I am Me

Hello, everyone!  I’m still feeling a little aimless.  I went to church today for the first time in about a month.  That douchebag guest pastor was there and so I didn’t stay in service.  Instead, I went and dorked around and hung out with the other service-skippers.  I also then slept for about 4 hours (after sleeping less than that last night).  I doubt I’m going to be able to sleep well tonight either because I am way too excited about getting my new phone.

I was talking to the Youth Ministry leader and mentioned wanting to get a job, but not being able to work retail ever again due to the mental break I had a few years back and Autism.  Now, I recognize that I’m High Functioning or whatever, so it’s apparently hard for people who don’t spend too much time with me to realize that I am indeed Autistic.  Normally the response I get is “oh, we’re all a little bit on the spectrum” or “well, you don’t LOOK like you have Autism”.

Naturally, this is what she said.  She said “I wouldn’t have guess it”.  Well, no shit, lady, we don’t all fit in nifty little boxes.  No two Non-Autistics are the same and display the same sort of symptoms, do they?  No.  No they don’t.  I’m not really all that mad about it, to be honest.  If someone were to tell me that they had ten cats, but I thought they were more of a dog person and exclaimed interest and surprise to hear that they had ten cats, that doesn’t make me a jerk for assuming otherwise.  It doesn’t take away from the fact that they have ten cats.  Likewise, people not knowing I’m Autistic isn’t a big deal.  Most people assume I’m just a bit quirky or eccentric.

What I do have a problem is when people say that I look or act ‘normal’.  We all know that I don’t.  I have a weird face tic.  I hardly ever make eye contact.  I get unreasonably excited about weird shit and act like a little kid half the time.  (okay, I act like a little kid more than half the time, but that’s not my point.)  When people tell me this, I sort of feel like they are ignoring who I am, like they don’t know me at all.

To clarify, I’m not saying that being on the Spectrum is my whole identity.  That’d be a bit ridiculous.  It’s just part of who I am.  I am smart.  I am an owl.  I am gay.  I am multi-racial.  I am Autistic.  I won’t say that I have Autism anymore than I’ll say that I have Gay.  It just doesn’t make sense. I mean, I’ll say I have the Autism because I’ll also say I have the Gay because I think it’s funny, but it doesn’t make much sense grammatically.

Why am I ranting about this today?  Because I’ve been a tad depressed lately and feeling aimless and stupid and like my life has lost all meaning.  I spent a long while thinking about who I am.  What makes me me?  I wouldn’t be who I am without my Autism.  I wouldn’t be who I am today without the years of abuse and trauma.  I wouldn’t be who I am without my ’emo lesbian lifestyle’ (and no, I still haven’t a clue what that means).  I wouldn’t be who I am without all my life experiences and weird brain wiring and weird brain chemical imbalances.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay to be me.

I may not like being me all the time.  Summervale knows that I hate being me most of the time.  I hate the fact that I’m Autistic and that I’m gay and that I’m a genderfluid non-binary person of colour.  I hate it.  I hate that I have all these labels, a lot of which I gave myself because I like sticking things into little categories.  I hate it.  Yet, I don’t want to let it go.  I like the order.  I like having a name to the stuff I do, the stuff I am.

I don’t have to like it.  I don’t have to understand the exact nature of my stuff.  I don’t have to do endless research for all my various diagnosis and ways to change the ineffectiveness of the things I don’t like.  Or the things that I do like that are ineffective in either case.  I just have to accept.  I have to accept it and acknowledge that yes, I got all this shit going on.  I’ve got the Autism and the Gay and the Trichotillomania and the Endometriosis and the Asthma and all that.  At the core of it all, these things are just part of who I am.  They can only define me if I let them define me, if that makes sense?

To explain this, consider my excessive need/thirst/hunger for knowledge.  I love to learn.  I pick random topics that I get obsessed about.  That’s an Autism trait.  But it’s not the Autism that makes me learn, it’s me that makes me learn.  I pull my hair and and my eyebrows out and that’s a Trichotillomania thing, but it’s not the Trichotillomania that’s causing me to do it, it’s me.   I am not the labels, I am the traits that gave me the labels.  Does that make sense?

To make it a bit more confusing in my attempt to clarify, I am Autistic, but Autism isn’t me.  I have traits and symptoms that put me in that category, but that category isn’t all that I am.  Maybe that helps make it clearer?

I say all this because I realized, not for the first time and most definitely not for the last, that I don’t need some random Tunnel Vision Project/’special interest’ thing to give me purpose and to keep me on a path.  It doesn’t matter how obsessed with the thing I get, how much I breathe and drink and sleep and eat that TVP.  That TVP is not the thing that defines me, it’s only part of the bigger picture.

So, even though I feel like there’s no real hope and that everything is pointless and lost in a maze, there’s more to me than just that.  There’s more to life than learning random shit.  Life is about Living.  Life is about doing and experiencing.  It doesn’t matter what other people say about me, how I feel about myself.  Life is an adventure and sitting on my bum feeling sorry about myself isn’t going to make me have hope.

Even if I have to force myself to enjoy stuff, I have to look at the many little bits and pieces that make Life Worth Living.  Not just the learning part.

-The Sarcastic Autist

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