>Everyone has something to brag about, it seems. One of my (former, really) college friends just had a son. One is due in April. I have a friend in seminary, a friend in medical school, and my sister is getting married. I won’t include Leigh in this, because she hates when I compare myself to her, but we all know what she’s doing next year.
Somehow, “I ate a carrot” just doesn’t stand up to all of that.
Although I’m not working for money right now, I still work hard. Every Monday, I go to the library to volunteer. I interact with people in an appropriate and semi-professional manner for 1-2 hours. On Tuesdays, I usually meet up with my case manager and talk about getting along with my stepdad and working on getting ready to move out. Wednesdays, I get up and go to feeding therapy. Today, I tried and successfully ate carrot, green pepper, lettuce, and blueberries. After that, I go to the autism research study, where I do a computer program to improve my attention. Thursdays, I usually go to therapy, where I try to work out what makes me anxious and how to stay calm. Fridays, it’s back to the library. Saturdays, I go out with my mom, usually braving the crowds and chaos of the mall. It’s a barrage of sensory experiences: the crowd moving and having to dodge people, the smells of food, the feeling of walking so close to other people, and the the noise of everyone talking in addition to the music playing. Sundays, I go to church, where I sit quietly and still for an entire hour. I love church, but it’s tough to stay still and quiet for so long, while simultaneously paying attention.
I drive around to get where I’m going, too, which takes a lot out of me. I have to be hyperattentive to everything when I drive; there’s no relaxing involved. If I didn’t watch really, really closely, I would get into an accident. It wears me out to drive for a long time.
I want to be able to say, “Look what I did! I ate a blueberry for the first time ever! And I didn’t even gag on it!” I want someone to realize how hard I worked and congratulate me, just like my friends who are getting married and having babies and holding down full-time jobs. It’s frustrating to feel so second (er, seven hundred and forty-second…) best all the time. I want my accomplishments to mean something. I know I shouldn’t compare, but it’s really hard.
All through school, college included, I felt like I was on top because of my good grades. Now, suddenly, in the real world, what happened? I can’t measure up. What I should do is realize that I’m doing a lot for me; in my world, this measures up big time. I go to therapy 3-4 times a week and work hard the whole time. If I want to build a successful life long-term, this is what I need to do now. And, blueberries and carrots and all, that has to be okay.