I'm Autistic. I'm Not 'Normal.' And That's OK.
My brain and body work differently than most people. That’s not really a problem until someone expects me to do things “their way.”
I do things differently and typically have to teach myself most things unless I have an amazing teacher.
This was a problem for me in school because my teachers couldn’t understand “my way” any more than I understood the way they did things.
I see things differently in my mind than other people. First I think visually, but I also have a way to access complex language when typing. I can think of words, but I don’t think in words. The words are accessible, but primarily my head is full of snapshots and videos. All my memories are videos, but most of them have no sound.
I have sound memories too, but they are separate from the words and videos unless the sounds come from music. Music is an amazing world for me – I feel it so deeply in every inch of my body and brain.
I don’t remember words. They don’t stick – unless they are sung or repeated over and over and over again rhythmically. Sometimes I do this in my head if I have to remember something, but if you ask me to repeat back to you something you just said to me – you are out of luck.
I don’t speak the way I type. I often spend a lot of time observing in the background.
When I do speak up, I keep things short, unless I am in a chatty mood or on a topic I love. Then I can ramble mindlessly forever and nobody can get a word in. (I try not to do this because I realize it can be rude – another reason I stay away from alcohol.)
Humor makes life easier, and being able to laugh at myself whenever I have a social mistake (because they happen every time I am around my co-workers) has saved my life.
Before I would let the anxiety of trying to be “work appropriate” get to me. I did not trust myself. Now that I laugh things off – and in my head I say “Asperger’s” as a cartoon caricature of me is rolling her eyes at me in my head.
I smile back.
I don’t blame myself for these mistakes, but I try to learn something from every single one of them. Hopefully I will remember next time (or the time after that) not to make the same mistake. I remind myself I am doing the best I can and move forward.
I’m not normal, and as long as I am doing my best – that’s OK.
Follow this journey on Anonymously Autistic.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Stock photo by puhhha