Adulting: Grow Up and Do It Yourself

This week has been a week of trials and tribulation. I have learned that I have some growing up to do specifically in terms of familial relationships. This wasn’t easy to hear, it literally ripped me to shreds, but it was something that I needed to hear for some time because we honestly don’t know how much time our loved ones are promised here on this earth. Therefore, I need to stop living in the gloom and doom of life and start counting my blessings, learning and growing and becoming an independent person while I still have the opportunity to do so with loving support.

As we know in the autism community, there’s that cliff when school years ends for someone. I have seen numerous youths be proud to make it to this point when they were given lesser expectations. So, what happens? We certainly know that those that care for them, particularly family members may or may not want to continue to provide care or be unaware of a sea that is unchartered for many to be the one that has to take the driver’s seat in providing their daily entertainment. For almost two decades, I personally relied on my mother to do this. She cares for me very much and I am very appreciated for her efforts. However, for a majority of my life, they have negative baggage that when she does something that is intended to help me, it only hurts her, and she kept coming back for more. While I am not proud of this in the past decade it has been reduced down to only verbal abuse, nonetheless it still isn’t right as both my parents are both in their retirement years and shouldn’t have to be constantly worrying about if I am safe or not, although I feel that will always be their instinct, as is any parent who spends their life dedicated to raising an autistic child.

Part of me wants an independent life, and I am the only one to blame for not imitating that sooner. My parents have tried their best for decades to make sure that I have the skills necessary to be independent, and what they couldn’t do, they made sure I was able to get the services I needed so that I could have the opportunity to grow. Sometimes I play the blame game blaming them for my life choices such as day program and work, but then I am reminded that I could have said no and that I wouldn’t keep going back to those choices in life if I didn’t really enjoy them.

I also realize that this process will not happen overnight, in fact I do have some setbacks from time to time and my parents are understanding of that. I often think about the time they are no longer around to support me and that I must be at the ready to support myself. I need to start getting ready now to become more independent. There are several things that I can do, however there are several things I don’t or refuse to do. Some of these can be because I exhibit irrational fears that make me not want to do these things, but I know if I want to be independent, I have to follow the advice given to me in order to advance on my independence skills. Life is hard enough being independent, but when you lack the skills and supports one needs whether they are professional or natural, it can be a very lonely place.

It can be difficult to determine a rhythm for ensuring that the tasks that needed to be completed in order to be independent are able to be completed in that manner. However, I know I need to improve because it is what I need in order to be well physically and mentally. My intelligence doesn’t always show its colors all the time and I know that expectations need to be met, so that is all I can ask for. I can only learn and grow from past experiences and only live in the present and treasure the moments that I am experiencing at the present moment. I have aspirations of being a true autism advocate someday and in order for me to be successful at that, I need to prove not only to myself but those that I am supporting that autistic people can live independent, fulfilling and productive lives. Keep in mind, that not all autistics can have this opportunity made to them because of the challenges brought forth to them, however, I have the intellect and determination to improve my life and live it in that manner.  

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