April is Autism Awareness Month

Who knew? The things you learn when you suddenly find out you’re autistic! It’s been about a month now, and I’ve been on a wild rollercoaster ride trying to process all that I’ve learned and experienced since then.

It is amazing to suddenly have access to so many resources to get information, not to mention a gigantic community of people to meet. It still doesn’t seem real. A month ago, I had no idea where to find information and was convinced that there was no one else like me anywhere.

As of now, I’ve met 3 other aspies. ‘Aspies’ is what many people w/asperger’s syndrome call themselves. It’s taken some time for the word to grow on me, but now I kind of like it.

The first woman I met was very nice and I really enjoyed hanging out with her. We met at a cafe, and talked. She brought me some printouts with very helpful information. We brought computers in case of social awkwardness, which was surprisingly at a minimum. She shared things she’s learned over the years about dealing w/asperger’s. The thing that stands out most in my mind is that she said that if there was a magic pill to cure her, she wouldn’t take it. That completely blew me away! My whole life, I’ve been looking for that magic pill! I’ve heard of other aspies who do not want to be “cured”, and others still who think “regular” people are the ones that need curing. It made me question whether I really would take the pill if I had it; if I really would want to be “normal”. Truth is, I don’t know.

Every aspie is different. Different interests, different symptoms, different personalities, etc. Even the similarities are about being different. The list of possible symptoms is long, and not all aspies have all symptoms, but everything on the list is something that makes people “different”, odd, weird, freaks. Whether it be social or communication differences, unusual body movements and tics, sensory processing problems, or anything else, it makes for people that don’t fit in to “normal” society. Some people can learn to adapt, some never can, and others never want to.

Last week, I met a woman and her son who both have asperger’s. They were also very nice, and we had a fun night. The woman is able to work a regular job, and take care of a house, and of her family. It takes a toll on her, more than it would on most people, and it is inspiring to see what she has accomplished under such challenging circumstances. Her son was a lot like me, especially when I was younger. Everything from the way he talked and played video games, to the way his head moved and how he kept his coat on. I especially enjoyed the character generation tips for kotor II.

Meeting these people, and knowing there are many more, has been a dream come true. I can read and understand them more easily than I can most people that I’ve just met. It is okay to be socially awkward. It is okay to bring a computer and actually use it. It is okay to not be using every bit of energy I have trying to fit in and appear normal. It’s okay if I rock or space out or if my head jerks. It’s okay if I don’t respond right away. It is okay to be me.

I have only met 3 people so far, and I know that it won’t necessarily always be the same with all aspies I meet, but I look forward to meeting more people, and learning from them, and eventually helping the newbies by sharing what I’ve learned.


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