5 Things That Make Me Brave as a Man With Autism


You shouldn’t live your life in fear. Not for any reason. What have you done in your life that makes you a brave person? You could be a firefighter who’s saved people in fires. You could have had a gun pointed in your face and didn’t fear being shot. You could have been bullied but found the courage to face it. It could be anything.

There are five reasons why I feel I’m brave as a man with autism.

1.  Getting on stage with Shania Twain.

There was a security guard right behind me when I got up out of my seat to attempt to get on that stage. My mom told me he was right behind me. Even if there wasn’t, it takes a lot of courage to get up from the 11th row to meet your favorite singer. Being on that stage in front of thousands of people also takes a lot of courage. Nothing bothered me when I was on that stage and I didn’t care what people thought of me when I was up there. People may have thought “He’s making a fool of himself.” I didn’t care one bit. It was Shania’s thoughts that mattered to me, and she accepted me for who I am.

2.  Being a published author.

It never fazed me when I published articles for the first time. I never lost sleep over being a published author. I never asked myself “Should I really do this?” I just wrote and when I got published, I was proud and didn’t care what was at stake next. People have told me as a published author “It’s so brave of you.” Just thinking of being a published author is an accomplishment for me, and that’s all I care about.

3.  Singing karaoke.

I’m a decent singer, but I’m no Elvis Presley. However, I just love to sing. There are some songs I can sing and some songs I can’t. Not everyone has the courage to get up on stage with the DJ. People tell me all the time, “I’m too scared to be up there.” People may ask, “What if people judge me?” Who cares if they do? I had a guy talk bad about my singing once and I didn’t care. I just have fun.

4.  Flying without fear.

Are you scared of heights? Did the 9/11 attacks make you not want to fly ever again? Not me. Flying has never seemed to scare me. Maybe it’s due to flying for the first time at a young age. I love to travel to begin with. Whatever is the easiest way for me to travel to a place I’d like to visit is OK with me. When I’m up in the air, I do things to not think about where I am, whether it’s listen to music or watch movies. I also think of how excited I am to be where I’m going.

5. Public speaking.

I remember taking a speech class in college. The instructor played a video on YouTube titled “I Hate Public Speaking.” When someone asks you “Have you ever taken a speech class in school?” what kind of answers do you get? When you have to give a speech, what comes to mind? A lot of people have a fear of talking in front of a bunch of people. They may struggle with stage fright and butterflies in their stomach. I was there too, until I joined a Toastmasters International club and started speaking more often. Now, I’m never afraid to public speak and do it every opportunity I get.

Being brave is a good thing. It’s OK to be scared every now and then. However, I believe if you live your life in fear with or without autism, life won’t be great for you in a lot of ways. You don’t have to be brave in the ways I may be brave. If you’re brave in other ways, that’s being just as brave as me.

Getty image by Niseri N.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

AMKS Safety Kit featuring all 20 items included in the kit

Autism Moms Know Safety Offers Free Safety Kits for Caregivers of Kids Who Wander

Natasha Barber’s decision to form Autism Moms Know Safety and provide free safety-promoting kids to parents of children on the autism spectrum was born out of necessity. The first time Barber’s son, Joshua, wandered was in 2011, when he was only 5 years old. Joshua was drawn to the lake that bordered the family’s backyard. Barber [...]

The F-Word I Worry About for My Son on the Autism Spectrum

If I have any regrets since we first heard “The A Word” (autism), it would be the endless hours I spent worrying about the F-Word. The F-word I’m referring to is much more caustic to my heart and my ears than the one that rhymes with truck. The F-word I’m talking about is: Future. Yeah, [...]
Two women working together planning

3 Reasons Why I Don't Go to IEP Meetings Alone

IEP meetings can be emotional, rough, torturous, make you wanna eat five bags of chips and two gallons of ice cream when you get home. Did I mention they can be really hard? But you don’t have to go to them alone. I have been to a couple of meetings alone and I felt very [...]
Black and white image of close up face boy wearing headphones smiling at camera

Helping My Son on the Autism Spectrum Find His Voice

Parents of nonverbal children with autism often talk about longing to find their child’s voice. It struck me yesterday that I have more in common with parents of nonverbal children than I had recognized. I’m also searching for my child’s voice. Only in a different way. My son, too, has autism. He’s what people call [...]