The first thing I did after opening my eyes this morning was hover my finger over the delete button on my first post. I contemplated for several minutes before I decided to leave it up; "Michael, if these are truly your people, they will understand all too well where you're coming from. It's ok. You're allowed to be yourself.' I was convinced that as soon as my presence was noticed, some faceless entity from on-high would rain the righteous wrath of God upon me, delete my post, and ban me from ever participating again. But that's my default. That's where I go. I assume I'm not wanted, and crawl back to the shadows before I'm ever proven right (or wrong). And I'm so tired of living in that miserable place, that grim dank darkness of Gollum's Cave. I don't need to retreat or isolate. I'm a good person. I'm not a monster like my parents and I don't belong in the shadows trying to make myself as small as humanly possible, praying that nobody notices me while simultaneously wishing for nothing more than to simply belong. I don't need to "fly under the radar." That's not an achievement anymore; that's a very sad and lonely existence. The defense mechanisms I learned in childhood no longer serve me today. Now that I'm acknowledging my Asperger's, I can finally begin to manage it. Fred Rogers said that anything mentionable is manageable. By acknowledging myself, I begin to exercise control over my life. Personal agency. Every morning I repeat my personal mantra: "I am a stone in a raging river; I am the roots of The Great Tree." Solid and unmoved. Even the harshest conditions cannot move that which is unmovable. I also have a shorter slogan which I repeat several times per day: "I'm in complete control." I am. Through years of aggressive mindfulness, I have cultivated a fully internalized locus of control. I am in full and complete control of my life. "...I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul." -- final stanza, Invictus by William Henley I choose how I speak to, and how I speak about, myself. I will not be mean to myself. If I wouldn't say it to my nieces then I won't be saying it to myself either. I'm not mean to people, and I'm a person, so per the reflexive property I will not be cruel to myself. Jesus said (paraphrasing) that whatsoever you do to the least among us, you do that same thing to me and to you and to everyone else. I'm beginning to understand that the Golden Rule is just as vital in reverse: "Do unto yourself as you would do to others." I will manage this from a position of strength and knowledge. I, and only I, am responsible for my decisions. I will not refer to myself as someone who is "on the spectrum", "autistic", "neurodivergent", or "diagnosed ASD". Because I simply don't want to, and I get to decide that. Those terms just don't feel "right" to me, so those terms have no space in my personal toolbox. I choose to self-reference as a person with Asperger's Gift. I am a man with Asperger's Gift, and just like every creature on this planet, one aspect of my life involves maintaining and managing my health. If I were diagnosed with testicular cancer, I wouldn't be obligated to tell somebody if I didn't want to. It's my own private business. I don't owe anyone a revelation or an explanation. As far as my ASD and ADHD diagnoses, my on/off girlfriend/I-don't-really-even-know-what-to-call-her-anymore...she knows, my closest friends know, and my close TRUSTED family knows. My chosen circle. And you! I'm so glad to share this with you. I'm going to end this posting with the full text of Invictus by William Henley. I first read this poem in 10th grade. An English teacher who wasn't mine assigned it to his class, and I was the kid who skipped doing his math homework in favor of English homework that wasn't even assigned to him: Out of the night that covers me Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul. [William Ernest Henley, 1875, Public Domain]

Posted by michaelpaulwilliams at 2023-10-09 03:39:17 UTC