Here in the United States, we celebrate this major family-oriented holiday called Thanksgiving. Tradition calls for getting together over a turkey-and-fixins dinner, and before we dig into the food, going around the table, each family member stating what they’re thankful for.
What am I thankful for?
Well, to be really honest (is there any other way to be?), I was pondering this question, but I only thought of the question *after* it had been answered: I’m thankful for the Asperger’s/autism spectrum community. I’m thankful, too, for its prerequisite, my diagnosis. I’m thankful for the comments and feedback and interaction I witness, not just on my own blog, but on all of ours.
I’m thankful to have found not just a couple, but a group of friends with whom I can relate and be myself – bonus: they even accept–and even embrace!–me, just as I am. A whole community with whom I share so many unique commonalities (hehe, that was irony; get it? Unique commonalities?). A whole group that cracks me up with their dry and intelligent senses of humor. A whole group that laughs with me, cheers for me, cheers me on, reminds me to be kind to myself and take care of myself, and holds my hand through my rainier days.
I’ve never felt so understood and accepted in my life. I’ve never felt so honored and humbled. I’ve never been so proud to be part of something so special, so sacred. I’ve never felt so loved and not-lonely. I’ve never felt like I belonged so thoroughly.
I’m loving this!
I’m sure that by now, had I not found this community, I might’ve gone through some stormy times, coming to terms with my Asperger’s/autism spectrum diagnosis, and maybe even beating myself up a little, maybe even grieving for a time when I didn’t know. The honeymoon period people talk about might well have ended. A depressions might have sunk in, wrapping its tentacles around me, suffocating me.
But that didn’t happen. It’s been eight months (today!) since I found out, and the honeymoon period is still going strong. I can only chock it up to the Asperger’s/autism spectrum community. The Twitter-mates, the Facebook friends, the fellow blog-writers…all have played their fundamental and pivotal roles.
I finally have what I’ve never had–a real and genuine identity, and over a thousand friends with a similar identity! Other people besides myself are actually wired in a similar way! They see the world as I do, and they mean that same world to me.
I’m also thankful that through this experience, I’ve finally come to accept myself as I am, to verbalize and express what’s going on and what I’m thinking and/or feeling, and to be able to communicate it to others, in hopes of helping others understand so that we can build a bridge toward harmony and happy coexistence. I’m thankful that I can tell people what I need and ask for help when that need arises.
I could go on forever and still not be able to explain the magnitude of the feeling and its profound effect on–and benefit to–my life, but I think everybody pretty much gets the point
Of course, I’m also thankful for everything else–my family, my partner, my friends, all of whom have been extremely understanding and accepting, and the fact that I have the basics of human needs met, like food, shelter, water, and a clean, warm, and dry place to live.
I’m also thankful for the practice and its people, an excellent support staff, and the wonderful clientele. I value and hold dear the respect and trust they have in us.
I’m thankful to be self-employed, able to set my own hours and my own rules, and able to control my own work environment.
I’m thankful for a working A/C unit–yes, even in late November. I’m thankful that I do live in Texas, and South Texas at that, where the coastal and desert climates meet, and the flora and fauna are diverse.
I mean, those are a given (or, those are givens?).
Or should I say, “Thanks-givens”?