Here I am at my 1,200th post and after my post on Friday I find myself thinking, "who am I?" This may be one of the traps of Asperger's and why daily life can be so frustrating.
So who am I? On one hand I'm a phenomenal official at races with my flags and I just worked two fantastic events the past two weekends and raised $2,000 in the process for Easter Seals Midwest. Also, I'm a public speaker with more presentations given than I could ever imagine with speaker numbers not in the hundreds or thousands but the tens of thousands. Speaking on a stage is easy for me and I can command the stage and make it my own. But then there's the side that most do not see; the side that may be difficult for those that see me on stage to believe and if it weren't for my writings you'd nevertheless ow about the struggles.
These struggles, like when a sensory episode happens, are devastating because I become so hard on myself and thoughts of, "why can't I just be normal" float through my head. These thoughts are never productive and just lead me to become lower and lower on myself. But why wouldn't it? If things like speaking and flagging races comes easy to me, so easy that for myself it is effortless, then how can something as simple as drums, or something as simple as a vague comment bring everything to a crashing halt? Who am I; this confident presenter or a person whom has some skills but is defined by the challenges? The challenges here can do just that; define me. In the midst of the darkness it is easy to let the challenges become the label and definition of who I am and instead of seeing them as hurdles to conquer they become the burden that weighs me down.
I'm thankful I know my diagnosis because imagine how confusing it would be to be able to do certain things excellent and have other things simply be impossible. If it weren't for this I'd be confused with who I actually am because I'd have no one to blame but my inability to simply man up, step up, or just get over it. As big of a struggle Friday night was it would be tenfold worse if I didn't know.
Every person has challenges. No one is perfect. Challenges can do one of two things; they can either be a mountain that is hard or impossible to climb and is rather intimidating or it can be that crushing weight that defines an existence. Most of the time I see it as a mountain and whilst I always attempt to make the climb there are times when ground is lost but it's here that I must look at if it's worth the effort to continue the trek upward, or is it time to pack up and give up?
So who am I? I ask this a lot and someone else used this question when chatting I me yesterday and it inspired this blog today which made it fitting to make it my milestone blogpost. My answer is that I am fighter. I may have setbacks, I may lose ground on that proverbial mountain, but the trip upward must always continue. I've experienced the sensation of giving up many times last decade. It may seem like the easy option because it's easy to convince one's self that it's too difficult and failure is the only outcome therefore why is it worth the effort to make the climb? That's who I am; I was about as depressed as possible but I now know there's always hope and it is worth the effort regardless the difficulty. Will there be challenges? Most certainly yes, but that's what life is and I hope my words and presentations continue to reach those that need to know this.