Super excited about this #WriterCrushWednesday featured poet! Unlike most of the writers featured I did not meet this poet via Instagram’s thriving Writing Community.

I can’t really say how I learned of his work. I’m guessing the occasional “scroll, skip, skip, scroll” method of discovery served me well the moment I landed in his world here on WordPress.

Surely this is not a teenager writing with this much depth, I thought. Mesmerized by his gift, I instantly became a fan. Devereaux Frazier is a genius. Yep. A genius. After all that’s how I chose to rationalize the indelible impression he had made.

Scroll, click, click, scroll.

Um wait there’s more? More than a genius? Oh. A genius who had recently learned that he was autistic.

He Speaks…

I Have Aspergers, And I Hate Myself Most Of The Time

So, where did we leave off

My eyes always drift

to the edges of the room

which is probably why everything

always seems to end so soon

Oops, I guess I forgot to say

that I have Aspergers

so I really don’t understand your way

I’m on the autism spectrum

and I hate myself most of the time

I hate having no intuition

and struggling around my peers

While others are deep in conversation

I sit in a corner, trapped by lumbering fears

I hate not looking into your eyes

and as you wonder what’s wrong with me

I wonder why

I hate being the last to speak, the last to be heard

because I hate the crowd, and stray from the herd

to the edges of the fields to think

I hate being so obscene in the wake of surprise

awakening a manic rage

and other times, I cry

But over it all

I hate how helpless I feel

being so unable to control my emotions

and my motions

drive people away

Tap

tap

tap

I hear what you say

but don’t hear what you mean

Tap

tap

tap

I hear what you say

but is it what it seems

What is a birthday suit

Why did he can a human being

I seem stupid and clueless

helpless and hopeless

weak and weary

and at times I’m all of those

and none

at the same time

e Speaks….

Devereaux challenges me as a writer all while invoking motivation to be a better human at the same time. He teaches me and I find myself learning in a space that feels safe and non intrusive for both of us. There are poets and then there are anomalies who embody poetry. Devereaux Frazier is the latter.

He Speaks…

Share a little about yourself:

Guess I can start off by saying I’m Devereaux Frazier. I’m 18 and a student at the Community College of Baltimore County. Just finished my first semester there, actually. I’ve been writing since I was 13, and while major publication has evaded me (for now), I’ve filled the time being published by Teen Ink magazine, Literary Arts Review, and SpillWords while being a member of Blood Into Ink and a guest barista at Go Dog Go Cafe, two exemplary literary collectives. At the forefront of my writing presence is my own blog, An Aspergian’s Chemical Romance. I stared writing for it two years ago with the intention of just having a place to write and talk about my life on the autism spectrum. What it’s become is a place where I dive deeper into my condition, really challenging the “why’s” of my actions rather than stating (rather boringly I think, though no disrespect to those who do) my symptoms and how my life fits around them. I never wanted to be another WordPress diary. My poetry is less about the aspergers itself, and more about recognizing the beauty that it creates. People seldom understand me, and so rather than giving them boring anecdotes and medical diagnoses, I turn to poetry to paint pictures of my existence.

e shares one of her favorite pieces…

The ABC’s of me

Autistic, because where else to begin

Broken from the people who discouraged me

Cunning developed from outwitting them

Dark lines brooding in irritated waters

Eventually becoming open to your company

Forever hating and loving it

Gone before you ever said goodbye

Headed to the outside of your inside

Incorrect politically because I like action

Juxtaposed is male strength

Kissed with emotion fragility

Lined inside a boy turned man still child

Made to write, man of words never enough

Not only written or spoken, but merely dreamt

Outstretched hands for a woman’s grasp

Perfectly aware of their unawares to my truth

Questioning why I just don’t tell them

Resting assured that they already know

Still afraid of what the future has for me

Testing my boundaries every day

Understanding growth is ugly and beautiful

Voicing my concerns with maturity

Warring to find the source of my strength

Xylophones were hated in youth

Zenith not nearly reached

How/when did you discover your voice as a writer and what inspires you to write?

