Tim Pylypiuk: “I felt like I was falling into the Abyss…” (I will let Tim finish this thought of his over 25 years ago when joining ANCA)
In 1995, a young man approximately age 18, attended our support group program at the Autism Society of BC, in Canada. His aunt had called me after hearing about my speaking engagements and wanted to connect her nephew to other autistic people, given he had just moved from Eastern Canada to the West.
After weeks of mentoring and explaining to his mother, …….., she was initially horrified
at the thought of this suggestion.
After weeks of mentoring and explaining to his mother, that there’s no reason why he can’t travel on his own by bus and basically live an independent life, including living on his own or with a room mate, she was initially horrified at the thought of this suggestion. (In recent reflection of over four decades of supporting misunderstood vulnerable human beings, I have now come to realize that it often is not the individual who is in need of support, rather, it is the supporting adults and more often than not, the parents!). Misguided information repeated over and over again in multiple settings will take parents into dimensions further and further away from their natural instincts and LOVE for their offspring, who first and foremost are holding aspects of themselves up as ‘mirror reflections’. Society does NOT want us to be ‘flawed’ and yet we find beauty in the aging artifacts of our world which illustrates flaws embedded through the wear and tear of history, geography, climate and so on. This young man wanted to break out on his own, instinctively he felt such a need, and, he had been trained to be fearful, yet his instincts overrode such fear which was mirrored to him in direct reflection by his mother. She had been beaten to believe he was ‘flawed’ and could not be independent, could not take the bus or any form of public transport, could not live alone, could not work or earn a living, would not have a girlfriend let alone get married and have a family. Astounding!
Twenty-five years later, and two and half decades of independence, this young man emerged, gravitated naturally toward an office employment position, became an educational/recreational facilitator, team leader, public speaker, author, radio show host, play writer, performance artist, coordinates public online radio productions (radio theater) with other autistic artists, authors, musicians from around the globe whereby he takes their fictional published books and turns them into plays. He learned how to market his solo performance art in Vancouver (the old fashioned way through phone contacts, classified and media ads via fax) – his performance art grew a local and international audience in Vancouver, BC, Canada, because of it’s tourist destination location.
Each step in his independence was fostered by each step of personal achievement, supported by his autistic community, his mentors, his family. He was the driving force, he had the desire to experience and to explore life in combination with his God Given Gifts: an excellent communicator, brilliant understanding and use of language and music, an interest in cultures, politics, life in general and a desire to “live” – a year or two after joining our company, he and another employee became room mates renting an apartment in one of our clients’ house. Later, he met an equally brilliant mind, a young woman and experienced relationships of a personal nature. because of common interests (nothing unusual here, unlike the prognostication of the professionals dating back to early childhood and beyond).
As time moved along, with employment and expansion of his interests, supporting his family (nieces) and his mother, he reached further afield and joined writing groups and other mentor groups as well as volunteering at the local cinema in his community.
This was the young man, teenager transitioning to adulthood
This was the young man, teenager transitioning to adulthood, who handed me papers on our third meeting gummed up with chewing gum and squished and ruffled, which turned out to be the most brilliant play ever, written when he was fifteen years old in high school because he had a teacher who encouraged him to write! This play “Speak for Myself” won him audiences month after month… the roller coaster ride he would take the audience on emotionally, was brilliant!
Somewhere in our archives we have a recording of his play at one of his live events at our ANCA studio. In the near future when we set up our archival system for our members to access, we aim to have this production available with Tim’s permission.
Tim became who he was and is destined to be. Nothing unusual about his journey post age 18. And, this is how it should be for all autistic people and all marginalized people.
Tim became who he was and is destined to be. Nothing unusual about his journey post age 18. And, this is how it should be for all autistic people and all marginalized people. At ANCA we saw a human being with interests and talent, gifts to be shared with community and the world, and someone who wanted to jump into the unknown, the abyss because the abyss was what he was denied for 18 years due in part to the tarot card readers of the ‘professionals’ who for some insecure reasons of themselves believe in making up stories and painting road maps for other human beings, purely based on their own insecurities. How can I say this, you may well ask: For many decades of teaching I have learned that when people are insecure and have not been educated in conceptual thinking, they have their own difficulties, deficits and rather than admit what they do not know, they make up stories in effect to illustrate to others that ‘they do know what they are talking about’. This is a dangerous path that many educators, medical professionals, social workers, bureaucrats and technocrats take and often leads to the demise of individual cases they oversee. Thankfully, Tim never became one of those statistics, but certainly could have.
I wanted to start my “Notes For My Memoir” this way because Tim has been a pivotal part of our company life, our life’s work and a close family friend. I wanted to investigate my own thoughts of the journey I embarked upon in life by default. I wanted to view what popped into my mind or what is my conscious state or unconscious state of what my experiences were and how they shaped and influenced my perspective on life before and now. So, it popped into my head space to start here, with our first introduction to Tim.
Leonora Gregory-Collura Copyright October 17, 2020, ALL Rigits Reserved.
Co-Founder of ANCA Naturally Autistic trademarks, ANCA Naturally Autistic magazines, ANCA World Autism Festival, INAP AWARDS, author of “Anthony’s Story” and of Chapter 12 “Different Not Less”, public speaker, teacher, choreographer, producer/director and executive producer of the award winning film “CONNECTED”, servicing book reviews, acknowledgements and forewards, radio show host, philanthropist. Credits on Rompost TV, Joy TV BC, Vision TV, CBC 5th Estate, Round House Radio and numerous print media locally in Canada and across the world. Leonora was educated at the prestigious Elmhurst Ballet and Royal Ballet Schools graduating as Ambassador of the RBS TTC program (a rare title held by a small group of graduates)