Acceptance will make us all fine

When I was 45 or thereabouts, I got a fever. It was about 102. It lasted, literally for years – about 2 1/2. When it first started, I went to the doctor. He asked what my symptoms were. Did I have a cough? No. Did I have a stuffy head? No. Did I have a sore throat? No. Did I have stomach problems? No. So he responded (literally), “So you’re fine”. But I wasn’t fine. I had a fever of 102, and I obviously, with that, was tired and lethargic. Over months and then into years I went to one doctor after another. I was sent to specialists. They told me about all the other things that were wrong with me that I already knew – but many doctors did not even take my temperature – despite that I told them it had been 102+ for months. Most doctors never even looked at my past history. I heard repeatedly that I was fine, even with 102 fever. I looked fine. I was fine. But I wasn’t fine. Finally, I went to another doctor. He was a good doctor. He told me, “You know this before I tell you,” he says, “but you’re sick”. What you have I don’t know. What you have, all these specialists don’t know. But clearly you are not supposed to have a 102 degree fever for months and months. So clearly, you are sick. You are not fine. He told me the only way I could be better was to first be sick. Finally I went home, sick. Not fine. And I got better. Finally, I was fine.
Being autistic is similar. Autistic people look fine. In many occasions, we may act fine. But by the standards that society has set, we are not fine, because those standards typically do not allow for autism as a reason for those occasions when our behavior does not fit the norm, instead viewing it as an excuse for that behavior. Then the expectation exists that our behavior should change to fit. When the norm is the standard, within those standards we are not fine. Yet we are fine. We are fine as autistic individuals, with good hearts, who try our best to live right within our autistic view of the world. A view that sometimes sees things differently than others. A view, that often – by the definition of many – does not understand. But not because we don’t try. Just because, again, we are not fine, we are autistic. But when society sees us as not fine, something needs to change so that we can be. That something is acceptance. That something is understanding. We will not be fine by pretending not to be autistic. The only way to be fine is for each of us to be who we are – autistic, not fine. But then, with acceptance, being autistic can be fine. With that acceptance, we can all be fine. Every autistic will be fine. Everyone with differences who is trying their best will finally be fine.

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