Here it is! It's been four years and thousands of hours of work, but I've made it; my 1000th post. During the past two weeks I've been wondering though, "What's the point of it all?" I've been frustrated because every time I think we're making progress I hear something and I feel all has been for naught. This happened last Monday when someone asked me, "What do you do for a living" and I responded stating that I am a writer and speaker on the subject of Asperger Syndrome and he responded with the most catastrophic generalization I have ever heard. It was so bad I do not want to share it but it was about as dark, hopeless, and downright wrong thing I've heard.
I'm a perfectionist of sorts and I call it my job, this being an Autism Ambassador for Easter Seals Midwest and being a blogger and author but this means much more to me than a job as this is my passion and I have a hard time accepting that there's people out there that aren't aware of the autism spectrum, or rather they think they are but are totally wrong. I'm not saying that every person needs to be able to take a Masters level test on the in-depth knowledge of the autism spectrum, but at the same time we should not be in a world where those people put those on the autism spectrum into a box of some sort.
When I get frustrated like I did last Monday I thought to myself, "What's the point? If we can't get to a level of 100% awareness and understanding then there will always be someone somewhere that will be painted into a box and then they may just go ahead and let the box define them." These thoughts kept going on and on and then I realized I was having severe black and white thinking. Will we ever reach 100%? No. But can we get the percentage as high as possible? Most certainly! So what's the point then? The point is that autism awareness isn't something that can be toyed with, or thought about, but rather we're at a point now that it has to be pushed. I came across the extreme end of an ignorant statement but what if more people have that sentiment? What if these myths and rumors grow? This isn't something that we can sit back and say, "Well, maybe next year it will get better" because each day that any given person out there is unaware of the autism spectrum and are in a position where they might be encountering a person on the spectrum each day the possibilities of things going wrong are high. And the point is, it doesn't have to be this way! The point is that, while understanding may be the foundation for hope, misunderstandings are the way human potential can be lost. Misunderstandings within society can lead down a path of depression, isolation, and a world of extreme hopelessness. If you are reading this then you probably already know this, but no matter the time, effort, or cost I am going to forge forward. I may have been frustrated at the comment I heard last week, but out the other side I now know that the battle is still great and hitting my 1,000th post should be a celebration but instead I see it as just the beginning because our work is great and the road is long, but it's a road we have to travel.