Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lex Romero



Lex Romero
41
Essex, UK


I started working for Michelin on Monday, June 5th, 2000. After a short spell out of work, I went to an interview at the height of summer and I had to walk. It was a 40-minute journey. As I was unemployed and it was hot, a suit was out of the question. I turned up in a white t-shirt, jeans, and trainers. I got the job! This part of my life is important because I believe that what I was wearing made me comfortable enough to be myself and it gave me more confidence which resulted in my employment.

Roll on a couple of years… February 2019, I’m still at Michelin, I’m my own boss, to an extent... I have staff, and I have nearly twenty years of experience. At 41 years old, my boss has just offered to pay for me to do a degree, 37k of tuition, to keep me at the company... I’m touched, flattered, and I’m absolutely going to do it...

I wish that people knew that ASD is not a black or white scenario... I was speaking to my mum earlier and I told her what I imagine the autism spectrum to be, as opposed to the rainbow or slide rule... to me, right… I need you to imagine now… 3D imagery if you can. You’re in an empty field, you look up, and you are covered by a see-through dome, this dome is ALL of the spectrum, you are influenced by a patch of colour on that dome… the size, shape, and position of that patch is completely unique to you, yet it IS you on the spectrum as a dot or half the dome coloured in. You see, we are all so different, in our own ways, some of us overlap, some we miss by huge distances, but we are all owners of a piece of that dome. Neurotypicals don’t have this familial connection, they all want to be unique yet it turns out they’re all just sheep.

In the last few years, I have learned about and accepted my autism. I always knew I was weird and ‘different,’ but only after my nephew was diagnosed did my mum, who is an NLP practitioner and neuropsychologist, notice the text she was reading on my sister's behalf actually related to not only my nephew, but I, my mum, and my sister as well. And as it turns out, my mum’s brother and my nan’s brother are also autistic. It seems we have a prolific gene in our family. A good one though, let me just add that.

I would like to advise… be fucking proud of your ASD, we are unique, we are next-gen evolution. It might take nature a few more generations to get it right but we are the future. I truly believe that.

My mum said as a child, I was taken to the doctors with suspected depression at 2 years old, because I would run around like a nutter for a while, and then at other times, regress into myself on the sofa, nonverbal. Roll on a few years to school... I was naughty, disruptive, bored. The only two subjects I enjoyed were French and Science, but because I liked them and got excited, I overacted and got sent out of class. I was lucky that even after truancy for most of my last two years at school, I still passed all my exams and finished in the top 5% of the school. If only I’d studied, right? The point is, I didn’t need to, I wasn’t being taught anything I didn’t know. In fact, on several occasions, I taught my teachers a few things they weren’t aware of. What I’m saying is, no one suspected anything while I was a child, maybe ADHD, but not autism. When I was at school autism meant rocking back and forth, nonverbal and banging your head on walls. People knew I was different. It just wasn’t attributed to anything other than having young parents with a naughty child.

Now I know I am autistic, I feel a sense of calm and belonging. My whole busy, random, naughty, noisy, confusing life actually makes sense now. I know why I need my own space and silence. I know why I shutdown from time to time. I know why I don’t like being touched by anyone, or why I don’t like loud noises or surprises, am socially anxious and obsessive over routines and discipline and crap at speaking out loud... it all makes sense now!!

Autistic people are some of the most gifted, influential, brightest minds on this planet. We are the future of humanity, the gene pool that won’t war or fight. Instead, we’ll strive for excellence and unity. We are the gene pool that will take this race off of this planet and into the stars because it won’t be about money, power or resources, it’ll be about humanity and preservation and life. I am in, feet first, neck deep, and I love it. Stay safe, happy and loving stimmers!

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