I fluctuate between loquacious and uncommunicative. In times of stress my Autism symptom get so severe I start to stutter and finally I can’t even speak. Words can’t make it to my mouth. It is really hard to be rendered non-verbal and it is very scary.
Think of it as a computer. If your router isn’t working your internet cannot share information to your laptop. It’ feels like that, like a wire is cut in my head. A disconnection.
So, I ask people to not make me talk, usually forcing it out loudly. “No talk!” Then I get to escape to the back of my mind and disconnect.
Please stop telling me I don’t know what real Autism is.
I feel like a second class citizen. People either don’t listen to me or discount what I am saying because I am disabled, and people are surprised when I know more than most people. I don’t think my lack of a degree has anything to do with my work ethic. It’s hard to get accommodations for disability from a college. Especially when you have trouble communicating. Getting a job where I could be comfortable seems impossible.
Sometime, in moments of weakness, I wonder if Autism is really a curse. I mean you hear all this shit from Autism Speaks. What if they’re right. I have no empathy….I have a hard time connecting to others and can only feel it I’ve gone through the same thing. I do feel bad when someone tells me their kid is sick, but shouldn’t I feel it stronger. Am I really not empathetic? It’s true I can’t look people in the eye without panic. Why do I feel so scared right now?
“If we knew each other’s secrets, what comforts we should find.”
-John Churton Collins
So many times we are undervalued in the workplace. Recently I had a interview for a position at the museum in which I volunteer. Trying so hard to speak, with 3 interviewers present in the room, sent me into stutters. I even had trouble with some of the questions they asked, questions that were easy for a NT.
“If you had multiple projects, that had to be done at the same time, how would you prioritize?”
Huh? Does it really matter if I know I can get them finished by the deadline. It’ll get done. I am a rational, efficient person.
I can’t answer with neuro typical responses. My brain doesn’t operate that way. The sad truth is that I cannot prioritize or multitask. My gears run backwards. Being different at your workplace is a bad thing. It’s like Autism is the”mysterious, scary thing.” It just hangs there, like a brick does not. Try to poke it. I dare you!
Well, I did not get the job. The interview was too stressful that I couldn’t form sentences. It took three weeks to learn from a friend that they were done hiring. Why is it so humiliating not being able to do what others accomplish so easily.
I have had wonderful employers in the past that were willing to work with me. The made me lists. I would get tasks done right, faster than anyone. Just don’t ask me to read your mind.
I can do anything, but I do it differently. I just ask you to accept me for who I am and give me a chance to ‘wow’ you!
This country seems to be running downhill. It is run by old NTs who are only in politics for the money. Instead of making improvements they argue all day over weed and gay marriage. Both should be legal in every state.
Recently, a bill was brought to my attention. They want to sell National Parks to the highest bidder. I am enraged that this is even an idea. Big oil has already destroyed many beneficial environments. Just think of the Gulf Oil Spill. Mercury in the water. Heavy metals. Agent Orange. Our environment is already so polluted it makes our children sick. Something’s gotta give. We need to stop taking the easy way out.
We need innovators. We need scientists. We need mathematicians. We need Autism. Autistic intelligence lies in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics. With our uncanny attention to detail and our different way of thinking we will find solutions never before thought of. There have been so many Autistic people that have done well for society. On our side we have had Einstein, Temple Grandin, Newton, Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Mozart, and Michelangelo. All of whom have contributed to society for the better. I am here to call forward new innovators. People who think they can’t make a difference but can. We need new ideas if we are going to survive. I fear for the next generation.
We can all do something. I will write till my hand falls off, then I will continue to type. I will bring to the attention our plight as humanity. I will shout it from the roof tops. Leave us quirky people room to work our obsessions and we can create a better world!
“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
There are things we all wish we could change. Whether it is physical, psychological, or social some things are just inherent in us. Of course some things we can change. The important thing is knowing the difference.
“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
-The Serenity Prayer, Al Anon
Yes, there are things about myself I would like to change, but alas cannot. I can wish upon a star till I’m cold and blue in the face. I will never be 5’9″ or be an extrovert. I will never travel to Mars and I will never have the chance to fight with the Browncoats on the Firefly Class ship, Serenity. So I sing the lyrics. I will never be able to sing either.
“Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand, I don’t care, I’m still free, you cant take the sky from me…”The Ballad of Serenity
I am a person who puts great value in self-growth. Everyday is a new chance to grow. If you want to be happy you must challenge yourself and live every moment in the present. Here are a few of he things I have done to improve my life.
1. Use a hobby to connect with people. Join a club in which members share the same interest. You will be able to talk endlessly about your obsessions and people will look up to you for it. You are the expert. I am a member of The House Rabbit Society. Here I can learn and also give advice to other members. This has helped connect me to other rabbit lovers.
2. Do one thing daily that scares you. Keep doing it. The more you do it the easier it will be. I started being open about my experience as an Autistic. I talk about it and blog honestly. Being open is how I met a very dear friend(Miriam). She is the one who sparked my love of writing. I love you, girl!
3. Being open to criticism can only help you improve. Other people can see what you cannot. Knowing about your short comings can only make you stronger. Remember, there is always room to improve.
4. Investing time in your community can do wonders for your soul. Find something you’re interested in and use it to help people. I started volunteering in 2014 after a full depressive breakdown. I love biology so I chose the Science Museum. Going weekly opened me up to socializing again. It is through helping people that I recovered. If I get the job at the museum, I will work there and volunteer with local Autistic groups for people who are lower on the spectrum than I. Having an understanding of Autism will make me a valuable volunteer. Great pride comes from making a difference.
5. Follow your passions. They are the path to happiness. This is something you already know. We ARE Autistic. I have a love of vintage fashion, music, and dance. I think this comes from having older parents. I was exposed to great music early. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, and Big Band Swing. Big Band lends itself to dancing. Who can resist dancing? NOBODY!! My drug of choice is Lindy Hop. Hooked on Swing Dance! I have met many fine people through dance. Most Swing Dancers are nerds. I am a nerd. I found a place where I am comfortable with physical touch!
These are only a few things that have made my life more enjoyable. This is my experience. And it worked for me. I have become more social. I can communicate more naturally. And on occasions I can tolerate touch. I hope to inspire others to try new things and grow as an individual. What is life without growth.