Autistic and Proud



I would love to say, like some hipster, that “I had Asperger’s Syndrome before it was cool”  but I was beyond fashionably late to this party with a diagnosis at nearly forty years old.

The diagnosis is, for me and many like me, so much more than just a label or a stigma. It can be a source of pride, like a badge of honour, or a medal for surviving in this world. Aworld that, for me, can seem so chaotic, overwhelming, sometimes just plain terrifying. It can also be a part of who we are – our identity, if you will. When I meet a fellow Aspie, apart from the usual social awkwardness I also feel a sense of brotherhood with that person. We can be from different parts of this ball of rock but there is one constant. This person, unlike about 98% of all other people, sees the world in a similar way to me. We can sometimes face the same challenges, we likely think in a similar way, and, sadly in this day and age, we often have to campaign together on issues affecting the Autism Spectrum Comunity at large. Some people abhor the word, but I’m exceptionally proud to call myself an Aspie.

When I tell someone about my diagnosis, they sometimes have a rough idea of what it is. Some of their knowledge can be negative, largely in part due to high profile news stories, such as Gary McKinnon, Lauri Love or, more recently, Damon Smith. It’s not very surprising that the media forgets to mention that illustrious individuals such as Bill Gates, Charles Darwin, Jane Austin, Einstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson, Mozart, Thomas Edison & Henry Ford were all either Aspies or had autistic traits. This, combined with an ever-increasing number of documentaries and TV shows featuring people with both autism and Asperger’s, are slowly helping to raise public awareness that we are not all criminals – nor are we all geniuses. We are all different, just like all neurologically typical people are different.

Stay Safe X

400 Miles and a Thin Crust

This last week has been a very trying week for both Mrs Bob and me.  It began with my usual days off – my weekend, which is Monday and Tuesday. During those days, I have been working on a new, exciting project, which means I’m having to drag up a lot of things from my past. If you’ve read my anthology, Behind the Mask, you will have an idea that it’s not all unicorns and candy floss.

This has had a huge effect on my physical, as well as emotional, health as it’s made me relive things that I would rather forget. This, in turn, has caused me to suffer for days with really intense headaches, and they make me incredibly grouchy and hard to be around.  By Wednesday, I was not sure if I would be able to make it to work that evening, as it was heading towards migraine territory. I decided to go to work and at least try to take my mind off everything else. I wanted to see what was happening at work, as I was only on for one day before taking a day off to help Mrs Bob with her work. Surprisingly, I felt much better after being at work and catching up with my team before the road trip with my wife.

Thursday was going to be a long day for both of us, as we had to drive all the way to Southampton (about a three hour drive in good traffic) as Mrs Bob was giving a training session on the Friday, find the way into the car park (more tricky than it sounds…), check into our hotel and try to relax. It was actually quite a nice relaxing drive for various reasons. Mainly, I think that this was because I wasn’t going back to the Midlands, but also there wasn’t the unending, monotonous motorway miles that we face on the journey to see my family.

We arrived at the hotel and the manager noticed my Rick and Morty T-shirt so he began talking geek with me. If you know me, this is a language I’m very fluent in,  sad as it may seem. It was nice to be greeted by a fellow nerd.

We got settled into our room and relaxed.  For me, this was more writing, watching crap on Netflix and reading the Batman graphic novel I had brought with me before going to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Mrs Bob and I sat at the back of the restaurant, away from everyone else which I was grateful for, as eating out is socially uncomfortable for me, to say the least. The food was just what I needed and a favourite of mine when out, a mixed grill.  It saves me choosing one dish and lets me have a selection. A nice glass of wine and some really interesting conversation followed by ice cream covered in flavoured syrup… but no sprinkles damn it.

While Mrs Bob went back to our room to relax for the evening I did my usual routine when we stay away from home like this; I ordered a nice whisky (no ice) and followed it up with a large latte to take back to the room. When I returned, Mrs Bob was chilling out with the TV and talking to her best friend on text, so I decided to read and listen to a podcast for a while before joining her in watching a documentary interview on women on death row. Then a little Family Guy before calling it a night as we had a huge day ahead with training and driving back so I could hopefully get to work on time it was going to be very tight!

Next morning, we got up and got ready. Mrs Bob went through her mental checklist I’m sure and we were ready to go. The training location was about ten minutes away from the hotel so it was easy to find the place.  I helped her get set up for what she had to do that day, and then went and sat in the car to begin watching Fear the Walking Dead while I waited for the trainees to go into the classroom with my wife. Once they had gone in, I went and sat in their break room with my book, streaming TV and a large unending supply of caffeine to help me while the time away. I also got some more writing done before helping Mrs Bob pack up, and get ready for the mad dash home.

When I say mad dash, I mean it…  we were leaving Southampton at 1300hrs and had an over three-hour drive if traffic was good. I was due to start work at 1700 that night, meaning I needed to be at work for 1645 at the latest, so it was a tight timeframe.  The A35 on a Friday afternoon can be hellish… and it was. But the drive back was still a very relaxed affair for me as a passenger, with music, strange conversations and even stranger landmarks.

We arrived home with only enough time to take the cases in and for me to swap cars and go to work for what was going to be a very busy weekend indeed.  It culminated on Sunday with us running out of food and certain wines but with lots and lots of happy customers and some great live music. This was the perfect end to an exceptionally busy and trying seven days but on the up side, I have had two days to recuperate so that’s a bonus.

Stay Safe X