Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate and Autism

I'm a bit of a chocolate freak. It's true. I think almost every day I have something chocolate covered or flavored. During my pregnancy, I remember eating peanut butter and chocolate sandwiches. I don't stuff myself with chocolate, as it truly wreaks havoc on my system and I would be about 12 sizes bigger, but I do enjoy a small chocolate treat when I can.

Lindt is one of my favorites, especially their truffles. Petite chocolate globes of goodness. I love to hear the shells crack open in my mouth and feel the insides melt slowly on my tongue...yeah, it's pretty amazing.

So, when I read this Unsung Heroes on the net, I said, " That's great! One of my favorite companies is acknowledging autism. But...No way. I don't have a chance. There isn't anything that I have done that could warrant that?"  Is there?

Now, I haven't been working at this very long, in the blogging sense. But I have been very vocal about making people aware of what's going on in my life and how Asperger's has shaped that life. I get emails from folks who tell me what an impact my writing has given them. They feel a kinship that they are not going through by themselves. They feel less alone. I can't tell you what that means to me.

I started this as a way to get the word out, but there are so many other people out there with so many other words. How will my words make a difference? I guess they do, as I have a few thousand blog hits in a short time, syndication on
Autisable, a writing series with Hartley Steiner, working with wonderful kids who have Autism, ADHD and Bipolar disorder and a few other surprises that I am holding on to for now. But I was downplaying it. Somewhere in my mind, I felt I hadn't done enough, that I should be this or should be that. 

My best friend, J.T., who has a fabulous blog on his own, told me the other day, "Don't naysay your success."  I was doing that. I was diminishing it, making it smaller in my eyes. "Look how far you've come!" He was right, as usual. He's the voice of reason and clarity to me when I get overwhelmed. 

I do not have a degree in this subject (but I am working on it). I do not have my own facility (which is one of my goals). I do not have people working under me (but would have people working with me). But I think I am making a difference in people's lives by simply being on their level. I feel like I'm the Norma Rae of the Asperger's community. I started small, but my dreams are big and sometimes feel they are beyond my reach. And yet, I feel confident enough to know that I can do it. And that, in my mind, is an ordinary person attempting to do extraordinary things. 

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