Have I Offended You?

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This is something that I have always worried about all throughout my life. Reason why is because in my past, I have unintentionally done so because of not seeing a social situation on account of my Aspergers Syndrome. I have misread many a situation and ended up causing offense where none was intended. Although these days, I realize that some of those “offenses” were not actually offenses but the supposed victim of my unintended offense chose to simply take it as such. Furthermore, bullies of my past have often used this to justify their bullying of me. The result is the constant worry that I might have offended someone when I didn’t mean to at all.

This occurred again very recently. Twice a year, I organize a softball tournament where teams from all around the Southern UK come to play. We did have a team come from Leeds and one from Manchester but that was only once. Anyway, one team who has come to every tournament for the last five years without fail, isn’t coming to my one this Sunday. My first thought was that I must have offended them and I worried about it for far too long. I emailed them letting them know there was still a space available and apologized if I had offended them. Turns out that I didn’t at all. Their team captain explained the reason why they aren’t coming to this tournament is because one of their teammates is getting married on the Saturday and half the team are going to the wedding. I felt relieved.

With that said, my social bungling did upset another team. I had promised the captain of that team that I would contact them if a team pulled out of the tournament. One did and that sent me into overload as I was panicking about filling the vacated place. Also, I had heard that the team captain I had mentioned was now playing for another team. So what I did was open the invite to everyone. That team captain started getting a team together. However, another team had gotten in with their entry form so I accepted them. Obviously, the team captain was very angry with me and I can’t blame him. I have very humbly apologized to him but I haven’t heard anything back, plus I have made him special offers for next year’s tournament. I hope that helps. Still, I believe that my Aspergers caused me to bungle the situation and end up offending someone I didn’t mean to.

In this instance, I can’t draw any links with “He Was Weird,” because there weren’t any mentioned in the book. Saying that, there were plenty of bullies who were willing to find any excuse to bully Mark that there wasn’t any need for him to worry about unintentional offense. Still, I think that experience which I wrote about also has influenced the fact that I do worry so much about causing offense. It is something that comes up in my life quite a bit but I still don’t think I adequately handle it.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475004278&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

Glasses Make the Person

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Last week I had to get a new pair of glasses. The frames from my previous pair were too mangled to continue wearing so I had to choose new ones with the new prescription. After looking at several pairs, the female sales assistant pointed out a couple that I might be interested. I tried on a few pairs and one pair that seemed to work looked a lot like the black horn rimmed glasses I wore until I was 13. This brought back flashbacks to that time and lots of anxiety. While I don’t think I’m vain, I did ask the sales assistant to tell me what they looked like from a woman’s perspective and she said she liked them. Therefore, those were the ones I got.

These were a bad memory from my youth

These were a bad memory from my youth

To many people, my anxieties were over nothing. After all, why get all obsessed over a pair of glasses? The answer is that wearing glasses like those above, contributed to a lot of the bullying I received back then. I remember one time someone said hello to me while he was with someone else who didn’t know me. While they were walking away, I heard the person who didn’t know me ask the other, “Is he as uncoordinated as he looks?” There were also teasing comments like, “You’re really good looking” and when I did eventually switch to wire framed glasses, my friend confessed that I looked like a fool in the old ones above. After that, I vowed that I would never get those glasses again.

Getting the new glasses did a lot for my self esteem, especially after some people complimented me on how different and better I looked. I would have liked to say that the new glasses solved all my problems but unfortunately, they didn’t. The seeds that produced all the bullying I was going through had long been firmly rooted. In fact, one bully threatened to ram the new glasses down my throat. Fortunately, I moved out of that town a few weeks after and I would like to think that showing up to the new school on the first day wearing those wire frames kept me from being identified as an easy target. It also contributed to the fact that I only suffered one-one hundredth of the amount of crap there than I did in my previous town. So, I think that I can draw a conclusion that perhaps glasses do make a difference. If anything, they do wonders for self esteem.

