Nothing is as it Seems
For most of my younger days, I was socially awkward. I didn’t make too many friends, made only a few and went from there. I mostly spent time by myself in my interest in video games, which sort of bit me in the ass later. I did well in school, or at least in the special education classes. Then I did some dumb stuff because I did not know better. I mostly went through life doing as I was told. Believe it or not, I thought I could be in the cooking field as a chief. Then there’s some unpleasant stuff I did because I didn’t know better.
Anyway, I was in a post-high school program until I was 21 of age, five years ago. Enjoyed most of it, but at the last six months there, I panicked. I panicked because my time was almost done there, and I must make something out of myself. During this moment, I learned of some online folks who also have ASD, but who were not the best example of people. Constantly used their ASD as an excuse to get out of trouble, which said person kept getting into and engages on some horrible actions. The whole thing is documented by the Internet. I got a real laugh out of it, observing them, until realizing that I could be this person. What didn’t help was the similar interests I had with this person. It was as if I discovered my own shadow. I was deeply in doubt about myself, my interests, my direction. I was scared and I did everything I can during those six months, but it did not amount to much. I did a psychological report that painted a negative image of myself. I wondered what I did wrong? Did I do enough? Where can I go now? Do I deserve to exist? Can I really atone for my sins? I entered the stage of “The Cliff”.
“The Cliff” typical means a family moving away from IDEA services and dealing with a general lack of adult services. It represents that to me, but also as a beast that dwells within a mind. It represents a defeatist attitude where no one should ever try to improve themselves. No matter what, the world will shut you down for the tiniest thing. Political stances, values, hobbies etc. It doesn’t give a shit. For me, I had so many differences from others, even from the ASD community. I was never huge into Neurodiversity for example. Mostly because of the proud aspect I wasn’t into, especially knowing the grim outcomes for young adults with ASD. Seems contradictory at the time, I now know that crowd wants to do everything they can to help change those outcomes. For everything, I saw a hidden side there, whenever I wanted too or not. It was hard because I seen how nasty people get with some topics and I had fears of wondering if I ever had a place. I mean, how the fuck does one fit in in any sort of community, when only you saw the hidden sides? Lastly, the most painful lesson I learned was that no one can help me. It is all on me to help myself.
After some time passed, I decided to continue with community college in a disability specialist program. I figured that the least I can do is prevent others from ever having my path and having a better chance than I did. I knew it was hard because I knew most people with ASD had more technology interests and that more social positions are unheard of (I realized now that they are many who work in more social settings, more than I thought). I had to search for my own power that wasn’t just because of my autism. I still struggled with the idea of “what could happen if this field doesn’t really want me?” I always have fears that I won’t be able to connect with the community I want to save. If I can’t help one person, what’s the fucking point for the last few years? Anyway, during the years to come, I got involved in politics, my state’s autism community, Autism Speaks, and much more. I struggled with driving, since the idea of ASD and driving is treated as the elephant of the room in my state, but I got my license and been driving ever since. I knew I had to aim high for my goals. No reason to hold myself back, despite the defeatist beast.
After completing community college and working at several jobs in my field, I realized what my true power was, determination. Despite everything, I found a way to make things right. I became incredibly resourceful and I cannot count the number of times it helped me out. I work as a job coach, clinician at an autism nonprofit, a busboy(Which I need to let go soon) and now as an event facilitator. I critically damaged the beast and all I must do is continue working towards my goals and kill it for good.