The Life Autistic: Give Us a Chance to Fix It!

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I remember asking my dad if I could help unload groceries into the fridge.

He said no.

And I remember losing it over that!

“Dad, I just wanted to help! Like THE BIG HELP, geez.”

I don’t know why I’d expected my dad to know of the Nickelodeon campaign, and at the same time, I had no idea why I’d been rebuffed on what I thought was simple enough.

Folks, I’m not often charged out of my indolence, but when I am, it is strong.

When I want to pitch in and feel like I can solve something, the urge is almost impossible to shake.

I hate when it’s shot down.


In my journey on The Life Autistic, I’ve reflected on this more.

To try solving a problem, that can be a strong compulsion, obsession. As if, logically, we don’t see this as a problem unless we cannot solve it after trying.

Yeah, I get that it’s a waste of time sometimes. I may not be equipped for it.

And in the case of loading the fridge, my dad had a system. And it wasn’t one I’d have followed. (Gee, maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here).

But to this day, when a problem, concern, task, or tinker comes up — I’m almost afraid of the urge.

Sometimes I just want a crack at solving something to prove it can’t be solved!





The Life Autistic: “But Hunter, you . . .”


Let’s hear it.

It’s ok.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it from the outside.

Folks, I’m definitely autistic, even if I don’t look and don’t always act it.

But Hunter, you . .

I what?

Moved out?

Yeah, because my family thought it’d be easier for me to be out on my own and not have to worry about me during their next cross-Atlantic move. I was 16. It wasn’t easy for any of us.

Have a career?

So? Even many neurotypical, non-autistic people don’t! That’s just as normal as it isn’t. I was fortunate to learn, to adapt, to grow, and to work in a place that has mostly valued my work. I’m different, and I work for a place that thinks different.

Got married?

Well, hah, ok, I lucked out there. ^_^

Have friends?

I don’t have a lot of friend-friends. They are special and rare. They’ve stuck around. But I’m an odd duck. And even to this day I’m afraid I’ll lose them if ever I’m too weird. But I haven’t yet. I still have them, and I hope I find more.

Have emotions and empathy?

It’s not that I don’t feel. The intensity is different, the expression isn’t what you’d expect. This surprises me as much as it may do you. I’m autistic, not inhuman.

Are almost fun to be around socially?

Who am I kidding, no one says that.

But if they do – it takes effort, it’s all been work, and none of it comes naturally. I’ve worked hard—HARD—to be a more likable person, and it’s work every step of the way.

Folks, I’ve never grown out of it. I never will.

Autism and its quirks and perks are with me forever.

If they’re not obvious, that’s because I don’t make them obvious.

I’ve grown with it. Into it. Learned to cope, to adapt, to respond, to foresee and plan better.


The Life Autistic: Be More Specific than THAT

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I remember telling my daughter to get me a tool.

Mo, can you get daddy the red screwdriver, with the short handle; it’s in my office, on the left by my chair, in the top drawer of my cabinet with the Hot Wheels, and it might be under a stack of yellow paper.”

There’s no way she’d miss that.

Because I did what I’d want y’all to do for us.

We autistic folks can have some challenges when we’re trying to figure out what you mean when you’re not specific.

If you’re asking me “OK WHAT IS THIS??” — folks, I’m gonna low-key freak out, because I can’t answer your question if I don’t know what THIS is.

Or if you’re capping off a long list of things with “THAT needs to be done urgently,” then I’m gonna pause and make sure I know what THAT might be.

Does that sound simple?

It is simple.

Many of us are really logical, precise creatures, and we LOVE unambiguous communication.

So help us out with that.

That, being “being more specific.”