My name is Martin van Houwelingen, I am 46 years old, living in Amsterdam with my wife and 3 cats, and at 36 I was diagnosed with Pdd-NOS, which basically is Autism in the category ‘We don’t have a specific name for this’.
When I got my tests and diagnosis, things in my life started falling into place, as suddenly a lot of things started to make sense, for instance how I was bad at social interactions, took things too literally and seriously, and always had had a hard time making friends. It made me introverted, being fine on my own doing my own things, and I learned to live my life without the help of others. What drove me were my passion for music, writing, and photography, which 5 years ago was accompanied by a rekindled love for drawing, something I hadn’t done since I was 14 because someone once said I sucked at it.
These things are my life, but living a solitary, almost hermetic, life wasn’t good for me as the little social skills I did have melted away until I couldn’t stand to be around people at all. It was then my publisher told me to take a course in improv as I was no use to him not even being able to stammer when on stage… and with that I slowly started to open up again, not exactly finding people like me, but people crazy enough to accept me, quirks and all, and I got into storytelling, just telling bits about my life as an Autist, and stories about my life, as living outside the ‘norm’ got me into all sorts of crazy things.
When a year ago I met a very talented singing teacher who told me I had a lovely voice, I started on a new journey, to sing, first privately with coaching, and later even publicly.
This website is my way of saying thanks to everyone who helped me on my journey, but especially the people who saw me for who I was, and am, on the inside, and not just the unusual mannerisms that are on the outside of me. It is my way of giving back what I can, which is my amateurish talent, in trade for donations which will go to different Autism funds to help people like me blossom through dealing and working with their problems instead of trying to swim against the stream, trying to belong to a world that neither cares nor wishes to understand what life is like ‘outside’ what they have accepted as the norm.
Some projects I will post here are not finished, and some might never be, as that is part of the creative process. But I hope that it will be a place for inspiration, as well as collaboration, as I hope to hear from you, and I do mean that. Feel free to Tweet or Email me creative things you made, things you love, even if it is just a photograph of something you love. I can’t promise I’ll put it up on the website, though I might, who knows, if it fits the baseline of this site to be better together than alone.
You are not alone.
There are millions like you all over the world.
You just have to reach out your hand,
and touch the screen.