My blog takes its title from my very first, and most popular, post. But you may notice one difference. The blog title is punctuated with a period; the cartoon that started it all, with an exclamation point.
Oversight? Contradiction? Let me settle the question: it is intentional.
When I first accepted that I have Asperger’s, I was all like, “Dude!” The light bulb flashed on. Things that had never made sense suddenly did. I’d done my first round of reading, and begun connecting with others like me, on and offline. I relished the newly found “permission” to be just the way I am - to be different, without being at fault.
Soon, I encountered people who took this sentiment a step further. Autism was a gift, they said. A joy! A wonderful world! I could not help but want to jump on board with this mindset of pride. My first cartoon was concocted in this spirit - a message of celebratory disclosure.
But in the months that followed, I continued to learn. Questions were answered, but new ones arose. My disclosure was well-received, but not life-changing. I found there were limits to what online and offline resources could offer. And though I remained certain of my self-assessment, I felt the pressure to defend it to doubters. I had to back away from the “joy of autism” attitude. And for awhile, I backed away from writing and drawing.
Now, of course, I am back to blogging again. I like how it’s going, and I attribute that to the new rules I’ve made for myself. First, I decided I would not sugar-coat my experience. I would permit myself to be honest, to show the highs and the lows of Asperger’s. It may not always be what the readers want to hear, but it’s the truth.
Second, I decided not to write about Asperger’s all the time, since it’s not my life, only one part of it. When I feel like doodling about melon, or cinnamon bears, or whatever else, by golly, that’s what you’re gonna get! This is the direction I plan to continue in.
I am still searching for answers. I certainly am not done learning. Yet I have experience I feel is worth sharing. I am not jumping up and down to be an Aspie, but I am not ashamed of it either. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes bad, sometimes it just is. I stand by my original cartoon and its exclamation point. I would not change anything about it. But if you ask me today, I’m an Aspie, period.
Where are you at in your journey with Asperger’s? What punctuation would you use?