Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Advocate Advocating

Continuing my string of posts regarding how Asperger Syndrome can show itself in everyday life has been a great thing. I feel as if I've gone back to basics for my blog and I don't know if paying more attention to everyday life has made me more aware of these events, or maybe these events have just been seeking me out; whatever the case may be yesterday had a big event that is another great example.

Yesterday was practice day for the USAC .25 Battle at the Brickyard in Indianapolis and the #1 memory I will have from it was the heat. To say it was hot would be selling the weather short as it wasn't just hot, this was the weather that horror films are made of. This was the type of heat that I'm sure in 50 years I'll be explaining to children by saying, "back in the day it was so hot that..." Yeah, it was hot and in the sun the air temp was hovering around 110!

I had an umbrella over me in the flagstand but with that type of heat it was still utterly oppressive. All-in-all I was in the heat for about seven hours and when the final practice session was complete I felt fully drained. However, the end of practice wasn't the end of the day as opening ceremonies were to begin a couple hours after practice.

Normally there isn't too much fanfare at our Generation Next events. For this event though USAC was pulling out all the stops with parachuters, driver introductions, and even the Gordon Pipers were going to be there. At the same time though my body was giving me every sign that the heat was getting to me and that I needed to take care of myself. This isn't to say that I was on the verge of collapse, but at the same time there are still three days of racing left and if I wanted to be on my game then I had to take care of myself in the now.

I knew this, but I didn't know how to go about it. I didn't know if my presence was required for the evening ceremonies. How would it look if I left? Would anyone notice? How do I go about saying that I was leaving? These questions were creating a near implosion within me.

Minutes ticked by as I thought and planned my exit. I found it so odd that I am an advocate for my career and yet, when it came to me advocating for myself, I couldn't speak up for myself. I wanted to leave shortly after practice but then an hour went by, then two.

The problem at hand was I could not calculate what would happen if I said I had to go and the marathon of questions would begin each time. My frustration level was almost maxing out because I knew what I needed and wanted but I couldn't simply do it.

After 2.5 hours after the end of practice I was all out of energy and I got in my car. The only thing I could do was to send a text to the director saying that the heat had got to me and that if I were to be worthwhile I had to go. I wrote it, sent it, and then fretted that there would be some high level of disappointment or a scolding response. Did I get a message like that? Nope. I got a straight forward, "okay" message and that was it.

All my worry was for not. I worried for over two hours. TWO HOURS! I worried for so long on something so small for the simple fact that I couldn't speak up for myself. I couldn't state what I needed and what I wanted.

Whenever I ask for something it usually isn't a spur of the moment question but rather something I have thought long and hard and I probably have even fine-tuned the presentation of the question in my head a hundred times. Speaking up for myself remains one of the trickiest things, and most difficult things because, as a chapter in my book states, "If I Were Dying of Thirst Would I Ask For a Glass of Water?" It can be such a simple question but the level of difficulty is staggering.

Well, that was my event for yesterday. I'm off to the track now and tomorrow I will probably take a one-day break from this style of post as signs are pointing me to share something that TouchPoint made, but if something worthy comes up I will most certainly share it instead.


  1. My first thought was: "Oh, Aaron, if you're here, please just say something if something is wrong. That's fine..." Then I realised that I do the exact same thing on a convention. I'd rather work myself to death and try not to bother anyone, than asking for what I need. It's not until I'm on the verge of literally falling down from pure exhaustion that I'll ask for help. (This is different from every day life, but that's because I'm Chronically Fatigued and will actually have a big problem if I don't rest sometimes)
    But for others I make health the highest priority, both on an event and in real life. Whenever a Gopher (volunteer on an anime/manga event) tells me something is wrong with their health, I'll send them straight to First Aid, no matter how much they're needed, and will find a replacement for that person or do it myself. Also, I'm never angry at that person at all. In fact, I'd rather have a person tell me, than to suffer in silence.
    So then why do I suffer in silence instead? Food for thought...

  2. Wow..that is so sad..this is where I get confused..i've heard at least with autism (my son is diagnosed) there is a lack of empathy..but your reaction shows extreme empathy for others and like you said.."i couldn't speak up for myself"..I'm just trying to understand were you struggling with communicating or dissapointing the person you were texting..and was it fear of disappointing that person or not knowing how to answer their people appear that mean that they would not understand what you just endured? i'm just trying to get a understanding so i can help my son..i know he is very when I hear on various websites..autistics lack empathy i don't believe it..i think they are in a sense in their own world but he would never hurt anyone..has never shown aggression thank goodness..a boy who tried to bully him at a indoor park came up to him said something rude and my son just smiled( I don't think he understood what the boy meant) and walked away to play..thank you again for sharing..

    1. It isn't that I care how the others will think about my actions; it's that I can't calculate how they will react. It's their reaction that is what concerns me because I will have to react to the reaction. And since I can't predict the reaction I spend all the time worrying trying to figure out the best course of action without the ability to understand where he other person is coming from so I remain in a sort of social paralysis.

    2. Thank you for explaining..i wonder does everyone fall somewhere on the spectrum because i am very introverted and have a hard time responding to questions sometimes..i need time to process..which for an extroverted person will typically come out with whatever is on their mind..i do want to say "to a point" whatever is socially acceptable" though..that can get in the way of true I'm trying to say the right thing all the time..thank you again for sharing..your sharing is helpful to me for my son..can you recommend any good book/dvds/toys for a 3 year old with autism? i just feel like i'm in a world of unchartered territory..thanks again..

    3. If everyone was tested EVERYONE would score somewhere on the autism spectrum. Now, would that mean everyone would score enough points to get a diagnosis? No. However, no one would score a 0 as everyone has quirks.

      As for things for a three year old; I'm sorry I'm not sure.