Transcript for Matthew Rushin

Kelly Bron Johnson (00:03):

Welcome to this episode of the Intersections on the Spectrum Podcast. The intersections on the Spectrum podcast is the brainchild and passion project of Doug Blecher and Kelly Bron Johnson. Created to discuss intersectional issues within the autistic community and give visibility and amplification to typically marginalized, oppressed, under-recognized or erased identities and issues. We aim to introduce you to the people and stories you may not have known about but needed to hear, and hope that by seeing yourself represented in the community allows you to feel seen.

Doug Blecher (00:36):

And today we have the pleasure of having Matthew Rushin join us. Matthew, thanks so much for being part of this episode today.

Matthew Rushin (00:45):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Doug Blecher (00:47):

We always like to start these episodes off by learning about each guest and what identities that they feel that they're most connected with.

Matthew Rushin (00:57):

Well, Matthew, that's really it. That's who I am, whoever that is, to whoever is interpreting what I am giving out to the world. They are free to use that. But I see myself as Matthew. I have a d h d, I'm autistic, and I'm just trying to make the world a better place. I'm trying to make sure that people are heard and not only heard, but made to believe that they're being heard. 'cause that's the more important part of that.

Kelly Bron Johnson (01:34):

That reminds me of, I have an Oprah quote, <laugh>, I don't know if you mind an Oprah quote.

Matthew Rushin (01:39):

No, no, no.

Kelly Bron Johnson (01:40):

<laugh>. But one of those, she had a, a show, and I think she was talking about no matter who has come on her show, like it could be like just somebody, like a regular person to like celebrity. And she said it doesn't really matter who it was that came on the show, they would always ask her after, was it good? And she said in the end, what everybody wanted, what every single person wanted was, did you hear me? Did you see me? Did you hear me? And I always kind of bring that within things that I'm doing too, that everybody just wants to be seen and heard. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> for whatever that is or whatever story they have. So I think it's really beautiful that you, you kind of brought that up. You brought that into to what you're doing

Matthew Rushin (02:25):

Because it's our job to not only listen, but to make sure that they know we're listening. And that's what, and that's where we lack in society. And that's where I come in. 'cause I know how to do that. I know, I know how to, how to do that very well. I'm so glad you carry it with you because I think everyone should carry that in their like ethic and moral tool belt throughout life. That we're all just people living here together on the same planet. Why not want to look out for your neighbor? If you see them struggling. And not only that, but make sure that you're doing it genuinely enough so that they believe that it's genuine and you're not, I'm sorry to put it like this, but half-assing it to make them believe that, oh, they're probably just doing it for some ulterior motive. Like just how people think nowadays. People don't see a genuine action as a genuine action anymore. And it's because people aren't putting in that effort to make it look and seem as genuine as you're intending it to be. And so that's again, where I come in.

Kelly Bron Johnson (03:39):

Well, it's thought of another tangent too. You know, the fact of a lot of people doing things for show, right? They do things right. Exactly. On, on social media. They're, they're setting

Matthew Rushin (03:46):


Kelly Bron Johnson (03:47):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And yeah, they set up these whole fake scenarios and they're like, oh, well look what I did over here. Look what happened here. And it, it's all very fake. And I think it makes it harder for people now to discern what is the, the fake part and what is the what is real.

Matthew Rushin (04:03):

Yeah. No, it, it makes it hard for us, the observers. 'cause that's really what we are. It makes us as the observers, it makes it harder for us to relate to what we're observing. You're putting out that you have such a happy family, but me, as your close friend knows of all the arguments and everything going on behind the scenes at home of how you really don't have a happy family. So like, what is the true reason as to why you're posting this picture? What are you trying to reach out about? Because that's really what, what you're doing. You're posting that, hoping that someone questions it and someone shows that they care truly about what you might even be feeling on a individual level. I could go into that all day and all night, but that's not what this interview is for.

