The story of Stephanie M.

I was always different, never quite fitting in anywhere. My school years were spent trying to laugh off the names and hurtful remarks. I was extremely tall, extremely skinny, extremely awkward, and extremely weird.

When I finished school and entered the adult world I thought things would change. I was wrong. The only thing that changed was the size of the playground and the bullies were a little taller. Work was almost as bad a nightmare as school.

And I was still strange.

Then one day a doctor whispered a word to me that changed my life. Asperger’s. It did not take them long to evaluate me and tell me that I do, indeed, have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Finally my weirdness had a name. But I was no closer to normal.

Suddenly the word hung on me like a chain around my neck that weighted me down in a sea that was society. I was drowning. Suddenly I wasn’t just weird; I was defective. I turned inside myself to escape a scary, dangerous world.

Then a hand reached through the darkness and the kindest eyes with the gentlest touch drew me in and for the first time in my life so I married him. I felt truly accepted for who I was. He said I was unique and special. He told me that my Asperger’s is my superpower. He celebrated my quirks and loved the things that everyone else found so strange – thing like my intelligence, my view of the world, my honesty.

And through his eyes I began to see the beauty of me.

I came to understand that the real disability is society’s inability to see me and others like me as valuable and worthy. I have been called the “R” word, been verbally attacked, been beaten, but I never did those things to anyone so who really has the disability?

Through this journey I have learned three lessons:

  1. Having someone who loves and supports you is the most valuable gift you can receive.
  2. People fear what they don’t understand – and they don’t understand me.
  3. I am strong. I am worthy. I am valuable. I have a place in this world.

I found the beauty of me.