Believe it or not, a “magic moment” is not an elusive thing. There are a lot to be found, if only people were aware of them. They don’t have to change the world, they can be a moment that leaves you with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. I was once guilty of the lack of awareness that tends to occur in people born on the Autism Spectrum. I know that I probably missed seeing things that will never happen again, but it does me no good to dwell on the past.
Several of these moments have touched my heart and soul. Most of them have little significance to other people, but they meant the world to me. Some of them were life lessons, others were things that boosted my well-being when I needed them, and there were those sweet memories that stay with me to remind me that God and the Universe really are an amazing source of humor.
The first “magic” moment I remember was hearing Oldies music on the radio. I was probably no more than eight years old when I heard the sounds of harmony between voices and early Rock and Roll instruments. To my childish ears, it was like hearing a chorus of resonant, well-crafted bells and gongs that vibrated my eardrums and electrified my other senses. Since then, I’ve had a special place in my heart for the pioneers of classic rock. That was when I decided to listen to all kinds of music created before I was born. Since then, I’ve discovered amazing artists and songs that have blessed me with the ability to articulate my emotions and come out of my shell.
One of my favorite magic moments was one I didn’t understand at first. I’ve mentioned it before: it was when I was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. When I got to high school, I received help from school counselors and special needs teachers. There was a time when they came in to speak to my teachers and classmates while I was asked to wait outside the room. From then on, people looked at me with newfound appreciation and a degree of understanding. I was also placed in special small-capacity classes for people with different learning styles, known as “Individual Instruction”. This was the first time in my life that I felt like I mattered to people other than my family. To someone like me, who tends to feel a strong need for approval and significance, this is very important.
In 2000, I took a trip with mom to Dallas, Texas for a conference about Autism. It was there that I met two of the most famous Autism researchers and advocates: Dr. Tony Attwood and Dr. Temple Grandin. Just to know that there were people who dedicated their lives to understanding the Autism Spectrum gave me hope that I would be understood. I believe that if it wasn’t for that diagnosis and all the help I received when I was a teenager, I never would have gained the confidence to embrace the fact that I was born with Autism and would never have even considered writing this blog.
When I graduated college in late May of 2011, I felt validated. I was told that people on the Autism Spectrum had great difficulty graduating college, and an even lower number found a job in the profession they qualified for. By the grace of God, this was told to me only a few weeks before I completed my final classes, otherwise I believe my classroom performance would have suffered. When the time came to walk across the stage after hearing my name called, I accepted my diploma with pride and smiled when I looked at the audience, seeing the family and friends who came to watch and share in my special day.
Soon after graduation I took that momentous leap of faith where I decided to create this blog. It honestly took me a while to gain some traction with it because I had to develop a thicker skin when proofreading my work and listening to constructive criticism. I still have a problem listening to criticism from others, that comes from my childhood sensitivity to raised voices and my insecurity born out of bullying. I’ve improved greatly, however; I’m less prone to kneejerk reactions to what people are saying because I know they only want to help me do better.
Today I feel a sense of purpose; my writing has taken on a stride that comes from inspired creativity. When I open up about myself and my blog, more often than not, people tell me that they know someone on the Spectrum or someone who works with special needs children. My whole purpose for this blog is to be an example of someone living with Asperger’s Syndrome who has learned to stand in their truth and give hope to people wondering what the future looks like for a child on the Autism Spectrum.
These “magic” moments are the memories that have helped me to stand proudly in my truth. If they didn’t happen the way they did, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and this blog wouldn’t even exist. It’s also quite magical that this post is the fiftieth one I’ve written; not a bad acheivement after two years of running this blog! As my journey continues, I’ll continue striving for hope and awareness and that is a moment that will put a smile on my face!
The musical inspiration for this post is “This Magic Moment” by the Drifters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwhgTVRRrSQ