Sunday, September 8, 2019
33. Illinois. USA Question Interviewer asked: What do you do for a living? Do you like it? This question is always weird to me. I don’t like classifying any singular thing as “what I do for a living” what is “a living” ? Anyway... The way I was taught to answer this question; currently I stay home with my twin toddlers during the day and challenge myself a couple times a week as a server. Something someone might be surprised to know about me is that: I’ve had over 40 amateur competitive boxing matches with only 5 losses and a national championship on my resume. This put me on Team USA for that year which I was able to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. In my opinion my biggest accomplishment thus far is : Winning nationals in a sport for Team USA is definitely my biggest “accomplishment” which provides tangible evidence for others to see both who do and don’t know me what I have accomplished.. But, honestly, athleticism comes fairly naturally for me. What doesn’t, is feeling a sense of understanding. Discovering my autism is probably truly my biggest accomplishment ever. I truly never thought it was possible to know why I was so often confused, misunderstood, frustrated and subconsciously angry. Having never connected dots fully with anything ever it was the first time it happened and I finally could express how intelligent and misunderstood I’ve been for my whole conscious life. How I want to change the world: Right now, the world is focusing so much on negative energy and spinning things in negative ways when a positive approach is almost always an option just a more difficult one. I hope that I have enough energy and strength to help one person at a time change their instinctual negative mindset to a positive one. Help other people become fully aware of themselves which took me 33 years to do. The more people that can see mistakes as truly and absolutely learning lessons and not an ego crush, the world overall and long term will be better off. This is my belief. Something I wished those without autism knew about autism is that: We just communicate and see the world in a way that only someone who directly experiences it can understand it is similar to how I understand those who experience racism or prejudice for being homosexual. Unless you’ve seen the world through or eyes there is no way you can ever fully understand it. So telling someone that you know them better or know what is better for them than they know themselves is very closed minded. I would never argue with someone who told me who they truly are. Also, many autistics as I understand it do not naturally read between the lines , understand social expectations or have the ability to make assumptions. Expecting an autistic person to do any of these things is really doing a disservice to your relationship. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. We say exactly what we mean unless we are upset (haha), but if we have left any questions of grey area for you please do not ever make an assumption of our intent. Just ask. Please. Our language the way we process in our brain and how we have to express that in current society is like a foreign language. Hahahaha. For example; Imagine you come here from China and speak only Chinese. You have no friends or family and you come to America where English is the main language. This person will be able to succeed when they find the proper resources to help them but until then, how on earth can this person succeed at all? Also, never ever make an assumption from the words that come from an autistic person’s mouth. If you feel any assumption, clarify clarify clarify. Sometimes we don’t say what we really mean but we very very rarely if ever have emotional unsaid intent behind words that we say. Something I want to tell to the rest of the people on the spectrum: Be patient and be kind to yourself. It isn’t always easy but you have many people who truly feel and experience things the same way you do. Find your people that get you and help you. Take care of yourself.
Resources that helped me: I am self diagnosed at 33 so I am still exploring helpful resources for me. I am sure I can think of resources that would have benefited me as a child or during school but it’s a little hard for me to make any assumptions about a change in my past and knowing for sure or not if it would have helped me. In my ongoing self discovery I use anything and everything I can get my hands on to learn more about neurodiverisity as a whole.
Signs that showed I am Autistic: I figured it out over a year long process of self discovery after too many dismissals from doctors and those I had tried to call out for help. I always figure things out one way or another and this is no exception. I was very shocked to come to this conclusion and it has not been easy. I truly had no idea what was wrong with me and my constant discontent with my self I was very close to giving in. I have two young children though one of which I see so much of myself it helped keep me motivated in getting to the bottom of my self discovery of total awareness. I did not talk to anyone specifically about that because I do not really care when they did or didn’t suspect me to be autistic and it doesn’t benefit me to ask them that question and threaten my progress with the potential of someone telling me I am just trying to convince myself or that I just want to be different. No thank you. How I felt when I was diagnosed: Like the biggest weight was lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t even realize was as heavy as my entire body weight. I thought it was just a chip on my shoulder ... the reason “why” for my discontent. Oh no. It’s not a chip! It’s a weight the size of your body! Wow! Interviewer asked: How do you feel about knowing your diagnosis now compared to when you were first diagnosed? Hmmmm... loaded question for me given I am still in the processing of weeding through what was masking and what was me being truly me. So, it fluctuates. Some days I feel more overwhelmed when more clarity and validations are made that just further demonstrate the high level of masking I was doing. I have slowed down drastically in life because I realized I was speeding up everything so I simply was unable to truly feel the constant state of anxiety and being on the verge of panic attacks. I am mostly hopeful for the future and that I can find a balance eventually but being aware that this is going to be a pretty painful and difficult yet amazing and remarkable journey. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out I just hope I can teach myself how to sleep again because I always have more to learn about myself and it’s exciting and it gives me energy. Weeding through 33 years of memories, experiences, mistakes, consequences, roads chosen and how different they may have been if I knew this sooner. That does not mean I would choose that path. I do not think I would. I feel the trauma and pain I have experienced has a phenomenal big picture reason “why”. It may only be phenomenal to me; but it will be phenomenal. So overall I am happier but more tired. Not having the diagnosis for a long time made more things more difficult: I have had so many gut blowing experiences I would constantly relive and not know where things went wrong. Now it see clearly why they did. So yes things were harder but that does not mean I would want to know sooner. I also had a lot of success in certain areas. Now it’s time for me to succeed in an area I never thought was possible! Finding MY way the right way. Interviewrer asked:
What obstacles have you faced in life? How have you gotten through them?
I could write a multiple chapter book on this so I will simplify best way I know how. 1) everytime I didn’t feel “different” if just for a brief moment it would not be long before that feeling escaped me and I was smacked in the face with this feeling of “seriously what in the heck is wrong with me, why am I the only person that this happens to” 2) due to my looks and athleticism I was welcomed into the popular extroverted groups but it was not long before I just felt like I did not want to be around these people anymore. It ever made sense but I just convinced myself that it was because I was an athlete and athletes have different priorities and that is okay.. but then, as relationships developed More with my athletic driven friends I would eventually feel like an outsider yet again. 3) consistent confusion on why I upset someone for just being who I am; why do people put these expectations on me but I don’t put those on them? I don’t understand ??