🌈Yes, I am Autistic; I Discovered This At 33.

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🌈E X P R E S S I V E #autism

“You’re doing too much.”

“You be doing the most.”

“You’re a lot.”

“Why are you so extra?”

“You shouldn’t have asked that.”

“Did you just say that?!”

“Sit down, Kris.”

“Tone it down.”

“Your posts are too long.”

“You’re too old to be using rainbows.”

“That’s just Karissa.”

“Relax your face.”

Conformity.

Conformity was never my cup of tea. I’ve sipped several times, but it never tasted quite right. Typically, that lukewarm bitterness always found itself spat out.

I couldn’t deal with the box. It never fit.

However, because of my “packaging” I got away with a lot. Yes, because of how I look and my language, I never got evaluated, never showed severe enough signs to even be suspected. Why? Mimicking. Modeling. Copying. Con. Form. Ing.

Never found out I was on the autism spectrum until the age of 33. I’m talking months ago, y’all. Never had a clue.

Throughout my life, I watched and studied everyone and tried to appear #normal—whatever that is; I tried to blend in.

But…

•from my tantrums in front of the tv (Dad shut that down before he went on leave to Alaska #DoItOneMoTime)

•naked streaks in the home (got to pick that up when he left and it was just all girls)

•cussing volcano (ask my brother KaDar or my sisters about that one day.)

•disdain for eggs, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, grits

•shyness mixed with stuttering

•bouncing a little extra while my sisters and I sang

•sensitivity to certain materials, textures, jewelry, scents, and ingredients

all proved that I couldn’t just blend in. Apparently it didn’t phase me too much.

However, my stimming emerged in different ways. Sophisticated stimming is what I now call it.

I learned how to manage it. Learned how to cope.

Part of my coping with my #extraness happened through various activities and from childhood until now.

Odyssey of the Mind

Forensics

Cheerleading

Free Spirit Show Choir

Marching Band

Concert Band

Basketball

Volleyball Camp

Tennis

Track

Clubs, offices, councils and societies galore

Souls A Fire Gospel Choir

Frontline at ORU

Songwriting in seconds

Speedy Math Skills

Modeling

Acting

Drummer

Author

Speaker

Substitute Teacher

Learning “foreign” languages

State Praise Dance Choreographer

Toastmasters

Exploring all seven continents

and those are just a few that helped me #LetItOut.

So if you came into my life mid-song, I must share: the treble and bass that God put in my soul ain’t going nowhere.

I’ve learned that my sophisticated stimming allowed me to “blend in” in this world. However, I’m interested in raising awareness about the autism SPECTRUM. Not just one side. All. Of. It. It is deep and diverse. After counsel and evaluations galore, I’ve been congratulated and celebrated for this discovery.

Let me be clear: I am not an expert. I am not a licensed medical professional. I chose Special Education as my major for three years. I changed it and graduated with a BA in International Community Development with two concentrations in Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. I’m challenged to search and study more now. Back in the day, girls easily got overlooked because of their social skills. Just look up “Autism in Females: How is It Different?” on YouTube. I cried through it because it was all me. Thanks to Special Education teacher Kelsey at G. Stanley Elementary for introducing me to that video. Thanks to Darius for telling me about Temple Grandin. What an inspiration!

Will I be the voice for non-verbal autistic peeps? Absolutely not. They, in fact, have their own voices. WE simply have to listen to HOW they speak.

I look forward to sharing my voice and journey about how I functioned WITHOUT the label for 32 years.

Slap the autistic label on a child; no problem. Just make sure that when you explain autism to a child—if you dare—you explain that they carry superpowers, are genius in their own way, and that YOU are willing to WORK to draw out the genius, to fan their flame, to exercise extreme patience, and to respect them enough to study and learn them.

Faces were scratched out if the students left mid-year. I was at a school full of other military brats like me. I’m clearly the one leaning in the pink.

