I love being autistic and embrace my autism, but it’s come with difficulties and life hasn’t always been kind to me. My autism makes me unique and has taught me some life lessons along the way.
The first lesson I learned was if you’re passionate about something such as art, dance, history or writing, don’t give up on it. There will be bumps in the road and attempts to drag you down, but eventually, you will reap the rewards. You will find people in life who share that passion too — perhaps not as intensely, but it’s a handy conversation starter.
When it comes to communication and autism, it can be more difficult to make friends, but your true friends are the people who are your supporters and who are filled with kindness. Autism taught me the hard way to pick your friends carefully. Don’t try to latch on the popular kid so popularity will rub off on you. Pick friends with a genuine interest in you, not users who you want you for pure entertainment or as a reason to feel good about themselves. True friends can be difficult to find, but they’re people who can help you get through life.
As an autistic person, I’ve been dismissed straight away because I have a disability. Autism made me realize it’s OK to be friends with the kid with a disability who might seem a bit “weird” to others. People with disabilities are worth being friends with, and shouldn’t be written off because they have a disability or condition that makes them appear a little different on the surface.
Being different, odd, eccentric, whatever you want to call it should be celebrated. We need more people who think outside the box. When I was little I wanted to be like everyone else at school and blend in, but it never happened. I got fed up of self-loathing and embraced being different. I wanted to inspire others with autism. I learned to not hide who I am and be happy in the skin I’m in. You’re on this earth once and life is short. Why try to be something you’re not or wallow in self-pity because you don’t have someone else’s life? My dad’s words of wisdom have always stuck with me. “You get the cards you’re dealt, and you can’t ask others for their cards. It’s how you play your cards in life that matters.” My autism has shown me how to embrace my true colors and like what I see.
My autism has taught me to see the positives in life. I see my ability, not just my disability and I know it’s OK to have a disability. Disability is just a word, and I choose not to see it as a negative thing. You can find the positive in almost anything. Progress is still progress no matter what, even if your journey is longer than someone else’s. Progress matters and you should be proud of it, even if it’s disheartening when people sometimes don’t understand.