|I showed my autism a lot more|
when I was younger
I kind of want to switch gears today a bit, after talking about so much SSA stuff. Instead, I want to talk about something else that has affected my life a lot. It’s been a while since I really talked about it on here, but I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. Some of you who haven’t known me very long may not know this, but I have high-functioning autism (Asperger’s Syndrome). My autism affected me more when I was younger, since I’ve learned to live with it. However, kind of like with my post about being grateful for my same-sex attraction, I wanted to do one about why I’m grateful for my autism.
To be honest, three years ago when I was waiting for my mission call and the mission department delayed it… and delayed it… and delayed it because of my autism, I was not fond of it. In fact, I hated that there was anything about me that was abnormal (at that time, I was in a period of denial about my SSA too). In the end, I waited a month and a half, whereas the other guys in my ward were waiting two weeks. To this day, when I see things like the meme below (taken from BYU Memes) I want to start ranting about how short they really have to wait (but that’s a post and a rant for another day). However, recently, as I’ve learned to be grateful for my SSA, I’ve also learned to be grateful for my autism.
Reason #1: Being autistic has helped me become and enjoy being genuine and authentic. Yes, authenticity needs its boundaries; otherwise it can drive some people away, because they’re not prepared for it. However, there are so many people who are scared of showing people who they really are. Me, it’s natural and it’s liberating.
Reason #2: For me, honesty also seems natural. In fact, I feel like I have an overdeveloped sense of guilt, in some ways. However, that can be good, because it means I’m not likely to lie. In fact, if I ever tell you I plan on doing something with you, I probably mean it (so don’t offer if you don’t mean it). If I don’t want to, I’ll attempt to talk my way out of it. So in a way, my autism has helped me to be open and honest with those around me.
Reason #3: Part of being autistic is noticing patterns. I think this has helped me in learning foreign languages. This semester, I’m living at the FLSR (Foreign Language Student Residence) at BYU, in order to improve my Spanish. I look back on my experiences with learning languages (I also took French throughout middle school and high school) and while my peers have had a hard time with conjugations and stuff, it felt straight forward: languages are patterns. My listening comprehension may take some work, but yeah, that’s okay. I suppose this isn’t always the case with autistic people, but I like to think it helps me with the many conjugations of verbs in Spanish that my classmates find difficult.
Reason #4: People with autism tend to be hyper-focused on stuff. For example, when I was younger, I was hyper-focused on Pokémon, Digimon, or whatever other personal fad I was going through. Now, it seems to be more on the same-sex attraction thing. However, I’d like to argue that it’s not as much about the SSA as it is about what the SSA has taught me about families. I’ve been learning about dealing with my SSA recently and in doing so I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve also become aware of how much Satan is attacking the family. This has led me to my new major, Family Studies, and has led me to want to pursue a career in Marriage and Family therapy. I think being hyper-focused on the family is far from a negative trait.
Like with my SSA, through the Atonement, I have learned to become okay with my autism. In fact, I’ve even begun to enjoy it. And that’s why I always say that it’s because of the Atonement that it gets better.
|Autism Awareness is represented by multicolored puzzle|
pieces to represent its complex nature.