This post was originally published at http://equalsuf.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/from-equality-sets-us-free-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
From Equality Sets Us Free to “I wish I didn’t have Aspergers’
Don’t worry about how things could be. Don’t try to change who you are. Don’t wish you were something you’re not. That way lies nothing but pain and sorrow. Because the only thing you can do is fail. Fail at being ‘normal’. Fail at ‘fitting in’ with people who won’t accept you as you are. Fail at being someone that you simply are not.
Things suck. I know. We’re told all the time that we live in a world where everyone is treated equally. We grow up with stories about overcoming, and making friend by being ourselves, and then we find out that the world isn’t really like that and you can’t be accepted for who you are. And that hurts.
But the problem isn’t you. If it was, then there would be advice I could give you to make things right. And there isn’t. There is nothing you can do by yourself to make things better. You can try, you can learn coping mechanisms, and learn how to act ‘normal’, and it’ll help. But you will always, always fall short. And that’s because we live in a world that simply isn’t accepting of differences. It isn’t enough to ‘pass’, because that means hiding something of who you are, and that does a number on your self-esteem. It’s you living the belief that there is something wrong with you, and how can you ever be truly happy with yourself if you believe that?
We live in a world that is, when not actively hostile, passively resistant to accepting different ways of being. But that can be changed. Autism can’t. And it doesn’t need to be. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, our talents and limitations. There is no reason that some should be ‘okay’ and some should be signs of brokenness. Why is it okay for a person to be bad at doing math, but wrong for them to be bad at understanding body language?
Don’t try to change what cannot be changed. Accept it, understand it, and from that beginning we can work towards making a world where simply being different isn’t a barrier to inclusion.