to find ways to make this person’s day a bit better and be there for that person in any way you possibly can.  If action is actually taken, it can be very rewarding for both you and the person you’re thinking about, although it’s meant mainly for the other person’s benefit, not for yourself.  Sure you probably feel good, but this is about the other person.

3.  If you’re a Christian or religious in some other way, you may feel motivated to pray for the other person.  Prayer is one of the most powerful and most intimate tools when it comes to wanting to help another person.  You don’t even have to tell the person that you’re praying for him if you don’t want to, though it might make the other person feel a little better because it’s an indication that you have him in your thoughts.  While prayer is a biggie, I recommend that you don’t use it as a quick and easy alternative so that you don’t have to feel like you have to take action yourself.  If you’re fully capable of being there for the person or helping that person, then use prayer for when there’s nothing else left, and all you can do is stand back and wait.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with praying while you’re doing, but don’t rely on that one hundred percent.  I personally believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe in the effectiveness of offering a hand to support someone if you have the ability to do so.

Pitfalls

1.  Like I said, nobody likes to feel sad and go to bed with that feeling.  I’ve gone to bed crying on weekends because I went through whole weeks of listening to other people’s stories and sometimes the problems those people have feel like my own burdens that have just been placed on my shoulders.  So while I strongly believe that feeling sad and compassionate for other people is a blessing, we may tend to use that blessing in a way that can make us depressed.  There’s the danger of obsessing over other people’s experiences and feelings and it can all deeply affect us and make us sad in an unhealthy way that affects our own lives, and then we have to worry more about ourselves then the people we’ve been thinking about.

2.  Another issue is that when other people entrust us with their stories and are willing to be open with you, there’s the danger of feeling like we’re their ‘savior’ that’s meant to rescue them from their problems and that we’re the only ones that can do it because we ‘know the person better than anyone else’.  These are all lies that must be recognized, and when they are, we need to ‘kill’ those thoughts immediately.

We may be meant to help others to the best of our ability, but that doesn’t in any way make us other people’s saviors.  We plant seeds and we contribute in this time we’re granted to be in these people’s lives, but we have to be content with what we’re able to do and have the strength to let go when it’s time and let others and God do what else is to be done in their lives. Believe me, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary.  And don’t worry, many others will come along whose lives you can work to touch, trust me.

Yearning For An Era With Less Technology

technology overload

Author’s Note: Sorry its been a while again.  Most of my writing lately has been strictly dedicated to penning the second draft of my novel At the End Of the Day, with almost 20,000 words done already after just half a week.  Its been quite a journey, and I’m excited to share some of it with you guys in the near future.

Yes, there are a lot of articles out there about rising concerns for the briskly growing age of technology in this day and age.  We see how technology takes over people’s attention and plays so many different roles in the lives of others.  I’ve spoken with friends around my age and ‘older people’ about the concerns they have for the next generation regarding the use of technology and how prominent it is in our lives.

Technology is one of the reasons why I feel like I was born in the wrong time (though I understand that this is the age God intended for me to live in).  I use technology but I don’t love it.  In fact I hate it.  The prominent use of technology in our culture is so overwhelming to my senses that my senses had to train themselves to block most of it out.  I’m thankful to God that I can be disciplined enough to tune out a lot of stuff that tries to grab my attention.  Still, I wish we lived in a less technological era.  I personally can’t stand those bright screens.  Why did people have to make them so bright?  While there are absolutely advantages to technology that makes our lives easier, there are some things I wish we can do without, and rely instead on certain other things.  Here are a few examples for fun:

Instead of having iPods, I’d like to have a Walkman – Admittedly, my interest in Walkmans piqued when I went to the theater last year and saw Guardians of the Galaxy.  What I find embarrassing though is that I just now had to look up the name of Star-Lord’s ‘listening device’ because that’s how out of touch I am when it comes to the old.  Anyway, while a Walkman does require batteries, I think it just looks more fun.  It can be strapped to your hip, it plays music, and it’s just a sexy thing in my opinion.  I’d love to see Walkmans become a thing again and iPods less so.  While I know that something like that happening is merely wishful thinking at its finest and nothing more, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

Can we please go back to writing letters as a normal thing?  While I understand the convenience of texting if something quick needs to be said, I miss letters.  Yes, I wrote letters when I was a kid.  That was how I was able to connect with people right around my age who were from the other side of the country.  While texting or Facebook Messenger can be done quickly and with very little thought dedicated to it, writing letters offers a more intimate solution to sending people words.  It takes time to think your words through when writing letters, and the more time that’s spent writing a letter and making sure it’s exactly the way you want it, the more meaningful the written word can be to another person.  Personally, I hate texting and I’m normally constantly editing my texts and reading them over and over again to make sure I’m satisfied with them.  That’s why I still call people if I just want to talk.

