This has been a very challenging aspect in my life trying to find a place I would fit in, I found though my school years I would try harder and harder to fit in but I always felt different and never understood why. I have always been fascinated by how the smaller and simple things in life live, I was fascinated by bugs, animals and plants as I was growing up. They have a simple order of their belonging in the planet, they don’t ask for much and live within their means and don’t send out mixed messages, I think this is why we like our pets as not only are they loving but they have a simple way of life. Now you might be wondering why I am going on like this as it sounds like it isn’t related but now I will share with you my experiences. Before my school days I used to go for nice long walks with my family and go to national trust places and here I was interested to learn, when it came to my school years this happened less and less to the point I didn’t understand why I was learning about certain aspects though history I enjoyed. I spend most of my young years in England before moving out to Australia when I was 11 y.o.
Going over to Australia was a complete culture shock and the stuff I used to enjoy in England was basically no more in Australia, the history, landscape and people are different. I remember going off the main grounds where the kids where playing sport and mingling and I was happy amongst the long grass, I would level it out making it soft and lay on my back looking up to the tree canopy watching that world go by, seeing the birds and bees go about their life. The sun light catch the leaves and bark on the trees and the wind whisper through causing this nice gentle sweeping motion, I could get lost for hours looking up then the bell would go off and I would go back into the noisy, busy and dark classroom with minimal natural light.
I used to get bullied for being different one of those was because I was English and the other was I didn’t fit in with the norm, I was seen as the naughty kid as no body was listening to me, you are taught to act and think in a certain way and this wasn’t me. I wanted to learn by being outside and watching what is going on in front of me, I learn in a practical way, I can’t learn from reading a book and getting spoken to. When I didn’t meet the way of learning I would be deemed as stupid or lazy, this is how I felt they saw me and not taking the time to learn about me and the system needing to change to allow for different ways of learning. Now this does actually still ring true today for a lot of the stuff I do.
Forward onto leaving school and we go into the workforce, I would be able to pick up hands on things pretty quickly. I do actually remember when I done a VET course in Electronics through school when one day a week we would go to a college to learn a skill, when it came to the book work stuff I would fall a long way behind. But when it came to the practical side I would do things 2-3x faster than the top students in my class, I remember making 3 multimeters in the same day the others would take to make one… I would finish one and go on to the next one.
Now back to the workforce this was the same but I was teased for being different and life was different, theirs these unwritten rules most know and I didn’t know about them, I would get into trouble or I would get so overwhelmed by the situation I would have a meltdown and quit my job. I had many times where I couldn’t understand the way people done things and how they reacted, this view still follows me to this very day.
I feel most have this ridged way of thinking as it is the way they are taught through the education system, you sit in a classroom with one teacher sharing the way they think, you don’t think as an individual you think as a whole. When it comes to me I try and see things from multiple angles as I have to so I can think of what to do next if one of my methods of understanding didn’t work out. I would think of ways to problem solve and I would get a small way into the matter at hand only to be greeted by this wall, I was never going to chip my way through or climb over as it would grow bigger the more I tried to push forward. Most of the time I would be driven to frustration and knew I wasn’t going to change peoples views and opinions, when I came to this conclusion I would give up as it wasn’t worth trying.
Over the years I have tried to fit in but I can’t find my place, I realise that I need to just create my own place, it can me scary and lonely at times but if I feel better then that’s all which matters. I still feel today that there’s this big crater with everyone going about their lives and I am on the outside of that crater at the top sitting down with my legs dangling over, I look on to this chaotic way of life with mixed emotions, feelings and actions. I look at my world and it is simple and clean, it can be anything I want it to be, I might be lonely for most of it but it doesn’t mean I can’t engage with some of those people in the bottom of the crater. I can still live a nice life if I can make the balance work.
Now today on this warm autumn afternoon in Australia I feel I have accepted my place where I belong, it is on my own it does sound lonely but in a weird way it isn’t to me. I can have people I catch up with occasionally and connect to people through social media, this actually cuts out a lot of the struggles I have and allows me to relax. I have also wondered what I could do in this life and I know I can’t please everyone the way I would like to without putting myself in a vulnerable position. I have been able to learn that it is okay to be me and I don’t need to be someone else, I don’t need to put on an act as that isn’t truthful to myself. I keep thinking back to the young me going for walks with my family which has broken up over the years, it isn’t what it used to be but I can still do what I used to back then. Now what I plan on doing is just filtering out parts of my life that are important to me and areas which aren’t that bring in conflict as I don’t like that and the way it makes me feel and act.
I would love to have a simple life like the natural kingdom around us is like and having life’s little luxuries. I realise I can’t work in an office or for someone else, I need to have full control over my life because if I don’t feel right on a certain day I don’t need to make an excuse or push on or explaining myself. I can choose how long I take off without asking for permission, I have this freedom. I feel I will achieve more as I will get these ideas and work out the best approach to achieve it without forcing it.
With my photography I have wanted to make it my source of income again but was unsure how to make that happen, I was told to run regular workshops to show people how to use their cameras but that wouldn’t work for me, just so many uncertainties and pressure on me. I have worked out that I need to share what I do in more of a visual way of how I work, this is why I will be rolling more with my youtube channel later on this year, I need to get some things before I go full time into it. I will keep it simple yet informative, I won’t do gear reviews or vlogging as such but covering the important elements and show myself in the best natural way of who I am.
I would like to get to the point I am running workshops but I don’t want to do large groups and run them often, If I could work my way up to running 4 or 5 per year that would be ideal. I would like to make it a adventure so people have something to remember and stories to share with family and friends, I would love to partner up with fellow photographers and do this over a few days. I would also like to be an advocate for autism in a bigger way, inspiring others on the spectrum to keep going and educating the public into the condition and how to be more tolerant and caring, it doesn’t take much of an effort then we can all live happier and better lives.
To wrap this up I will always feel like an outsider and know I will never learn how to process the world that goes on around me as it is overwhelming. This is alright so long as I live my life the way I want to which brings me happiness and self worth.
Nothing makes me feel more myself and happy than being out amongst nature with my camera in hand, this is something I have always come back to after times of unbalancing moments in life.
Image taken by Simon Phillips click on my name to go to my IG account.