The Unforgiven

The shattered reflection of my human condition. It’s not a deep study.

I am not autistic. I have autism. Over the last 6 months or so it’s a phrase I’ve read on various websites and many reddit posts. Many times in my forty years I’ve considered that I have an abnormal or “a-typical” perspective on things. Until recently I had never really considered the spectrum. After taking some time to try and understand it better; a look back at the previous years actually start to make sense.

A collection of regret and resentment have lingered throughout the years, never understood, never dealt with. I’m an angry person. I’m not violent. I’m not abusive. I’m often cold and bitter and carry around that lifetimes supply of resentment. Needless to say the last few years have been interesting. What started out appearing like just mid-life depression has served as an entryway of new understanding.

Hell, until recently I never would have considered I have a form of PTSD, but again in the last few years that has been presented to me by professionals based on their systems of diagnosis. However it makes sense when you tie it all together, I guess.

I have previously mentioned that the diagnosis has been a double-edged sword. Understanding that “the affliction doesn’t define me” but at the same time knowing “I am the way I am because of the affliction.” I imagine this is something I’m going to learn along the way. I think going so long without a diagnosis or having the attribution is now something that I’m not necessarily wrapping my head around.

It has been interesting over the last few years, if not more frustrating to learn a lot of the details that have all contributed to this fact. I wasn’t the most popular at school and through high school that was not forgotten by those that went there. Ever.  I don’t say this due to a grudge but only recently have I really learned what a profound and lasting affect it would have on me mentally and emotionally. Especially when considering that the aforementioned PTSD.

For those that have been through it it’s hard to understand at the time why it happens. You’re different. Often that can be it. Not why you’re different. Not why it matter’s that you are different.  Often being told it was for being gay or stupid or whatever they may have felt was degrading at that time, even though I wasn’t, which is why today maybe I can better understand that ‘privilege.’?

I tried to make the best of it and the closer we got to graduation the less a problem it became, I expect it came with the maturing during the teenage years. In the meantime I did find something I was good at even though I don’t feel my skills developed as they could have at the time.  Three years on the school yearbook and two of them as computer editor putting me down my future path and one as editor.

Through it all I still look back on these years with a certain fondness in that for me, I have become a better person.  The boy that lived through them, while unrecognizable now, was a stronger foundation for the man today than I would not have thought until recently.

He had a good family, he had good friends that one he has seen from afar go through addiction but today is a strong and loving father.  He had crushes like any teenager that was important to feel something and channel it into poems and other forms of creativity he wrote at that time He played games and watched shows that helped kindle fuel the spark of creativity.  Time as an editor on a yearbook that fostered a desire to belong even if it wasn’t in Missouri. The time it took to realize that this wasn’t his life and staying would get him nothing.  Fear of nothing drove the desire to move forward and try something new, to break out of the confines of rural Missouri.

I can look back and say that the family I have, and those that I grew up with through to graduation would not know the person who writes this now.  I’m glad to have known that dead version, without him I wouldn’t be here.  Say what you want, but knowing who you were may be a memory, but seeing who you become is a choice based on who you are.

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