Kelly Bron Johnson (05:02):

No, no, no. Yeah. <laugh> another one. We'll have to have another one. That's what I always say. And be off on these tangents, but like, yeah.

Matthew Rushin (05:09):

 Absolutely. Absolutely. Um,

Kelly Bron Johnson (05:11):

Yeah, let's go back, I guess into some of the story that, that got you here, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so many people are familiar with the fact that you got sentenced to 50 years in prison and then pardoned and released for a crime that there was no harmful intent on your part and you were innocent. So in your situation, authorities did not provide appropriate accommodations or consider your communication access needs. What are some things that can be done in the present and the future so other autistic people aren't put in the situation that you were in?

Matthew Rushin (05:45):

We first have to start with the persons of authority in those situations. And that's usually law enforcement. We have to start by teaching them how to not lead with their gun, but lead with their heart. So if they're called, so they get a call, there's a distress. Teen 15 or 16 or 17 with a gun, keeps pointing it at their own head. Keeps saying they want to kill themselves. Not necessarily pointing it at anyone else. Just running around frantic, screaming, obviously distressed. Why is the first thing they think of to do is to send SWAT and like a hundred officers. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> wouldn't the first thing to do be have someone who's specifically trained for these types of scenarios. I wish all police officers were trained, but they have like crisis intervention officers. Why not have those officers go out, leave their guns behind, obviously tasers and cuffs and whatever else, but leave their gun behind so that the person knows that the officer really isn't a threat.


That's number one. Number two, this person is, is gonna see this officer with their hands up and this, and they're probably gonna start crying because they're gonna realize, oh, that it, like, somehow that's gonna trip up this, this path of internal turmoil that they're on to drive them to do what they're doing. And it's gonna cause this emotional spike. And they're gonna start crying. And then they're gonna start wondering, oh my God, what, what am I doing? Why am I really doing this? And then they had this officer talking to them, trying to literally get down in the mud with them to see what's truly wrong. Hey, what is going on today? Why do you feel like you have to kill yourself? Just thinking about that and saying that is making me emotional because good grief, if I was in that situation and I had someone just like, if that night I had someone come to me and say, are you okay?


What happened? Instead of having these people ring me out to drive from the very beginning and pick me up as a criminal and a murderer. Like why not sit down and say what happened? I don't know. I was honestly blacked out for a portion of that. Why? I don't, I don't know what else to tell people. But that's where we need to start. We need to start with education on different mental archetypes like schizophrenia, okay, it, this person obviously isn't talking to me. They're talking to another voice. So this person needs to be evaluated. Are they on the right meds? Are they actually taking the medication they're being prescribed? These are the questions they need to pop up in the police officer's mind. And not, man, it's gonna be a lengthy process to get 'em booked. Like, no. And then with, 'cause I, I know B P D, a lot of like public civil disputes are usually B P D is or some type of emotional hormonal dysregulation is going on with these people.


And then they get prescribed all these different drugs and they're essentially tranquilized not even treating what's truly going on mentally. 'cause it's not, I don't ever believe besides marijuana and shrooms, which have both been, I don't do shrooms. I personally smoke medicinal marijuana because it helps both my A D H D and my anxiety and stress and everything else that comes with my autism. It helps both so much more than Concerta or Stratera or things that I have been prescribed in the past. But yeah. But like, see, very simple things. And with weed, I microdose less than a gram a day. And what microdosing is, is you take like a 10th of a gram or even less than that and you take that hit. And for me, with my high metabolism, low body weight and the fact that I'm out biking all the time and running and walking, I'm active.


Which helps with, which helps with the metabolic rate of my body. Again, my metabolism and everything else. But I'm going off on a tangent anyways, people, there's a lot of stigmas behind, oh, you have to take stratera concerta or whatever other stimulant for A D H D. You shouldn't smoke weed because you'll get addicted. Or you shouldn't say, take CBD because it makes you tired and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm just like, okay. Just like anything else, do it in moderation. I'm not saying sit there and smoke yourself to sleep, but why not take a hit just to get mellowed out and relaxed so that you can go out and function like a proper human being or whatever you, you want to consider it. But that's just my personal opinion. I'm not pushing there. Of course, not everyone is for it. Not everyone wants to do it.


