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My Story Begins

Embracing the Kaleidoscope: A Journey of Autistic Self-Discovery

Prologue

Sunday March 26th, 2023. In an act of unwavering authenticity, I am currently embarking on a deeply personal journey, fraught with the fear of rejection and loss, while simultaneously encountering a profound realization of my true identity. For the very first time in my existence, I have discovered the essence of who I am, and it leaves me breathless. Alas, I am acutely aware of the inherent risks in exposing my true self to the world. The possibility of being scrutinized, judged, or ostracized fills me with a sense of trepidation.

Despite these anxieties, I am resolute in my belief that this is my opportunity to showcase my multidimensional nature, to display my boundless curiosity, creativity, and intellectual prowess. While society may not typically perceive me in this light, I am steadfast in my conviction that I possess the capacity to astound. This journey represents a momentous gamble, and while it may potentially lead to my downfall, it may also mark the start of a new, transformative chapter in my life.

It's possible that some individuals may perceive my actions as self-centered. However, I'd like to offer a different perspective.

For more than 40 years, I prioritized accommodating others at the cost of my own well-being. As a result, I never truly centered myself in my own life. Now, I'm making a conscious effort to put my own needs first, which is a healthy and necessary step towards self-discovery. This journey can be a lonely one, as inner work is intangible, and the outcomes are personal. Despite this, the results can be truly transformative. So, rather than viewing my actions as selfish, I believe that I'm simply taking the necessary steps towards personal growth and healing.

Hello, My Name is Sher

Hello, my name is Sher, and I'm actually autistic. Took me a whopping 43 years to figure that one out! Talk about a slow revelation, huh? But let me tell you, during all that time, I've had my fair share of adventures as the resident "outsider."

Oh boy, the world can be a wild and wacky place when you're wired a little differently.

It often felt like I was stuck in a never-ending symphony of noise, lights, and general chaos. I mean, who turned up the volume on life? It's like someone cranked it to eleven! It's enough to make anyone's head spin.

People used to give me a piece of their mind, bless their hearts.

"You're too sensitive, Sher! Too emotional! Too much!"

They'd say, as if I was some kind of walking hurricane. But now that I reflect on it, I can't help but wish I had stumbled upon a gem like this book back in the day. Imagine, having a trusty resource to turn to when I first discovered my beautiful quirks. A guidebook to help me navigate the maze of social norms and expectations. It would have been like finding the holy grail, I tell ya! But hey, better late than never, right?

So here I am, embracing my autistic self with open arms. Ready to tackle life's hurdles with a dash of wit, a sprinkle of charm, and a whole lot of understanding. And if my journey can inspire just one person out there, well, that's a victory worth celebrating.

Here's to embracing our differences and writing our own extraordinary stories, my friend! Cheers!

For much of my life, I didn't have a name for the way I experienced the world. I didn't understand why certain things felt so difficult for me, why I was overwhelmed so easily, or why I had such a hard time connecting with others. Instead, I turned to alcohol as a way of coping with these feelings of confusion and isolation. It was only after I delved deeply into the study of marginalized areas of psychology that I started to connect the dots and understand my own neurodivergence. Through this journey of self-discovery, I came to realize that I am autistic, and everything now has suddenly begun to make sense. My entire perception of the world has expanded to embrace a profound and truly extraordinary reality.

But my story doesn't end there. Being diagnosed with autism is just the beginning of a new chapter in my life - one in which I will have to learn to navigate the world on my own terms. Up to this point it has been a journey of self-acceptance, growth, and learning to embrace my differences.

As I share my story, I hope to inspire others who may be struggling with addiction or just feeling like you are constantly trying to fit your square self into a round hole.

I hope that this book can serve as a resource for anyone who has ever felt like they don't quite fit in and as a reminder that they are not alone. Above all, I hope that my journey can help to foster greater understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity in all its forms.

My thought process is akin to a constantly shifting kaleidoscope, rearranging itself in ever-changing patterns. I don't conform to linear thinking and instead view everything as interconnected, from the past to the present to the future. Hence, this book does not follow a conventional start-to-finish structure. If you share my approach to thinking, you will likely appreciate the seemingly random references I make, as well as the intersections of ideologies and theoretical frameworks that may at first appear contradictory to one another. My unique way of seeing and integrated way of experiencing the world around me offers a fresh perspective that embraces complexity and challenges conventional modes of thought.

Through my writing, I hope to capture the essence of what it's like to experience the world as through my own unique neuroindividuality - the beauty, the challenges, and everything in between. Although my thoughts and experiences may not always align with conventional perspectives, I firmly believe in the power and significance of sharing them with the world. It is through our unique perspectives and experiences that we gain a deeper understanding of the human condition and the complexities of life.

