Hey everyone, I’m back!!! First of all, I want to apologize for my many month-long absence of posting on here. Last fall, I was in a production of Annie and that took up a majority of my time until a couple of weeks before Christmas. On top of that, I have been dealing with a lot of personal things as well as starting full time at the job I work at, going on a cruise to Mexico, and being at the gym every chance I could get. I have a confession to make. Another reason I haven’t posted in so long is because I was suffering from writer’s block. But I promise that with this new year, I’m going to make more of an effort to post more frequently.
One of my all time favorite book series is the Harry Potter series. I have been a Potter-head since 2001 when I saw the first film in theaters on the weekend it premiered. The Harry Potter story-line follows the same basic story-line for all myths and fantasy. A boy/girl lives an ordinary and mundane life but feels like he/she doesn’t belong to this life. He/she feels like that they’re meant to do something more and that the people that he/she has lived with all of his/ her life know this and are hiding something. One day, some wise old and magical figure comes seeking them out and tells them that they are indeed meant for great things. Whether they are really the rightful king to the land as in the King Arthur legend or a wizard like in the Harry Potter series, they each learn that they are meant for great things. They learn that they have gifts and abilities that most do not and that it is up to them to use those gifts to become the legend they were meant to be or destroy the (insert mythical force of evil here) that is threatening the land and maybe even the world. Side note: I was in first grade when the first Harry Potter film came out. good lord I feel old but I digress. Anyway, that’s the basic outline of the hero’s journey. You can change things and tweak them a bit here and there, but the outline more or less remains the same.
I mention all of this because I started my own hero’s journey on the day that my mom revealed to me that I had autism. I had always suspected that there was something different about me. I just didn’t fit in with other kids as much. I didn’t have many close friends growing up. I had friends and no one hated me, I just wasn’t good at connecting and others my age weren’t good at connecting with me (that is still a bit of an issue today on some regards, unfortunately). Another thing that tipped me off was the fact that I was going to many doctor’s appointments. These weren’t medical doctors, mind you, but specialists. At the time growing up, I didn’t really connect the dots. It was around 5th grade that I started to realize that things didn’t add up in my life. It was on a day in 5th grade when I came home in tears just fed up and tired of not knowing what was wrong with me, that my mom finally revealed to me the truth of who I was. At the time, though I was relieved to some degree to finally know the truth, I was also scared and confused. I had never heard the words “Autism” or “Asperger’s” before and deep down, I felt like I was indeed a freak (there are days and instances when I mess up and annoy a friend unintentionally, that I still do to a degree).
But looking back on it now and seeing all that I have accomplished and have yet to accomplish, that memory plays out a bit differently. Now that day when my mom told me about my disability feels like the scene in the first Harry Potter when Hagrid revealed to Harry that he was a wizard. I feel now that it was revealed to me that I was a special being with these extraordinary gifts and abilities that few have and that though I was different and maybe didn’t fit in, that was OK because I was revealed to be an extraordinary individual.
I am here to tell you, my friends that are on the spectrum, that you are all extraordinary in your own ways. You all have gifts and abilities that could make others jealous of you and envy you, even if you may not realize it. As in every hero’s journey, the hero succeeds with the help of his/her trusted friends. In Harry Potter it was Ron and Hermione. In king Arthur, it was the knights of the round table. I promise you that you all have people there that will go with you anywhere and help you succeed with whatever your journey may be. For me, it is my family and truly loyal and loving friends.
Of course, every journey has a villain. In Harry Potter it was Voldemort, in The lord of the rings, it was Sauron, and in the legend of King Arthur, it was Morgan Le Fay. These are what is called the antagonist; the force that is there to destroy and be an obstacle to the hero. My personal antagonists, my personal “Voldemorts” are both my depression and anxiety that I struggle with everyday as well as people who hate me. Yes, even I am hated by some people. Even people that I once thought of as friends but for whatever reasons have grown bad feelings towards me. I have been told things by people that are truly damaging and hurtful. every one of you will have an antagonist on your journey, but like Harry Potter, in the end, you will defeat it. Whatever challenges are in your way or whatever people think of you will not matter because you will rise above it all because we are all amazing. Even if there are times that we may not feel like it.
Your hero’s journey is to stand out and show the world what exactly a person on the spectrum is capable of and how much of a (forgive my language) badass you are. It is OK to be different. embrace being different. Use that to your advantage and become legends in your own right. Find what you are truly good at and use that to let the world know your name and then make sure it never forgets it.
As always, I hope this helps. God bless.