Hearing about other people’s (especially parents’) concern for and vicarious embarrassment about autistic people gives me conficting feelings. On one hand, I sympathize. It’s very difficult to know that someone you care about is struggling, when you can’t do anything significant to help them. It’s also natural to feel embarrassment and frustration when someone else struggles with something that seems simple to you, even when you know intellectually that it’s not simple for them.
I just don’t like to read about those feelings, because I spend so much time resisting them.
I sort of don’t have the luxury of feeling that way about myself. Not that I don’t do embarrassing things and feel embarrassed about them, or struggle with something I thought would be straightforward and get frustrated. Too often, when I was younger, I was completely overwhelmed by those feelings. By the intensity of my desire for things to be simple. To just be able to do what I needed to do.
Those feelings are self-destructive. Dwelling on negative feelings about things I can’t change only makes me feel worse. They distract me from actually working to solve problems in my life. I work to let go of those feelings and focus on what I can do to improve.
I have to believe that I can build something worthwhile from where I am now, by accepting who I am now, not by wishing for things to be simple. There are few enough people in the world who will believe in me this way– acknowledging how difficult but believing that I can accomplish something. There are few enough people in the world who support and build up people like me as people like me, the whole me, the talented parts and the incapable parts. I have to be one of them, or I won’t succeed. I have to believe in my worth and my future.