But what I am saying is that there are are natural, like chamomile tea. I drink that lavender. I have lavender incense that I like. I also have lavender and olive oil that I use with my coffee. I have a a hemp creamer that helps relax me. So now I don't even have to smoke that much. And so like, there's ways to help my mind process life. 'cause that's really what I used to struggle with, which is why I had to take medications. 'cause I couldn't process life, you know, waking up, dealing with everything, going to sleep, to repeating that cycle. But now I can. 'cause what it does is it slows down my mind that, uh, we are on a tangent. We, you, we started with the original question and now we're talking about <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (11:57):

It's okay. I can bring you back. I can bring you back if you want. But I want to mention, I've got, I've got some beautiful lavender bushes out front that I planted a few years ago. And they're, they're absolutely flourish.

Matthew Rushin (12:06):

Rose, rose, rose. Oh yeah. Yeah. It's, oh, basil. Just, just the smell of basil is amazing. Have you ever smelled just like a basil plant without a plucking?

Kelly Bron Johnson (12:17):

Yearh. I've got green and purple in the back,

Matthew Rushin (12:19):

So, oh yes. Yeah.

Kelly Bron Johnson (12:20):

Yes. I love my gardening <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Matthew Rushin (12:23):

Yeah. When I came home and I was still at my mom's house, I had my own garden. I had all sorts of stuff. I had a kiwi tree. I had,  cucumbers, a eggplant, some carrots, some, some baby carrots that I grew. I grew some tomatoes. I just like, I like, I have a green thumb and I really don't know anything about it. <laugh>, I, I just love doing it. I love it. 'cause it's so nice. I go out, I prune the, that leaves, I pruned the bottom branches stocks so that the tree can grow some more. And I don't know, it's just, it's just nice. But see, all, everything that I just talked about, if these officers were trained in knowing any of that, they wouldn't have to resort to arresting these people or sending them to jail and getting them mis medicated and misdiagnosed.


And then they're lost in, in the system. And, but if they knew all these things, or maybe not even, not even taking the kid anymore. Hey, give me the gun. Let's go for a walk. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, maybe that's all, all he needs. Maybe the kid is having issues with his own fatherly figure. And maybe you can just play the part just for a little bit, just enough to get him off of that ledge he's on. 'cause that's what he's on. He was obviously pushed so far that he felt like death was the only option. Why not be that intervention and say, you know what? Death isn't the only option. You got this. It's a lot. Yes. But like, yes, you know, just, I don't know. I don't know. There's ways to talk to people. There's ways to get past those walls that they have spent so long building up, not through negative manipulative means, but by being presence and being a little aggressive about it, because that's what they need.


They need people to really show that, wow, someone cares. Because as soon as they, they realize that, trust me, the walls come down, they start crying and then, then, then you learn the truth. You understand that, okay, it really isn't anyone that they're mad at. It's just, they're just stuck in life right now or whatever the case is. It's just, it seems so simple to me, not what they're going through, but like how to properly assess these types of situations so that something like me or many of the other cases that have been going on don't happen.

Kelly Bron Johnson (15:11):

Well, that's one thing that I want to bring up. And one thing that I want listeners to understand too, it's not just a you thing, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it didn't just happen to you. I'm in Canada. We had three very similar cases in Canada just last summer in three different provinces, three completely different police forces. This shows it's a systemic problem, right? And it knows no borders. This is a systemic issue with the way that the police force functions or the way the society is perceiving these issues. And it's so, it's discriminatory, it's ableist, it's everything. But like, that's the point. Like, I kind of want to, when I said we're gonna bring you back, that's kind of it. Yeah. You know, where I want people to understand this is not an individual problem. This is not gonna have an individual solution. But your insight, my insight, Doug's insight, you know, the fact that we, when you're speaking about this, how we're just looking for people to understand and understand what this experience is and how to approach it, that is valuable insight that we have that we can offer. And I am hoping that at some point, somebody's listening and, and can bring that change for themselves as well.

