[MEDIA: Here's a short bio, but please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email to explore topic ideas and guest segments! Tsara Shelton is a writer of musings, a sipper of coffee, and an addict of anything story. Having learned life exploring the edges of society she finds her footing in the world through intentional storytelling—as a mom, wife, daughter and citizen. She blogs regularly at Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton and is the author of Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up. ]
About The Making Of Me!
A bit about my dreams: I wanted to be a writer and a mom when I grew up. A writer of novels that made me feel new ideas and explore human beings and their reasons the way the novels I was always reading did. I wanted to be a mom of dirty, happy, barefoot kids who played outside and made up songs with me.
And I wanted to drink coffee, because watching my mom sip that adult brew while reflecting and being beautiful invited me to imagine myself as a coffee sipping grown up, writing books and playing with my wildly happy and dirt covered kids.
A bit of (honest) background: When my mom decided to adopt four autistic boys I was less than impressed. I was ten and unlike my sister--who was seven--I felt uncomfortable around my new brothers. Dar would grunt, hit himself and eat out of the garbage. Cash would stare blankly in whatever direction he happened to be facing, forever needing to pull up his socks. Chance would threaten the nearest person with violence while violently avoiding eye contact. And Rye would jump at you from the highest heights, echoing your words and running to wrap his itty bitty mouth around the hottest tailpipes. This was not my idea of a fun new family. I even felt rejected when my little brothers wanted to play with my sister (who genuinely enjoyed playing) but not me (who was pretending to want to play)
It wasn't exactly the image I had entertained of happy kids with dirty clothes. It was far more challenging and real.
It was a gift.
Now that I'm the mother of four boys, and sister to two more adopted siblings (girls this time!) I am in awe and appreciation for the gift of such an interesting and crazy family!
My two youngest sons showed symptoms of autism very early. Thanks to my mom's understanding and passion for autism we were able to create a family program that was both fun and effective. She even interviewed them for her podcast A NEW SPIN ON AUTISM: ANSWERS, where they, along with my youngest brother, had a chance to share their feelings and learning's about autism. They even share some surprisingly helpful tips for autistic individuals and their families! The show is titled 'Are you Normal Too?', have a listen! http://webtalkradio.net/shows/a-new-spin-on-autism-answers/
A bit of now: I am amazed and constantly inspired by my brothers. Cash owns his own home in Corsicana, TX and works for a construction company. Chance lives in Vermont and is a helicopter mechanic in the National Guard who has served two tours overseas. Rye lives in the small town of Teague, TX where he has his own apartment and works filling shampoo bottles for a local barber as well as mowing lawns. And Dar, well he is mom's slow moving miracle. He lives with her in California and sometimes with me in Texas. He loves food, juice and 'phusic' (music!). He is lovely!
I'm lucky to have such wonderful role models for my wonderful boys as well as for myself. I see now that autism asks challenging questions, expects us to think outside the box, and then autism answers.
I encourage you to check out my mom's neurofeedback and brain health site for more info on autism, ADHD, depression, Parkinson's, Tourette's and soooooo much more!
A bit about my boys: I have four sons. They are mostly grown now, ages seventeen, nineteen, twenty-one, and twenty-three. They are amazing men who I adore and am so totally impressed with daily. Goodness knows I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time as a mom, so I've gotta give them lots of kudos!
My two youngest sons had many symptoms of autism when they were younger. They still have some today. However, neither one was ever diagnosed. For a bit more on my boys and their beautiful autism, have a peek at this: http://www.opednews.com/Diary/My-Boys-and-their-Beautifu-by-Tsara-Shelton-110601-212.html
I won't spend too much time chatting about my boys here since pretty much every post I publish will be about them, but suffice it to say that it is because of them that I have chosen to grow as a person and become an advocate for humanity. It is because of them that I have taken time in the silence to hear my thoughts clearly, so that I could truly know myself and my own direction and value. It is because of them; because I want it for them and expect it of them.
My children have saved me from a life of trying to impress. Fearing judgment. Resisting change. Giving up on finding comfort with myself. They have given me a most beautiful reason to engage with the world. Share ideas. Learn from others while trusting myself.
A bit about my fabulous husband: We have been happily married for seventeen years. When we met I was the single mom of three boys, and after we married we had our fourth.
We are the most drastically different two people who have ever loved so much! He is black and I am white. He is twenty-three years older than me. He has lived his entire life in small town Texas while I've lived all over Canada and the US... embracing the nomad in me. I love travel and he fears it. I love people and he worries that they are going to take advantage. I want to give our children freedom (though it's frightening!) and he wants to wrap them tight with warnings to keep them safe.
All of these differences were evident on the day we met. I wrote a fun post all about that day here:
In the end, we are the greatest combo of mom and dad that I could have ever hoped for our children
A bit about my future: Having lived a life that is filled with stories, surprises, struggles, and celebrations, I am now that writer I imagined myself to be, but different too. I have yet to publish a novel ( I'm working on one right now!) though I have published my first book, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up. And before that I was published in one:This Extraordinary Life by Rachel Quatkemeyer. I write articles, blog posts, opinion pieces, essays, short stories, and am shopping a screenplay. I write because it's how I discover who I am and who I want to be. It's how I affect my world and envision clearly. I'm addicted to stories. And I really like how well they go with coffee!
It's so lovely to meet you! I look forward to sharing, growing, learning and sipping much coffee together!!
My book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up, is the first of many.
I hope you'll purchase a copy for yourself and a friend. And after coffee & conversation, let me know what you think!