It’s been quite some time now that I have been receiving emails from people whom I haven’t met. Some simply wish me well on my journey as a parent to a young adult with Autism. Others are seeking for help and guidance as well as resources in their own areas. It makes me truly happy to be able to give advice and connect to these people. Whenever I answer these mails, it feels like those moments when the early morning sun touches your bare skin. Tingling. Goosebumps. Exciting.
It makes me feel alive, accepted.
On rare occasions, I also receive discombobulating views on what I have written, posts being shared on social media, or about autism in general. Some people just have so much judgment in them that perhaps this is their way of unloading some of the burden. Trust me, it can hurt but not in a way that makes me wallow in self-pity or despair. It hurts me to see other people being hurt and hurting others—and they don’t even realize that they are doing it.
I want to help. Yes, I can be of help!
All these—my website, my social media presence, my book— Living Autism Day By Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage, the Be Safe campaign, the symposium and talks, and another book on the works—are meant to be of service to others and to give them hope, that they are not alone. I am not perfect but I do try my best in raising awareness and acceptance of autism.
Whenever someone turns combative in some of my stance, my impression always turn not on annoyance but of understanding and compassion. Pain, fear, and other negative emotions even when hidden in the recesses of our soul always come into the surface. In our effort to hold unto them, we tend to have this strong urge to convince others to feel otherwise, to provoke, to cause pain—in the same way we feel it but just cannot accept it.
Handling emotional “talks” even with people we don’t personally know can be challenging. Aside from not really knowing their situation and individual behavior, cultural and emotional tendencies, people will always hold on to their judgment as final and non-negotiable. I fully understand how some people felt strongly against vaccine, medical cannabis, research, clinical trials, etc. I also understand how some felt totally in agreement of all these. The virtue of autism acceptance is for everyone to be accepted, no matter which side of the fence you are on. It is about understanding each and everyone’s struggle.
Whenever I feel being pushed and pulled in two opposing directions, I always remember Johnny’s words to me—“Everybody thinks. Not just in the same way at times.” I believe I can never make people be what I want them to be or to believe in what I believe in. I cannot also decide what is best for them. I can only choose for myself, for my son (if he asks me to) or for my family. All things else, the universe is so accepting, so tolerant, so happy in its own orbit. So, why can’t we be?