As the COVID-19 Pandemic begins to wane and winter weather starts to subside, I am beginning to retrace my steps back to where I left off a little over two years ago. Now being more grounded and having more skills in my toolbox, I feel that I can champion the next goal I have and that is being part of the community I live in.
Being part of the community that I live in doesn’t actually mean that you have to be in a necessary authoritative role, rather you can do what you can in your capacity to help your community out or just simply living and being proud of your community by showing support in that manner. When you support your community, it has this sense of a good feeling that you are showing that you care about the place you live.
Looking back two years ago, I was beginning to have this mindset, but I was also not at optimum wellness and therefore wasn’t the best candidate for being supportive of my community. I was committing too much and was pretty scattered for myself alongside the other commitments that I had to follow through with. It was as if I was trying to be everywhere without the sense that I couldn’t. My ability to remain grounded was gone all while things on the homefront spiraled out of control and then COVID hit, which ultimately resulted in me having to reach a point of crisis then having to start over.
In a community such as mine where there is so much opportunity for contribution, it doesn’t even have to go as public as you may seem. It may just be as small as buying a hoagie (sub) off of your volunteer fireman every month (then you don’t have to worry about eating for the day) and you can make a routine of getting out into the community while doing that for your benefit of exercise and the things you enjoy such as breakfast, for example. It can also be as simple as donating those unwanted foods you have stocked up to food share boxes, food pantries, etc. It can also be done by donating your used books to the Little free library and then browsing them for future reading, you have to be creative.
While many with autism and other challenges may not have the means to contribute to their community financially, there are many societies, councils, causes, etc. that use membership fees to support the things that you take for granted. Trails, historic sites and similar things are just as important as organizations that advocate for autism, mental health and other challenges that one faces. If you enjoy and utilize these vehicles, many times they have levels of membership that support your ability to become a member. Also, small fundraisers such as a raffle or campaign to improve something is a way of getting recognized for your contribution.
Being a part of the community that we live is a way to let others get to know us and while I know that being autistic you may not be able to produce the effective kind of skills to be as similarly contributive as your neurotypical peers, given the proper circumstances, you will be given the proper opportunity to flourish and be a part of something that you can take credit in and love in the meanwhile.