Thursday, August 7, 2014

It Starts With a Rumor

Hopelessness... It starts with a rumor,

Hey, did you know that people with Asperger's won't be able to hold a job?

With a rumor comes misunderstandings,

Hey, did you know that people with Asperger's won't be happy because they can't have friends?

With a rumor comes fear,

Hey, haven't you heard, people with Asperger's are angry all the time and may lash out or become violent?

With too many rumors people become afraid of what they are hearing,

Hey, did you know that person over there has Asperger's? No? Well, let me tell you what I've heard about it and why you should be scared...

That's how it begins. It doesn't take much and it can all start with a rumor; just one little rumor. What may seem like one small irrelevant generalization may lead to a road of more misunderstandings which will, in the end, result in a person becoming isolated because of one little rumor.

With a rumor comes a stated difference. We are all different, but with the wrong rumor the difference will strike fear, and this fear is on both sides of the fence. As damaging as it is for someone who knows nothing about Asperger's to hear the rumors above so too is it for the person with Asperger's.

I was the victim of such rumors. I've said it many times, this story of when I got diagnosed and looked it up on the internet and read, "people with Asperger's will never have a job, never have friends, and will never be happy." After reading that life was to a point that today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow didn't matter. And why should it? These rumors had told me that no matter who I was, or how hard I tried, failure was the only outcome.

For parents, these rumors may also have a highly damaging impact. Every parent wants the best for their child, but if these rumors are believed, and if those around them tell them these rumors, how is there a place for hope?

Hope is a critical aspect of life. Hope is, in my mind, the belief that tomorrow will be better than today and that growth is possible. Hope is the fuel that drives us. We all have hopes and beyond hopes are dreams of what the future may hold, but by just small rumors these hopes and dreams are squashed under a immovable weight.

Anytime there is a vast, misguided generalization about the autism spectrum a rumor has begun. A rumor is an odd thing because it may start out with some fact, but as the rumor travels down the line all fact is lost and it becomes like the rumors I started out with and if a person paints a box for a person that person will always appear to fit into that box. This isn't the way the autism spectrum is, but if society believes it to be because of rumors then that's all we will ever be to them and for us on the autism spectrum we will believe this box you have put us in and the cycle begins anew.

Of everything I've written I think this is the essence of my being. I spent fifteen months in that box, that box of hopelessness because of a rumor. Thinking back on those days, still to this day, brings me to tears; my soul had been sucked out and I felt as if I was just an irrelevant being with no purpose or direction. My mission, and everyone's mission should be to quell the rumors. It may seem irrelevant, it may seem small, but it paints that hideous box and if those around me believe those rumors then why should I believe otherwise. If you tell me I won't have friends then I won't. If you tell me I won't have a job then I won't. If you tell me I will never amount to anything because of Asperger's then the battle is already lost and human potential has gone wasted. It may seem small, but hopelessness starts with just a rumor, one small, seemingly irrelevant rumor.


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