Monday, February 12, 2007

What If I Were Not Me

Well, if I were not me I would be someone else. What I cant figure out is why I would want to be someone else.

There really are alot of subtle (and some not so subtle) messages that I get from some individuals and the public in general, about what a person should be that is different than who I am. Since I never really had a guidebook as to what I was "supposed" to be like, Ive often accepted peoples perceptions about who I am and unfortunatly, too often it made me feel bad about the expectations that I wasnt reaching.

Im now realizing that alot of this stuff that others seem to believe about me isnt bad like they think. Its just different. It has alot to do with how Im wired differently and will respond to things in different ways than others. Really, if people had some idea of who I really am as a person and what makes me that way (as in how Im designed differently than alot of other people) I think that alot of the ways that I respond to my environment wouldnt seem bad or wrong to others at all.... once they understood better.

Its not that I dont grow or mature.... I do. By that I mean I learn how my decisions effect others and how I can be better at being nicer to others and making things work in my life. The thing is though that sometimes what people expect or demand of me doesnt make sense. Sometimes what people think is right or good is just about how they see who they are and how they were made as fundamentally right and by constast my difference makes me fundamentally bad or wrong.

Now, what Im saying here isnt something I learned easily or by myself. Actually its just been quite recently that Ive read about others who had similarities to me that have written blog post and comments that have really helped me understand this.

Being able to make this distinction between what the expectations of others are, what I should really expect of myself, and how I can and should conduct myself is vital to my future and to the success of my efforts.

I cant educate everyone in one day and there are certainly obstacles in the getting majority of the public to come to understand what I talking about. The world probably wont change for the better that much within my lifetime. Conformity to what is seen as "normal" and "well rounded" is encouraged while diversity is too often challanged. That is something that we all must contend with. However, I do have much more reason for hope.

The thing is though, that there are people that are challenging alot of preconcieved notions about autism and differences in who people are and that is very exciting to me. The public perceptions of these things require alot of unlearning and relearning. But the times, they are a changing. Im so glad to be a part of that and Im excited about what it can mean to my future and everyones future.


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