Acceptance and Awareness, Dignity & Respect, Equality, Independence, Sexuality

Deciding For Yourself

For most of the 33 years of my life, I lived under my parents’ roof. As such I was often coddled because of my challenges in life. Oftentimes I followed suit in their choices they made for me. Now in my fourth year of independence, I am learning that I have to think and decide for myself what is necessary for me in my life, because I am the one that has to live with the choices I make.

The past four years have been quite the rollercoaster ride, but I think I now dock in at the station and rest for a bit and truly be in a good spot. Being autistic, I face challenges in nearly every moment of my life. I constantly wonder if I am making the right decision that often results in overthinking and sometimes can result in overreacting if not properly not solved. Many with autism often wonder if they are doing the right thing and whatever they choose often second guess if it was the right decision to make.

In the last four years and particularly in the last two years, I have had to make several decisions about myself and learned that I cannot believe everything I hear. As autistic people, we can be easily influenced about the things we hear without weighing them out and seeing their honest value. From a personal standpoint, it doesn’t help that I many times have the urge to want to involve myself more than I should in some circumstances. I feel that is another autistic trait because of being socially isolated and wanting people to entertain us.

Some things in life that we choose may not be understood by those that love or care for us. This can be a hard pill to swallow, especially if opposing opinions are from those that we as autistics value deeply and can sometimes coregulate off of easily. I have discovered that while those who have loved and cared for us believe they know what is best for us, they do not know all about us. They do not know how we feel inside or what is a better fit for us. Those that care for us often see us as the innocent version of ourselves and worry for our safety and although it has been known for autistics to be victimized, education is key so there is a concrete understanding.

For over two decades of my life, I have been blessed with many services provided to me. Some were very valuable while others were traumatic to say the best. At one time I regretted my parents for placing me in some of the services, but in my adulthood, we established that they were only doing their best and my level of autism at the time was in the very early stages. Professionals later told me in life that they were very uneducated in how to properly support me. Those that are still around have learned more and continue to be a valuable asset to this day.

Regardless, from a personal perspective, I feel that I am vastly educated to be sound enough to make based off of what I value and believe in. It is my life that I have to endure. I know how I feel inside, no one else does. Some things can be harder to digest than others, but it has taken over a year to realize that I am finally in my happy place and while not all days are perfect, I know that I have to continue to remain optimistic and vigilant at all times when making decisions.

I have to live with the choices I make, no one else does. It’s OK not to understand someone’s decision to what they decide in life. If you are curious, you can ask them and they can answer if they wish to and feel comfortable in doing so. It isn’t a segway into wanting to make them change their mind though. Sometimes for those that care for someone with challenges, accepting the decisions of someone isn’t easy, but until you walk a day in their shoes, you don’t have to interject as long as they are safe, free from harm and cared for.

Being autistic, it can be hard to decide for yourself every little detail, but you must remember that it is your life and you must be happy in it. No one can make up your mind for you, even if they try to. Help in making decisions, should you need it should be valued, but in the end you are the one that has to live with the choices you make and be happy with them.

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