Sometimes I wish I could take back that time when I discovered I am an Aspie. I think that moment to some degree kind of ruined the rest of my life. But, perhaps the most damaging part of that was what was done by the website Medium because it provided me daily with hundreds of articles about Aspergers, and only Aspergers.
When I discovered that my lifelong traits had a name, of course, I was on an unending search for what that condition means. The more I read about Aspergers the more articles Medium provided me. It wouldn’t be long before I was totally swamped by the syndrome. There was article after article about how I should throw off the masks that I have been wearing all my life to appear “normal”. Of course the more lifetime masks I tore off the more confusing alternatives became.
I started to think that I just couldn’t survive in the NT (neurotypical) world anymore. Yes, I did learn about the assets side of being an Aspie, but I read much too much about the social side of life that I have always struggled with. It seems the more I read Medium posts, the more confused I was becoming about who I really am.
For the last several years I have been announcing that I am an Aspie. I believed the thing to do was to own my condition, maybe even celebrate it. But the problem is now that Aspergers is considered part of the Autism Spectrum, and the public awareness of autism has lagged drastically behind any advantages of claiming that label.
For too many people, autism is seen as a sickness that has to be fixed or at least submerged into the background wherever possible. It seems that taking that label has done more harm to my public and private image than it has solved, and that ended up putting a somewhat dark cloud over my life. I was getting along pretty well by masking the liabilities of autism instead of proclaiming them.
So, I am trending back to just saying that I have a unique perspective on life, and I am foregoing the label. I am going back to wearing all the masks necessary to hide my condition. It just seems my life was better before my revelation than it has been since. Call me eccentric, call me weird, call me shy, just don’t call me autistic.
Maybe someday people will be able to proudly call themselves Aspies, but “someday” will likely be too late for me.