Now the interesting thing about me being only twenty, things were different ‘back in my day’.  Back in my day we had VCRs, CD players or radios, and the closest thing we had to some kind of iPod was an MP3 Player.  I wrote letters to pen pals and though I used email, I didn’t use it very often.  So yes, even though I’m only twenty, I have experienced the great changes that society has made when it comes to communication, and I wish it was simpler.  A lot of older adults say that technology has been getting in the way of relationships being able to form or develop, and that real genuine social interaction is dwindling.  Personally, I can argue that the situation is rather different.  In my own personal experience, while I have seen technology take control of a lot of lives, I’ve also been noticing a growing awareness amidst people like me that aren’t as big a fan of technology and that recognizes the effects technology has on people.  I’ve discussed it with people right around my age and it’s comforting to know that the entire current generation isn’t completely subdued by all of it.  Hopefully if the number of people who think like this increase, we can see a future that relies less on technology and more on forming intimate relationships worthy of our time.

Why I Decided To Stop Watching ‘Gotham’

gotham blog post pic

Note: This is something a little new that I typically don’t do on this blog site, but I honestly couldn’t think of another site I have where I can publish this.

There have been a lot of articles written in the recent past by people who have decided to stop watching shows like Game Of Thrones.  This is normally because they feel convicted by certain things they’re seeing onscreen while watching the episodes (which, in the case of GOT, I’ve heard more than enough to know to stay as far away from that show as possible).  I’m going to explain why I’ve just recently decided to stop watching an ongoing show called Gotham.

To start off, for those of you who don’t know what Gotham is exactly, it is a show that airs on FOX that is set in Gotham City from the DC Universe.  It takes place long before Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman and is essentially meant to tell the origin stories of Batman’s greatest enemies like the Penguin and the Riddler (although technically, the Penguin becomes the Penguin, like, after the pilot episode, so yeah).  It is meant to show the state of Gotham City to emphasize why the city really needs a hero like Batman, and we’re seeing it all through the eyes of Detective Jim Gordon before his days as commissioner of the GCPD.

So with that, let’s get into the details.  For one, I’d like to point out that this show is TV-14, a stark difference from the TV-MA rating like Game of Thrones has.  Over the past few years however, I’ve learned that the TV-14 rating can, in many cases, be the equivalent of a light R rating from a film perspective.  In the case of this show, this would indeed have a light R rating if it was a movie.

This show has been going on for a season and a half now, and while the first season was fairly held back in terms of content with the exception of a few moments here and there, the second season has been one string of senselessly violent sequences that almost never ends.  Limbs are hacked off, people are stabbed repeatedly, blown up, and set on fire with shockingly very little censorship in the process.  The more graphic violence is off-screen just barely enough simply so that the show can maintain its TV-14 rating.  Some particularly gory moments in recent episodes (yes, spoilers technically ahead) is when the Penguin stabs a woman repeatedly in the chest as she screams (it’s behind a door with a shaded window, but we still see enough and hear enough to comprehend the terror of the moment), a cannibal who works as a hired assassin bites into a female officer’s neck and keeps tearing until she dies while her fellow officers are trying desperately to get him off of her, and a man’s arm is chopped off as punishment for something that I don’t really remember nor do I care to remember and we see the bloody stump where his arm used to be.  These are just to name a few.  Violence is something that remains a subject of deep debate regarding its role in storytelling and entertainment.  Sometimes violence can actually be used to great effect in a story to send an important message across.  Most of the violence in Gotham however, never feels like its there for anything except to be complete shock value.  A lot of times, there’s no point to it.  It’s easy to tell when violence in a show has meaning and when it’s just shock value, and the latter is what I’ve felt all the time with Gotham.  Yes, bad guys do bad things, but how many times do we have to see it happen before the writers feel like we’ve seen enough to get the point?  They haven’t reached that point yet apparently.

I understand the universe of Batman is a dark one, but remember Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy?  I remember very little blood in those movies.  In fact, Nolan was much more focused on telling a deep and sometimes thought-provoking story without the use of graphic violence to try and get the point across, and whenever there was violence, it was used sometimes in a pretty powerful way that prompted emotion.