Doug Blecher (16:16):

And you know, to Kelly's point, there's a disproportionate amount of autistic people that are incarcerated, much more likely that we as autistic people will be incarcerated in our lifetime. And I can't imagine the stress and anxiety in that situation. So what do you think were factors that helped you survive, Matthew, to be resilient in these, in this particular situation, in these circumstances?

Matthew Rushin (16:46):

 Well, because of how I was raised, my adaptiveness was already where it needed to be to help me survive. I also had a good support system in there. So both inside and out, really just, just being genuine, being honest and being blunt and not giving, and not projecting any of my inner frustrations out onto other people. Being locked up really taught me a lot of things about people. Like one of the best ways to survive in there is to stick to yourself, deal with your own issues and treat everyone with respect. Because trust me, over just a few months, I had the respect of several people that, that continuously helped me out throughout my entire stay. And it was as simple as just being genuine, being honest, sticking to yourself, and being respectful to people. That was also so simple to me because by the time I came, by the time, I left, I had said several people, like better not come back, better keep in contact with me. I tried to keep it, I think the prism was censoring my emails to some of these inmates because a lot of these people just didn't reply back to me. But yeah, it was just respect. It was just as simple as respect and just minding my business because the people that I did get in trouble in there were people who wore their emotions out on their sleeves, were the people that were always projecting and always carrying around an attitude, always being rude. So, yeah.

Kelly Bron Johnson (18:49):

Well, I think in general that that also kind of works in real life. Well, I'm saying that not that prison's not real life, but I'm saying in the outside world and to a some extent, acceptance, the fact that a lot of the time, us being direct and genuine and honest, sometimes we get preyed upon because of that. It's not always seen as a, as a positive.

Matthew Rushin (19:11):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, oh, I have a cat. Or, or, or we have a cat <laugh> and she is always messing with stuff, so I have to put her in air jail for a little bit. Okay.

Kelly Bron Johnson (19:23):


Matthew Rushin (19:25):

No, no. She's

Kelly Bron Johnson (19:26):

Doesn't seem to mind. No.

Matthew Rushin (19:30):

See we've had Autumn for about, for about two years now, two, two years to two and a half. And since then, I, the connection that her and I have is, I don't know where it's at now, but like, she trusts me. Like I could pick her up any sort of way. I can kiss her stomach, if she's laying down, I can come up on her and like lay my head on her and she just sits there. And sometimes she'll look at me like, why? But like, but otherwise, like, and then I wake up at like 6, 6 30 and when she hears my alarm go off, I hear the, my alarm. And then I hear her wake up and get up. Uh, it's, yeah. Sorry, I wasn't purposely not listening to you. It was just the cat <laugh>, distracted <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (20:21):

It's okay.

Matthew Rushin (20:22):

Could you, could you go back over what you were saying before I had to pick up that?

Kelly Bron Johnson (20:30):

Yeah, I was saying how you're saying, so in prison you were talking about how just being respectful, being open and honest and in real life. And then, but like, when we're outside of prison, sometimes we're not seen the same, it's not seen as a strength necessarily, or we're preyed upon because we're honest.

Matthew Rushin (20:46):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (20:47):

Yeah. So it's just interesting. I think it's, it's an interesting look at how things function, but I'm glad that, that you found a technique, you found something that worked for you so that you could survive.

