Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Probably the first time I ever realized I was different...

I was born in a sleepy, little port town on the Southeast coast of the U.S. The kind of place where time moves slowly, and the tea is always sweet. We attended a small, devout fundamentalist church. What do I mean by such words as devout or fundamentalist? There was no air conditioning in the summer because if "the good lord wants to keep us cool, he'll make a breeze." There was a deacon who patrolled the aisles during services with a special rod. Anyone nodding off during the sermon would receive a sufficient tap on the shoulder to return their attention to the preacher man.

When I was old enough, I began to attend Sunday school. Most of my early religious education came through that blinding inch of light streaming under the door of the pitch-black closet in which I frequently found myself placed. I was put in that closet fairly often and I still don't know why. I never understood what I did wrong, nor did I understand why I was being punished. I also never saw any other children punished this way. Clearly, I was different, to be set apart, and isolated in darkness. I was not like the other children.

Just because Aspies have varying degrees of difficulty in social situations, it is completely wrong to assume that we crave or need complete isolation. If I cannot stand to be around people, then it's only because of a lifetime of enduring how they treat me.

And, I am still afraid of the dark.

-Brian Melton

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