This is probably why I highlight the glasses in “He Was Weird.” Mark also has glasses like the above at the start of the story and maybe that leads to him getting bullied on the second day of school. Like me, when he does get new glasses, it doesn’t end the bullying he’s suffering and unfortunately, he never gets to move to a new town. If he did, maybe the new impression would have helped him like it did me.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474485228&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

 

Intolerance Has Made Me More Tolerant

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In my last post, I talked about the intolerance I received as a youth and young adult over my clothing. Briefly, I caught a lot of grief from people because I still wanted to wear a baseball jacket when I was eleven and for growing my hair long when I got out of the marines. While it wasn’t as severe as the grief I got for my hair, I also caught a lot of intolerance over my chosen footwear, my Native American moccasin boots. The experience left me feeling rather bitter in many ways and kick started my angry young man phase, whose peak was reached the first year I came to Great Britain.

I loved these boots and wore them most of the time

I loved these boots and wore them most of the time

One good thing, if you want to call it that, arose from all that intolerance. It made me learn to be more tolerant towards others, especially in the realm of clothing. For many years, this tolerance wasn’t tested much but recently, with all the talk about women’s dress and Islam over the past few years, that tolerance has been tested a lot more and it hasn’t always been easy.

First, let me join in the burka debate. Like so many well meant Westerners, I thought that this item of clothing was a means of suppression. I will agree that in some sects of Islam, it is. My eyes were opened quite a few years back when I was supply teaching at a school not far away. The school secretary was a Muslim woman in full burka. I have to admit, my personal stereotypes here had me around the edges until the woman initiated a conversation with me. After about 0.3 seconds of conversion with her, I realised that there was an actual person under the clothing and any prejudices I had rapidly vanished. So, I don’t think the burka should be banned, after all, it’s only an item of clothing and if a woman really wants to wear it, men have no right to object.

To head off some of those who are now flexing their typing fingers in response, I am the first person to acknowledge that their are Muslim men who want all women to cover up and if they had the power, would ban the mini skirt. I too was a little incensed when I read about gangs of Muslim men patrolling the streets of East London, calling themselves a Sharia patrol and ordering women to cover up. Furthermore, I have never agreed that a woman is asking for sex just because she chooses to wear such and item of clothing. She too has a right to wear what she wants and that even includes a woman who wears a mini skirt whom some men think she doesn’t have ‘the legs to wear one.’ That shouldn’t matter.

Maybe the Mormons are on to something here. Many of them claim that a woman can be beautiful without having to either hide it or flaunt it. A point to ponder here.

I have no problem with a woman wearing this

I have no problem with a woman wearing this

Or this

Or this

I think that the French shot themselves in the foot recently when officials at a beach banned a woman because she was wearing a burkini. When she was kicked off the beach, along with her children, I seriously doubt that she went home and changed into a bikini or even a one piece swimming costume and returned. No, she will probably never go to the beach again and that’s not fair for her. So France, I think you need to have a rethink on that one. While I don’t ever recall seeing a burkini, I would have no problem if I did see one.

Maybe because I was brought up seeing them that I’m used to it but while a woman should have the right to wear the burkini, she also has the right to wear a bikini. Yes, the more religious will claim that she is showing herself like a piece of meat but I don’t see it that way. I just see a woman wearing the necessary clothing to have a swim.

Both are fine on this beach, they're fine with me

Both are fine on this beach, they’re fine with me

Now, I know that I have been mainly talking about women with religious views to clothing here but that has been the area wear my tolerance has been tested. For too many years, men of all persuations have been trying too hard to dictate to women what they should wear. I think that people have the right to wear what they like and that even includes men who like to wear dresses. It doesn’t effect my life so who the hell am I to judge. The same goes for body piercings, hair cuts or anything else that person fancies. I will endeavour to be tolerant of it because I have felt what it is like to suffer intolerance because of it.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473873538&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intolerance is Intolerance!

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Not too long ago and not in a galaxy far away, I responded on some other blog about the 1980s. On this blog, I commented about my memories of this decade. I wrote something along the lines of:

“I remember the 1980s, everyone having to work three jobs because they all paid minimum wage,  people wanting to censor music and all the intolerance I suffered for the heinous crime of having long hair.”

I wish I could have gotten my hair like this but it was long enough.

I wish I could have gotten my hair like this but it was long enough.

The blog in question was for the conservative type Americans and the particular post was against someone who wrote a book criticising the Reagan administration, so naturally, I got a few responses. The most memorable one was from a woman who wrote:

“Criticising hair styles is really intolerance. Poor victim, maybe you can get some money from the government for it.”

