I know what y’all might be thinking. Well, to tell you the truth, I think I do, but I ain’t never sure about people, and part of me thinks I never will. I think I know how you might react, but then again, I don’t know how I’d react if I were in your shoes. But lemme tell y’all this before I begin. I didn’t write this article to bring awareness to my syndrome, and I do not want to a poster child about it. All I wish to do is tell my own story and say who I really am. There ain’t no one-shoe-fits-all solution to what I’m going through when it comes to this subject. That’s why I won’t say what qualifies me on the spectrum. Still, I will confess how that diagnosis completed the person I am today and expose a little bit of that experience today.
I didn’t receive my diagnosis until I was sixteen. Growing up, everyone always knew I wasn’t like the other kids of my age. I didn’t want to have friends because I never felt I needed some. It all changed when I was in high school when I started to bond with my classmates, especially in Secondary IV. My classmates and I always did things together, from group projects to field trips to playing hide-n-seek in the hallways. I did not realize it until now, but the Secondary IV group that I was assigned to made me feel loved by people. It all changed when I moved to Secondary V. All the “friends” I made previous year were transferred to the same group while I was assigned to another group with folks I don’t recognize. The good days of my childhood were over. I ain’t gonna tell you what happened after that, but it eventually got me to get my diagnosis.
Over the following months, I understood my diagnosis ain’t no curse nor blessing. It was an answer to what I am going through as a person. I realized a lot of my life views and beliefs may be a result of my spectrum. Suddenly, I knew why I always tend to have different passions from everyone else. I knew why I aced courses that I was interested in and bombed those I wasn’t interested in. I knew why I did not share the same philosophy and thoughts as everyone else. But the biggest question that got answered – and the most tragic one, in my opinion – is why I’ve never been able to socialize and became a loner.
For folks who know me well, my struggle with loneliness is my biggest open secret. Until Secondary V, I never thought having friends was an essential aspect of life. It was until I saw how much I missed those group experiences that I realized friends are one of life’s most beautiful treasures – a treasure that I took for granted all my life. I realized that nothing in life can be achieved alone – or at least without support from someone close to you. Realizing this error, I had to know to make up for all the experiences I spent in solitude. But there were two obstacles in my way. The best way to describe my syndrome is that I have a custom-made computer as a brain, while everyone else has the same computer from the same brand. There is nothing wrong with my computer compared to yours, but we are not easily compatible. That lack of compatibility hinders my success in forming a strong bond with friends I would like to close with. The second challenge is a matter of timing. By the time I realized the importance of friendships and relationships, I was almost seventeen. Kids of my age always found their friends, partners, and little gangs, while I felt like I was left all alone. I couldn’t mingle with other friend circles because of my lack of social compatibility.
Where does my loneliness lead me? I hate to admit it, but I sometimes heavily envy people who are together. I hate to think about my jealousy because I don’t want my thoughts to hurt nobody and sever a friendship like it did in the past. But when I do, I wish that I felt I had some friends with whom I could spend a Friday night drinking. Friends with whom we can go skiing together in the mountains. Friends with whom I can go on a road trip together. Friends who will be with me forever and ever, and maybe I could start a family with one of them. All I wish is to feel I’m wanted by everyone in their life, and I want them to show me that affection and not just say it. Friends ain’t toys you’re supposed to play with for a couple of months before leaving them on the shelf for dust collection. I want to find something permanent. I do not want to hear about “you will find that special someone in the future” because what if tomorrow never comes? I’m tired of waiting for almost twenty years. I feel I’m running out of time, so I wish to find that special someone right now. If all relationships must come to an end, I hope to be the exception to that rule. I want to choose a beggar. I wanna eat my cake and then have it.
I know I have accomplished many things in my life, and I am grateful for them. It really gives me hope about my future and reminds me of how much I can still accomplish in life. However, I can’t help but notice that part of me feels incomplete.
For all my friends who are reading this, I cannot express how warm you guys make me feel in my life. I hope you can understand I didn’t write this article to put y’all down. I wrote this because I feel like our friendship is drifting away. As my time as a Vanier student is coming to an end, I realized our friendship will get severed. I do not want to lose our bond even when we are about to walk on our separate paths. The experience I went through at Vanier has really brought me back to the best of my Secondary IV days, and I don’t want that experience to go away. After all I said, you still consider me as my friend; I hope this article will help you understand and shed some light on how you can help me as I transition to university.
Finally, if you relate to my experience, I guess you and I ain’t so different after all.
By Jacques Wang