My name is Lis, I am 2nd year Psychology student in Murdoch University. I am a girl in a woman’s body, I’ll tell you why…
I titled this post as ‘unordinary’ because it is. Did I plan to be in Perth 5 years ago? No. I thought I would be working to help build my (ex)husband’s career and a comfortable life for us. Apparently, I was too ‘special’ and ‘unordinary’. (I am not complaining, because it’s pointless in doing so. It’s a matter of fact.)
Did I plan this last year? No. I was planning towards achieving a happy and basic life. Finally at peace with my ‘extra’-ordinary and be happy for the rest of the remaining (hopefully short) life. I was promised an authentic life.
I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) in 2013. Adults with AS are often dismissed as if we should have outgrown the condition. Knowing why I am what I am, opens all the locked doors for me – the doors that are opened for you all your life. I am owed a life – not by anyone, but by myself, so I am getting it back now.
Mind you, I am not totally dependent on people. I have a disorder, but my handicap is invisible. Other people with Asperger’s can say whatever they want, but to me, it’s the most inconvenient disability! I am neither proud nor ashamed of it, it is what it is.
I have my limitations, but I decide to take the plunge. Make no mistake, simple task like taking public transport is easy for you, it’s a massive challenge for me. Understand this, I hardly had to go out of my apartment for 6 years (not all totalled up). When I was out, it was once in every few months, and I never had to take public transport. I don’t recognise places, it’s been a lifelong challenge. I lived in a neighbourhood for 2 decades, but I still got lost.
I cannot say if it were more desirable to have a diagnosis earlier in my life, it wasn’t an option since Asperger’s was only included in DSM in 1994 and Singapore has been way behind in the psychology discipline, I could have ben misdiagnosed for something else and life would be completely disastrous for me. I think the fact that I have survived thus far testaments to everything.
I hardly, ever asked for help, so when I received one, I am enormously grateful, even if my face didn’t show the same – my face doesn’t always synchronise with my feelings, I feel tons, but my face show none.
I am not all strange, I am quite normal like you, in some way. That really had been my full time job – pretending to be normal. I also struggle with distraction. See, I also have this hyper-focus thing which is a distraction of distraction. It turns out, I am quite intelligent, so I develop coping strategies to overcome my weaknesses and illuminate my strengths.
I never thought that I am easily distracted; I teased my sister for her short focus-span. I have super focus ability, I get things done, and I can get super absorbed into something I am interested in.
I got interested in amigurumi, and I became obsessed about designing and creating an amigurumi style of my own. I started a business on that. Best decision ever! I am really good at what I do.
I struggle with normal – well somewhat normal – stuffs like allergies. Most people on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have sensory integration issues, so do I, but I also have the normal people’s issues!
Yet, I somewhat, look too “normal” to be “disordered”. I enjoy the simple things like you do. I love a good toast – my recent adventures unveiled my natural culinary skills, well, a picky eater can make a decent cook – and I enjoy the simple things in life.
My life in Murdoch is only just beginning, and I don’t know if it would be easier or harder, but it is a path that I have chosen to take. People think I put my austim at the forefront of my life, they are not entirely wrong, it ought to be at the forefront of my life.
I am autistic. I was autistic when I was a child. I am quite sure that I will be autistic when I die. I have never tried to get more than I should deserve with my handicap, I just want to get back what I should’ve deserved – a life.
If I had known of my autism, I may or may not have struggled with all the relational bullcraps in high school; I may never have to suffer in silence. Now, I am only trying to live and learn.
Remember this, age is just a measurement. A 14 years old standing by my side may not outlive me. That, is life. Age has little effect on life. I deserve as much as a 14 years old deserve – a chance to learn and progress.
This is still an unordinary life. At Murdoch University, I still don’t belong, but at least I am pursuing what I want. Loneliness is just a prerequisite.