This post was originally published at http://www.fairydustandflapjacks.com/fairy-dust-and-flapjacks-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers-autismpositivity2012/ and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
Fairy Dust and Flapjacks to ‘I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers’: #AutismPositivity2012
I didn’t know that what I “had” was Asperger’s until my four year old son was diagnosed just a few months ago. I began researching like a mad woman, trying to understand him and find ways to help him, and just found things about me. Extremely uncomfortable in social situations? Me. Trouble sleeping, colicky as a baby? Me. Difficulty making eye contact? Me. Difficulty picking up on social cues and following unwritten social rules? Me. Extremely intelligent, excellent memory, good verbal skills? All me. Wow. Maybe the reason I had NO friends from about fifth grade on was because I just do not understand how to connect with people, but it also could have been that all those kids were a**holes. One or two social misfits like myself became my “friends”. By friends I mean we banded together at a lunch table so we wouldn’t have to be alone, I do not mean that we actually liked each other or anything. Now that I have this information, this diagnosis, I can look back on my life and think, what could it have been like if I had been “normal”? Do I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s?
The truth is, I can’t imagine not having it. The thought of being typical and having lots of friends terrifies me. I don’t know any other way to be other than this person who tries not to be noticed and doesn’t talk to strangers unless they say, “Hi, Welcome to In-and-Out Burger, Can I take your order please?” I like the fact that academics were never a struggle for me. I like that I could read Shakespeare in the ninth grade with the same ease as I could read any other book. I like that I can read or hear something one time and remember it. There is a flip side to that though, I find it EXTREMELY difficult to be patient with people who don’t learn as fast as I do. Namely, my ex-husband. He’s dyslexic, and has a really poor memory, and I really struggled to still be able to respect him even though he was not as smart as I was. Which makes me sound like a bitch probably. Which I am, because I honestly have no respect or regard for dumb. Smart is sexy, witty is wonderful, and intelligence is inspiring. Dumb is….a disaster. How much of that lack of respect caused my marriage to end? I would say at least a little, maybe a lot.
Someday my beautiful, bright, energetic little boy will ask himself this same question. Do I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s? Although by then he’ll just say Autism, because we all know Asperger’s has a limited shelf life. When he asks, I hope he can say Autism is just a part of who he is, like his red hair or his beautifully shaped feet. I hope he will be so comfortable in his own skin, that he would laugh at the question the same way he laughs now when he comes into a room and I pretend to not know who he is. I hope he loves to read, like I always did, and that he can use books to escape whenever things get too painful. Too loud, too bright, too demanding, too real. I hope he can find a friend. Somebody who knows him inside and out and loves him anyway. I hope he can find a lovely girl someday who can keep up with him and who loves lining things up in perfect rows. I hope I can find a smart, witty, patient, understanding man who will love me someday, just for me being exactly who I am. Asperger’s and all.