I have been doing a lot of personal reflection lately. I have been thinking about just how much I’ve grown as a person, from a year ago, and from four years ago when I first entered West Lutheran High School.
I’ve felt different, disconnected, for most of my life. A few months ago I started going to FACT (Facing Autism Challenges Together) and it’s helped me embrace the fact that I have PDD-NOS, an “other” category on the autism spectrum. It means that I have some of the characteristics of autism, but not enough to be classified in some defined category. I realized that I haven’t actually told very many people about it. My family and a few close friends know, but most people don’t—until now. I’m sure people who know me have picked up that I’m “quiet” or “introverted” or “just different,” but maybe now they’ll gain some insight on me.
I am not ashamed of my condition, and I don’t wish I didn’t have it. I consider it a gift, and I am grateful for it. I have been granted motivation, curiosity, intelligence and creativity. I have earned a substantial amount of college credit before I have even graduated high school. I have a job I enjoy—writing—instead of a job I hate, where I would whine and dread my next shift. I have a direction in life, a college and a major selected.
In spite of all this, my school is apparently staying ignorant about me. I was voted “most likely to live at home forever.” I consider this an insult, but I look at the level of maturity, and where the other kids are at in their transition to adulthood, and I feel contempt. Perhaps I am ignorant. I don’t know what will happen to me after I go to college. Between the movie making and writing interests I have, could I get a job? Are the fields growing? I don’t know what my specialty will be or what will happen.
I’ve been on my own journey, and my classmates haven’t made it with me. I am grateful for the path I am on—I wouldn’t want to be someone else. I will be on my own path after I graduate. I am looking forward to entering the new world of college.