Friday, January 7, 2022

Origins Part 4: Coming Back to Whole

 Have you ever been defined by a single moment? Oh, wait, have we been here before? We have in part one of this origin story and another moment that ensnared my essence and soul.

"Whatever is now is forever" was the way I'd describe the fail-set mindset in a way to describe why a bad event would last. All the good things will be forgotten when a bad event happens, and I know for myself the ability to see evidence contrary to the conclusions I've drawn or have been told is simply not there. If you know someone on the spectrum that had a story like I've had I hope this story can help you empathize with them because I know, for myself, the inability for others to understand because I couldn't speak it was almost as bad as the event itself.

So this event... there was a person that I had great trust in and in a sick twist I was told by them that, "oh, your blog? Yeah, it really doesn't have the impact you think it does and do people actually read it?" Devastation. Destruction. Soul-shattering words. It's amazing on two fronts that one, I was told this, but secondly that I believed it. Remember that whatever is now is forever and if you believe the "no", "don't", and "can't" the end result will always look like that. Because I believed those words I stopped writing.

On the speaking front I kept growing with presentations for universities, global conferences, and even to the top levels of the FBI where I've received four awards for my work. What did this mean to me? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Think about that for a moment. No, truly think of that on just how impossibly difficult it is to endure this. I was afraid to speak up on this because I understood the evidence at hand; I must've been doing something right to have been invited to the places I was presenting at but those words about my writing haunted me to the point of consuming me.

My story isn't an isolated one. I fell into the trap so many people had asked me about and I thought I had understood, but there's a stark difference between the first life-shattering event with the awful introduction to my diagnosis and there's another to have "made it" so to speak and then be torn down. As I said, I thought I understood but it's in the years that my brain have robbed from me that has truly let me know just how "comet smashing into the Earth" an event like this.

As I mentioned, I reached great heights these past several years. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly slowed presentations which added to the depression I had and there were times I'd log into Blogger and think about sharing a thought or story, and I was greatly tempted to share the news that I landed my dream job in 2020 as one of the starter/flagmen for the NTT INDYCAR Series. In May of last year I became just the eighth person to flag the Indianapolis 500 from start to finish. That isn't just a small feat but another "impossible to comprehend, oh my goodness how did this happen!" moment. How did I commemorate the occasion? It would've made the most inspiring of blog posts that yes, if you can stick something out and give it your all your impossible dreams may come true. However, there was no post on this. There were many photos as I've become an exceptional photographer snapping photos at race tracks, but there wasn't what that moment deserved because, in a way, I questioned if I deserved it at all from the life-shattering event.

This has sounded like a negative post, hasn't it? This is where it changes though. I have walked through the shadows and have come to peace with it. It was years and years but I'm back! My brain finally worked out that the sum of my being is not dictated by a single person. I now understand the evidence that people always pointed out when I attempted to say I wasn't okay. I have a newfound understanding of the challenges we on the autism spectrum face and endure daily. So often professionals would say, "Aaron, what makes your content and presentation so unique is that you aren't a clinician talking about data or third person observations but instead you're a participant." 

I know my words will have limited abilities to change the way a person sees themself right now, but in this experience and the words I've used to describe it I can only hope that it can help that person's supports in their life to understand what is going on behind the scenes. It has brought me to tears writing this paragraph, and they're tears of joy as I know tell you that I'm back and I so look forward to our future on here and the new thoughts, ideas, and joyous occasions that will be shared. Thanks for being patient and bring on the future!

1 comment:

  1. I know that feeling. I know what it is to feel you entire world shatter in a single moment. I've learnt over the years a little less, but the feeling is usually there. But hey... Only we know what's going on inside. I'm 41 now and still learning. Maybe even just starting. Thank you, Aaron.