I was asked a question on social media last night along the lines of “tell me your perspective.”  I had to think about this. How do you explain to someone that you are the sum of you experiences when they want to focus on one aspect?

I firmly believe that everything that has been part of my life has shaped me into who I am today. Good, bad or indifferent I learned from whatever it was. Growing up with 3 siblings? Learned how to both walk away and blow raspberries. Forced into conformity in school? At the time, I didn’t mind. There were many of us in that position. Now…I wish I had known that they way I think is just fine. You may not understand it, but that’s not important. Well, it is because I need you to understand that different is not threatening to you.

That’s what all this comes down to in the end. When people run across something different, it challenges us to think. To look outside our zone. To try to understand new ideas. Some people are more adaptable to change than others. This is where the skill to know when to press an issue or when to tread lightly comes in handy. Alienating people rarely accomplishes anything.

My perspective on labels….they help people understand broad concepts. They are dangerous when people assume that the label limits the possibilities. They are dangerous when people assume everyone in that category will act exactly the same. So, helpful to quantify, sort or understand. Harmful when you assume a label is the answer.

My perspective on living with Autism? I have my own set of challenges. While I could run down a checklist, the reality is each challenge is truly my own. It’s something I must understand and learn to live with. These are my circumstances. When you think about Autism as part of a person, you begin to understand that it doesn’t define people any more than having brown hair does.

When you change your hair from brown to blond, it eventually changes back to brown because that color is part of you. Trying to force an Autistic into your idea of “normal” brings change in the short-term. In the long-term, the person will return to their “normal.”

Your challenge: Acceptance. Diversity is a good thing. The world is a whole lot smaller now than it was even twenty years ago. We can all learn from each other. While it may be a struggle, or even painful, we must learn as a society to stop fearing “different.”


Today, I’d like to be invisible. I’d like to go to the places I would normally go and not have people notice me. I’d like to just get through one day without the conversations that I must have with people who don ‘t seem to understand. I’d like to go one day just doing my “thing” and not have criticism thrown at me from all directions. One day without being judged.

I imagine it would be a peaceful day. Not in a smell the sunshine kind of way, but perhaps in the way I imagine people not living with chronic disease or mental illness have. It’s been so long since those days existed for me that I barely remember what it’s like to be carefree, like most of the people I know claim to be.

Yes, that’s right. I said claim to be. I just can’t fathom the idea that everyone else is living a stress free, no complaints life. It seems foreign to me that everyone else can completely cope with all the things going on in their lives. I think that they are just as likely to fall apart as I am. They’re just better at hiding it.

No one likes to admit weakness. No one likes to lose control in front of others. No one likes to be ridiculed. No one likes to be shamed, No one likes to feel helpless. And yet, the world is full of people who thrive on making others feel that way.

As a society, we have made it okay for people to do all of the above while we ignore the person on the receiving end. We have made it okay to mock people who are different from us without regard for the impact our words and actions have on an individual. I’d like to believe it’s a defense mechanism….deflecting someone’s comments away from ourselves lest we crack. But that’s not right either. Understandable, but not right.

Think before you speak. Think about how your actions impact others. I’m not talking on a global scale here. Just in your day-to-day relationships. Set aside your fears of being the next target and show support for someone who is being targeted. Set aside your need to feel “better” and understand that we all need to feel accepted. Recognize the beauty of diversity and the power it has to bring beauty to our lives.

Most of all, know that many of us struggle daily to keep up with expectations. Try not to make it harder. Try not to discourage others. You have no idea if one day, you’ll be the one who needs encouragement to carry on.