People have told me before that I “don’t seem autistic”. Yet some of those same people have turned from me, and decided that they can’t deal with my personality quirks. I guess it did not dawn on them that perhaps those “quirks” were part of how autism lives in me. But beyond that, obviously nobody sees how much work has gone into, and goes into every day, of “not seeming autistic”. It is hard work being autistic. It is exhausting and tiring. It is disheartening knowing that some percentage of the population will never accept me for who I am, will never see beyond those quirks and see the loving heart I would offer them in friendship, will never understand the depth of my loyalty, or how far out of my way I am willing to go for those I care for. They will never know those things, because they care more that I said something they thought was odd, or was a bit overbearing, or acted in some way that they see as not socially acceptable – even though it was likely trivial, and far less significant than behavior I have looked past in many.
I could let all that defeat me. But that would not be a problem for those people. It would be my problem. Yes, being autistic is a challenge. Yes, I have to live with the rejection of people, including some I care for deeply, yes there are walls around me – a few of my own making – though I’d like for them not to be there, but more of the making of others, who look at me with crossed eyes, as if I have cooties. But I will not be defeated. I am a loving being. It is a challenge to learn to love so many from whom that love will never be returned. But what is a better answer? Not to love at all? Certainly not. I will learn to love everyone, even those who cannot learn to love me. And I will wish for them, pray for them, not because of my loss – but because of theirs. Not with ego, but with the realization that the same imbalances in their view of me likely carry over from/to other imbalances in their own lives.
If there were none that could love me for who I am, quirks and all, then I should still choose to be a loving being. I may hurt at times, but how much less that then to allow bitterness to destroy the love in my heart, and steal away the joy it holds. So, yes, there are challenges, and yes, it is often much more difficult than many realize, but that does not mean I am defeated, and even if I struggle at times, life is mine to conquer, and I will live it as best it can be lived – with every ounce of love my heart can hold.