Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Cant" CAN Be Liberating

Often, I find that people respond to my description of what I feel may be productive as my being pesimistc. I dont feel that that is where I coming from at all. If I complained about the same problem everyday and never listened to people that were describing ideas (or even ideals) about what to do that would not only help me, but others too, that would seem pesimistic to me. Thats not the case.

Actually, I think that people who are not describing problems are sometimes avoiding them. Sometimes they do things that gloss over problems in ways that may show others superficially that their intent is to be optimistic, but pesimism results from choosing such a path of least resistance. That really doesnt lead anyone anywhere.

However, this isnt a blog about other people being pesimistic or optimistic. Its about me and my methods of doing things. Im not just asking for help. I really believe that I can work with others in ways that will help me and others too. However, we have to start with where we are.

Right now, youll get more fancy words from me than you will practical solutions. How do I know that big words that make people feel good about someone being optimitic can be counter-productive in ways that lead to the same kind of pesimism that keeps people stuck? Because *I* have TOO often made that mistake myself. Im in no position to preach to anybody about this. I just want to move on.

So, here it is: Im better at talking the talk than walking the walk. Is admiting that pesimism? I dont think so. Pesimism would be continuing to try to do something that really doesnt work. You see CANT can be quite liberating as long as youre not trying to pull others down into a defeatist zone that keeps people stuck. Im not doing that.

If you get more inspiration from looking at how you CAN do stuff, and this is the kind of motivation YOU need to move forward, then maybe you cant relate to what Im saying here. However, dont assume that I havent been given this encouragement already. Maybe you think I just need to have a more positive attitude. Im saying that Ive worked very hard at this approach, and while it has been helpful in some ways, this method has (in some ways) reached its maximum potential with me.... so Im choosing another. BECAUSE, *I* havent reached my maximum potential. Therefore, Im choosing another method that may work better. The CAN DO attitude will continue to be useful for me. Im just saying that it has its limits in my case.

Saying that I *can do* something that Ive worked very hard at for many years, sometimes only leads to more unrealistic expectations and stuckness due to challenges that I never meet. It doesnt help to just keep saying that I can do something because it makes people comfortable temporarily. They eventually become uncomfortable when I dont meet their expectations. This cycle really needs to stop and Im trying to put a stop to it.

I am what I am and I am where I am. It doesnt do any good to tell me what a great runner I can be without accepting that for right now, I cant walk well. I want to run but Im tired of not running because everyone wants me to see myself as a runner, but no one wants to address my learning to walk better first. I mean, whats the point?

If you think I had just as many advantages as everyone and just didnt work as hard, I really dont see how that approach is productive. I may be able to explain somethings about that, but what difference does it really make? I dont want to take anything away from other peoples accomplishments and how hard they have tried. Why would I want to allienate those people? They are the very people who actually can help. Lets celebrate all that youve done, let me ask the tough questions, and lets move me and other people LIKE me right along with us. Get it?

O.K. Here it is: I cant read. I know . I know. Its the Feel, Felt, Found thing. You know how I feel. You felt the same way. But, heres what you found. Most people who tell me that skip right to the part of what they found and just assume the first two parts. Often my situation is different than theirs but again THATS NOT THE POINT.

We can move forward, but we really need to start on the same page. Few people are willing to take the time to do that with a 43 year old man who cant read. Its just more conveinient to say that either I really can( I dont know what reason they think Id have for saying that I cant, but whatever....), or that Im really just not trying. I actually have proved what Im saying here to some people and watched them just walk away once they really understood the situation. Ive got to tell you, that really hurt.

By the time they saw the REAL situation (that was different than what they had originally assumed), they were no longer clinging to their original beliefs. They just found another exuse. That exuse was less conveinient than the first, but by that time they didnt care about anything but running away. I dont have the luxury of running away. I just get to deal with it.

I really dont think that it is as difficult as these people thought. Whatever, theyre gone and Im still wanting to get started.

Dont tell me about the little engine that thought he could. I cant relate. Tell me about the little engine (or the old engine) that got STUCK. Tell me how the engine that got stuck, learned to rock and roll. Actually, Ive got the rocking part down. Lets roll!

I WILL show "the system", or whoever helps me to move forward with my goals, that there are plenty of rewards for them and others who learn from what I will learn in the process.

So, there is this engine thats autistic but, thats not such a bad thing. Neurodiversity is a good thing. There are different kinds of engines and different sets of tracks. Old engines arent necessarily obsolite and tracks dont need to get rusty. Lots of people (lots of kids) can learn from my learning. I plan to help with that alot! Im not just dreaming and if I am, I hope I never wake up. If I get angry sometimes, I think its more productive than getting sad because this is important!


At 7:33 PM , Blogger Ed said...

Well Ed, If you can relate to other autistics who see autism as a neurodiversity and that gives you a sense of belonging and acceptence of your unique qualities, I think you should continue to learn from others who see things this way and establish connections based on your similarities with them.
AND if you have better ways of describing either your strengths *or* what you see as things that you can identify as what you want to get better at (or need to get better at) to become the productive person you want to be,(however they need to be identified in order to attain the support you need)....I think you are making wise and mature decisions about that.
Remember theres nothing wrong with asking for support. I think the way you are going about it is very productive. :)


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