Friday, March 18, 2016

It's That Day Again...Two Years Later! :)

Here it is! It's once again March 19th. My two-year Aspieversary. Where has the time gone?

I know everyone has heard my diagnosis story, so this time I'll switch things up a bit. I'll talk about life as an Aspie!

I see the world in bits and pieces, rather than the whole picture. As I walk through the park, a bird chirping catches my attention. The sun gleams into my eye and I feel its warmth. My focus then moves to the grass. How lush and green it is! I take a breath. The air smells of spring flowers. Though my senses process each experience separately, one at a time, they do so with such intensity that allows me to stop and appreciate each one. Of course, this also means sensory sensitivities, which can be irritating. Luckily, they don't overwhelm me to the point of overload.

My mind interprets things literally. If you use an idiom, my mind will take it one of two ways. If it's one I'm familiar with, such as the often used "it's raining cats and dogs," I know exactly that you simply means it's raining a LOT. On the flip side, when presented with a phrase that I've never heard before, my mind will take it at face value. At times like this, I need to ask for clarification. Jokes usually go the same way. I often pause for a moment, confused, before the punchline hits me after the fact, or once again, I need to ask what was meant. Reading between the lines is not something that I was programmed with. If you say one thing but mean another, chances are that I will take it for what I heard in English. This has led to my demise at times, and has made me vulnerable. I'm slowly learning how to spot a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I'm not an emotional person, per se, but I feel and recognize my emotions. When I'm upset, the world will know, as I show it. I'm sensitive and take things to heart. The kinds of meltdowns I DO experience are in response to feeling hurt or upset. I'll start crying, and I can't control it. What helps me during these times is reassurance. Once I have that, I'm able to let whatever it is go and move on. Anger is a feeling I don't experience that often, as I'm generally a happy person. When it comes to watching movies, I feel detached, in a sense, as I'm never moved to the point of tears. I can relate to and experience the emotions of the characters, however I can't say a movie has ever made me cry. I think it's because my mind realizes it's only a movie. I'm driven by logic.

I have no shame in my game. Who needs self-consciousness, anyway? I always saw it as something that was unnecessary. I'm not afraid to wear clothes that don't necessarily match, so long as they feel "just right." I have no reservations about proudly displaying my fanaticism for Sonic the Hedgehog. I'm unapologetically me, complete with a dash of eccentricity!
Since learning I'm an Aspie, I feel compelled to help others who are going through similar experiences. I want to help others who suspect they might be on the spectrum find answers, just like I did. I also want to show others that Asperger's brings with it many gifts and talents. I recently began the process of becoming a Compeer volunteer, and I asked to be connected with another young adult on the spectrum, so that I can be a mentor of a sort to someone else in a situation not unlike mine. I'm active in my Aspie group, and am always looking for opportunities to be an advocate in the community, such as the presentation I gave this past summer.

Life has been pretty good to me over the past two years, and my journey is still young. I'm positive that the world holds many opportunities for the future; opportunities to educate, advocate, connect, and learn. I'm going to continue to enjoy the ride! :)

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