Asperger's Syndrome. That's my diagnosis. November 9th, 2010 is the day I will always remember as being enlightened, seeing clearly, having that 'a-ha!' moment, and for the first time, feeling 'right' inside my own body. I'm an Aspie.
What is Asperger's, you ask (after giggling at the name as I did when I first heard it . . . go ahead . . .say it out loud!)? Let me introduce you to one of my best friends, Wikipedia (we spend A LOT of time together): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger's. (In future blogs, I will reference a variety of resources in which you may use to familiarize yourself, your loved ones, your pets—although they could care less, and your employers with Asperger's syndrome and all it entails. I am forever a student and am excited to share with you what I have and am learning each day.)
I've always been different, never feeling like I belonged in any group, job, or social setting. Even in friendships I've had the past 35 years of my life, I have never experienced that deep, emotional connection I would see people share in movies or as described in books and magazines. As a child, I was more interested in reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica than bonding with other children. And while other children were saying things like "rad" and "awesome," I was responding with words such as "interesting concept" and "that's fascinating.” By the time I was eight, I had read every dog book my elementary school library contained and was training every dog I could get my hands on. I was an expert on breeds and could tell you in a millisecond what breed of dog you had, and if mixed, what various breeds your canine had in his genes (special interest, much?). I had no interest in wearing a bra, deodorant, nor going through puberty, period (oh, and that too . . . period . . . gross!), which caused a lot of problems in the friendship department, especially with little girls who wanted to wear red lipstick and kiss cute boys and wear baby blue jelly shoes and paint their nails with Hello Kitty designs and FLIRT (still haven't managed to grasp that last one).
"What's WRONG with you?" was a question addressed to me a million times over while growing up and even as an adult. And in my teenage years—those awful, painful, anxiety ridden, insecurity filled, teenage years (oh, the misery!)—I began to ask myself the same question . . . which lead me to an adulthood obsessed with psychology, spirituality, self-help books, gurus, stand-up comedy, meditation, and ultimately, self-realization. And through that experience, with the obsessions being my key, I've been able to unlock the door to semi-normalcy, masking the social anguish with an Oscar worthy, exhausting act.
Today, I have the answer to that life-long question, and I can honestly respond by saying, "here's what's RIGHT with me" instead. The label, the diagnosis—the FREEDOM—I can laugh about it and share it with you, in hopes that my authenticity reaches those souls out there who feel misunderstood, and also for those of you sharing your lives with people like me. So join me on my journey . . . and experience the misadventures of Aspie Girl!