Aspergers on how to decide when to come out

Posted: September 25, 2012 in aspergers, life, Uncategorized
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People with Aspergers will tell you that coming out with the knowledge that you have Aspergers is one of the hardest decisions they will ever have to make. People can be judgemental and mean if you are slightly different or socially awkward like most people on the spectrum are. Therefore, the decision to come out is very difficult because of the fear of being further ostracized or feelings of rejection. I personally never thought about coming out and did not associate myself with having Aspergers for the longest time. Every year during the summer I would think that this upcoming year is the year that I get a girlfriend and become the most popular kid in school and every year the school year would come and pass and I would still be the funny but awkward person in the classroom. I would tell myself, “you don’t need others as long as you devote all your time to basketball and become great at it.” Alas, I never did.

   One of the problems is that every group has role models to look up to and aspire to be like; except people with Aspergers.  Blind people have Stevie Wonder, quadraplegic people have Steven Hawkins, women have Nellie Mclung among others who do people with Aspergers or Autism have? Someone well studied in the issue would say Temple Grandin. However, to any child she is not really much to look up to. She is not in the public eye for her achievements and to what child is writing a book about the treatment of cows at slaughterhouses going to excite? If Natalie Portman or Lady Gaga or President Obama came out and said they had Aspergers than children would take notice, Temple Grandin not so much. I am not at all trying to poo poo her work and think she has done fabulous work and is a really meaningful role model for the cause for adults, all I am saying is she is unlikely to excite many children.  There are some really cool people who seem to have all the symptoms of Aspergers and if I had to guess I would think that they had Aspergers but they have never publicly acknowledged it, therefore can’t do very much as role models. Such famous people include Mark Zuckerberg, based on the portrayal of him in The social network as well as Jerry Seinfield I am judging this on the biography that I read about him. If either of these people stepped forward the stigma around Aspergers would lessen drastically and people on the spectrum would have someone to look up to.

     Growing up I did not even discuss my condition with my closest friends. They just knew that I did not have the most friends in the world and that I had never had a girlfriend. When asked they didn’t even think I was particularly socially awkward but they could have been being nice to me.  I only started owning my Aspergers when I started doing stand-up comedy where I felt at home among other social misfits.

  In stand-up comedy a person will own everything about themselves. For example, the fat comedian will make fat jokes about himself. The awkwardly skinny guy will learn to make jokes about that. I learnt to make jokes about having Aspergers and being socially awkward in order to fit in. Owning my Aspergers has helped me alot emotionally. I have also started reading about other people with Aspergers. I am now quite open with my Aspergers on and off the stage because I don’t know who has seen me perform and therefore would already know. However, having it out there as not been easiest thing. Other comedians joke about my Aspergers and every single time they do my sensitivity to my condition it hurts. Also a girl at a party last year made a joke about how I had Aspergers and was socially awkward. At the time it felt like she was saying I will never have anything to do with you romantically or physically because you have a disability. At this time I desperately wished I didn’t have a disability. However, no amount of wishing is every going to help. Having owned my disability and seeing and reading about other people on the spectrum has made me feel much better about myself, that I am not alone. That there is a chance of me finding my life mate like John Elder Robison. There are even advantages to having Aspergers such as being creative and thinking outside of the box. I am not as confident as other people that I would not trade my Aspergers in if I could but there are certainly worse fates. Now I just want to become a well-known enough comedian so that people with Aspergers have someone to look up to and don’t give up hope and their belief in themselves.

image from accessed 25 September 2012

  1. simunyeilan says:

    Great post, Adam.

    I am proud of you.

  2. Eric says:

    Great post that is well-written and heartfelt. I even liked the punctuation. Keep up the good work.

  3. I wish you luck both in your career as a comedian and in your efforts to connect with people in life. Woof!

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