Matthew Rushin (21:01):

Yeah. It's funny you're saying that. Yeah. It's it crazy that being honest, being pretty much pedantic and not dancing around the point or sugarcoating anything. It's funny how that is seen as bad out here, but in there it's one of the best things you can do. And I really like ever since getting out, I've been thinking this and I don't think I'm ever gonna stop thinking this. I think people who are narcissistic or have entitlement issues, privilege issues, I think people who really have interpersonal issues that they are refusing to work on, they need to spend like, I don't know, a little bit of time enclosed for a little bit isolated from technology and everything else. Like, because that forced isolation. Yeah, it's gonna drive them nuts at firs , but like, it really forces the person to be with themself.


They can't think about anything else now. They can't worry about anything else. Now the only person that they can think about is themselves because how am I going to make it? Am I gonna eat? Am I gonna be able to go take a shower? Am I gonna be able to do this? Am I, they are forced to do self-care. And I think just a little bit of time of that for these types of people, I think that's all they need. And honestly, society would be a better place not to, I'm not saying we should send them to prison. No, I don't think, I think the only people that deserve to go to prison and jail are people that deserve to go to prison and jail. But like maybe send these people to an island with nothing on it, but books and mango trees and just so, so that they're isolated.


So that they can't go on TikTok and mindlessly scroll. They can't, they can't, they can't go on Facebook and tell everyone all their personal issues all day and all night without actually dealing with themselves. Like that isolation I feel like just a little bit of of isolation in anyone's life. Like that is what you need to move to that next level of higher self. The part, the level that is not selfish, that is not conceited, that is not self-centered, that is not, that doesn't feel like they're entitled to things in life. I think that was like the final mental barrier I had to get past, I had to realize that nothing is permanent. I mean, I could buy things and technically speaking it is mine, but they're just superficial things, you know? They're replaceable people. However, I'm not, people are not, and being here with Ashley, like, like I now know that 100%.


It's such a little fact. It's such a little thing. But it, it, it's because I spent that time away from everyone and everything that I can enjoy, truly enjoy things. We take freedom for granted, for absolute granted. Like people are always complaining about, oh, they don't have a freedom of speech. Yes you do, you have freedom of speech, but you don't have freedom of consequence. Right? This is what I believe. You can say whatever you want, but when someone comes and pops you in the face a couple times, <laugh>, that was no one's fault but your own. Right. You know, we let you say it first. There's gonna, we punch you. Right. Exactly. Like you cannot control other people. So if you sit there and rattle off whatever you rattle off, I might not do anything about it, but trust me, the person behind me is waiting with their other freedom, which is a gun <laugh>. So it's like, I don't understand how people think nowadays, but anyways, yeah. People take freedom for granted and that leads to narcissism and a whole bunch of other cluster be cycles and whatever else.


It's, I don't know, sometimes I wish I could change people's minds or at least manipulate their thought process just a little bit so that they could see more of the truth and not their truth. Just so I can open the gates just a little bit, just enough for them to start seeing what things actually are instead of whatever internal emotions are broadcasting to you. Like, 'cause that's all it is, it's just they're seeing the truth. Sure. But it's being filtered through all these internal emotions that they're repressing and not dealing with. And so if, again, if they could be isolated, they have no external anything, they are forced to then retreat back to these things that they've been repressing. And then from there, they're gonna come out a brand new person thanking everybody being such a monk because they finally dealt with whatever was giving them that bad attitude every day, whatever was giving them that depression. But that's, again, that's just my opinion. That's just what I thank. It's just, I just don't ever think I'll stop believing that.

Kelly Bron Johnson (26:43):

Well, I think to me what it sounds like you're just saying that people just need to be real. They need to be real with themselves. Yeah.

Matthew Rushin (26:49):

They can't though.

Kelly Bron Johnson (26:51):

But you were saying like, I wish that we could get people to change their thought process. I hope that when people are listening to our podcast, that at some point they're kind of having a moment of like, Hey, you know, this, this could be interesting. Maybe I should follow that thought. You know? So I kind of feel like sometimes I hope we're opening doors. I hope we're changing minds. I don't know. We could be screaming into a void. I'm not really sure. <laugh>, we should get, we need more feedback. <laugh>. Hey,

Matthew Rushin (27:15):

We miss 100% of the shots we don't take.

