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.
I come to you on another Wednesday, in a much better state than the last few. It has taken me a while to recoup from what is hopefully the last of an almost four year relapse that I have been experiencing that I had finally had an epiphany a few weeks ago.
Sometimes after we grow, we begin to learn. We begin to feel confident about making sound choices and becoming less dependent on relying on others to accept or oblige by our choices. After all, as long as our mentality is stable, we are adults, so we should be able to choose what we want to do without having to rely on the approval of others.
Privacy is a human right. HIPPA laws give us this right regarding our health information, but when people with I/DD are receiving services, others or even ourselves, may forget about this right. Self-advocates state that if there is anything going on in their lives regarding sexuality, everyone knows about it and talks about it. If they mention wanting privacy with a partner, “a team meeting is called” and suddenly, they have no privacy regarding their personal information.
As I continue down the journey of my personal self-discovery. One of the things that has helped me refrain myself from the process is the ability to make connections with others with similar challenges so the world that I was living in didn’t seem so small although it was physically, it made me be more of a friend that I ever have been.
Following up with the explanation of my journey of personal growth has made me realize the need to be well along with acceptance, discovery and growth. While I have grown into a man that knows what is acceptable versus what is not acceptable in the public eye, I realize in order to represent myself properly, I must be overall aware of my total wellness in doing so.
Many times when anyone is given a lifelong diagnosis, they or those that care for them think of all the things they will miss out on in life and if they will have the same lives as others. They may want to give up hope and the possibilities or continually live in a sense of doubt or fear. I am here to tell you that while in a minimal sense that I can be there, I can also tell you that if you reach out of your comfort zone.
Spending over three years being an independent autistic man, and now being at the point I can finally say that after a three year rumspringa of sorts of playing almost roulette with my wellness, I can finally say that I am in a good place mentally and can see what putting in the fruits of my labor can do my life and the potential of it going forward.
It is often said that autistics are easily influenced. While that may be the case for many, it is not in all. Sadly, for many autistics, they don’t get to have much of an external feel of what is outside of their safe space. I also know of many autistics because of where they lie within the spectrum are unable to do so.
In last week’s adulting blog, I discussed being independent and having the ability to make your own choices and own them without feeling invalid. This week, while accepting more boundaries for myself made me understand that I, along with anyone else autistic or neurotypical, have rights for themselves. One of the struggles that I see in many autistics, including myself, is that of consent.
When an autistic adult makes that big leap into independence. They are oftentimes away from the cusp of their very guarding parents, however some can still remain a close bond. The circumstances for this can remain very complex and as a result can make the ability for the autistic person to feel at ease about making decisions that they can feel comfortable or that they know is in their best interest, despite their close supporters objecting to their choices.
This week I found a post on the social media platforms for the Hiki app, an online dating and friendship app for the autism community. This topic was requested by one of their users because they too struggle with boundaries. Boundaries can be difficult to define and build, but once you do, you will feel better physically and mentally.
As we know, autism is a spectrum disorder. We as autistics are unique in our very own ways, each and every one of us. No one can change that, nor should we be forced to do so. We as autistics, just as neurotypical human beings should have the freedom have the individuality that we so choose as long as our safety and well-being is kept in mind.
Being independent for almost three years has taught me some life lessons in being independent. I have done some things in that time I haven’t been proud of and there’s things I’ve not succeeded at. However, it is a learning curve and within time it gets better. There’s this great thing called boundaries that you have to develop that can be a challenge. Once you learn the power of it and knowing when to stand your ground, it is a wonderful thing.
For many autistics, the ability to make one’s decisions can be a difficult task for an autistic to perform. For the younger crowd, one that seems to lack the ability or show the interest of one doing this will result in the parent making these choices for them, which can result in friction between the autistic and their parents. An autistic should have the autonomy to be the person they so choose to be without judgement from their parents and supporters, yet have the support they need to thrive in their world.
Yesterday, I had an epiphany. While I WANT to adult, I HAVE to put forth the effort to want and need the changes and the responsibilities of being an adult. For the majority of my adulthood, I have shied away from issues in life because they may require me to put my “big boy pants” on and fight them. Oftentimes, for me, anxiety is a big player in the game of adulting that really isn’t a game, because I just revert back to my immature self and refuse to deal with the issues at hand, because I personally know they are going to be unpleasant and scary for me to tackle.
This quick Kindle read takes the reader on the course of a young man who battles his autistic desires for the feel the female skin, but receives many shortcomings based on the inability to know the social construct that becomes unknown to many on the autism spectrum face. The author also explains him being homophobically bullied because he did not associate with a female aquantience in school growing up and the trauma it caused.
A Book Review the Book: Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism by Eva A. Mendes (Author), Meredith R. Maroney (Author), Wenn Lawson (Foreword)
The past few weeks have been full of tension in regards to equality, and the fairness of law enforcement among the marginalized communities in America. Likewise, I have learned of my ability to appreciate everyone and see through things that matter to persons who don't see equally.
Today is Autistic Pride Day! Autistic Pride Day, originally an Aspies for Freedom initiative, is a pride celebration for autistic people held on June 18 each year. Autistic pride recognises the importance of pride for autistic people and its role in bringing about positive changes in the broader society.