A conversation from me to you about being neurodiverse in a neurotypical world and about living, unabashedly, unapologetically, and boldly. Or, it’s a conversation between your soul and your mask. It’s a conversation between you and the condemnation of society. It’s a conversation you need to have, however you see it.
You: You nervous about the fight?
Me: Scared to death.
You: Well, you don’t look scared.
Me: Well, I ain’t supposed to.
You: You know, you don’t have to do it.
Me: Sure I do.
You: You know, living with you, it hasn’t been easy. People see me, but they think of you. Now with all this going on, it’s going to be worse than ever.
Me: It don’t have to be.
You: No, sure it does.
Me: Why? You got a lot going on, kid.
You: What? My last name? That’s the reason I got a decent job. That’s the reason that people deal with me in the first place. Now I start to get a little ahead, I start to get a little something for myself, and this happens. Now I’m asking you, as a favor, not to go through with this, okay? This is only going to end up bad for you, and it’s going to end up bad for me.
Me: What? You think I’m hurting you?
You: Yeah, in a way you are.
Me: That’s the last thing that I ever wanted to do.
You: Yeah, I know that’s not what you want to do, but that’s just the way that it is. Don’t you care what people think? Doesn’t it bother you that people are making you out to be a joke, and that I’m going to be included in that? Do you think that’s right? DO YOU!?
Me: You ain’t going to believe this, but you used to fit right here [ in my hand ]. I’d hold you up and say to your mother, “This kid’s going to be the best kid in the world. This kid is going to be better than anybody ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you. Every day was a privilege. And then the time came for you to be your own [wo]man, and take on the world… and you did! But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!
If you know what you’re worth, now go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers and saying you’re not where you want to be because of him, or her, or anybody. COWARDS DO THAT, AND THAT AIN’T YOU! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT!
I’m always going to love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my soul, and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you’re not going to have a life.
This conversation, I have memorized. It’s not mine, but it’s one that has sustained me and kept me alive many times. Only today, did the full weight of why it resonates so much hit me.
You have let the world tell you that you’re a joke. You’ve told yourself that the way to have a life is to be less you and more like the world. You’ve thought that if enough people say it, it must be true. It’s not true, and they’re all wrong. And if they laugh, it is from some deficit that they have– not you.
You’re different, and in a world where being one click above or below average is unacceptable, you have learned to downplay what makes you amazing and to armor your vulnerabilities and feel ashamed of them.
It’s time to stop doing that. Even your weaknesses are beautiful. What makes you child-like does not mean you are childish. It means you are full of wonder and haven’t let the world corrupt your perspective with its grotesque and mutilated standards of “acceptable.”
You deserve a life. Get one unapologetically. It’s worth it to take the hits, the scorn, the cackling menagerie of the jungle of cliques with their animalistic pecking orders and their social Darwinism. It is worth it every minute of every day, it’s worth it.
You’re wired for the Truth, and until you live it, you’ll never be Free.