Kelly Bron Johnson (27:18):

So yeah, I mean that's, that's it. So we're here, we're just trying to like see what if we can change things and speaking. So going back to social media too, you're on social media and you mentioned recently that you wanted to make a new type of therapy called introspective therapy, which I think is kind of what you're touching on. And you already have pages and those in this. So what do you think about this therapy? What are some types of things, when you think about this therapy, what are some types of things that come to mind? Iif you wanna expand on that.

Matthew Rushin (27:50):


Kelly Bron Johnson (27:51):


Matthew Rushin (27:52):

Self. Like, so you have self and then all the subsratas, all the subst, stratas encompass everything else internal with self. So you have self and then you have, you have all your emotions. You have, sorry, I'm trying to get it into a nice little list. And everything's kind of bumping into each other, trying to find a place. You have self, you have your emotions, you have, you have your like moral compass. So good and bad. You have your ethical compass wrong and right, good and bad, wrong and right to completely separate concepts. I don't know why people always get, get that confused. Something can be good but not be the right thing to do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, something can be bad, but be the right thing to do. And then below that you have just your thoughts, your thoughts, your aura, your energy, just everything else.


Then emulated out onto the world. And so from those I'm able to break down like self, like okay, you have self, what is self? Self is not the identity you give out to the world. Self is the person that you identify with. Self is the person that when you're sitting in bed, falling asleep, those thoughts, okay, you have those thoughts regarding self. What are the emotions running concomitant to those, the emotions that accompany them, those emotions that accompany them. Are they good emotions? Are they bad emotions? Are they right? Are, are they the right emotions to have about this thought or the wrong emotions to have about this thought? Am I thinking correctly about this? Am I thinking incorrectly about this? Am I having the right information? Do I not have the right information? Do I have enough information? Just a couple. Not saying you have to do all of that thinking <laugh> all in one second. I mean, I can, but my mind is always running at a million miles a second. I can probably thank my A D H D for that <laugh> <laugh>.


Yeah. Those are really the major tenets. Like you have self as the fountain head, and then everything else. Also the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, one of my favorite books I absolutely love. I know that Ayn Rand was slightly Marxist, but the book itself is good <laugh>. But yes, I, I use the term Fountain because the book, it's about this guy named Howard Rourke. And he is all about self, self, self, like what he wants, what he needs. But he's an engineer or an architect having to build for other people. But he wants to build for them through his own design. But he can't because he's forced to sacrifice self for this altruistic idea that everybody's engulfed in. And so,  just self and then everything else, I, I don't mean to keep blabbering on about it, but

Doug Blecher (31:05):

Matthew, you know, I wanted to talk a little bit about, because people know about your case, a lot of people are really familiar with it. But who were you before all this, you know, I see your mother especially very involved in advocacy on social media, but before this whole case, were you activists or advocates before? And what was your childhood and life like before this whole case occurred?

Matthew Rushin (31:33):

Even to this day? Okay, so you know what, I'm just gonna be, start being completely honest. Ever since I've been home, no ever since I've been locked up, my mom has been, or I'm sorry, Laverne has been wanting me to follow a narrative. She has constructed. I mean, of course I was wrongfully convicted, but she never wants to talk about the truth of what happens between her and I. She always portrays us as being so happy together, being this and being that I haven't been home and I don't even know how many months because one night I'm trying to talk to her about the truth of her and Demetrius's marriage. They're my father, but I don't see that man as my father anymore. And I really don't care if he, if he hears that, I've already told that I, but because she didn't want me talking about the truth, she started getting upset.


