Whenever I was asked to talk about my life and describe who I am, I often spoke about the person I was at 5 years of age. Being the only left handed, eyeglass wearing child was just the beginning. I knew other things were different and I knew that I thought differently from everyone else.
After all these years of ‘thinking differently’ and sensing a common disconnection from most people, I was challenged this year to finally move beyond that 5 year old lost boy. After all, I’m not 5 anymore, and I have achieved so much, so to hang on to the child I was, due to the unanswered questions I have about who I was, does a great disservice to who I am today.
But the question is still unanswered. I know that I react to issues differently. I know that I solve problems in a different way. I know that some people think I’m without emotion. I know that smalltalk and ‘goofing off with friends’ is such a foreign concept for me. I know that sometimes in group settings, I connect patterns of responses and then take things extremely personal when I determine that I receive more negative response to my ideas from anyone else. I remember conversations from six months ago, and remember who said what and what decisions were made. I then know when those same people change their minds and it has always baffled me to find out that they don’t also remember the reason for the decision in the first place.
So, yeah, it really is my problem and I cannot really move forward without determining how to fix myself. After all, I can fix every other problem, so why can’t I also fix myself (if, in fact, the problem is me and not everyone else).
It really came as a shock when a close friend told me that several people who I consider mentors asked him what was wrong with me. It seemed to a couple of them that I might be autistic or something.
So, yes, I can now tell the world that I do have Asperger Syndrome. This really is difficult to say, but it also answers so many questions for me. As a person who prides himself in problem solving, I finally have that one puzzle piece that I have been seeking for all these years.
As I was challenged to put that five year old boy behind me, I can finally begin to do that. I finally understand so much more about myself and I can much better recognize my behaviors and responses.
I can end the year knowing that the five year old boy was smart enough to know all the ways he was different, but also be strengthened in knowing that the five year old kept me searching for the solution to the one puzzle I could not solve.
I can begin the new year with a new understanding of myself and so many new possibilities. I no longer have to hold myself back from any achievement. I can do anything.