When I was a kid, I went to a big science event for local homeschoolers. We mixed chemicals, opened eggs, and played with liquid nitrogen. It was grand.
During one of the breaks, I wandered out into one of the patios. A group of kids was out there talking. One of them was a boy who carefully enunciated all his words. He was arguing some advanced mathematical concept with the other kids.
I listened for a while, then departed, feeling shy and slightly envious. He was so much smarter than me. I knew that he was different, and I would never be that smart because I wasn’t wired that way.
The term Asperger’s hadn’t yet come into vogue. Without a label, I was free to observe and draw my own conclusions. My conclusion was admiration.
Years went by. As a teen, I sought out creative, intelligent people and surrounded myself with them. Many of them spoke in that clear, enunciated, staccato way. They were always super-smart, taking ideas to a level of genius I’d never conceived. I learned to seek them out when I needed to develop ideas. By comparison, other people seemed like Muggles.
Then the term Aspergers* came along. Suddenly my super-smart friends were apologizing. “I have a sensory-processing disorder,” they would say. “I’m going on medication for it.”
I watched as my once-brilliant friends were dulled to the level of a Muggle by medication. They meekly accepted the ruling of The Establishment that there was something wrong with them.
So this is my open letter to you. This is me shouting NO. Aspergers is not a disability. It is genius. The definition of genius is being able to focus on one thing at a time. You do that with the intensity of a laser, drilling deep into a concept, far deeper than I can, with my scattershot mind. While I can achieve that level of focus, it’s more difficult for me to achieve. And your brain does it effortlessly.
Our culture has ceased to value genius. It only values stupidity and conformity. Look at our pop culture as the foolish, the disgusting, the mentally ill, are praised and glorified.
Don’t let them tell you that you are broken. Don’t take their drugs that will alter your brain chemistry. If you have health problems, take high-quality supplements (this one is my favorite!) and good probiotics to support your natural health. Eat veggies. Drink water. Exercise. You have a brilliant mind. Care for it. Guard it.
Drugs will take it away. Labels will make you feel bad about yourself. Before geniuses had Aspergers, I recognized them for what they were.
Please don’t ever change.
- The term Aspergers has been rolled into the broader “autism spectrum”, which encompasses everyone from the slightly shy to the non-vocal. Pretty much everyone I know fits into this definition.
- Lots of famous people have been on the spectrum. Check out this list. Among them are Albert Einstein, Adam Young of Owl City, Satoshi Tajiri (creator of Pokemon). To say nothing of famous people who probably were spectrum, like Mozart.