To My Past, Present, and Future With Autism

Dear Normalcy,

You were the one thing that was always consistent. Your inconsistency was something I could count on, set a clock to, and did my best to remember your unexpected appearance. But the one thing that you couldn’t handle was friendship. Looking throughout my life with autism, I realize I’ve had more people surround me than you ever could count, or would. They are my friends from my past, my present, and my future.

Dear Past,

You’ve known me in my silence. The times we would be playing street ball and gazing off in the distance for another whimsical adventure at the same time. The times I would follow your direction and silently cry while my heart breaks because I couldn’t understand a simple command. The times I was over-daring and you watched to make sure I didn’t seriously injure myself. Our friendship has truly stood the test of time.

Dear Present,

You’ve known me in my silence, my struggles, and my diagnosis. The times when I struggled through school, cried over an assignment, or just wanted to throw in the towel. The times you’ve stood by my side in large crowds starting with my own high school graduation. You’ve cheered me on, and you continue to celebrate with me in the big and small victories. I know I can be my true self, my autistic self, and you won’t leave. You’ve picked me up when I’ve fallen, encouraged me when I’ve doubted myself, and broke through my fog while I was panicking and couldn’t find a way out.

Dear Future,

I know we’ve never met, at least not yet. But I am hopeful that one day we will, and you will see that I’m willing to take on a good challenge and have fun at the same time. Because well, that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life, overcoming challenges. Yes, I know I look “normal,” and that’s fine with me. Normalcy gave me two gifts when we met: the lack of instant friends and the will to fight. As different as those two may seem, I’ve never had one without the other. So if you’re willing and waiting for the adventure of a lifetime, I would love to get to know you.

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Getty image by Kameshkova.

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