Thursday, January 10, 2013

Living the High and Low Life in San Antonio

What a day it has been so far and I haven't even got to my presentation yet! My day started at 4AM this morning to catch a 6AM flight that eventually led to me San Antonio and now I'm in San Marcos for a conference that I am keynoting at.

I should be excited for today. I mean, I really should be. Today is a special day as I am once again a keynoter and I'll reach 20,000 people spoken to for my career. I'm a big milestone person and I never thought I'd hit 200 let alone 20,000. And yet, here I am filled with so many mixed emotions that I don't really know how I feel because I am both excited and sad.

The past few days have been a major episode of playing the awful game of, "seeing who I'm not and forgetting who I am." It's a rather taxing game because during it nothing can be done right. Think about it; if you only see what you're not no matter what you do it won't be enough because it isn't what you're not... Okay, I think I just earned an achievement for using a quadruple negative; hopefully you can piece together what I was intending to say.

I'm not posting this today to paint a bleak picture, it isn't, but rather this is a realistic portrait of the challenges I face. I'm sure tonight, when I get up on that stage in front of 500 people, I am going to be energetic and excited to give a great presentation, but right now this second I can only think of the topics of Monday and Tuesday's blog post.

I guess the theme of this week is that when there is a major emotional event it doesn't leave easily and hangs around like a bad case of the common cold. I think it is extremely vital for parents to understand this because with our minds liking to hyper-focus and to dwell on just one thing that one thing become the only thing. A long time ago someone told me, before I was diagnosed, "Well Aaron, why don't you just think of something else." My response then was a very puzzled, "I can't?" but I can give a much more articulate answer now.

Why isn't it as simple as thinking about something else? On my flight this morning I was thinking this and I believe it has to do with the processing element of the brain. Things take longer to process and emotions are the most difficult out of anything in life. That's why we on the autism spectrum are often evasive to emotional questions; because, should we start to process it sometimes can take a while. With a major event it has to be processed and reprocessed before it is finally dealt with and sent to the brain's recycle bin.

Thankfully for me it's just about four hours until my presentation. In four hours all of my worry about who I am will vanish. I will be out of the game of seeing who I am not and will be perfectly happy being me.

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