Unfortunately, I’m not done.  The second thing about this show that’s made me decide to stop is its portrayal of women.  Most women in this show are either mentally insane, always getting abducted and can barely defend themselves, or are simply there to be eye candy.  While there are very few actual sex scenes and little nudity here,  enough bare skin can be seen to make me feel uncomfortable, especially being that it’s in a setting where the people are real.  Jim’s ex-girlfriend Barbara is a psychopath obsessed with getting married to Jim, but has no problem sleeping around with both men and women that are willing to have her.  One of the women she encounters is the sister of the current central villain, whose only motivation is to kill, and get jealous when she sees Barbara making out with her brother.  Most of the random women we see in the background are typically prostitutes or strippers, and the camera makes sure to take its time lingering on those poses. Again, there is no real value or meaning to this.  There are some women in my life that I consider to be fantastic and talented people, and I would honestly feel ashamed if they watched this show with me, so with that in consideration, neither do I feel that I should watch it.

Gotham is absolutely not nearly as terrible in terms of content as a show like Game of Thrones is, but it has enough for me to say ‘no’, and for good reason.  If you watch this show and you don’t feel convicted by it like I do, I’m not trying to discourage you from watching it.  Everybody has their own different set of convictions.  In my case, Gotham isn’t for me.  While a few good things stand out to me in this show like Sean Pertwee’s performance as Bruce’s beloved butler Alfred and Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as the Penguin, they still don’t justify the content.  Any morals that the writers try to insert into the show are drowned out by the content and even normally feels heavy-handed to begin with, as if they’re almost an afterthought to try and give this show heart.  Batman, I don’t care that you’re Batman, this show is not for me.

Autistic Guy Goes To Sunday Morning Mass For The First Time

MINISTER PRESENTS EUCHARIST DURING COMMUNION

 

I was spending the night at a friend’s house last weekend and had to go to Sunday morning mass with them at a Catholic church at 7:45 in the morning.  I decided it wouldn’t be so bad, in fact I thought it would be kind of neat because I would be able to witness a cultural thing that I haven’t really witnessed before and learn something from it.  Well let me tell you, I learned some things alright, but at the cost of practically embarrassing myself along the way because I wasn’t familiar with the church’s rituals and traditions.

First of all, interestingly enough, the mass was taking place in a gym that day.  Secondly, there was an awful lot of standing up and sitting down throughout the service.  There was chanting, most of the words I didn’t know, but I had somehow managed to follow along with most of the words.  I didn’t believe in the idea of just sitting there and being silent.  I felt it would’ve been most disrespectful if I didn’t at least go through the motions.  Odd looks from other people came to mind.  Thankfully, it got better when we started chanting the Lord’s Prayer, because that was something I knew by heart.  Things were starting to look up a little bit in the ‘playing along’ game.

Then Communion started.  The church does a ritual to bless the Communion so that the bread and wine would turn into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus.  Now, whether it belongs to Jesus or not, I’m not a big fan of the idea of eating someone’s flesh or drinking someone’s blood.  As each blessing was bestowed individually on the bread and wine, there was a musical chime of which I wasn’t sure where the source was.  I looked around trying to find someone who was responsible for the chimes but couldn’t see anybody.  My friend’s family explained to me that if I didn’t want to take Communion there, all I had to do when I was next in line was to cross my arms together and the Father would bless me, and that would be the end of it.  Well, I didn’t know the exact timing I was supposed to do that.

While in line for Communion, I was either looking down at the floor or looking to the left and right of me instead of observing the front of the line where I would get an idea of what to expect.  Once I walked up to the Father, who was holding the bread, I didn’t know that that was the time to cross my arms.  He stared at me intently and asked me if I receive the body of Christ.  I responded with ‘yes’.  He gave me a slightly odd look and asked the question again.  I responded again with ‘yes’.  I later found out that I was supposed to respond with ‘amen’.  The Father rather reluctantly gave me the wafer and started moving on towards the single goblet of wine.  The Father tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I was supposed to eat the wafer right now.  I immediately ate it then and apologized and went on to explain that this was my first time.  The Father at the time was more interested in continuing to pass out the bread.

Moving onto the goblet, I took it and sipped.  I walked back to my seat with my throat on fire and 90% of my interest in trying wine expelled.  Mass didn’t last much longer after that, and I was more concerned about the burning sensation in my throat, and I don’t think it was the fire of the Holy Spirit to be honest.

Still despite all this, I have to give the church points for how generously giving they are, as I noticed that the ‘free will offering’ jar had a lot of money in it, and the Father is a pretty nice guy as I got to speak with him briefly after the service.  Fortunately, he was very understanding of my lack of knowledge in how Communion went.

I think I really like my home church.