I think it was about 5 years ago, at a Stevenson University creative writing camp. I’d never seriously considered a writing career beforehand, but when I came there and the subsequent year in 2014 I was shocked to discover not just how much I loved it, but how good I really was. (Or at least felt. I could post some of my old poems. Yuck. I really hate thinking about those) I think most things inspire me to write. I’m pretty observant, so I notice a lot of things, but rather than actual objects, I think emotions inspire me most. I like writing from regret and possibility.

Had you planned to ever share your story of living with Asperger’s or were you encouraged to do so?

I never planned to share my story. I mean, as a writer I knew it would eventually become a focal point, but when I started writing people started asking questions.

What makes your heart smile?

What makes my heart smile? This is such a beautiful question…Life. You never know when your time is up…my mom and sister. My mom is best person I know. She’s everything really, and I wouldn’t know what to do without her. My sister is much of the same, albeit younger and with less wisdom but sharing the same desire and passion for truth and right carried out. Juana is an incredible boss and somebody I can trust. Mary and I share a great passion for football, and we still share barbs about how good (or bad) Andy Reid actually is. Shoutout to my bro Ryan too. He got me into airsoft. Feedback from my writing. And anything written by Kindra Austin.

How has your transition to college life been?

College life…hm. I’m not actually “involved” much in it. I’m kinda like go there, do my assignments, go home. I’ll integrate more overtime, but as of now I’m just trying to get a feel for professors and becoming comfortable with coursework.

Where do you see yourself a year from today?

Year from today? Published. Paperback book. Doing book signings and author meet and greets. Going to New York. Going on live TV for interviews. Just telling the world a perspective that enough haven’t heard. Straight A’s. A girlfriend would also be great 😂😂😂.

He Speaks…

The Magic, The Misery

The magic

The misery

Of falling someone

Never meant to be

With you

For you

Forever you wonder

Why the universe hates you

All I’m asking for is one

Just one chance being loved

By somebody special

Somebody true

One to write me and you

In the bark of our long-lived tree

And in the kisses blown

Upon warm summer breeze

Seeing everyone else with somebody

Reminds me how I’m nobody

And knowing I won’t ever

Even though I try

Is the worst part of all

What do you want your legacy to be?

My legacy? A male from my family who really stood out from the crowd. Redeemed some of the things that have plagued our family. Finally made enough to let my mom stop working. Let the world know what life with Aspergers and autism is really like.

e Speaks…

Thank you for joining us here at http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com and stopping by the #WriterCrushWednesday series Devereaux!!

SUPPORT DEVEREAUX ONLINE!

@dev_writes (Instagram)

Or on (Facebook)

Visit his site here!

Poetry, bio and photos included in this piece are the exclusive property of Devereaux Frazier . No copyright infringement intended.

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


I’ve been wearing blue lipstick at times and with pretty good reason!

I shared in this space a couple of years ago, about our then 10 yr old daughter’s battle with sudden hair loss as a result of Alopecia. Blue is the awareness color for the condition and our daughter; now a 15 yr old HS student, shares her story every chance she gets.

She’s courageous. Courageous because no one would ever have to know. See she was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata where there are patches of hair loss. Her remaining hair is thick so depending on the hairstyle, bald spots can be hidden. But now she’s getting older and experimenting with different hairstyles so newly formed bald spots are visible. As a creative being, she’s discovered that blue lipgloss and strategically painting only one nail blue; sparks a conversation she’s ready to have.

I never shared photos of the bald spots on her scalp. Not only because they were the size of the palm of my hand, it was just too overwhelming to do so. The hair loss…it seemed to happen overnight.

LIFE BEFORE ALOPECIA AREATA…

PONYTAILS AND BEHIND HER EARS…

Sometimes You See It..

AND SOMETIMES YOU DON’T…

Our Daughter And Son February 2017…

It’s been difficult when I watch her struggling with her hair. I want to jump in and help her figure out the parts; literally and figuratively – but I would be doing her a disservice at this stage of her development. She talks about going away to college one day and wanting to “feel comfortable doing her hair without Mommy’s help”. As a parent however, it’s painful to watch her sweep up piles of hair after washing or combing it. But even with that going on behind closed doors, she still has a full head of hair. This has served as a tempting deterrent to be silent and understandably so. Either classmates did not understand because they couldn’t see her condition and the monthly scalp injections; or she had serious tinges of survivors guilt about the hair she did have. After all we are taught to not judge books by their cover…but we all have at one time or another, wouldn’t you say

As a matter of fact, I came across an article years ago written by Ohio journalist Jona Ison raising awareness about her son’s Alopecia Universalis. She said strangers would pay for her son’s meal at restaurants because they assumed he was a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. Attempting to seize those moments as teaching opportunities to educate others often ended in frustration. Kind strangers mistook her response as a modest refusal of their generosity and wouldn’t hear another word.

