How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

Posts tagged ‘Breast Cancer’

Small Victories

Medal heartI’ve heard people say that a person’s many great accomplishments will earn them great renown and build the legacy that will remain after they’ve passed on.  That is something that has inspired me to do whatever I can to make my own mark on the world.  Even though it’s a core value I’ve learned to adopt, I’ve always felt like it’s not the whole story.

Giving it some thought, I realized that there’s a lot of space in between the events in a person’s timeline.  I asked myself, “I wonder what else happened in their life between these big milestones?”  Not that I want to pry, I just wondered what else they had done, and what it meant to them?  What were their victories and defeats?  What kind of regrets and successes did they have in their personal life?  Soon, I discovered that the more I thought about other people, the more I began to look at myself.

I remember a lot of the smaller, more personal details of my life.  However, after I started writing this blog they took on an entirely different meaning.  There was a time when I wanted to go back and change some of the more negative events, but I’ve realized that even they contributed to making me the man I am today.  After much prayer and meditation I have learned to accept what has happened and embrace it.  There are lots of things that I’m proud of.  They may not always be significant to anyone else, but for me they proved that I’ve got a lot to live for and a lot to gain confidence from.

P.E. in elementary school was a source of frequent embarrassment for me.  Imagine having the lack of coordination that comes from being a “misfit” in school and being completely unaware of it!  There was one day when things shifted, and that was when I was playing a round of Four-Square Dodgeball.  I was playing with particularly strong focus that day.  Somehow, I was able to tag out this boy who was one of the best players at the game and take his position as server.  Two minutes later, recess was over and I walked away with my head held high.  Not bad for an uncoordinated Aspie, wouldn’t you say?

As a high school freshman, I was eager to sign up for choir because of how much I love music.  On impulse I decided to audition for the small but elite vocal jazz ensemble.  Before I knew it, my choir teacher told me that I had passed the audition and was accepted into this group that was usually reserved for experienced upperclassmen.  I believe that my teacher saw something in me that I didn’t know I had.  From that point on, I was in the jazz ensemble every year, and I enjoyed every moment of it because of the amazing fact that I had been accepted.  This culminated in my receiving of the music department’s Senior MVP Award.

In recent years, I’ve surprised myself with personal athletic victories.  2009 was the year I ran my first ever marathon.  I have also run in the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure for eleven years now and my time has improved, year by year.  By far, the most fulfilling event I have ever done was the 60-mile Komen 3-Day Walk For the Cure in honor of my grandmother who passed away from breast cancer.

These events are just a handful of the small victories that have given me confidence.  They may not mean much to anyone else, but to me they are things that I take pride in, knowing that I made them happen.  To think that a man on the Autism Spectrum could do everything I’ve done and still remember how they felt is something special in itself.  I also feel like no matter what happens, nothing can take away what I’ve done for myself.  Have you done anything in your life that made you feel this way?  What still makes you proud of yourself today?