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Coping with autism - The Retro Network

The following article has been requested for the The Retro Network essay contest, is written entirely by myself as an original concept for The Retro Network exclusively as they have permission to post in any form of publication and may edit the article if necessary.


Life ain't easy. However you maintained your years from childhood to becoming an adult, those simple words are the most accurate to anyone's existence as history repeats itself. What are my plans for the future? what if I'm not ready for the big open world ahead of me? why don't I feel comfortable around large crowds of people?
These were just a few of the questions running through my head as I hit puberty. But before I get into all that, I'd like to begin with how the spectrum affected my earlier years of growing up, how I made friends, how I dealt with my parents and siblings, and what my behavior led to during school.
Living in a culdesac area in a small trailer park throughout most of the 1990s made for a good, quiet area to make friends in and in my days of being around 4 to 8 years old I was pretty shy and not as talkative as I would later gain the courage to. In a way going to school was what gave me that build up in trying to socialize more, but at the same time I wasn't ready to start a new year of it. I made friends and communicated, but whenever I progressed to a new semester/class and lost those friends, I had a heavy weight of feeling seperation anxiety of not being able to see them again.
As for my family life, my time with my eldest sibling being my sister had moved away after only a few years of being old enough to have any type of communication from her, and this is where my behavior problems started. I was the youngest of the siblings and I was a bit of a troublemaker around the house. I threw tantrums when I didn't get my way, kept quiet during family dinners, and I took risks for doing things that would potentially get me grounded, so much so of this was done that my brother and sister didn't spend much time around me because of it.
My two siblings and myself at around 6 years old.
By the time I had reached third grade in school I had a habit of leaving little doodles on my classwork papers. These were minimal problems for my teachers then, but became like unwanted graffiti on my papers as I moved up to 5th grade, so I stopped after a parent/teacher conference was the final straw. The reason behind it though was because of how sucked in I had become of drawing cartoons, as it was the beginning of a new hobby.
I was starting to feel more inclined to socialize with friends at school and even hanging with my older brother at every chance I could get, but because of my obsession with drawing, I eventually had to start taking Ritalin just to focus on any lectures my teachers were giving me because I was daydreaming a lot. Once I started middle school though it wasn't necessary anymore as I was maturing, and thankfully the introduction of Study Hall gave me more time to draw after I had caught up with my work.
Study Hall was really the only chance I had during the day to draw anything at all, so I took the opportunity to whiz right through my work given the difficulty of the subject.
So, as I moved forward to high school in the early 2000s, I was really expecting to have the same easygoing, memorable experience as my elementary and middle school years before it. I don't want to say it was a big disappointment, but it just felt like reality was really about to hit me in the face. Bell breaks to prepare for the next class felt shorter, students were flocking to their next class and, my teachers just didn't have that same bounce of personality that my earlier school teachers did, it felt like a shallow, albeit depressing time for me. I know my last few years were supposed to prepare me for the work world, I was just hoping I'd get more of a confident attitude from those around me as I made it so far with my education. I still had my family to do that, but it just didn't feel like it was enough with just them.
With my graduation over and my family proud, I gained a bit of assurance after no longer being in the school environment. I didn't feel closed in, nor was I feeling distanced from others. One last task was before me: what job should I pursue? well, with my stepdad having his own lawn service (and soon to be certified) I could not only support him, but earn my own pay. It was thanks to that that I gained some confidence into looking for my first job, soon to work in janitorial at a Mexican grill restaurant. I wasn't completely talkative with the customers, but the work environment and cheery coworkers helped me open up a little.
At this point in time I'm still a bit socially awkward but I've managed to try and express myself when I feel it's necessary. Thank you for reading, and I'll see you next time!
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Julie Posted on Dec 02, 2019 at 02:17 AM

Well, maintaining my childhood essence is part of me. With pride I always refused to 'get rid' of my childhood, the real myself, because I love myself and I always will. And yeah, I refuse to become 'completely adult'. People can judge me as they want, I don't care and carry my life on with just what really matters and the company of those who I love.

Everyone has plans for the future, and although they think so, no one is prepared for the world out there. No one has a crystal ball! Lol! This is something of smug people who try at all costs to diminish others to feel a little self-esteem. But you know they're just 'vampires', if you know what I mean.

I also don't feel comfortable between groups of people. I always realize that they feel confident and comfortable after some time. Never me. But I don't care either.

In my 4 to 8 years old I was different, it was as if I didn't see the possibility of having friends and socializing. I once had a complaint from a teacher to my parents saying that I lived 'in a parallel world'. Lol! Come on! I was happy with what I had and realize, I just didn't see the need for socialization. That only came when I became an adult, around 30, when a lot of things came to me at the same time: maturity. As it began to emerge, I had gradual discoveries about fundamental human values ​​such as love, affection, faithfulness, brotherhood, and empathy. But at the same time it's as if these feelings had always existed within me before, they were only gradually surfaced with the arrival of maturity.
Shyness? I have until this day, even in front of just one person. The way is to live with it, so I have tried to carry on with life.

Look at this: feel anxiety for fear of losing friends. When I say that Benjamin is kind-hearted (like all the other compliments and remarks I make about him), I'm not exaggerating. He is a special boy in the best sense of the word!

Tantrums I do to this day. Look, we have our wants, our feelings, and I make a tantrum to the family even today when something doesn't agree with what I want or when it threatens me in some way, or when I realize they're doing something wrong.

One more similarity here. I also used, at the same age, to use my school notebooks, since the sheets were arranged in perfect series, to make animated cartoons. From time to time I still do it, but it's very rare; my interest in drawing didn't continue.

One absurdly wrong thing here: to medicate someone by trying to make the desire for something go away. Sorry, but I find this a total absurd, completely wrong! He had a strong inclination for drawing, as I had at the same age. They treated him the same way as they did to Alan Turing, one of the greatest geniuses of mathematics and programming. A gross mistake Benjamin was a victim of. They just didn't do something like that to me because I'm stubborn, and made me 'foolish and obedient' so they leave me alone. LMAO!

My experience with high school onwards (work and college) was worse than those reported here by Benjamin. I suffered a very strong bullying, humiliations that were the continuation of the bullying that I suffered in elementary school, but progressively, both in frequency and in severity. I left work a few years ago to try a full time college. Wasn't successful and now I'm in another college, which is easier and which, according to my teachers, I have talent for this craft. Friends? I don't have and never had, just my parents and Benjamin. Boyfriend? Never had, but that's almost another story. I plan to graduate so I can go back to work and help those who I love. Simple!

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