One of the key elements of blackness is resilience. So on this seventh day of Black History Month, I can’t help but applaud this little resilient girl who used a combo of faith, fire, and imagination to get to this point. I applaud my mother for helping me figure out some things and make modifications for me knowing my challenges, but not my diagnosis. She got me the right creams, gave me instruments, non-nickel jewelry, and didn’t force things in my diet like dairy. I applaud my father for influencing me to suppress the tantrums. I applaud him for being the only living parent to say these words: “Yep, I could see that. It makes sense. I’ve always told you that you were a genius.” I applaud those who fanned my flame. I applaud the teachers who told me I was gifted and special.

I applaud those who laughed at me; I also admonish them to stop the madness; I challenge them to look at the gifts in a person with curiosity instead of judgment; I nudge them closer to research instead of ridicule; I push them nearer to advocacy instead of teasing.

#LetsGoDoBe

P. S. If you’re looking for a diagnosis as an adult, it may be difficult, but the best place to start is in the school district in your area. They can direct you accordingly. You can also look up autism groups in your state or region. They’re rising up now more than ever.

#Rom12v2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 

A Single Thought

adventure, Africa, Antarctica, Anxiety, Art, beauty, Big Chop, courage, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Hair, Health, Health, wellness,, Uncategorized

“I’m so lonely. You just don’t understand.”

I read this quite often online. And of course I hear it in person.

I hear ya.

I also understand now, even more, why scripture encourages singles to be concerned about the needs of the church. There are countless needs in the church that need the support of those who don’t have the obligations of a spouse or even children.

If I were not single, what I’m currently doing would potentially be drastically limited. Being single allows you the opportunity to focus on all of the gifts that God gave you and maximize your time.

Are all of your dreams fulfilled that God placed in you? Surely busyness isn’t the cure for loneliness, but meditating on lack doesn’t bring glory to God.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the company and physical presence of a man. Lord knows! But even since Ma’s passing, I’ve gotten to go back to my normal pace/cadence/rhythm. It’s been a joy to activate so many of the visions and dreams I’ve been building up during the last two years of caring for her.

Take one SINGLE minute and celebrate this time and ask God to breathe on it like never before and to teach you how to responsibly steward your time as a single individual.

Questions to ask:

How can I serve a married couple today?

How can I serve a single person today?

What elderly person needs help?

Is there a child I should be mentoring?

Who can I train with my skills?

Is there anyone who could benefit from my strength or wisdom today?

Does someone need help moving?

Can I help someone with their end of the year tasks?

Does someone need help with holiday shopping?

Who can I be poured into today?

Am I legalistic?

Am I judgmental?

Am I full of grace and seasoned with salt?

Do I know how to talk to people?

Am I a good listener?

Are there any widows who need company?

Have I visited cancer waiting rooms lately and passed out hats for those losing their hair?

Do I know anyone in the hospital who needs to be visited?

Is anyone hungry?

Can I host a cooking class?

Is there another single person who needs company this holiday?

How can I host events to bring more singles together?

Should I consider hosting a Bible study or movie night in my home?

Do I frequent coffee shops or universities with lots of traffic and new people?

Do I visit the same places and keep the same routines?

Have I finished writing my first book or blog?

What keeps me humble?

What makes me feel haughty?

Do I think that I’ve arrived?

Who am I helping?

Am I getting counseling regularly?

Am I physically fit?

Am I emotionally fit?

Am I spiritually fit?

Is my soul well?

Is my home clean?

Am I a hoarder?

Am I being mentored and coached?

Do I work out regularly?

Who do I meet at the gym?

How is my appetite?

Am I overweight or underweight?

Do I regularly talk to people online and in person?

Am I am extrovert? How can I use my gifts as an extrovert?

Am I an introvert? How can I use my gifts as an introvert?

Is there anyone grieving who just needs to talk?

How many languages do I know?

Am I fluent in at least three languages?

Do I have a passport?

When will I use my passport again?

Do I use all modes of transportation at least once annually?

Does a girl need help taking out her braids?

Does a guy need his hair cut?

Am I good with my hands?

Can I fix cars?

And I good with computers?

Can I do makeup?

Can I make jewelry?

What I can do with my hands that will bring me more income?

When you’ve addressed a few of these questions, you’ll find plenty of things to take your mind off of the absence of a mate. Again, these elements are not to DISTRACT you from that fact that you are single, but to ATTRACT you to fulfilling your purpose and responsibly stewarding your time.

