Dear “I Wish”,
I don’t know you and all I know about you is that we have at least two things in common. We both have a diagnosis of “Asperger’s Syndrome” and we both have at times wanted it gone. I’ll freely admit it, autism even our supposedly “mild” version of it sometimes really sucks. Sometimes it hurts and a lot of the time other people use it as a reason to hurt us. Pretty much every autistic person will think at some point in their lives “I wish I didn’t have this”.
I know you thought that. You thought it about it long enough to make the decision to type that thought into an internet search engine and click “search”, long enough to sit and read through some of the results. I’ve never done that but I can remember back to a time when I would have done the same thing and I know why I wanted to be neurotypical – I was lonely.
So, I’ve some things I want to say to you, “I Wish” and even if you forget all other the others the one I want you to hold on to is this: You’re Not Alone. You will never, ever be alone because no matter where in the world you are and no matter where you go there are other people just like you and we want to meet you. We want to know you and we want to be your friends. Somewhere around 1 in 100 people is autistic, just like you, and we understand you. We get it, really, we do.
You’ve probably spent your whole life being misunderstood, surrounded by people who don’t understand you. Maybe you’ve been told that you’re “aggressive” or “troubled”. People may have assumed that you’re stupid or treated you like a small child when you’re not one. It’s likely people have told you how “sorry” they feel for your “poor parents” or suggested that people like you should never be born. People have probably told you that you don’t feel empathy, that you can’t have friends, that you don’t feel love or pain and you’ll always be a cold, friendless loner.
I’m going to tell you something very important. All of those people are WRONG. All of them.
You’re not broken. You’re not stupid. You’re not a tragedy. You are absolutely brilliant and beautiful and loved and wanted *exactly* the way you are.
Socialising face-to-face in large groups is over-rated, “chit-chat” is over-rated. Sometimes neurotypical people (those who like to think of themselves as “normal”) are just plain boring! You can have internet friends, you can join a club where everyone likes the same thing, there’ll be forums and chatrooms and real-life groups for whatever interest(s) you have – find them! There are lots and lots of ways to make friends if you want friends. Real friends will never make you feel bad because you’re autistic. Real friends will accept you just how you are.
Neurotypical people aren’t better than you or worse than you. They’re just different. They have different brains that work kinda funny and if there were lots of autistic people and only one in 100 people were neurotypical I bet some of them would type into a search engine “I wish I wasn’t neurotypical” and I bet their community would do a flash blog just like this one. It’s what minorities do. We stick together, we look after each other.
I don’t know you, “I Wish” but I know if I met you I’d understand you. I’d probably like you. I bet you’re awesome. And everything that’s awesome about you is shaped by your autism. You are shaped by your brain and the brain you got is an autistic one. Your brain is similar to mine. Maybe you are similar to me.
You will always be autistic. So will I. That’s not a bad thing, “I Wish”. I think it’s a beautiful, amazing, good thing but I understand if you don’t see it quite that way yet. Keep reading things by other autistic people, “I Wish”, we’re all here for you and we want to be your friends.