So I posted it on Facebook. I made sure, because I was tired of everyone coming to me with all this information, all these lies that she was feeding everyone. And then I'm having to what? Lie on top of that? No, I'm sorry. Not doing that. And so what does she do? She calls a police officer to kick me out the house. So I packed my stuff up and I leave, I think I ended up passing out on the pond in front of our neighborhood for like an hour and a half. 'cause I, I was waiting for my, at the time, she was my girlfriend, she's my fiance now. But I was waiting for her to get off work so she could take me home. And I've been here ever since. And it's because neither one of them believe that autism is real. Neither one of them believes that I am autistic, that I have ADHD.


Both of them believe that I have issues, that I have financial issues, I have drug issues that I'm not, um, that the reason why I'm not doing school is because I'm irresponsible or lazy. Excuse me. I've managed to get myself into several things. I'm an advisor for kind theory. We're working on a safety program that we're gonna eventually take to law enforcement so that we can do the very things that I've been talking about. I worked for Eliza Hope with the autistic teens. Oh my god. Matthew, one of my kids, I saw him. I didn't see the mask, I saw the kid that was so beautiful. I almost cried. I worked, I think I'm gonna be working at Maverick Learning Center, which is in like an autistic alternate school for, for young kids. Tara. I worked for Tara. Like, I don't know why. I don't know what.


And then a pastor, I was playing at the founders end. I was playing on piano, just, just messing around, not playing anything seriously. And he walks up to me, he says he's from Uganda, by the way. I can't do the accent, but, but he, it was very, it was very strong <laugh>. And so he, he was like, my friend play so well, what do I have to pay you to play for me? And I'm looking at him like, and excuse me. And so I come to find out, his name is Pastor Ronnie, and he runs a online church service and he just wants me to play. So he's working on getting the piano, but he wants me to play for him every weekend when, when he does his service. And then if he has any during the week, I'm just a, I think I'm like a 30 minute bike ride from him.


So, so it's not that far away, but like how dare both of them believe that I have nothing going for my life unless I finish a four year degree. When I managed to do all these things, and I only have an associate's in social science, it's because of how they were now, they made me intelligent or at least they helped me be intelligent. They helped me be smart and quick and, and athletic and everything else. But like where was the, where was that emotional intelligence coming from? Where was that emotional safety coming from? You know, help with my emotional regulations. And so when I think back to when to to how I was raised, I wouldn't change anything because the person I am today, being as articulate as I am, being as thoughtful and kind and smart and as everything, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that.


Everything has a reason for existing. That's why it's here in life. It's just a matter of us learning, us actually taking the time to figure that out. Like, okay, it's here. Why is it here? There has to be a reason why it's here. Yeah, sure. It the coincidence, but I don't believe in it. Coincidence, coincidences? No, I was raised, I had to experience what I experienced for the first 24 years of my life so that I can be here today helping the kids that I help, helping the people that, that I help. And being so solid and cemented in the truth the way I am. I had to, 'cause we live in a world of lies and deceit and vindictiveness. Like sometimes unjustified vindictiveness. If I can make those small changes here, here and there. 'cause eventually I want to travel around the world and talk to people.


I gotta learn some languages. But I'm sure that that won't be hard because I, if what I experienced with my parents and family happens to me, being who I am, I know with 100% certainty that I am not alone. I'm learning every day that I'm not alone, which is why I am pushing more and more to get into things so that I can become more and more entrenched in this community so that I can get to a position where I can start making those good changes for us. First things first, we gotta get rid of ABA therapy. Sorry, I don't believe in, in aba therapy, these kids, all they really need is just someone to sit down and talk with them. Be like, Hey, so why are you upset? What is really upsetting you? Well, mommy always gives me pizza and I don't want pizza.