P. S. Visit sevenby30.com/books to snag my eBook on how I planned for Antarctica called, “7 Steps to the 7th Continent.” It’s available in English and Arabic. 💋

#LetsGoDoBe

P. S. S. God’s design for us doesn’t always include a significant other, but God’s design always includes a significant purpose. 💫

Anxiety, Depression, faith, family, Health, Health, wellness,, love, Mental Health, Teaching, worldview

L🌍VE

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening!

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, remember this:

Worry is a NEGATIVE form of meditation. It’s like praying for the wrong thing to happen.

STOP. Redirect your thoughts toward the beauty that CAN and WILL happen. Reflect on PLEASANT memories. Refuse to RECYCLE pain.

PRESS forward and be RENEWED in your mind, daily by His Word.

You’re NOT forsaken. You’re NOT forgotten. You’re NEVER alone.

I heard The Nevels Sisters sing “I got COMPANY following me!”

Be comforted in knowing that you’re not walking this out alone. You’ve got COMPANY following you.

“Many things

about tomorrow,

I don’t seem

to understand,

but I know

Who holds my future,

and I know

Who holds my hand.”

#HeWasThereAllTheTime #HeIsWithYOU #YouAreNeverAlone

📸: @iamtryon

👘: @ladykroach

A Stroke THEN 7 Continents BEFORE 30 PODCAST

Anxiety, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Health, Health, wellness,, Lesson Planning, Mental Health, music, Podcast, stroke, Teaching, travel, Uncategorized, Wellness

So here’s the deal:

I got to meet this remarkable young man who I shared a stage with at the Leadership Africa Summit this summer. Tayo Rockson invited me to speak on his podcast called “As Told By Nomads” which is not only sweeping the nation, but the entire world.

Check out the 👉🏿 podcast 👈🏿 to hear how I had a stroke and then STRUCK back.

Ciao for now!

Karissa

sevenby30.com/books

International Day of the Girl

Anxiety, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Health, Health, wellness,, love, Mental Health, travel, Wellness, worldview

#InternationalDayOfTheGirl, let’s talk. 💋👇🏿

#StrokeSurvivor #TBT

This year marks 11 years since life struck me with a (mild) stroke.

It also marks…

• my Jesus year (33)

• 15 years since I graduated from high school.

• 11 years since I learned to write, speak, and walk again.

• 11 years since being sexually assaulted by my former boyfriend.

• 1 year since I truly forgave him and apologized for my attempts to tarnish his name.

• 9 years since I became a licensed evangelist missionary.

• 7 years since I graduated from college—four years “late.”

• 7 years since I took my first trip abroad.

• 6 years since I moved to China.

• 4 years since I moved to Saudi Arabia to teach at the largest women’s university in the world.

• 3 years since I made it to my 7th continent, Antarctica.

• 2 years since I wrote my first book.

• 2 years since my Mom got diagnosed with cancer.

• almost 3 months since my Mom went back to Heaven.

But daily,

I’m reminded that

I

HAVE

SURVIVED

EVERYTHING.

And guess what, girl?

You got this too.

No matter what life tosses your way,

slide on your gloves—lace or leather, and crush it with both hands.

You’re not just a survivor.

Not just a winner.

But you’re a girl.

And let me tell you,

WE have the POWER

to START and end wars,

to INFLUENCE and BIRTH nations.

to ENGINEER the most magnificent architectural masterpieces,

to TEACH and instruct with limitless intellect,

to CHANGE flat tires, diapers,

and the WORLD.

We were made well.

We were made slowly.

We were made last.

And you know what they say about the best. Yep, they’re always saved for last. 😘

But ladies, let’s be FIRST at walking together.

Let’s contend, not compete.

Let’s march together, girls. Let’s go. Let’s do. Let’s be.

#LetsGoDoBe ✌🏿❤️

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” #3John1v2

With Deep Love and Extreme Gratitude,

💋Karissa Denae Johnson

#BeforeAfter by Terrence Alexandre

🌟 #GloryToGod 🌟

✍🏿 karissa@sevenby30.com