Awareness

So we are halfway through April. Many of us here in the States regard it as tax season, many more in the Northern Hemisphere regard it as when spring comes in full bloom (despite the occasional snowfall), while some people regard Easter as a holiday despite it never being federally recognized as such. But I regard it as a month to bring light to an ever-increasing neurodevelopmental disorder. April is Autism Awareness Month, and as someone who has autism, I must share my story.

Ever since I was diagnosed at about two and a half, I’ve felt that for the most part other people have wanted to ostracize me. I was constantly teased in my elementary years, and when I moved to Bronson, close friends were pretty hard to come by (any romantic bonds simply didn’t exist). I look back on those years with a certain amount of remorse. Sure, there were some fun times to be had, but I couldn’t help but notice my neurotypical peers had significantly more than I had.

Fast-forward to today. I’ve definitely outgrown the crying I did when I was teased as a little kid, but by and large people still tend to ostracize me more often than neurotypicals. The difference is this time, they pretty much do so not by speaking out, but by giving me the cold shoulder. I believe I can count on one finger the number of non-relative weddings to which I’ve been invited, so it is easily apparent that I’m not as well-liked as other friends who should be on equal standing. My only romantic interest I’ve had (she isn’t really someone I wanted to keep around knowing now what I didn’t at that time, but that’s a different story for another time) ditched me when an alleged former boyfriend returned to her life (never even said a word to me, she had just vanished without explanation). And people wonder why I have such a cynical view on humanity.

Somewhere along the way, I was able to develop what I would consider some pretty good friendships. The people who accept me for who I am are to be commended. But sometimes even they might make me feel left out. I’ve tried hard not to be bitter about this, because I know they have busy lives, but it just reeks of inconsistency on how I may be treated versus more neurotypical friends. And while I don’t necessarily pick up on every social expression, I’ve tried hard to get better at it. I want to get a better balance of companionship/alone time but know that such balance might not ever get to my preferred ratio. (40/60 would be great, but I’d settle for 35/65!) And as crazy as this might sound, I might be even willing to pursue romantic interests again. As for that, I’d like to avoid someone with an unrealistic backstory. But above all, I’ll keep fighting for acceptance, even though it isn’t something for which I should have to fight.

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