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I was 16 years old when I found out that I had been diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Immediately, my heart dropped.
As soon as I learned I was autistic, I felt like it meant something was wrong with me. I felt weak, like I wanted to just break down and cry.
I started to reevaluate the way I saw the world. I thought back to when I was in elementary and middle school, how during recess I’d just go off and wander around by myself. Kids were always teasing me. And when I was down, the one thing that made me feel better was music.
I could replicate any rhythm, even if I had only heard it once. When there was no furniture around, I’d tap on my head and stomach and chatter my teeth. I found out that people with autism tend to have a keen interest. I started thinking autism might not be a disadvantage after all.
Eventually, I started to tell people close to me that I am autistic, and they seemed okay with it. Instead of judging me, they told me that’s part of what makes me unique.