A man commented that if my only problem was people dissing me over my hair, then the 80s couldn’t have been that bad. Both of these missed the point. Let me begin by giving the definition of intolerance. It is: unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own. In short, a great mass of people, especially those who attended my community college, were unwilling to accept me on account of the length of my hair. Therefore, they were intolerant! Plus, there was further intolerance because those same persons did not seem to accept my reasons for growing my hair long in the first place. For those who don’t already know, the reason why I grew my hair long was because I had spent four years in the US Marines. That meant I spent four years forced to wear very short hair while in the service of my country. People were either deaf by choice or simply just didn’t want to hear my reasons. That to me is the ultimate intolerance. When someone is willing to give reasons behind a certain behaviour and people don’t care to hear that someone.

That wasn’t the first intolerance I suffered and yes, I do go over this a bit in “He Was Weird.” In sixth grade, I wore a baseball jacket. (See picture below). I admit, I didn’t get a whole lot of grief over it but I was told by one classmate that the reason why nobody liked me was down to the fact that I wore babyish things. Again, we have more intolerance. After all, an eleven year old boy wearing a baseball jacket is a very good reason not to like him, NOT! Not accepting someone because of their clothes also follows the definition of intolerance.

My baseball jacket looked a little like this

My baseball jacket looked a little like this

Intolerance is bullying, plain and simple. Throughout the ages, people unwilling to accept others for their beliefs, actions and even clothing or hairstyles has resulted in many of the human catastrophes which have taken place throughout mankind’s history. It has taken intolerance towards me for something some might call trivial, to me it wasn’t, to make me more tolerant of others, especially in the field of hair and clothing.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473101724&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Yes Mates

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Around three months ago, I wrote a post called “Billy No Mates,” where I explained how the lack of friends during the period that inspired me to write “He Was Weird,” has given me much anxieties over the years that passed. I was and sometimes am still worried that nobody is going to like me and no one is going to be my friend. Recently, I realise that there is another aspect to these anxieties that I didn’t think about then. So, I’ll post about that now.

Last week, I had a small vacation with my wife and two of my step-granddaughters in the Northern British city of Newcastle Upon Tyne. My wife goes every year (she loves the city) but this was the first time, I accompanied her in four years but that’s not important. Our routine is that at night, she settles down by reading and spending quality time with the grand-kids while I go out and have a few pints. I usually toddle home sometime between 11 or 12 and never intoxicated.

Well that was before our first night there. Now, before I go on, what you are about to read is not an attempt by me to make any excuses. I went to the only rock bar left in Newcastle and was enjoying my beer while listening to good tunes. A small group of people were nearby and the lady in the group points out my t-shirt and says it’s cool. (My shirt displayed pictures of George Bush and George W Bush about a caption that read ‘Dumb and Dumber.’) Anyway, I join these people and we get along famously. The pub closes and it is suggested we go to a place that’s open longer, so I follow them. When that place closes, we hit another place and then another. It turned out that the one guy was determined to drink Newcastle dry this night. When we hit another bar, it is now three AM and I am thinking that I should return to my hotel but this guy states that he just paid for me to get in the place so I went in. In the end, I didn’t get back to my hotel room until after five in the morning. My wife wasn’t best pleased especially as I wrongly assumed that she would be so tired from our trip and the day that she would be asleep. She was worried that something happened to me and yes, I did have to do a lot of apologising that morning.

Why did I do it? Everyone says that that was completely out of character for me. Here’s my explanation which is not an attempted justification. On reflection, because of my worry about having no friends, I have been known to respond to anyone who shows the slightest hint of friendship towards me. Like so many times in my life, these people on the night offered their friendship and in my mind, I was so grateful of this that I had to take them up on it. Furthermore, wanting to be a good friend, I was willing to stay out to the wee hours of the morning, although I didn’t consume nearly as much alcohol as the gentleman who wanted to drink the town dry. When that guy paid my way into the one club, I thought it unfriendly to then go and leave, so I stayed even though I knew deep down it wasn’t the right thing to do.

Another related topic was that throughout my early life, bullies and others would exploit my desire for friends. They would have me do things for their amusement or that would get me in trouble. While, I didn’t engage in any such activity this night except for staying out late, nor do I think that those persons would do such things, it did happen in the past. I do touch on this in “He Was Weird.” When Mark is in sixth grade, many of his classmates use his desire for friends to make him a laughingstock and then a target.

