April 5, 2014

Free Spirit: Amanda Tate

Hello wild humans! Today we want to introduce you to a free spirit who spends her days loving adults with Autism. Since April is Autism Awareness month we thought it would be fitting for you to meet Amanda Tate, a creative Libra from Nashville. Shes an open-minded, genuine individual who realizes life gets messy sometimes and she is ok with it. Amanda lives her life without constraint. She is never too concerned with whats popular or cool. Too many people are trying to be anything but themselves these days- not Amanda. She is original and in love with her life. And we are grateful to call her a friend. 

 Read on to learn more about her passion for learning and her desire to experience all of what life throws at her. Click here to listen to Amanda talk about her stories as a Job Coach for adults with Autism.

Opal + Wonder: We love how you live your life in such a carefree way. What inspires you to live so freely? 

Amanda Tate: I absolutely hate being boxed in. Society communicates to us from an early age that there is a narrow, straight path for us all. But that's a lie. Life is messy and confusing and heart-breaking, especially for us underdogs. But it's beautiful. And honestly, it's a little chaotic. But that's where the lessons are. To learn, as I love to do...you have to experience. I am a kinesthetic learner. I believe that to understand your world or your environment, you HAVE to experience it. Live it. Maybe for an hour. Maybe for 10 years. Whatever. I believe I could be classified (not that I see myself that way) as a "free spirit" because knowledge has no limit, and the opportunity for experiences is vast. You can't possibly know everything. And THAT is the most exciting fact to me. That means there is freedom in learning. It never runs out. I can always be listening to someone's life story, or I could be watching a documentary on how chairs are made...doesn't matter. It's something you didn't know one minute ago. I don't dig know-it-alls for that exact reason. You're lying to yourself if you think you know everything.

OW: Hearing you say that life lessons are found in chaos is refreshing. It’s a great reminder to create goods things from bad situations. Ok, so you love learning through experiences. What are some other ways you exercise your mind? 

AT: I am a learner, through and through. I acquired a degree to be a teacher, but not because I think I know everything, but because I love any environment where learning is happening. I mainly keep my mind stimulated by other people. Their opinions, their art, their written words, so on and so forth. There is so much to learn about from others. In the past year, I've been addicted to TEDTalks. I feel so incredibly inspired by other's discoveries with science, social theories, life stories...I've probably watched over 200 speeches through TEDTalks about the most random, beautiful, mysterious subjects. I can't seem to get enough.

OW: We agree with you. There is so much to learn from others and TEDTalks are great! So glad you mentioned those. After those 200 TEDTalks, you must feel more educated. So what really matters to you? What are you most passionate about? 

AT: I have a lot of passions, which means probably my main passion would be that I love being inspired. That feeling inside you that feels as though an invisible match has been struck in your heart? Have you ever experienced that? I'm an addict for that feeling.

OW: Yeah! We live for that feeling! Sometimes it can be hard to keep the fire going. How do you stay inspired? 

AT: I’m lucky that my job and career field does that almost daily for me. I work with Supported Employment for adults with Autism. I basically develop job opportunities in the community, find gainful employment that is a safe environment for my guys, then I will go to work with them to "coach" them through situations that may not come very easily to them as it does you or I. We have to go through a "discovery process" with our clients to even get to the point where we can find a field for them to explore. The more we discover about this person, the more they discover about themselves and what is a passion for their lives. It's beautiful.There is simply not enough time (or page space) to tell all my stories I hold dear about how kooky, intelligent, hysterical, and absolutely wild the clients I work with are. Their raw thoughts and emotions challenge me to be the most honest, genuine person I can possibly be. My guys inspire me EVERY DAY to learn, to search, to reflect, to help, to love, to grow. By the way, I say "guys" since for every female with Autism, there are 8 males...and our company's clients reflect that statistic. I love my job so much. I am truly blessed.

OW: Goosebumps! That is so cool. And we totally look up to you. Thank you for having the patience and the compassion to build relationships. So many people today are just “too busy” for that. 

Just for Fun 

OW: Do you have any favorite foods? 

AT: I don't discriminate when it comes to food. I love healthy and unhealthy foods alike. I can have a homemade tofu sandwich with kale chips for lunch and rack up 17 bucks eeeeasily at Taco Bell for dinner. I really just love food. Except olives. I adore cooking, especially baking. My second career choice would actually be to be a pastry chef. Mainly because decadent sweets are the shit.

OW: Haha, that’s awesome. There are bound to be many people who can relate to that answer. So what’s up with your style these days? 

AT: I don't shop. My mom still buys clothes from me. That is absolutely not cool to say, but I do not care about clothes. I have certain pairs of underwear that I have had since 6th grade. My style would have to be loosely described as "convenient and comfortable". Again, I realize that's boring, but I'm bad at lying.

OW: We love your honesty! And hey, convenient and comfortable is the new black. Or is that just us being mid 20’s and not caring? Anyway, this has been fun. Anything else you want to share?

AT: I am addicted to quotes. Say something interesting, and it's probably documented somewhere on my phone or a piece of paper.

About Amanda Tate
Age: 25 and a half
Astrological Sign: Libra
Born: heart of surburban Nashville
Current dwelling: quaint rental home in historic North Knoxville
Life Motto: never take advice from someone you wouldn't trade places with

Connect with Amanda : Facebook | Instagram 

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