This post was originally published at http://solodialogue.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/solodialogue-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers-autismpositivity2012/ and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
Solodialogue to “I Wish I Didn’t Have Asperger’s”: #AutismPositivity2012
[A couple of weeks ago, someone somewhere googled “I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers”. The phrase popped up in a blogging dashboard and struck the blogger as being particularly sad. She wished she could have answered.
We don’t know who it was. We don’t know where he/she lives. We have no idea if he/she found what he/she was looking for in that search.
We do know that search directed that person to a blog. We do know the searcher clicked on it in an attempt to find what they needed. And we do know enough about the challenges of autism to know that person is likely not alone in that sentiment. . . . You can read the rest of the origins of the Autism Positivity Flash Blog here.]
Here is my contribution to the flash blog and to “that” person:
It is dark at my end. I cannot see you. So, I will heighten my other senses to try and discern you. I can feel. I can hear and attempt to understand. I am here to provide comfort, hope and peace.
Wishing is what I used to do to effect change. Wishing is my cry from within to climb over an obstacle I find insurmountable. From where I sit, Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum Disorder is a different way of viewing life, not an obstacle. It can be beautiful but you must be open to its beauty.
The way one “views” his life (perspective) is a tool that can be used to empower, to strengthen, to rise above just as easily as it can be used to hurt, abuse, depress, or shame. Each of us has the power to control our frame of mind. It is the greatest power any of us has over our own lives.
Yes, the world is full of injustice. Sometimes, we must fight longer, struggle harder, and suffer much deeper than most to arrive at the same point that others get to without breaking a sweat. In the end, we can all get to the same destination. And your frame of mind will control your ride there.
Wishing to deny a part of who I am means that something has wounded me so deeply that I believe erasing that part of me will heal the hurt and prevent future pain. But when I take out a part that is integral to defining me, a part of my essence, I remove part of my soul, connected to all the other parts that makes me unique. I cannot replace Asperger’s with someone’s else neurotypical-ness, because then I am no longer me. I cannot remove Asperger’s and leave an unsown hole, because then I am merely empty inside.
Asperger’s is hard. It is difficult to read subtle social signs, tones of voice, body language, to understand jokes, to fit in, to try to fit in, or to keep fitting in. This lack of fitting in can be devastating. You feel isolated, alone, hurt, as though no one in the world understands what you are going through, much less cares or appreciates how difficult it is.
But even though you feel alone, you are not.
There are over 7 billion on this planet. How many people have hurt you? How many people have you talked to in the past week? The odds are that you will find many, many more people who hear, see and understand you than what your experience is telling you right now.
You are unique and special. There is only one of you. Social conformity is fleeting. It lasts only as long as the circumstances that bring people in contact with each other. Once everyone dissipates, those same people will treat you differently.
Difficulty with social conformity is something that one can feel deeply, but if you look again you may see that you are freer than others who cannot do anything other than follow a pack. You are uniquely you.
No matter if you are young or older, you will grow to find those whom you can trust, who will stick around, who will be no further away than the keyboard on your computer or phone. Surround yourself with those who are understanding. You will find a niche. You will find people who care, support and love you.
Having focused and detailed interests is a blessing that one can pursue online or in groups within a local community. If you want more ease in understanding social cues or norms, you can always look online or at your local library for resources to teach yourself to recognize these signs more readily. You can practice them in a safe setting with someone close, or with strangers through the internet.
Look in the mirror every day and find a reason to love yourself. You know you better than anyone in the world. Look for the good in yourself every day and find it. If you don’t see it, ask yourself to do one good thing per day. For example, “I would like to say something sincerely nice to someone today” and do it, whether it is in a written comment on a website, or directly to someone you know.
Strive in every moment you feel Asperger’s is holding you back, to find at least one good moment in the bad ones. And, even if you don’t see it, write about your feelings. It does not matter if you ever show the writing to another soul. Once you have written it, come back to it later, and find the gem of good. It is there. Sometimes, it takes time to find it. It does not have to be a life’s lesson or a moral, but a small ray of hope.
Once you put together small bits of hope, you will be surprised what you have in the end. And how much better you will feel.
Earth lit up at night (combined image) from space.
You will see that Asperger’s is just part of who you are. Don’t wish it away. Each of us is someone worth knowing, caring about, talking to, laughing with, crying with, and loving. If you look hard enough, you will see those who know that too, even in the dark.
A parent of a child with autism.