18-year Aspie author of forty books talks about how writing has helped him

Kahli Raymond

By Khali Raymond

Living with Asperger’s is not an easy feat. It never is.

Imagine yourself in a room full of people. All of those people are laughing and mingling. Meanwhile, you aren’t. You’re sitting there in the corner all alone, watching everyone make nice with each other. Nobody even acknowledges that you’re there. You just sit there, crushed from the inside. You have trouble expressing yourself because you don’t know how to. Your fear of being rejected eats you up. Your fear or feeling inadequate to others eats you up. As you’re living with this disorder, those whom you’re around can’t understand your pain. You’re constantly feeling glum and angry. You feel as if this condition drags you into an abyss … an abyss that leads you to a point of no return.

I have this feeling. Growing up, I could never fit in with others. As a kid, I couldn’t look an adult in the eye. I never had the capacity to. There was just something about looking at another person that made me feel very uncomfortable. In social situations, my heart would pound very fast. I would tend to get nervous. I would always be the one that got left out because I couldn’t relate to the other children.

Being bullied didn’t help curb my condition, it only worsened it. Every day, I would walk around and get laughed at. I would be humiliated every day. I would be made fun of because of the way I talked, walked, and looked. Imagine trying to answer a question in class and the kids would mock you. Every word you would say, they’d make this expression, trying to take the words from out of your mouth.

As I was around my family, they couldn’t relate to my condition either. I constantly sent them cries for help and they just rejected me. Nobody listened. This only made me feel even more depressed.

The bullying in school got so bad that I nearly tried to kill myself at the age of eleven. I was going to leap from out of my bedroom window, but my mom stopped me in the process.

I used my writing as my means to communicate. I loved to write. Whenever I was in class, I would be the first person to get up and share what I’ve written with the class. I impressed my teachers with my impeccable writing abilities. My creativity was amplified. There was nothing limiting it.

But, that didn’t mean my issues with my low self-esteem and my inability to become proactive in social situations waned. The kids would call me all sorts of demeaning names, such as retarded, stupid, and many more. I lost my father when I was just a year old, and his loss alone has had a grave impact on how I grew up. As a black man, growing up without a father—that’s not easy.

My father was a very outgoing guy. Everyone loved him. You would never be able to tell if he was sad. He was so resilient. Everyone tells me I look like him so much, but I’m his complete opposite. I’m not as outgoing as he was. I’m reclusive and shy. I don’t open up too much. These issues with bullying and my bout with Asperger’s did not cease.

At the age of fourteen, I was booked into a mental hospital.

They had me on medications for a while. I ceased taking meds in 2013. None of that helped.

Once I got to high school, I began to give up hope. I felt like there was no haven for a guy like me. I carried all this baggage. I bared all these wounds. Nobody could understand what I had to go through. But, I never stopped writing. I let my talent weather the storm. I let the arts influence me. Writing was my only escape. It was the only place I could go and not be judged or harassed. Little did I know—this escape pushed me to write my first book at the age of fifteen.

On October 26th 2014, I published The Ballad of Sidney Hill. That book marked my coming of age and how much I’ve matured.

The Ballad of Sidney Hill

That was living proof that I wasn’t going to let a mental disorder define me. They told me that I wouldn’t be able to function once I got to high school. All these specialists who remained doubtful of my growth, because of my condition—I proved them wrong.

Fast forward to now, I have written forty books. I am now attending Berkeley College in Newark, New Jersey.

I have a message for you all. Never let your circumstances define who you are.

You can be anything!

***

Khali Raymond is an exceptional individual who had published many books at a very young age.  Not only does he love writing, but he has am aptitude for music and many other things. Khali Raymond was born on December 22, 1998, in Newark, New Jersey. Ever since, Khali has been working at refining his craft in the writing field. Learning how to read at the age of two, there were bright things ahead for this wise man.  As Khali writes book after book at a rapid rate, you can’t help but wonder about his gift. His continuous efforts to put out riveting and mind capturing work arouses the interest of many.  The Art of Autism looks forward to hearing more from this young author in the future.

6 Comments

  • Khali, Thank you so very much for continuing to share your story. Through your writings, you are inspiring autistic children (and adults!) to reach their full potential, no matter what those who doubt them say!

  • Claudia Mazzucco says:

    Dear Khali,

    I am naïve to what I am going to say, but speaking as someone who has overcome the destructive effects of classic autism, I do not doubt the positive role that a well-developed resilience to social encounters can play for no longer being afraid of a “room full of people.”
    Why should you be crushed from the inside when nobody acknowledges that you are there? I make no secret of my rejection of Asperger’s which I do not consider a mental disorder, and after reading this Blog I wish a thousand times that Asperger’s would not have been invented years ago. This may be injurious to you, but it seems to me that it is by your own choice that you have come to blame Asperger’s of your anger, pain, glumness, and social isolation. The world is a scary place to be sure. But when you cut yourself off from the world, there must be an alternative model to deal with reality, an ability you should cultivate to avoid suffering and bring rational analysis and at least relative objectivity to your painful situation. The most obvious question is whether you are attributing to your surroundings a rejection that perhaps won’t exist if you change your approach to the world and see things differently.

  • amirah says:

    EVERYONE IS UNIQUE IN THEIR OWN WAY. EVERY AUTISITIC CHILD HAS ONE UNIQUE GIFT THAT MAKES THEM STAND OUT SO SPECIAL AND THAT NOBODY CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THEM. JUST A LITTLE PATIENCE AND MUCH LOVE FOR THEM , AM REALLY HAPPY THAT THOSE BULLIES AND MOCKERS WILL GET TO READ YOUR BOOKS AND SEE YOU ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS. BULLIES ARE LOW ESTEEM PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY CAN RUN OR DRAG HAPPY PEOPLE DOWN,SOMETIMES IT HELPS ONE TO DISCOVER HIS/HERSELF. LIVE YOUR DREAM AND BE HAPPY

  • Vanessa says:

    Thanks for sharing this! More people need to hear stories like this in order to learn, encourage, and understand the variety of perspectives around having Aspergers. I’m constantly amazed at how much professionals, teachers, and even parents hold their kids back from attaining their dreams and desires. It’s wonderful that you overcame!
    Can’t wait to read one of your books 🙂

  • Khali Raymond says:

    I really want to thank everyone for their positive comments. It took a lot for me to share my story and I am so grateful that I can inspire others.

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