This post was originally published at http://itsbridgetsword.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/itsbridgetsword-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers-autismpositivity2012/ and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
ItsBridgetsWord to ‘I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers: #AutismPositivity2012
To I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s,
I am autistic. I spent a lifetime struggling to keep up with a world of people who, without putting in any real effort, can do things that are incredibly difficult for me. I was derided for my perceived inadequacies, while my strengths and accomplishments were ignored or discounted. This went on so long and so frequently, that I internalized these attitudes. I no longer needed anyone to keep me down. I could do a fine job of that all on my own.
I appreciate humanity in all its varied presentations. I love that we are all so very different. I never viewed success as a one size fits all proposition. We all start out with a different set of tools in our toolbox. It only makes sense that the tools at our disposal shape the life we build. I don’t judge people’s worth based on their wealth, talent, appearance, athletic prowess, or any other skill set. I appreciate the accomplishments resulting from that skill set, but I know those accomplishments are not a measure of the intrinsic worth of an individual. Unless, of course, that individual is me.
I held myself to a double standard I could not possibly hope to reach. I apologized when I could not do things as quickly, gracefully, effortlessly, or seamlessly as those around me. I treated accomplishments like raising children of varying, complex needs as minor. I felt shame when I could not make it in the modern American workplace. Even though my children never missed a meal, had suitable clothing, and went to excellent schools, I felt shame that I could not earn a living that afforded them middle class luxuries. I felt shame, I felt shame, and I felt shame.
Only recently, I realized I deserved the same respect and acceptance from others that I give them. It is not unreasonable to hold other people accountable for their attitudes and actions, even when it relates to me. The fact that I struggle with many of life’s day to day tasks, does not negate those tasks at which I excel. I can be proud. I can be loved. I spend every conscious moment of my life in an effort to not hurt others. I seek to lift up those around me. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I suspect neither have you. We are different. Not less, just different. The world fears different, but the world needs different lest we stagnate.
I am done measuring my worth by someone else’s yardstick. I genuinely hope you are as well.