Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Aspie Pride

It was hard to have pride in being an Aspie when I was in high school.  I was teased a lot for being odd and just wanted to isolate myself and not deal with the rest of the world as much as possible, to appear at least somewhat normal so that I could get out of the special ed classes.  Of course, it's hard for anyone to really be themselves in high school.  Those are rough years where everyone mocks others so they aren't laughed at themselves.

Now that I'm out of that, I'm seeing my AS as more of an asset, something which is part of me and gives me an interesting view that most people can never experience.  I've gone from being embarrassed about my AS to being fine with saying I have it if it comes up in conversation.  I wouldn't be able to write this blog if I wasn't open about it - we had to pitch our blog ideas to the entire class and open them to critique.

Having pride in not just AS but the other conditions involved can be positive as well.  I'm very open about my prosopagnosia because I have to be to function well.  I will usually tell people I've met and know I'm likely to meet again that I have a condition that keeps me from seeing faces properly and apologize in advance if I don't know who they are next time we meet.  I've never had a single negative reaction to this - everyone I've told has been very interested by it and want to know more about how it works.  Another gentleman I know had a brain injury and can't remember names and told me that as soon as we met.  He was very open about it and I was impressed.

I don't think having AS makes me better than an NT.  There are some areas where I'm probably better off and some where I'm a lot worse off - everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  I do have my moments of wishing others were Aspies so they could understand what's going on in my head, which is usually incredibly hard for an NT to do, and I have my moments of being really glad that I'm the only Aspie around because it gives me some advantages in that situation.

I hope that parents with high-functioning autistic or AS kids will teach them to have pride in who and what they are, to not be ashamed of their condition and hide it.  It's so much easier for others to hurt you when you have a big secret.  When you're out, loud and proud, they can't exactly hurt you because you're entirely comfortable about it.  This is why it's so easy to gay bash someone who is seriously closeted and near impossible to use gayness against a very loud, out advocate.

Be happy and comfortable with who you are - have pride in being an Aspie!

For more information on Aspergers pride, please click here.

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