For 21 years, I truly thought that I was just like everyone else. So many people on the spectrum who aren’t diagnosed as kids spend their lives wondering why they’re different. Not me. I never realized that other people didn’t lose speech, couldn’t communicate half of what goes through their minds, or had meltdowns all the time.
And, truth be told, I still feel just like everyone else. As far as I know, I don’t look different. I don’t think I sound different. I’m not aware that I think differently. I like perfectly typical things like swimming, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, clothes and shoes, and animals. So really, it’s a struggle for me to remember that I’m different.
But how different am I really? I know we’ve been through this, so I won’t repeat myself at great length. When it comes down to it, I love my friends and family, I want to make a place for myself in this world, and I want to change things I find wrong. I want love, acceptance, and companionship.
Most adults on the spectrum feel a bit (or a huge) of an “aha!” moment upon reading about autism for the first time. I felt nothing, other than maybe a “that’s nice.” I had so little sense of myself and who I was that I didn’t even recognize myself in a description of me! Leigh talked me through it and helped me to see… and now, I guess I do see that I fit the criteria…
But I still feel normal.