A few years after I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, I decided to call up every online radio show about autism I could find. I wanted to thank the hosts for speaking about autism. But with one show in particular, after I called them, I ended up joining the team.
These people, who I looked up to, were part of an organization. I started to help out with that. Over time, however, things got strange. Everything was about their name, even though they would say it was for the autism community. I began to disagree with what they were asking of me.
After months of believing these people were my friends and cared about me, they turned their backs and spread false rumors. Although I was devastated, I was also really angry. I didn’t know how to trust people anymore, and I had a hard time continuing to help others because of that.
Fast-forward a few years later, and someone I know told me to watch a new show by actress Leah Remini. It was about an organization she had been a part of. She was saying how hard it was to trust people and how painful leaving the organization had been.
Finally, I felt like I wasn’t alone. Even though my experiences weren’t nearly as bad, I still felt like I could relate in some way. Somehow, it opened my eyes.
Now, I’m realizing it doesn’t matter what group I was a part of. It doesn’t matter how many friends I have. I can still make a difference. In fact, I can do it without being part of a group.
So thank you, Leah Remini. Thank you for being brave enough to share your experiences. You have shown me it’s OK to feel upset, but it’s important to stay true to myself.
Image via Flickr / Lwp Kommunikáció.
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