Wow. That was simple. Mm-hmm. <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. Like, like the kid's not being disobedient. The kid's not being bad. They just don't want the pizza you give 'em. Okay, give 'em something else. I mean, I don't know, there's just like, I don't, yeah. Yes, yes, sure. Like, but even then, like with nonverbals, some of the more aggressively tense kids might need some behavioral therapy, but not aba therapy. They just need a cognitive behavioral therapist or someone who's trained in this physical aggressiveness. Yes. ABA therapy is for the physical aggressiveness of autistics, but why turn them into robots instead of teaching them how to function with all these emotions? Because you're not going to be able to regimen out these emotions. No, absolutely not. No, absolutely not. Because repression, I'm a prime example of that.


I had a period of time where I, I just, I felt like I wanted to die because of all the things that were popping back up in my mind. Like I was sitting in my cell like, good God, I've been repressing all this. Like, I had to have so many serious conversations with myself because again, how I was raised, it wasn't safe to talk about your emotions. It wasn't safe to disagree. It wasn't safe to have a cordial, regular conversation because good God, I just wanna talk about your day and now you're asking me if I did this, if I did that, you're, you're still mad at me about that. You're, you know, like, it's like all this emotional volatility and frailness like it's, I don't know, but I'm here now. My childhood and adolescent hood brought me to where I am now to include being locked up and I'm better off for it.


Like, I truly believe that if, if I hadn't experienced all the pain and anguish that I've been through, I'd still be living a life of lies. I still wouldn't be able to find a, a good partner, someone that I can spend the rest of my life with, someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with. I still would've been prancing around with, with all these little girls instead of the grown woman I have. I don't know, it's just different things. Like everything happened for a reason. Everything absolutely happened for a reason. My friend circle is as small as it is now because I now understand the truth of everything and I have to think how that badness for it. So, I mean, I'm here. Ashley's really good at leasing. She used to be a leasing agent for a couple places. Right now she's the nighttime supervisor at Catch 31.


She does the safe and whatnot, but we're, she found a place I'm just looking for, I'm not looking for a job. I have jobs. It's just a matter of getting them. We're not getting them to start. They are starting. It's just patience. That's really what it is. It's just patience for everything. That was another thing I wasn't taught when I was growing up. I was always taught instant gratification. If you want something, you can go get it right now. No, no, no. Sometimes things take time. And I really had to learn that. Like, I, I almost had to beat it in in myself, like, and which is why I got,  which is why I'm so good at biking now and running and even playing games like World of Tanks. I play that game religiously. And that game takes a lot of patience. Like, 'cause you're waiting for a shot, you're having to wait for a reload. You're having, like, it is just, I don't know, like patience hovers so many different aspects in my life. Yeah. So my childhood and what I went through at prison have brought my inner self to where it is now. And I would not change a single thing.

Kelly Bron Johnson (43:03):

That's a wonderful way to end this. That's such a wonderful, like, I dunno, but I'm kind of speechless. Honestly. We wanted to, Doug and I wanted to congratulate you on your engagement.

Matthew Rushin (43:15):

Thank you. Thank you.

Kelly Bron Johnson (43:16):

And, and I wanted to say happy birthday again. Thank you. It's been so real, so interesting. That's why I think it's, that's probably why your friend circle is smaller, that you can only, you're only gonna tolerate people who are gonna be real with you. Keep bringing that realness out into the world. I think you're doing amazing things. Thank you. You're gonna change lives in, in other children's lives and, and other adults' lives. Yeah, I think so. I think so. I believe so. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I've only spoken to you for like an hour, but that's what I believe.

Matthew Rushin (43:50):

Hour, Oh wow.

Doug Blecher (43:52):

So, uh, Matthew, thanks so much for joining us today. I'm sure. When people get a chance to listen to this episode, they are gonna love it as probably as much as me and Kelly did.

Matthew Rushin (44:04):

Okay. When you, whenever you post, make, create whatever the finished product is, can you send it to me, whether it's in the form of a link or like a file or,

Doug Blecher (44:15):

Yeah, absolutely. We will.

Matthew Rushin (44:17):

I'll be sure to share that on my Facebook.

Doug Blecher (44:21):

Thanks, Matthew.