Conquer Our Fears

Conquer Our Fears

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Aspergers: Defining Success

Funny thing about's not something that is grown out of. It is neurological framework hardwired into each of our brains, and there is simply no way to magically become a Neurotypical (someone without AS) one day. Many see Aspergers as unwanted baggage, and concede defeat to it's social and cognitive challenges, instead of adapting, putting in effort, and using the challenges to achieve goals and set up a timeline for success. Believe me, I've been there. But when I took the first actual step towards what I wanted; to develop and nurture relationships, a career, to be a writer, to own my own apartment and car, I knew I had to take action or else continue down the path of mediocrity, when I wanted so much more for myself than that.

So what is success for someone with Aspergers? Well, the answer is different for each of us. I have known people who are completely content living at home with parents, working part time jobs. I have known a young man who struggled with public speaking, but put genuine effort in to remedy this, and who's goal for himself was to become a renowned Senator. I have even known an extremely gifted artistic Aspergian with sleeves of tattoos and dreams of opening up a Tattoo parlor one day. There are so many variables to consider when looking at what defines success for someone with Aspergers. The worst thing a Neurotypical can do, is vocalize a preconceived notion that someone with Aspergers is doomed to fail because of the condition they were born with. As a family member, significant other, and friend of someone with Aspergers, support them in whatever aspirations they have for themselves, however lofty it may seem to you. Many of us are extremely capable when we have clear goals for ourselves. Which leads me this next statement...Aspergians, make it a NECESSITY to develop and ACT upon goals for yourself, or you will only ever doubt yourself. I know firsthand how easy it is to entertain ideas in our head, without taking action. Our minds and thoughts are where we go to. Our own head can feel like the safest place for us to be. But stepping outside our minds, putting goals into action, and every single risk you take demonstrates growth and the desire to achieve that which you have set for yourself.

I challenge each of you to take one new risk each day. My risk for today? Truly believing that what I'm writing has the potential to make an impact on others, and taking the time and the effort right here, right now, to make my voice heard though this post.

What are some risks you have taken recently? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Developing a New Perspective of Aspergers and Self-Worth

Hello! After several years of harboring myself from blogging about my experiences as young adult diagnosed with Aspergers, I'm returning for good, to utilize a new tool-set of self-realizations during my four year journey of facing self-doubt and fear.

Since graduating from college, I have experienced the ups and downs of job hunting, of internships, of love and loss, and my next steps in my career path, But to successfully navigate these cornerstones of many young adults' lives, I've had to develop maturity, a deeper understanding of myself, and a willingness to be honest with myself about some of the challenges I face. With Aspergers, this process for me has been has been difficult, but necessary. I fear change. I fear inadequacy. I fear vulnerability. But somehow, I've developed the realization that to succeed in life, I needed to face these fears instead of running from them. There is always room for growth, and this is something I now strive for each day. The Austin of today, writing this post, four years later on the breezy porch of an apartment I can call my own, is a more mature, confident and perceptive man than he ever was before.

How did this development of character come about, you might ask? Well, it began with a change in my perspective of self worth.

A large reason for my abrupt detachment from blogging was deeply seeded in self doubt and feeling like my impact writing these posts was minimal at best. I have always based my measure of success on tangible results, on statistics and comparing my self worth on the number of people that interact with my work. When I closed my laptop on that September day in 2011, I left feeling like 10 followers and a few hundred hits on my blog was symbolic of failure as a writer. I looked at John Elder Robinson, author of "Look Me In The Eye" to compare my success to. Having thousands of readers, and inspiring countless more as a role model for navigating the tumultuous world of an Aspergian in the world of "normal people," he had the impact I so deeply desired. I wanted nothing more than to have my own experiences help, connect, and identify with others who live with Aspergers. I wanted my work to mean something, to inspire, to build up others dealing with the challenges Aspergers can present.

Somewhere down the road, I had given up on my passion by quantifying my readers into mere numbers. I dehumanized them, by basing their value to me as a writer as a statistic, instead of measuring the impact my writing could have on each, individual person. I've returned to this blog, stepping outside of my own head, and perception of success, to place value on each individual person. I believe developing a selfless perspective has helped me find value in my writing. If even one reader sees my blog, that is now success to me. Knowing that I have the potential to inspire growth, to relate to, to offer advice, and to empathize with another person who is dealing with Aspergers...that is the only kindling I need to fuel my fire for writing. To those of you reading this right now. YOU are unique. YOU are important...and I value each and every one of you.

My question for each of you has your concept of self worth changed throughout your life? Let's discuss in the comment section below!