I think that friendship is a mine field with many people who contend with Asperger’s Syndrome. Like me, they want friends but don’t always have the correct social reading skills to make friends correctly. The results of this can often times be disasterous. While I wouldn’t say that about this experience because that was quite positive, I can see the potential danger it can cause.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472674930&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

Thank You, Consequences, Anxiety and Stereotypes

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First of all, I would like to express my deepest thanks for those who commented on my last post, “Sh*t for Brains Strikes Again.” People were very supportive of me and all comments are deeply appreciated. Down deep, I know that in reality, I am not stupid or retarded or have sh*t for brains. Furthermore, I know that I blew a silly mistake way out of proportion. At the time, I justified it by saying that it was the straw that broke the camel’s back because I have made too many silly mistakes like this in the past. This time, it just got to me too much but I have found like so many things from my life, putting it down on here helps me to get it into perspective and get it off my chest.

Saying all that, I still feel that I am suffering the consequences from my little silly mistake from last week. What I feared would happen actually did. Because I lost my notepad at the festival, I had no notes to refer to when I posted about the festival on my 80smetalman blog. Therefore, a post that might have taken half an hour to write took over an hour and a half to two hours to do so. I had moments just sitting at the computer going “Uh uh” in an attempt to recall moments from the festival. Even when I did, there were anxieties as to whether or not I got my facts totally right. When I write, I pride myself in getting my facts right, something Hollywood doesn’t seem to care about and that leads me to my next point.

As an American living in the United Kingdom, I have heard much criticism of Americans by British people over the historical inaccuracy of many Hollywood films. First, let me say, actually scream, that Hollywood is NOT America! Most Americans know that movies based on history are over romanticized and largely inaccurate historically. Hollywood’s attitude is why let a little thing like historical truth get in the way of a good story? Although it doesn’t help that the British media finds one ignorant redneck in the Backwater County, USA who believes Hollywood is historically right and then projects the false belief that all 300 million Americans believe the same. No they don’t!

Family Guy

Family Guy

However, this stereotype has effected me in my writing, especially in the case of my first book, “Rock and Roll Children.” When I wrote that book, I was so obsessed with historical accuracy, I feel that the story has suffered from it somewhat. I worry that if I get something historical wrong, that people in Britain will point an accusing finger at me and say I’m a typical American. No, I wouldn’t be a typical American, I would be in the same tree as Hollywood and I don’t want that either. Bringing it back to the festival, it all has me worried that I’m going to do the same there. I know it sounds daft but it’s real to me.

That was all the reason why I railed on myself in that post last week. That and the fact that in ancient times, mistakes like that resulted in being called names which I believed I deserved at the time. Now, I know better and I try to put it behind me. Writing about it here is a great help and I appreciate you for taking the time to read it.

To buy He Was Weird go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471888978&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sh*t for Brains Strikes Again

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Yes, that’s what I call myself sometimes because sometimes I do something which is ludicrously stupid and it has some consequences. Well this past Sunday, I made a hum dinger. This past weekend, I went with my stepson, his girlfriend and friend to the Bloodstock Festival. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a big heavy metal festival that takes place every year in the middle of England. I have another blog which is about heavy metal in the 1980s which is named after my user name here on WordPress, 80smetalman. At the moment, I am in the process of writing all about the festival on that blog. Before going, I thought it would be a great idea if I took a note pad to make notes of the bands I saw and general goings on from the weekend so when it came to write about it, I have something to draw on so when I sat down at the computer, I wouldn’t be there trying to claw back memories. Well, it was going fine until the very last band of the festival. During the break, I decided to go for something to eat and because I kept my notepad and pen in my back pocket, I took it out so I could sit comfortably to eat. That was good, however, when I got up, I didn’t take the notepad with me. Unfortunately, I only discovered that I hadn’t done so until I was nearly home later that night. That meant that an entire weekend’s worth of effort went down the drain and now I am reduced to doing something I was trying to avoid on the other blog.

