A Difference of Perspective

July 2023 ยท 3 minute read

All my life, I’ve been an oddball, a weirdo. Someone looking from the outside into “normalcy” and wishing I could be “normal”. Stumbling upon autism spectrum disorder I discovered a possible reason for the relentless bullying in public school, a reason why I spent most of my youth alone or with my eyes hidden by the pages of a book. It made sense that I was never formally diagnosed since my mother was dealing with her own trauma and demons from a life of struggle. I cherish the memory of my grandmother gifting me a black t-shirt with white lettering stating: “I live in my own little world. But it’s okay, they know me here”.

As I have researched autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as it applies to women, I see myself echoed in the criteria for being diagnosed. At my age, however, the benefits of diagnosis are not worth the price to get tested ($2000!). As I fall down the rabbit hole of ASD I have stumbled upon the wide ranges of neurodiversity that the human experience seems to be starting to bring to the forefront of society’s, innately parochial, awareness.

5.5 billion people have been added to the planet since my mother was born. That number is nearly incomprehensible. Is it no surprise that, as the population of human beings swells, what was once an unnoticeable minority is finally getting some time in the limelight. And I’m not just speaking of those members of the human race who are on the spectrum but of all human beings who fall under the neurodiversity umbrella. Seventy years ago people would call those who were different “eccentric” or “unstable” and lock them up, away from society so that they couldn’t disrupt the normalcy that the majority believe exists. Now we have a new perspective, that diversity is strength a different type of strength. Difference can be a teacher, taking in all the perspectives of human life we can make the world a better place for each and every person.

It’s a rosy way of looking at the world, I know. It has taken me three decades to realize that my idealistic belief that all human beings are good is faulty logic. Like a lot of things in life, human morality falls on a spectrum and there are surprisingly (to me) a lot of people who get a kick out of hurting someone else when that person is down. I want to believe that the world could be a better place and that my stubborn idealism could lead me down a path to help make that change. I want to believe.