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People who know me are well aware of my love of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” When I give out my phone number, I make sure to mention that I won’t answer when the show is on. (I don’t have a DVR.) Some people have even called me Ellen by mistake, although I take that as a compliment. But there is a reason behind my Ellen obsession, and it may not be what you think.

One day, not long after I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 15, when I was struggling in school, I came home sobbing. I’d had a more difficult day than usual. So my mom told me to go watch “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” I sobbed over to the TV and turned on her show. Less than a minute into her monologue, I began to smile. Then I was laughing. And soon, I was laughing so hard that I was crying again.

It was at that moment that I knew I would be OK in life. I could survive school, bad days, and even this diagnosis that I didn’t really understand at the time. In those few seconds of an emotional roller coaster ride, the show had already made an impact on my life.

I found comfort in the routine of watching the show every weekday. I enjoyed the sense of humor that seemed to lack any amount of hatred towards others. Each day was rewarded by this show that brought me happiness.

As I have grown older, I’ve continued to follow the show. I still watch it daily. Only now I watch it while wearing my Ellen hoodie (I own three of them!) in my own apartment. I use an Ellen-themed token board with letters of her name for the tokens, to reward myself for doing things that I find difficult. (The final reward is seeing her name fully spelled out with the tokens!)

When I struggled to attend college, I found out Ellen dropped out of college. This didn’t discourage me from attending (I’m in college now!), but it helped me to realize it was OK that I couldn’t at the time.

So, while this whole article may just seem like a person with an obsession writing (and it is), it’s also to highlight the moment I realized I would be OK. Someone else who has become a major success despite (or perhaps because of) her differences made me feel less alone.

Erin’s “Ellen” themed token board

Lead photo source: Screenshot from YouTube video

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