Now, I know everyone makes mistakes. I also know that what happened wasn’t the end of the world and it for most people, it’s nothing to get upset about. However, what upsets me is that I have been doing stupid stuff like this for over 50 years! My mistakes include things like forgetting to take my trip money into school with me the day before the trip when that money was left where I sat for breakfast every morning. Another time when traveling on a plane, I put my car keys through the metal detector and failed to get them on the other end. I had to wait several hours at the airport I flew into before they were put on the next flight and returned. See, my mistakes have semi serious consequences.

It’s not only me, things like this have effect on others as well. They have gotten angry and upset with me over it and sometimes they show their anger by calling me names like the one above. Some have threatened violence on account of it. Obviously, it has also been the catalyst for much of the bullying I suffered in my early life. The problem is that I think that I deserve it. It was my stupid forgetting of something that caused them to be angry with me and their reaction is justified. Some people have a short endurance point with these things and we part company although true friends have learned to endure. It doesn’t make me feel any less guilty when I do something stupid and it effects them.

I have tried all sorts of exercises, drills and memory techniques to try to avoid doing these ridiculous things. Some of these have had limited success. In the end, I will still forget something or to do something and I will be back here calling myself sh*t for brains.

To buy He Was Weird go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471338074&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

I Did Not Copy Columbine

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Columbine Shooting

Columbine Shooting

Recent feedback from someone who has read “He Was Weird” stated that the climax of the story when Mark goes and shoots up the school pretty much followed the script of the two boys who carried out the Columbine shooting. If this was the case, then I can say with total certainty that it wasn’t intentional. While I knew some of the hard facts behind the Columbine shooting, I refused to look at the details in order not to plagiarize from the shooting.

Like some of the other books I’ve read about school shootings, there are some similarities with Columbine in “He Was Weird.” The Columbine shooters begin their spree outside the school and Mark also begins his shooting spree in the school playground. However, Mark never goes into the school building because he feels that the playground provides the perfect killing fields for his massacre, which it does. So it’s not completely the same. However, there is a bigger similarity between the two shootings. As Klebold and Harris approach the school to carry out their shooting, they see a friend of theirs and tell him not to go into school. Mark does a similar thing it “He Was Weird.” The day before his planned attack, he tells three classmates who have been friendly with him that he wants to meet them the next morning off school grounds so he can give them something. This way, they are out of the way when Mark carries out his true intentions. In both cases here, the shooters don’t want their friends to get caught in the crossfire.

I know for a fact that Columbine influenced other books on the subject of school shootings as well as mine. The most obvious one was in Jodi Picoult’s “19 Minutes.” In that story, Peter, like the Columbine shooters, sets off a series of pipe bombs in his car to cause a distraction except in Peter’s case, they have more of the desired effect. Mark uses no such things in his rampage in “He Was Weird.” In fact, the Columbine shooting is mentioned quite a bit in the story and we discover that Peter, watches “Bowling for Columbine” as an inspiration.

endgame              41py2BjZFcL._AA160_

19m     wnttk

 

While Kevin doesn’t copy the Columbine shooters in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, they definitely are mentioned a fair number of time in the story. Kevin uses them as proof that his massacre was much better planned and executed. He scorns Harris and Klebold for killing themselves at the end.

In the other school shooting novel I read, Nancy Garden’s “Endgame,” there is little evidence of Columbine in the story. Gray simply steals his father’s pistol, goes into school, blows away the main bully and then starts shooting indiscriminately. That brings me to point out further differences with “He Was Weird” to the Columbine shooting. While writing the story, I did play with the idea of when Mark has carried out his shooting and the only ones left on the school playground are his casualties, that a teacher comes out and tries to persuade Mark to put his guns down. Mark responds by shooting the teacher dead but that sounded too much like Columbine and a teacher also gets killed in the Picoult novel. Therefore, I avoided it.

Quite obviously, the Columbine shooting has inspired a ton of media. There are films, books and television programmes all inspired by that fateful day. I can say that I was inspired by it as well when I wrote my book. However, I didn’t copy the shooting when I wrote about mine.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470772727&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

I See Myself As a Victim Because I Was a Victim

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bullying-commercial

At my very first counselling session nearly thirteen years ago, the counsellor began with having me tell my life story, so I did. I unloaded how I was bullied as a child, especially those three years of hell which would eventually encourage me to write “He Was Weird” to how I was made a social outcast and even persecuted when I got out of the service for the crime of growing my hair long. The counsellor listened and added some thoughts along the way like the fact that one would have thought that people in college would have been more accepting of my eccentric dress and hair styles. However, when I finished, the counsellor’s response was, “You see yourself as a victim.”

