Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 9 | Page 8

W ho am I, you ask? Well, I’m a musician … that just happens to be on the autism spectrum. I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I’ve worked on and helped produced a few multi-platinum-selling, GRAMMY-winning albums, worked at some record labels and toured the world. I’m a military veteran. I’m an author. I’m a contributing editor for an awardwinning entertainment magazine. I’m an awardwinning entrepreneur. I’m a father. According to family stories passed down to me from my parents and theirs, I’m a mixture of many ethnicities, possibly American Aboriginal, Arab, Caribbean, German and Spanish. Clearly, I’m multiethnic with brown skin. In today’s societies, that’s called being ‘black.’ Autistic, Adult, Brown, “I’m multiethnic with Alive, brown skin. In today’s societies, that’s called being ‘black.’” Most would see this description and maybe think, ‘This person seems to be doing rather well for himself,’ and you would not be wrong to surmise that. Those accomplishments were (and continue to be) a combination of a conscious effort to maintain an optimistic approach to life, much hard work (no task or routine too menial), targeted education, many mentors (both real and virtual), multiple levels of experiences, tons of mistakes and sometimes painful sacrifices. What many do not see are the multiple mental, emotional and societal gymnastics I must master in order to stay alive in a world that continues to teach its citizenry that peoples with brown skin are less valuable than those who are not. Still Invisible. 8 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses Photo by ??? Look, I’m just a musician. I want to create musical memories. I’m pro human race. I’m anti-hate. I’m pro peace and love. None of these feelings are a stretch for me. In many ways, much of what I feel is amplified by my neurological condition, causing the need for me to completely shut down and tune out, sometimes for days, from information overload. By Michael Buckholtz not leave my ID (my papers). My auto registration and insurance is strategically tucked into the passenger side visor, overhead, so when I’m stopped by police, my hands will be in clear view a