Those were just some of my fears from ten years ago and while times have changed I still have fears, but the fears of today certainly do not resemble the fears of 2004.
I fear, today, that there's someone in the place that I was. I lived in that pit of despair for so long and no one should ever visit that place.
I also fear the ignorance factor. I encountered this a lot and in my travels and hearing from others I know this still is a common occurrence. I believe most people have this happen by accident whether it is a story one might here on the news about an autism interaction at school, or maybe a business, but my fears are that, for the person that has been spoken down to or discarded in any way, may let that event define them. It's so easy for us on the spectrum to allow this happen which is why I fear these events for others. As I said, I believe most of these events happen by accident but nonetheless it is 2014 and the era of accepting ignorance towards autism must come to an end.
Another fear I have is the continual view that all persons on the autism spectrum are the same. I won't mention a place or profession, but two questions I've received in the past year have been, " are all people with Asperger's in the computer field?" and, "is it true people on the autism spectrum find change to be somewhat difficult?" I'm glad I was able to answer these questions, but in all honesty these people should have known these answers. And this leads me to my greatest fear.
My greatest fear of all is to fail at my mission, job, and passion in life. My fear is a world where my voice, and voices like mine, are silenced. Would a world like this ever exist? I doubt it, but I fear the day I can no longer do what I do. Don't get me wrong, if the world got to a level of 100% autism awareness and understanding then technically my job would not be needed, but I don't know if this will ever happen. Anyway, I fear not being heard; I fear speaking and having no one care. I know what it's like to live in a world where that was the perception and the void that this creates is something that will test a person's soul. As I said, I believe most people want to do the right thing and for many people autism is something that they've only heard of and is not something they can identify or understand in the slightest. As I also said though, it's 2014 and I firmly believe the era of ignorance has to end. I've been so blessed to talk to nearly 40,000 people but I also feel this isn't enough. I can easily forget where I came from when I'm on stage presenting, or when I'm writing about recent events on my blog, but I always will come back to the person I was ten years ago; confused, sad, and in desperate need of hope. My fear is that, for some, they will stay in that world forever when there's so much human potential there. Others may have fears or phobias of virtually anything, but my greatest fear is failure and silence.