Often in my blog posts, I post about my struggles and my difficulties and the way being autistic shapes every aspect of my life. Many days they are all I can think about because of the life I lead and that is just my reality. However, today I'm going to talk about the joys of autism as it pertains to me.
This isn't a post to tell you anything other than what things I love about myself and why it's important that those who love us not only accept our weaknesses while perhaps helping us overcome them (if possible, not everything is!), but also acknowledging and celebrating our strengths.
Most of the joys of autism, at least for me, were discovered and/or recovered when I received my diagnosis.
Many people know by now that "stimming" (self-stimulation) is something autistics may engage in. Rocking, flapping hands, twirling, etc. These are things we might do without even thinking about it.
I remember loving to tiptoe as a child. I would walk on my tiptoes as much as I could with my arms out by my side as I were balancing on a tightrope. No reason; just because I enjoyed it. Sometimes I would close my eyes and pretend I was actually on one.
And twirling...I loved randomly twirling, going round and round in circles until I was too dizzy to stand, only to stop long enough for the feeling to go away so I could do it again.
I didn't do these things for a long time and I felt out of control. I made sure I didn't do it, that I tamped it down until I could sit still completely and be silent, because that's what was expected of me.
As an adult (within the last few years) I stopped fighting the impulses and how free it has made me feel! Sometimes I will be walking outside somewhere, such as the store parking lot, and I'll move ahead a bit if I'm with anyone to make sure I don't run into anyone...and I'll get up my tiptoes and twirl, round and round with my arms spread wide. Or I'll jump like a kid does into puddles, only I don't like getting wet so I really only do this on pavement or when I am approaching a curb.
Why? Because I want to, I need to! It's an impulse and I refuse to ignore it!
It makes me happy.
And I stopped caring what people think about seeing an adult do such silly things, because really, who gives a crap if my actions aren't hurting anyone?
That's not all! ;)
I am smart and retain lots of information. Show me something once, twice, and maybe three times if it's really complicated...and I've got it for life!
Hyper-focusing is amazing! When I want to learn something new, I'm all in, 100%. I learn everything I can about it, devouring information until I'm satisfied and learned all I can...then I utilize it or stash it away for later. Then, I'm on the next thing that's caught my attention!
Mentally, I'm logical and my emotions don't get in the way usually. I value being reliable and on time, although always aim for early; if I'm late for something, it was truly out of my control because I despise being late.
I find the best way to complete something and I do it every time so I don't waste time. When working, getting things done the way they are supposed to be done the first time is important to me, and if something isn't right then I will fix it before turning the work in. When I worked in fast food, I was a customer favorite because I always made sure their orders were correct -- their happiness was a reflection of how well I did my job!
I'm forthright and open...and blunt. This means when someone knows me, they're aware they will get the truth and my honest opinion. There are no games, no subtlety, and no hidden meanings or having to read between the lines... no guessing at what I mean when I say something. I always aim to mean what I say, and do what I say I will, and try not to make promises I can't keep (the exception being I can't always control everything, such as my bad days). I am only human, after all.
With friends and relationships, I truly care and love those who are close to me. I honestly want to know how they are and I want to know their struggles and be there for them to cry on if necessary. I don't fake anything and when my friends hurt, I feel their pain. I'm a loyal, trustworthy friend who would do anything for someone I love...well, short of anything illegal.
Love music! I wear headphones most of the time (and now I've got noise cancelling ones, which are amazing!) and when I find a new song I love, I will play it over and over on repeat. Sometimes for hours or days, and it makes me happy. I don't know why; I just want to internalize the music and the words and the overall way it makes me feel.
I have zero stranger danger. I think most people are just trying to get through their lives, sometimes just their day...and it means I have a sense of adventure that sometimes gives people I know a heart attack. I'm not reckless, but I'm not afraid either...of living...or dying! I love meeting new people on my terms and am friendly to everyone I meet, but I also trust my instincts, and never do anything I don't want to do if it doesn't feel right.
When it comes to a crisis, I'm usually the one who isn't crying, who is able to think clearly and get things done, because I want to solve whatever is going on quickly. I have my emotional moments but for the most part, being stoic means someone can lean on me to do the hard things they can't because they are in too much pain.
I'm sure there are more but the last one I want to say is...I'm innocent still. Even with my childhood and my adulthood and all my struggles, emotionally... I'm innocent and naive and yes, sometimes gullible. I've been hurt and mistreated and lied to and led on...just like anybody else. But I know...especially from age 21 to 27, that my autism...my innocence...it protected me.
It kept me safe until I could handle dealing with everything.
For me...these are my joys. These are why even on my hardest days I wouldn't change myself for the world, why I wouldn't want "fixed" even if it were possible...because my autism makes me who I am.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with me.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time,