|Posted by Admin on May 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM|
I've had many people say to me "You're so brave for sharing such personal information with everyone." I suppose that's a compliment, and I appreciate that. What confuses me is this: I don't FEEL any NEED to be brave. It's not scary for me. It's not embarrassing, or shameful, or any of that. Not that I don't feel that at other times (I have my share of secrets, too!), but speaking out about Autism and Asperger's is easy for me. The difficult part is getting people to listen.
When I was in school, before I was even diagnosed, I tried to ask for help. Most people just said "You're doing fine." and moved on. This was where I started to REALLY struggle. It was hard for me to ask for help, and to hear someone say that I don't even need it was SO frustrating. After a few years, I realized I had to speak up for myself. I got to a point where I was so frustrated, I wouldn't allow myself to be ignored anymore. If I needed help, well then gosh darn-it I needed help!
This is why I always tell people who ask me if I'm open to speaking about my life that I'm more than happy to do so AS LONG AS PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO LISTEN. One of my biggest fears is speaking to a crowd of people who either talk over me or show other signs of being uninterested in what I have to say. It's not a fear of ME making a mistake or anything like that. It's a fear of being misunderstood and ignored.
So In the end, my bravery doesn't come from speaking about what some people consider to be personal issues (and I barely know what is considered to be 'personal', or WHY for that matter...). My only bravery I have is facing the same fear every time I speak: that I will once again be ignored, misunderstood, or doubted. My life is pretty much an open book for hundreds or thousands of people to learn from. (Granted it's what my parents are willing to share, too.) What's there to be embarrassed of, though, of being a human being?