When I came out of my shell a couple years back, I had dreams. Several of them intertwine into one big dream of wishing to give testimony to the world that love indeed can conquer all. I wanted to prove that even as an autistic, with enough love, that I could build real relationships – even without understanding society nor even so many of people’s quirks and mannerisms – nor necessarily even my own. But I wanted to use my own life as a testimony, not only to God, who I believed would help me through this journey, but to the powers of persistence, and especially to love. It is work loving an autistic, they say. It takes effort, and understanding. Effort and attempts at understanding that most don’t realize are far less than the efforts that autistics themselves make every day of our lives. But life isn’t supposed to be such hard work. Love isn’t… Friendship isn’t. Is it?
I am not strong enough not to be autistic. There is no amount of hard work, learning, or my own understanding that will fully take those differences away. I admit to a lifetime of them being a too-real and constant reminder of who I am. But somehow I wanted – instead of those differences dulling my light – for them to make it shine brighter. I wanted my glaring differences, my struggles, my awkwardness to act as a mirror to magnify the light of my also very-real and very loving heart.
I am not defeated, though the task was clearly far greater than I even anticipated. There has been very real frustration at realizing the scale of this task, the apparent impossibility. But where love is the goal… and clearly the greatest goal ever, how can I ever think to give up. Society needs someone (more someones) to say, “No, I hear the things you say about me. I can understand why (to an extent). But what I want you to see in me is ONLY that I have a heart full of love – and even if I don’t entirely know how… all I want is to share that.” So many adjectives I have heard used to describe me. Many quite unkind. But the only one I hear is “loving”. That is who I am. The rest is really entirely irrelevant.