By Miles Bumgardner
Autism is a double edged sword. On one hand, individuals on the spectrum are some of the most gifted and colorful people on the face of the planet. The flip side because of their, shall we say, oddness, is that they are 9 times out of 10 dismissed as weird introverts who are trapped inside their own minds, don’t like to socialize and would rather be by themselves building their own worlds behind the metaphorical wall between them and the outside world. They are the kind of people who can’t tell you the color of your eyes, but notice what kind of shoes you are wearing.
I should know. I am such a person.
I have lived with Aspergers Syndrome for almost 28 years, although I was officially diagnosed at the tender age of 19. I’ve had every label in the book: outsider, recluse, weirdo, freak, retard and various other yet colorful names that we shall not disclose in case children’s young minds be corrupted by the dark side of the English language.
In that doctors office I was given another one. And the voices in my head started groaning. Although there was a part of my mind that rhymed Asperger with cheeseburger! I was hoping to get some fries with the diagnosis. Sadly I did not. What a let down, huh?
The years that followed have been an inner expedition to figure out more about my “disability” and how it interconnects with the world around me. I’ve always hated the term disability and how many conditions, both physical and mental, fall under the term. I’ve never considered Aspergers as a disability, more like a secret ability. I know things not many people would know due to either lack of interest or they all fall under the category of ‘weird’.
For example, I can spew out many facts about classic rock music (lots and lots of facts), UFO folklore, and I am almost a walking encyclopedia of movie history (mainly focusing in the horror and sci-fi genres). But music is my main driving force in life. Don’t blame me, blame my father and all my uncles!
The essential point of this column is to give you a tiny glimpse into the mechanisms of my mind, ranging from the emotional to the spiritual to the down right absurd. We know what a doctor thinks goes on in the minds of those who’re, for lack of better description, different. But now it’s time to hear it straight from the Aspie’s mouth! There will be tears shared, there will be jokes and there will be plenty of observations on everyday life. But there’s one thing I can promise; it’ll never be dull. For an Aspie’s life is never dull, just complicated. More so than others. In the words made famous by actress Bette Davis, “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”.
Until next time, S’cuse me while I kiss the sky!