|The Perils of Theoretical Basketball|
|Life on Earth|
It is beyond the scope of this talk to continue with the chronology and tell you about my early adulthood, where further germane developments took place. Suffice it to say that it has been a long, slow journey from where I was in high school to where I am now. So, who am I now? Many of my autistic "symptoms" are not as pronounced in me now as they were in my youth. However, I still feel persistently different from those around me. Adulthood has brought with it a keener awareness of the difficulties and obstacles I face, but the solutions are as elusive as ever, and there is an overriding feeling of lagging well behind my peers. I am coping with the same issues that first presented themselves to me during adolescence. The issues that I grapple with-living independently, establishing a secure financial and occupational footing, and finding a suitable relationship-are more common to those in their late teens and early twenties than to people my age.
As an adult, I have learned to suppress or hide what, to me, are important but clearly unusual aspects of my personality. Interestingly, as I read that sentence, I realize anew that on a subtle level, I am still carrying out my mission from Grade 8, and I notice the same set of pros and cons. On the plus side, people have fewer opportunities to hurt me. It keeps the bullies away.
On the negative side, I have internalized these feelings of inadequacy so thoroughly that I do not feel comfortable with my true self. I am afraid to let anyone know the "real" me for fear of rejection.
In contrast to my earlier years, I am now able to get along reasonably well in the everyday social world. I still experience some degree of anxiety in certain types of social situations, but I've experienced no major disasters, perhaps because I studiously avoid those situations where I know I do not do well. Some aspects of social discourse remain puzzling and ambiguous to me. It all flies by so fast, and on so many levels, that I can't properly process it. In addition, I continue to discover gaps in my social knowledge and vocabulary resulting from living a self-imposed, sheltered life. But I've learned enough to fake my way through it without any major fallout.