The Life Autistic: Episode One

Screen Shot 2018-05-10 at 3.12.43 PM.pngHi, I’m Hunter.

My story isn’t remarkable. Not yet, anyway.

I started working at 15, graduated from high school and left home at 16, and earned my Bachelor’s in English and in History before I was 21. I moved to Colorado on my own, married my college sweetheart not long after, and I got a job with Apple (corporate), which I’ve held and improved upon for nearly ten years. I own a house, I have a few friends, and I’m a ridiculously proud father to two lovely daughters.

And I’m autistic. 

That entire paragraph up there is normal (nay, expected) fare for most “neurotypical” people.

But I’m not one of those people.

“Normal” was never in the cards. Even what you’d consider “normal” achievement was and is abnormal for me – and many like me.

Given my place on the spectrum, I tend to the vicious end of self-criticality. So I’ve asked myself: “Who cares about this story?” 

You might care.

Maybe you have a child who’s just different. And you’ve thought about the dreaded ‘A’ word. And you don’t know how that difference pans out. Will they be independent? Will they succeed in life? Will they love and be loved? What does their future hold?

Maybe there’s an acquaintance who’s in their own world, and you’ve wondered—for a millisecond—what is up with them? Maybe you want to care, but you can’t quite tell if there’s something wrong with them or if they’re just, y’know, weird.

Maybe it’s an employee, boss, or co-worker — someone in your work orbit who’s off the typical axis. They stand out, sometimes in good and bad ways, and you can’t quite put a finger on why that is.

Maybe it’s your spouse, partner, loved one, and you’re not sure how much of them is “them” and how much is their autistic bent.

Maybe you actually know me. Or, at least you thought you did. Well, now you know.

Maybe you’re curious to hear about autism from someone who isn’t commenting from outside of it.

Maybe it’s you. You’re one of those “weirdos,” and someone else’s spectrum experience might be amusing and worth reading.

I want to turn embarrassment into embrace, ambiguity into clarity, and silence into voice. Autism is not a death sentence; it’s very much a compound-complex sentence, at times contradictory and labyrinthine, but always meaningful, profound, alive.

Autism is complicated. I don’t have all the answers.

But I do have a story.

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