Autism Humor – Same Old

I have a profound compassion and respect for individuals with autism, their families, and their caregivers. The world in which they live is one that the majority will not only never understand, but one few make an effort to comprehend on a deeper level.

Though many of my own eccentricities and experiences pale in comparison to these individuals, I believe I am drawn to them because I do – on a minor scale – commiserate. There are certain tendencies or challenges that I deal with such as:

  1. Misophonia
  2. Intense preference for / sensitivity to certain sounds (therefore, at times, need for full silence…or music…or earplugs)
  3. Difficulty focusing or concentrating unless under certain conditions
  4. Sensitivity to light
  5. When I was younger, anxiety surrounding social interaction (I couldn’t even ask for food at a snack bar!)
  6. Need for a heavy blanket or pressure when I sleep, or the sense of being in an alcove in order to be comfortable 
  7. When I was younger, I also had trouble making friends – I’m still very much a lone wolf and need massive amounts of space and time to myself
  8. A tendency to take words very literally, and not forget them
  9. Too quiet and too chatty!

And…though I’m not ultra rigid to the point of breakdown, I have a strong preference for routine. When it comes to food, for example, I stick with the same (fortunately healthy) things. ALL the time. In part, its preference. In part, my body prefers it that way, not unlike some individuals with autism.

I used to feel badly about my “quirks” – embarrassed even! But I’ve realized that not only am I not alone in these traits, (and also not less of a person because of them!) but that they afford me the ability to help others who suffer greatly as a result of extreme variations of them. Certain sounds push me to the edge but then I think about the fact that understanding what that feels like gives me an edge in understanding the more extreme experience someone else is having. . .and that means more compassion. Compassion is something this community deserves in spades.

My “quirks” have also taught me the humor of it all. In life we all face challenges, both big and small. If we can find the humor in our situation, we can help others find the humor as well, not to mention keep ourselves on a healthy wavelength most of the time.

The community I have the great fortune to work with teaches me about not taking everything so seriously all the time…about finding the beauty in each of us in spite of some differences (and we ALL have “stuff!”)…and that a positive approach will help us see the gifts we’ve been given…even those born of adversity.

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CAN And The Four Letter Derivative

When I was growing up the rooster of “four letter words” included a few more than ones that come to mind as an adult.  Things like “hate” and “can’t” were as much a taboo as the commonly know “bad words,” not so much from the harsher or inappropriate sound of them, but the damage they could inherently cause.  (And that damage runs deep in the psychological veins, make no mistake!)

My skating coach would correct me immediately if ever I made the grave mistake of uttering the dreaded “can’t” – because it was so drilled into me, I think about it every single time I hear someone say it – even at 37!  And I NEVER, ever use it with respect to myself.

I tend to get very frustrated when I am unable to do something – sadly even with activities I am new to (and therefore have no reason to be, nor expectation of being, an expert!) I had a ton of pressure on me growing up, particularly in sports.  As a young athlete, I was under the spotlight (literally when it came to dance and figure skating), and because I learned quickly, my bar was raised that much higher.

I’m nigh “unteachable” sometimes, because my frustration gets the better of me – I don’t know if it is fear of failure, embarrassment, disappointment, or a combination of the three, but it CAN be debilitating.

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At times like that I have to consciously take a deep breath and LET GO.  I have to remind myself that I CAN do anything I put my mind to – if I am new to it, it will take some time and that’s okay.  It has nothing whatever to do with can or can’t, but everything to do with letting go and trying – giving myself a chance!

It’s important that we stay mindful of the conversation we have with ourselves.  As they say, our self talk is a reflection of the conversation we are holding with the Universe.  And…the ever-famous, “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Give yourself a CHANCE.

Take a deep breath, let go of the fears and embarrassment…or at least TRY.  Trying is the first step!

And mind the words you use, and the way you say it… You CAN do anything you put your mind to.  

You CAN.  

That other variation of the word…the one with “‘t” in it?  That doesn’t exist in my vocabulary anymore and I’m definitely the better for it.  Losing that word opens up a whole slew of avenues for success, learning and love.

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