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5 Things That Make Me Brave as a Man With Autism

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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.

Getty image by Niseri N.

Originally published: March 19, 2018
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