I remember reaching out to her back then because it was all so new for us and she was extremely gracious. I credit Jona’s bold transparency coupled with God’s undergirding, in empowering me to do the same.  
Listen. We all have something.

To this day, I’m accused of lazily slouching and having horrible posture. The accusation of having horrible posture is correct, but the reason is scoliosis; something else God decided that I should genetically pass a hint of to our daughter as well!😉

Though she is determined to help raise awareness, there are those who will never see her as a person dealing with hair loss or qualified to discuss it. Those who in their smug haste would ignorantly deem our determination to raise awareness as a cry for unmerited pity. But we are not alone. Afterall, there are those who will never see you as a person dealing with any type of loss…simply because of how well you wear your survival too.

Would you consider sharing this post? There are several ways to do it just by clicking the various social media icons below. Maybe we can help someone else today who may think they’re the only one dealing with invisible loss.

Little do they know….

💙

e
I wear blue for our daughter. You can find her story in the piece shared with her permission called “A Smile Big Enough To Cover The Pain“. To connect with the National Alopecia Areata Foundation visit http://www.naaf.org.
Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
Photo Credits – Ericka Arthur

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!

Peer pressure does not stop when you become an adult. Hence the term I grew up hearing, ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. The multimillion dollar hair, makeup, fashion and plastic surgery industries suggest that we be the best imitation of our idol that we can afford. Or heck at least die trying…literally.

I’m in awe of how technology has not only surpassed our expectations; its helped shape them too. When we meet people for the first time, we are disappointed that they don’t look like their photo. It’s very rare these days to hear the phrase,” Wow, you are much prettier (or handsome) in person! Your picture doesn’t do you any justice!” Now when we hear the term, “Oh you’re so photogenic!”, we say thank you but are really thinking to ourselves, “Yeesh is that code for ugly in person?!” Our obsession with our appearance has gone haywire. It’s become the hottest topic of conversation, a consistent New Year’s resolution and a factor in whether or not one is bullied (if they’re paid any attention at all).

Though I have alluded to this topic before in my previous post Owning Our Stripesmy awareness of these modern-day pressures affecting both young and old alike has heightened. Now I admit…my being married and with the same man for the last 21 years has affected my street cred just a bit. I’m respected by my single friends for the longevity of our relationship but told I have no idea how rough it is out there. So I thought about it…

If I wanted to give a good impression to someone I never met before, which picture would I show or send? My photo on the left shows the real me. It’s displaying my dark circles, no makeup, skin imperfections etc. By looking at that photo you can’t see that I’m Plus Size and you certainly can’t see what I’m working with (or in my case not working with) down below LOL! Whereas my picture on the right has this neat filter feature overlaying it. To the untrained eye it would appear as though my makeup game was on point! But its not. Sure it’s a polished picture but I am no where that polished looking in person…even with make up on!

No worries. There’s an app for that. 

We are growing so accustomed to working on how we look instead of developing who we are. Looking the part and lacking the power. Perfecting the presentation and hoping the audience never peeks backstage. Are you up for the challenge? Certainly we should strive to be the best we can be in every area of our lives. This includes (in no particular order) emotionally, spiritually, mentally, financially and physically. It is a way of honoring our God-given temple and not just saying thank you for the life we have but showing our gratitude by taking better care of ourselves.

There does come a time however when we have to deal with who we really are. Rolling up our sleeves, discerning the difference between criticism designed to crush our spirit and critique offered to feed our soul. A time where we silence the voice of the naysayers, endure the growing pains and anticipate seeing the finished product of the best we, that we can be. Not the optical illusion of what that looks like.

(Sigh) LifeI’m actually quite relieved there’s no app for that. Here’s to OUR living it to the fullest starting in 5-4-3-2-1…NOW. 

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.