Why I saw myself as a victim was the basic theme for the entire year and a half I was in counselling. At the end of that time, although probably before then, we reached the conclusion that the reason why I thought that I had ‘VICTIM’ stamped across my forehead throughout my life was because I was in fact victimised. Having suffered all sorts of bullying in my early life from direct threat and violence to exclusion to exploitation, eventually, no matter the situation, I saw myself as the victim. As a teen, I was the victim because I was a Christian and persecuted for Jesus’s sake. When I left the marines, I was the victim because the civilian populace who didn’t serve their country, didn’t understand what I had gone through. Even when I first came to England, I was a victim because I was American. Years of conditioning in that way has led me to go into victim mode whenever I encounter some adverse situation. Hell, even machinery is on it. I am convinced that all mechanical equipment is programmed not to work properly if owned by me.

Okay, that last one was a joke but it does show that if one is made to feel a victim long enough, they will believe they are one. Especially if they have a condition like Asperger’s Syndrome. It is also why many African Americans seem to play the race card because they actually feel they are victimised for being black. On that note, many Caucasian Americans think that their African counterparts are playing the race card to use it to their advantage, to get welfare, jobs or even get away with committing crimes. Yes, there are those who do but most don’t. Coming back to me, I too have learned to play the victim card to my advantage. Most recently, now that I have come forward and spoken out about how I was treated as a child, I have been accused of trying to get people to feel sorry for me. I don’t want sympathy but I would like the understanding and tolerance I didn’t get way back then.

Today, I still sometimes struggle with going into victim mode. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not a victim but saying that, this doesn’t give anyone an excuse to blame the victim in any bullying situation. Because most people who see themselves as victims, most very likely were at one time.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470160732&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

Why Am I So Weird? Would You Accept My Answer?

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Throughout my childhood, I used to get asked the first question all the time. Often, the inquisitor’s motive for asking was so (s)he could tease and patronize or even bully. Sometimes, I tried to give some waffled explanation but often times I would say “I don’t know” because in all honesty, I didn’t. On the rare occasion, I would make a stand and say something like, “Because I take after you.” This met with mixed results, not all of them favourable.

Four decades or so on, after much self searching and outside research, I believe I can answer that question. I am utterly convinced that I have DAMP, (Deficiencies in Attention, Motor Skills and Perception) which is also linked to Asperger’s Syndrome. My personal symptoms are the appearance that I talk to myself and go further by sometimes acting out what I’m thinking. These are the two major ones that have plagued me for so many years and gave many people the belief that I was weird or mentally retarded. I got called that a lot as a child. A less severe but relevant symptom is the fact that I don’t always see things the way a so called ‘normal’ person would. This has also contributed to my branding and was worse with the more intolerant people of the world as well as some teachers. Then there was the one that people didn’t see. What they saw is me appearing not to ‘get it’ and draw the conclusion I was some sort of thicko. What they didn’t realize was that I was processing all the available factors in the problem, including ones that might not be relevant and trying to make sense of it all. Often, that would result in overload and sometimes melt down but to many, that was sufficient evidence that I was weird or other things. In reality, it was just my DAMP and Aspergers Syndrome that was the force behind it all.

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Now that I have answered the first question, it is time for me to ask the second one. Do you accept my explanation? I honestly believe that if I were to return to the town and meet the people who influenced my writing of “He Was Weird,” they wouldn’t be so accepting of my explanation. They would accuse me of making up my condition because after all, I was such a liar back then, why should anything change? Sorry, I can’t show the sarcasm intended in that last part of the last sentence. Many of them would simply say that I’m just trying to make up that condition in order to elicit sympathy. No, I don’t want people feeling sorry for me. Whatever the reason, most of those involved wouldn’t accept my explanations for being “so weird” back then, especially if it contradicts their thin justifications for the bullying they put on me then. So, I’m not going to worry about what those narrow minded persons think. However, as for you reading this, I hope you will take the evidence on board and make up your own mind and hopefully will accept my explanation.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469560500&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird