You are important. Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise or stop thinking that your existence does not matter. Every life is significant and you are a powerful and strong human being.
Life can be difficult at times. It varies for some people though, some have it easier than others while the unfortunate ones have to deal with it every day. Whoever you may be and what problems you may be facing, know that I am there for you.
The human will to not only survive but to overcome and accomplish is stronger than anything I can imagine. We as both people and as a group can do so much for the world. Just look at any movements or petitions around the globe and you’ll find people standing up for what they believe in to the end, making a difference in the world.
People are amazing. You are amazing.
I bring this up because I wanted to tell you a bit more about myself. I have talked about why I pursued movies as much as I have and why I started this blog, but we all face a struggle in life, including myself.
I have Asperger’s Syndrome. For those of you who don’t know what that is, Asperger’s is a form of Autism that effects my brain in many ways. For example, when I get excited I will sometimes lose control of my arms and flail wildly without even realizing it. I lack the basics of understanding body language, have a hard time carrying a conversation without talking about some of my passions and can often come off as rash, unsympathetic and lacking in empathy when I just do not know any better.
It is easy for me to get into a routine and it is very hard to get me out of that routine, just ask anyone that I work with. But once I’ve found something that I enjoy, I study and learn everything that I can about that topic. Any opportunity I get, I will talk about those passions and not let go.
I’ve heard someone with Asperger’s is similar to how a robot acts. Cold, uncaring, won’t actually look you in the eye, lacks social skills and is only focused on set amount of goals.
As you can probably imagine, this made my childhood rather difficult, especially when I did not understand what I was doing wrong. I was picked on for my constant flailing. I would normally spend my recess’ wandering around the playground, flailing as I imagined Godzilla getting in a fight with the Megazord from Power Rangers. I never once considered what it looked like from the other kids’ perspective, and only ever broke away from my imaginative time when other kids stopped to ask what I was doing.
I would describe having Asperger’s as having half of your brain in your own world and the other half in the real world. You have your own ideas and thoughts about what you want and how the world works and love that side because it is pleasant and worry-free. But it is in constant conflict with the real world. You understand what is happening and know the people around you, but it is sometimes just too much and you can’t handle it.
These sides of your brain are always fighting. You want to be in the world, for those you love and care about, but you just don’t know how.
It’s not that people with Asperger’s are uncaring, it is that they care so much that they don’t know how to handle all of it and are therefore paralyzed by so many overwhelming thoughts. It is at this point that we retreat into our own world where we don’t have to be overloaded.
As I’m writing this blog post, my brain is fighting over completing it and just ending it so that these reflections can go away and I can watch some videos by the Game Grumps.
It is difficult to cope with reality. If I want to fit into this world, I must have a certain mindset that I do not understand. I must know body language, be social, talk about issues that have no effect on me or do not care about. Because people are kind that way and must make people feel welcome.
Please understand me, I completely get that part. But understanding that and knowing how to do that are two totally different things. How do you teach someone to be social when they neither social nor anti-social?
It’s not that we don’t want to socialize, it’s that we’re content with the amount of friends we have now and do not want to mess with that. Again, falling into a routine and it being difficult to get out of that.
But I think the worst part of having Asperger’s Syndrome is that when something bad happens in my life where I feel down or defeated, I find myself blaming it on the Asperger’s. It is something beyond my control and no matter how hard I try, it will always be apart of me.
I hate this because suddenly, I’m not myself anymore. I am this vessel being piloted by a mental illness and have no saying over how things will turn out. That I am someone with Asperger’s Syndrome before I am Paul Sell.
And I do not want that.
I want to be myself. I want to be treated and seen just like everyone else. I want to be able to talk about movies, Godzilla, Star Trek, Power Rangers and Mystery Science Theater 3000 without having to worry about being known as “THAT guy.” I want to go to my job, work has hard as I can and not be looked down on just because I don’t know how to socialize with everyone. I want to lead a happy, pleasant life and do the things that I want to do.
But most importantly, I do not want to use my Asperger’s as a crutch.
Perhaps that is why I’ve taken so long to talk about this. Because I was afraid that, if I explained myself, anytime I did something strange from now on, people would be like “Oh, that’s just his Asperger’s acting up again. Don’t pay him any mind.”
Of course, I cannot stop you from thinking that. All I can do is beg you to listen me for a little while.
I work at a department store, what I do on this blog is just a hobby that I love more than most other things. Over the past few months, I have witnessed several incidents where children with mental issues, supposedly Autism, were treated badly.
Once instance was an older woman taking care of her grandson. The woman appeared worn out and tired but I treated this the same as any other instance. The grandson started out near the shopping cart and would occasionally hop on the bars of the cart while looking around the store. The woman constantly kept telling her grandson to get off the cart, and he would, only to hop back on a few seconds later.
This seemed like typical child behavior to me, until I overheard her mention the word “Autism” and point at him.
Shortly after that, the child ran up to the lottery machine, which required money to use properly, and started pressing the same button over and over. I assumed the bright colors of the machine caught is eye and he want to know how it worked.
This made the grandmother furious. She yelled at the top of her lungs, “Stop messing with that machine now and get back here this instant! I haven’t let you leave the house for three years and it’s going to be another three years after what you just did.”
Let me remind you that her grandson pressed a button on a lottery machine, which he could not work without money.
To follow that up, once everything I needed to do was finished I told this woman about what she could do online. She interrupts me mid-sentence to tell me that she does not own a computer, because she does not want to expose her children to the internet, due to the predators lurking on the websites.
So not only are you unwilling to allowing your grandson leave the house long enough to go to the store for the past three years, supposedly because he has Autism, but you are limiting your children from the ever-expanding world around them? News, encyclopedic knowledge, interaction with other people and purchasing items that are impossible to get anywhere else are all possible through the internet. Even a career is possible, just look at any YouTube channel that makes more than two videos a week.
This woman was not only hurting her own children by blocking them from the internet for no good reason (predators only lurk on certain websites which can be blacklisted), but she is punishing her grandson for something that is beyond his control. He did not choose to be born the way he is, so why should he be treated differently than any other kid?
When I was a child and my Asperger’s was running rampant, I knew that my parents were extremely concerned about what to do with me. Move me to a different school? Put me on medication? Go to therapy and group discussion about Autism? Limit my movement? Take away my toys until I get better?
Do you know what they ended up doing? None of that. They loved me and supported my passions. They pointed out when I was flailing around and introduced me to some new friends whom I shared common interests, and all of it was to help me. I was allowed to play outside when I wanted, use the computer, watch all the same shows my friends were watching.
I was treated like any other child.
This is because my parents are amazing, kind, generous and wonderful people. They never once looked at me like I was a mistake or a burden on them, but as any other person that they loved. I’m not exaggerating when I say I would not be the person that I am today without the love and support of my parents.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I was born without Asperger’s Syndrome. But what I do know about are the virtues that shine through because of Asperger’s – kindness, patience, generosity, thoughtfulness, logical and passionate. These virtues come through me due to my parents because they didn’t want me to treated differently.
Why? Because to my loving parents, I was important. Just like you are important.
Thank you so much for sharing this. My oldest son is currently on a (too long) waiting list to be assessed for Asperger’s which my husband and I are pretty confident he has. You sharing your perspective and insight has been really helpful. We support his obsessions and celebrate his quirks (as we do with his brothers also) so I’m glad you believe that is the right approach. Thank you.