Autism is a brain development disorder that impacts the brains ability to process information by altering how nerve cells and their synapses organize. It is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. The ways to tell if a child has autism is through a lack or delay of spoken language, little to no eye contact, lack of interest in peer relationships, lack of spontaneous play and a fixation on parts of objects. Aspergers ( affects the ability to effectively socialize and communicate)and Rett syndrome (affects brain development for girls)also fall under the autism spectrum disorder
I never felt like Autism really impacted me until one day, when I was channel surfing and I came across a show on MTV around 2010 called “World of Jenks.” Andrew Jenks is a filmmaker who would move in with a new stranger each week to experience a week in their life. Jerks was intent on capturing “what this generation thinks, how they act and what they ultimately stand for,”. Well he sure captured Chads life. Chad, who is now 23 years old was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. Watching Chad go through his daily life while also being an empath, I felt for him. Seeing how anxious he’d get with simple activities such as walking down the street or going to the grocery store would overwhelm him because it would be a sensory overload, meaning it would be too loud or there would be just too many things going on at once. When the show ended I too (like all the other viewers) had a special place in my heart for not only chad, but the many individuals suffering with autism. I had never paid attention to this disorder before this show but now I was determined to learn more about it. some places now are autism friendly, adopting quiet hours in grocery stores.
Fast forward a few years and now I’m working with children, toddlers at that and I’m getting to witness first hand the symptoms of autism. As someone with a psychology degree with a focus on childhood education, observing these children daily is a joy and can sometimes be a task. I love to see how each child develops their own personality, how they interact with their peers, how they choose to communicate and how they learn. I notice that some of the children pick up information very quickly, often imitating me and the other teachers, which amazes me because sometimes I forget they are like little sponges, soaking up information, phrases and things they see and spitting it back out at us. On the other hand I am also aware of the children ,that by 2 are not communicating or interacting with their peers like they should be or that prefer to be alone playing with the same toys everyday, or the ones that throw excessive tantrums because they have trouble communicating what they want . Nevertheless don’t get it twisted, these children are very smart and intelligent so don’t let them fool you. I’ve observed that a lot of them learn best through technology and videos. We all learn and retain information different ways but what matters is having the patience and understanding that comes with being a teacher to a child with autism. I have love for all my babies because they are all special and unique in their own ways.
is the word I use to describe
all the decisions I have had to make.
turning a deaf ear to my hearts torturous cries.
turning a new shade of cold
with each decision that went against my inner voice
learning to live with absence knowing change was within my hands
living life looking back.
For the past 3 years I have been wanting to get my hair cut, I had always mentioned to people that I had wanted to do it and most of the time the responses I got back were “why?, but you have such pretty hair” or my personal favorite “No, don’t cut it, I will kill you!” (nobody wants to be killed over some hair…right?) Thing is I know I have been blessed with an amazing head of thick beautiful curly hair. (Which still managed to revive itself from the many colors and bleaching jobs I’ve done to it in the past) About a month ago I noticed I had grown tired of dedicating a good portion of my Sundays (especially during football season) to washing, detangling, conditioning, oiling, styling and then drying my hair. (Natural ladies know what I’m talking about) I realize that I had become too attached to my hair and even being a Black woman I didn’t like caring about it that much. Some people love to maintain long hair which is fine, but for me I needed a change and the best time to do it was now, or else another 3 years would’ve gone by and I’d still have the same hairstyle wondering “what if..” Life is too short for boring hair!!! (my go-to response to anybody who asks me why I switch up my hair so much)
So about mid week last week I took the plunge and made my hair appointment for 7am Saturday morning at Salon Christol in Largo MD, even though I was still on the fence about the cut I wanted. Later that night I FaceTime-d my sister friend Shakeema or (Kee) and as we had our girl talk, I expresed to her that I was still unsure of the style /cut I wanted, and she told me “Just pick a style and get it!”
Here I go….. “But what if… And see there are these…. OhI like this one too” (clearly making sure I exhaust all possibilities)
so she repeats herself “Giirrrl if you don’t just pick the style and get it! That’s it! It’s that simple!” (see this is why I love her) and in about 30 minutes I had picked out my style.
The next couple of days I was secretly excited, secretly because not only had I chosen the cut but I wasn’t gonna tell anybody I was even getting my hair cut (I love surprises btw even though Kee already knew and I had managed to slip up and tell a few co-workers but that’s it) Saturday came and Greg (the master cutter) asked me “Are you sure you want to cut off all this pretty hair?” I just smiled and said “yes Greg, cut it off!” I quickly showed him the the cut I wanted and he got started. The way I was position in my chair I couldn’t see what he was doing but I could hear it, let me tell you, ya man sounded like edward scissorhands himself, and then I finally started to see my hair fall on my smock, let me tell you, I wanted to grab it! Have a moment with it before hit the floor, pour out my water for my fallen locs, say goodbye, something! But instead I just pushed it onto the ground and kept smiling. About 2 hours later I was done and Greg turn me around to face the mirror and I wanted to cry, he had done such a fantastic job I looked like a completely different person, like a little more mature and sexy (I may actually look my age now) but still cute (which until as of late I have always thought that ‘cute’ was for puppies and babies) Kirsten.
I love my new haircut, and it grows on me more and more everyday. I love it so much in fact I don’t miss my hair at all, its freeing. I believe your hair can hold energy, whether its good or bad I feel that cutting your hair sometimes is just necessary, just like shedding negative energy in your life that comes in the form of things and people. And just like your life, your hair needs a change. I loved my long hair but I’d cut it in a heart beat if it opens up some positive changes in my life. Plus after my recent breakup I wanted to re-vamp myself, become a better person by being more true and real. I still honor my hair as a symbol that I was there before this, through this, and will still be here after this. I also acknowledge that even though there were those bad times there were also some good and my hair was part of the good… but for now I wanted a change. So why not start with something I’ve always wanted to do right? *snip snip* I feel like shedding/cutting your hair will always feel good at/after times of stress because its something dramatic we can control, when it feels like a lot of other things are happening that we are unable to control. (cues Frozen Let it go)
If you want a happier life, think happiness. I felt that my hair was a part of what made me attractive but I now realize that there is nothing more attractive than an open-minded woman willing to try new things and sometimes you just gotta shed…but don’t worry it’ll grow back.