Sunday, December 17

Living With Autism

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According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1987, autism is defined as “absorption in self-centered subjective mental activity (as daydreams, fantasies, delusions, and hallucinations) esp. when accompanied by marked withdrawal from reality”.

Since birth family knew I was different. But those early years everyone just thought I was mentally, socially, and academically slow for my age. They didn’t know I had the right words and thoughts inside my head; that I couldn’t connect my brain words with the words coming out of my mouth. Many around me thought I was slow and stupid; that I didn’t have feelings of my own.

Some people would befriend me, believing I had something special to offer a friendship. Those select few are always in my heart and mind as being a true friend.

Others would make fun of me constantly. They’d tease me for talking different than them. The words come out of my mouth the same as everyone else, but some can’t accept others for having their own unique sound.

I’m not that athletic, so they’d make fun of me for that. I can walk and ride a bike. I can swim, roller-skate, rollerblade, cross country ski. But I don’t run. At times I may also look awkward at what I am doing. Yet I can move around on my own. So what’s so funny about that?

Once in awhile a few people will ask me how I feel about something or just my feelings for that particular day. I tell them exactly how I feel. Sometimes they’ll tell me that how I feel about something isn’t how I feel and that I have to feel whichever way they say I feel. That’s not fair or even right. I am my own person with my own feelings. I have the right to feel any way I want to; even if the way I feel isn’t the same as you or the way you want me to feel, I have the right to my own feelings.

There’s times I can’t stand too much noise. So I take off on my bike to be alone someplace, somewhere. And people make fun of me for that. They tell me I am being antisocial. Well being antisocial is a part of autism, but everyone has the right to be alone in a quiet place every now and again. Or am I wrong for taking time for myself?

I may not have as many friends as I would like to or as many as others want me to have, but I am content. If I can’t be my own best friend next to my children, then what’s wrong with that? Nothing that I can see. If one can’t be a good friend to themselves then they can’t be a good friend to nobody else.

I am always doing things in a certain order and/or way. People laugh at me for that. They tell me I am weird and strange for doing that. But aren’t their many things in life that need to be done in a certain way or a certain order to be done right? Maybe if I am thinking right. I, along with other people, need to do things a certain way to know, and possibly feel, that the task was done right. Doing things like that does not make me strange or weird or whatever other name you want to pin on me like a dead animal a hunter just killed.

For all of you out there who have made fun of me over the years I am me and always will be. For all of you out there who don’t know me, I am me, a person worth knowing, even though I am not exactly like you.

For the whole world I am me and will always be me. I may be different in many ways from what society deems as normal. But I am forever me, can’t you see that? I am me. I was born with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Please just accept me for who I am and not for who you want me to be.

Can’t you see? I am me and always will be. Know me for who I am. But don’t hate me for what I am not or for what I have. Living with autism is hard enough without you and others adding pressure onto me and trying to change me when I am not broke. I am me, an autistic person surviving in a huge world of people who can’t accept me for me.

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