My name is Richie Jewell. I'm 21 years old and I have autism since I was born. Like everyone else in the world, I have an up-down life like a sea-saw. I went through some of the stuff that has been a rocky roadblock during my life. It was very challenging to live through the times that I endured during my life such as teasing, on and off depression, struggling to adapt in places including schools, helplessly observe my parents’ divorce and the struggles with my disability like problems with speech and language, communication, awkwardness in social situations, screaming and crying when I was young out of frustration. Well despite all of those horrible obstacles that tried to cut me down, I would overcome them by using my own set of coping skills:
Getting through one day at a time, knowing that happiness and smiles triumphs. When I had no friends due to the disability, I pretended that my stuffed animals as if they were my own and practiced it for later on. Whenever I'm in a negative situation, I dream myself a happy place with beautiful nature and happiness all around me. I also remind myself that everything happens for a reason in life, I always ask myself, “Why do we fall? So, we can learn to pick ourselves up”, and most of all, writing poems from my heart with the help and comfort from family, friends, my hobbies, which include animals, wrestling, movies, writing, and inspiration. Those things I just mentioned are the huge puzzle pieces of my life.
So you're curious on what I do for a living, right? Currently, I work at a local library in Beacon, NY to get some money. Outside the job, I'm a writer, motivational speaker and world/autism advocate to reach out people and raise their spirits. I'm writing a book now titled This is Me: My Life with Autism which talks about my struggles and triumphs with the disability throughout my life. I do speeches at public places such as schools and libraries to raise awareness of autism, world problems, my struggles with my disability and most of all inspire people to new heights. Why this profession? I'm doing this for the people who have been laughed at, ridiculed, looked at the wrong way, have been told you can't do anything, you won't go far in life or bullied including myself and show them that we are in this together to help the world by raising awareness on not just autism but the world problems as well. I want to show support to people who are in a struggle like I was. I want to be the symbol that anything is possible. I had a dream that one day: this world will rise above the hate and realize what we are doing to ourselves. In one day, we are going to treat each other with kindness. This dream will become a reality if we all follow the steps: think, act and change. Gandhi once said, “We must become the change we want to see.” Believe that you can change the world. My theory is that changing the world cannot be kept by force but educating ourselves. If that happens, then the dream can become a reality and finally my voice will be heard. You’re probably think that I'm a dreamer but I’m not the only one dreams. Someday, you'll believe in my vision. And the world will be as one.
The message I want to is that anyone with a disability can make this happen. Everyone has a voice to be heard and I want them to hear mine, on making the world better and getting them to think what does it take to get better. I learned a long time ago that you don't have to scream and holler to get attention, because if a person has enough power to speak softly, they'll listen to you. It's a slow process but it will be done, plus me having a disability makes it even more intriguing, understanding and challenging. Everyone should be the likes of Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Dumbo the Elephant, in a sense where despite all of those odds stacked against them and being tormented by peers, They appreciate them for who they are and embrace the traits on what we and they have. If 7 Billion people in the world became one of them, maybe we could stop society's bleeding known as bullying. Everyone has a story to tell, you got to make the best of life in order to be successful. I'm just an average person trying to make a big change in the world's society so we can live in a healthy, peaceful and beautiful environment that makes us adaptable for our home called Earth. Like everyone else in the world, we have a long hard road ahead of us. However, we will never give up. Do not pray for an easy life. Hope for the strength to endure a difficult one. If you're going through a difficult life, just remember we are not alone because you might never know who is enduring the same struggles you've encountered. Don't look backwards into the past because we will fall. You can't spend your life looking back. You must spend your life looking forward, because you can't change what has happened. If I look back, there's someone else who is looking forward that will go right by me. You can't reach for the past. It's happened. It's gone. By then, we will live in a healthy life. We are amazing creatures with a powerful ability to overcome obstacles. Your life is your message to the world: Make it inspiring and create a difference! Just like what I'm doing right now!
My inspiration to this cause is my heroes of my life: Robin Williams, Jesse Saperstein, Steve Irwin, John Lennon, Rachel Joy Scott, God, Jesus Christ and most importantly, close friends and family. Every day, there will be new challenges that are going to confront me but I will get stronger and more confident as I conquered them. I always live by a quote, made by Muppet creator Jim Henson, in order to continue my journey of life. And i quote: "Life is meant to be fun, joyous, and fulfilling. May each of yours be that - having each of you as a child of mine has certainly been one of the good things in my life. Know that I've always loved each of you with an eternal, bottomless love. A love that has nothing to do with each other, for I feel my love for each of you is total and all-encompassing. Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it."
What does my future have in stored for me after this? Well, who knows? I'm not a psychic and I can't predict the future. The only thing I can do now is accomplish more speeches and keep writing my book so I would have a great future ahead of me. In order to be successful, I could try give the best advice which follows: Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go and want to be, no one else. Reach into your heart and soul to discover your talent. Sometimes, people's talents fade away and you lose something special so, hold on to it. If your talent or idea helps you, then let it set you free from the obstacles that are currently destroying your spirit. Follow your dreams and heart by listening to that “whisper” inside your head speaking to you. If you listen to it, you'll go somewhere. Cherish your visions and dreams because they are the blueprint of the achievements you succeeded. You've got to figure out what it is you love - who you really are and have the courage to do that. Remember that you have to be proud of what you're doing. Always ignore bad and insincere criticism if you're doing what makes you happy. There are many opinions about your work , never let voices put you down, the only one you have listen to is your own. Be yourself and become proud for that because you are original, special for you who are and everyone else is taken. Look for the good in every day. Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities! Believe in your own potential for greatness. There are many individuals whom become successful and simply put a hold on their life. No matter what successes or failures you encounter in life, you must live life, love harder, open doors, stay positive, create opportunities, and most importantly, continuously improve. We experience struggles and challenges that confront us every single day, as time goes on, you get stronger by defeating them. Our hope is you will “never stop” learning, teaching, and dreaming. This message will remind you to push harder, strive for more, stay positive, remain strong and be yourself to live the life you always imagined. All you need to do is enjoy and live life to the fullest. It's something that is within each of us. Repeat these steps every day, and you will become successful.
The contributions that I have for my success right now are dedication, confidence, patience and support. Because of those, I can believe in myself. I have confidence in my ability to make it to the top and accomplish one goal at a time. My biggest supports I have are my family and close friends. I have them stored in my head and will remember them for life. I shall never let anyone change me or break my spirit because mines powerful. If I could snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not because then, it wouldn't be me. Autism is part of who I am and what made me so unique. Like I said before, everyone has a story to tell and it is our duty to make the best out of what life has given us. This who I am and always will be: I am Richie Jewell.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.