Autism Spectrum Australia

Lord of the blogs: The Return of the Aspie!

  • Posted: 14/03/2016
  • Author: Thomas Kuzma
  • Comments: Loading.. .

Hello Aspies and Neurotypicals, it’s good to be back! So I am sure you are all asking “where has this autistic man been since last he abruptly left the duty of writing blogs?” Well I have been on TV, talking about what it’s like to live with autism on A Current Affair. I have been building up my physical strength, learning the ancient arts of yoga and gymnastics. I’ve honed in on my artistic skills, painting wickedly good pieces for a video game bar in Sydney. I went on a distant quest to Brisbane to pontificate about my autistic life and lastly I do what I do best, write.

When I was in Brisbane I went to the Asia Pacific Autism Conference. During my time there I met some wonderful people on the spectrum who taught me so much about being myself and trying to find my self-confidence.

Confidence is a tricky thing to master when you’re on the spectrum.  There is so much brain power needed to process things like social queues, responses to questions and timing. That means speaking confidently gets shoved further down the line, somewhere between ‘junk food control’ and ‘opinion restraints’. But having confidence is not just something you have when it comes to conversation; confidence is something that is with you in everyday life, no matter how much it may be.

When you master a skill, you build self-confidence, when you are rewarded for your hard effort, you build confidence. Even knowledge brings self-confidence. For instance I love Ratchet and Clank, I can tell you about the game series, heroes and the variety of aliens in the franchise before you can ask “Where’s Aleero City?” When I talk about that game series, or about building imaginary universes from the ground up, I get this great amount of confidence.  I’m talking about my passion and my love for creativity. I guess that’s why I started painting.

There is a hardship that needs to be faced when it comes to building confidence. It’s called leaving your comfort zone. People like me love our comfort zones; sometimes I won’t get out of bed until midday just because it is so darn comfortable lying in bed reading comics. The problem is, in order for us to build character and that self-confidence; we have to leave the safety and security of our ordinary day to day life. As much as I like Ratchet and Clank, I will use a different analogy.

We’ve all seen ‘The Lord of the Rings’ right? If not you should head straight to Isengard! Frodo Baggins lives in a comfortable world, a pleasing peaceful paradise promising plenty of parties and pints of ale. The thing is Frodo has to leave his relaxing life in order to deliver the ring to Mordor in order to destroy a great evil of the world. What Frodo faces is a series of tests, challenges, failures and victories that help build up his confidence and turn him into a confident character by the end of the trilogy.

Just like how Frodo must deal with his hurdles and pitfalls anyone who wants to build their self-confidence must take a step out of their comfort zone and work towards building who they are as people. This can either be by mastering a skill you like, or a skill you need. For instance, I started working out because my body needed to be healthier; I took painting because I wanted to become a great artist. 

You know what the problem about self-confidence is? There’s no alternative to saying self-confidence. With ‘fear’ you have scared, frightened, worried, on edge. But with self-confidence you can’t say self-morale or grand composure, you have to say those two darn words over and over again.

There’s a similar story faced with disabled people, which can be seen by the definition of the word alone. Even though the word disabled is an accurate term, it doesn’t inspire courage or confidence. Then again if you send a message saying you are great because you have autism, how are you going to make someone believe their talents are truly theirs and not an offset from some feature of them? I believe that we should recognize our autism, but we should focus on what our talents and skills are more.

What I’ve learnt from fellow Aspies is that autism shouldn’t be a crutch. We may live on the spectrum, but it is not our defining feature. There is a happy middle that each of us can meet where we can utilise our autistic traits to improve who we are thus making us more confident. As long as we can leave our comfort zones and be more accepting of whom we are, then we can become more confident as people. 

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Lord of the blogs: The Return of the Aspie!