Why I Identify With Susan Boyle as a Late-in-Life-Diagnosed Autistic Adult
When Susan Boyle first took to the stage on “Britain’s Got Talent,” I realized she was on the autism spectrum. Her “quirky” ways had everyone laughing at her until the jaw-dropping moment she began singing “I Dreamed a Dream.” She stunned the world with her spectacular voice. Suddenly everyone forgot her little wiggle and cheeky comments to Simon Cowell. Susan became an instant sensation. But there was one thing about herself that she didn’t officially even yet know — the very thing that would help explain parts of the life she had lived up to that magical night.
Aside from her incredible voice, I became fascinated with her because I recognized she was autistic. I wondered if she had been diagnosed. Soon after she won second place, her autobiography came out. As I read her life story, I came to feel like she was the sister I never had but always wished I had. We were alike in so many ways.
Growing up, her mom was her only and best friend. Her singing was her special interest, and she regularly sang in a little pub not far from her home in a tiny village in Scotland. She described the tragic day when her mom died and how she survived it. It mirrored what I had gone through when my mom died. She described her mom’s wishes that she pursue her singing career. Susan has a cat named Pebbles, who gave her incredible emotional support. She talked about wanting to have a real friend who would understand her. I was so deeply moved by her story, as I felt that Susan and I could be best friends for life. I don’t sing, but everything else about Susan was just like me.
I remember the day I saw on the news that Susan Boyle just got diagnosed with Asperger’s! I was beside myself! I was bursting with joy for her to finally learn why she is the wonderful way she is. I remember being horrified when I read in her book that in her younger days people called her “simple Susan” just because she was different. Susan is a perfect example of why no one should ever judge a book by its cover. She is the one person I so hope to meet in person one day. I would give her a big hug and tell her she’s my sister for life. I wonder all the time if she has found any friends yet, how Pebbles is doing, and how is she enjoying life now that she got diagnosed.
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