How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

The Found Weekend

On a weekend in September, something really special happened.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to come up with words to describe it best, but I feel that mere words don’t do it justice.  In light of this, I can say for certain that what happened to me was…harmonic; as of now, the best feeling of connection that I have had with life.

I have had more than my share of tough times.  A few days ago I did have another bout with anxiety and momentary depression.  The first thing I did was recognize that I was in the middle of an emotional tailspin, the next thing I did was take the first step.  I remembered the blessings of an understanding family as well as the good fortune to have found an insightful counselor to work out my personal issues.  I also remembered how many good memories I possess, because I feel that when you remember the best of times during the worst, life can feel very special once again.

Let me ask you this: have you ever been so nervous and insecure that you avoided socializing, even at family events?  Did you realize how much of life you may have missed by not putting yourself out into the universe?  When did you finally step out of your comfort zone and were surprised at how good it felt?  Did something feel so right that your spirits soared incredibly high as a result?  Well, for me, all of the aforementioned feelings are ones that I’ve felt in the past and present.  Hopefully, in the future I will experience mostly the positive ones.

I first started noticing a change after I received an invitation in the mail for an upcoming family wedding.  Even as I felt the anticipation of the upcoming geek-centric magic of Comic-Con, I felt anticipation stirring for the upcoming wedding.

Around the same time, I received an e-mail about a surprise party for my uncle on the morning after the wedding.  Very quickly, the prospect of two early Fall events in one weekend made me smile even more than I usually do.  In the past, attending social events, much less two in a short period of time was not even something I would have considered because of my lack of social skills and always feeling out of place.

When the actual wedding happened, it was simply magical.  The atmosphere was vibrant from the moment I arrived. It was held in an outdoor setting, under a clear, sunny sky overlooking a picturesque vineyard.

The DJ kept spinning out an awesome mix of music; it was so awesome that I was on my feet dancing for almost the entire time!  The only time I sat down was to talk with friends and relatives.  I noticed a couple of girls who seemed to enjoy my company on the dance floor; looks like being me is really starting to pay off.  The entire affair was classy, but not ostentatious.  Things could not have gone any better; everything just felt right.

When the wedding was over, I left with several new memories and a handful of thoughtful souvenirs.  But the best part was that I left with pride, knowing that I was engaged in conversation and interaction with other people.  Years ago, I was liable to stay on the edges of a social situation, finding some way to distract myself from even talking to people by reading a book or playing a handheld game.

It took me a long time, but by becoming aware and immersed in the world around me, I have been able to break out of the shell that has contained my potential.  It didn’t happen overnight, and like someone who has achieved sobriety, it’s a daily process.

The next day was also a day of celebration.  We met in Old Town San Diego for my uncle’s birthday brunch.  I found it easy to relax and talk to other relatives who were there.  When the guest of honor arrived, we all stood up and cheered “Surprise!”  He was clearly not expecting such a warm welcome, and was happy to see everyone there.  The best part was that not only did I get to try out a new restaurant, but I was able to do so in celebration of a family birthday.

This particular weekend still resonates with me more than a month later.  Even though I have had a couple of difficult moments where my stress level was elevated and I became frustrated and angry, I was able to find a private place to lie down and breathe deeply.  As agitating and painful as my hurt and anger was, I remembered that it was only temporary.  As I was able to reflect on this memorable weekend, I was able to remind myself that good memories can save you.

I feel that it takes a lot of self-teaching to gain the confidence to remember what blessings occur with the power of good memories.  I have been fortunate enough to use them as a self-healing method when the worst of my negative feelings have passed.  That weekend had such significance because it felt so right, and the feelings are still vivid.  I know that I’ve been saved from a lot of downward emotional spirals by taking such a step.

What I know for sure is that I listened to my gut instinct when I kept replaying the weekend in my mind.  I knew that it was a memory worth holding on to, and writing down.  In all, I am grateful for the wisdom to see it and know when to write it.


Comments on: "The Found Weekend" (10)

  1. I believe that holding onto beautiful memories can be a very powerful tool to help you through harder times. The surprise brunch was so much fun and I was so happy you were there!

  2. I loved your post! I think it is awesome you let so many people enjoy your company that special weekend. I’m sure that there will be many more weekends just like it to come.

  3. Theresa Kosinski said:

    Thanks for sharing. Once again I am in awe of the processing method of the spectrum brain. I see this in my son. He is unable to compartmentalize stress and feelings. It seems to me in typical development we teach children how to just get through it. The spectrum thought process is not able to do that. In my sons case “Just (trying to) get through it” ends up in a melt down.

    I’ve discovered that the only way and the healthy way for all is to be mindful through the process which is what I hear in your story.


    • You’re welcome. I’m glad I could help you understand what your son is going through. The best thing you can do is trust the process and be aware. Best of luck to you.

  4. Margarita said:

    Thank you Tony. Your feelings, your reflection on life and how you overcome trials and tribulations a day at a time and your thought process sure help me to take a look at myself and my life. Thank you again. I am very fortunate to have you in my life and so is my little Iliana. Love you very much my dear nephew.

    • You’re very welcome. I am so blessed to call you family, and I hope to continue to contribute to your understanding of life, including my own. Love you too, and Love to Iliana as well!

  5. Teresa Garcia said:

    Hi there Tony! Love this post as I enjoy all of your posts! Since I was fortunate enough to enjoy that weekend with you, I completely agree with you. Both events were awesome. You have such a great gift for putting great thoughts into words!! All I could come up with was ‘awesome’!!!! LOVE YOU

    • Love you too, Aunt Terri. I was so blessed to enjoy everything about that weekend. I look forward to the holiday season; see you then!

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