By delving into the depths of my own being, I hope to uncover insights and revelations that may resonate with others who may be navigating similar paths. It is in the sharing of our stories that we can find common ground and a sense of unity, despite our differences. Storytelling is one of the great foundations of civilization – it’s how we build community and create connections. While my journey may not always follow a linear or traditional path, I trust that there is purpose in every step, every challenge, and every triumph. It is through this trust and willingness to share that we can create a world of greater empathy, compassion, and understanding.


Trusting the Process


As I gaze out of my office window this morning, I am transfixed by the mesmerizing sight of snowfall. It's late March here in Portland, Oregon, and such a snowfall is a rare occurrence, particularly the day after the first day of spring. The snowflakes perform a graceful dance, swirling and twirling in the air, each one a hypnotic and intricate masterpiece. As I take in the view, I am awestruck by the stunning metamorphosis of the world outside, which has turned into a flawless winter paradise. The familiar streets and houses are now draped in a covering of immaculate white, creating a breathtaking sight.

In this moment, I am reminded of the unique experience of being human, where each individual is a one-of-a-kind creation, imbued with their own essence and beauty. Yet, as we come together, we can create a wondrous tapestry of life, enriched by our differences and diversity.

As an autistic person, I am often drawn to the intricacies and nuances of the world around me, finding wonder in the tiniest of details that may go unnoticed by others.

And in this moment, I am completely captivated by the exquisite beauty and unexpectedness of this snowfall, a reminder that life is full of surprises and that there is always something new and remarkable to discover.

It is a constant reminder that despite the monotony and predictability of everyday life, there is always the possibility for something remarkable and unprecedented to arise. The world is abundant with surprises, and if we observe carefully, we can discover marvel and awe even in the tiniest of things. As an autistic individual, I have a natural inclination towards finding significance and purpose in all aspects of life. I assign meaning to everything.

Today, I had a profound conversation with my mother, a conversation that marked a turning point in my life's journey. With great vulnerability, I confided in her that I had made the decision to seek an autism assessment. This disclosure was a critical step in my personal growth, one that signifies my willingness to embark on a new chapter in my life. By embracing my neurodivergent identity, I am embarking on a divergent path of self-discovery and self-acceptance.

It feels peculiar to receive an assessment for something I am confident about regarding myself.

I find myself pondering how an outsider who is unfamiliar with me could evaluate my 43 years of behavior more accurately than I can.

I have been grappling with these types of questions as I weigh the pros and cons of getting a formal assessment. I have been struggling to understand the value of a formal diagnosis. However, it has become clear to me that without one, I may not have my basic needs met at work. While I find it unnecessary and stigmatizing, I have decided to pursue it because the alternative is to endure mistreatment and experience emotional and psychological insecurity in my work environment.

Through this process, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of who I am and how I experience the world around me. I am ready to acknowledge and celebrate the unique ways in which my brain works, and the beauty that lies in my differences. This decision to seek an autism assessment is a powerful declaration of my intention to live an authentic and fulfilling life. It marks the beginning of a journey towards deeper self-acceptance, one that I am eager and excited to embark on. I am grateful for the support of my loved ones, and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

As I embark on this journey, I am reminded of the importance of acceptance, and how integral it is to have a supportive network of loved ones by my side. My mother's unwavering support has always been a constant source of comfort, and I am grateful to have her with me on this path of self-discovery. With her encouragement, I am ready to take the first step towards uncovering my true self.

Over the last few years while I was learning about trauma and its effects, I found myself struggling with the idea that my parents may have played a role in my experiences. My childhood memories are often hazy, and I started to wonder if I had blocked out something truly terrible.

However, my intuition told me that this was not the case, and that I needed to dig deeper within myself.

My journey of healing from trauma has been instrumental in uncovering my autism, and I believe that many people are afraid to confront their past for fear of discovering something unbearable. Unfortunately, this leads to unhealed trauma and emotional distress in our society.

I can understand why some people may shy away from the arduous work of healing from trauma. It can be an overwhelming and painful process that requires us to confront our deepest fears and vulnerabilities. However, in my own experience, the rewards of uncovering my true self, beyond the layers of coping mechanisms and social constructs, have been immeasurable.

Through my journey of healing and self-discovery, I have come to recognize the importance of facing our past and the emotions that accompany it. It is through this process that we can begin to heal and move forward, free from the weight of unresolved trauma. While it may be a difficult journey, the benefits of confronting our past and embracing our true selves are worth it. We owe it to ourselves to pursue a life of healing, growth, and self-discovery, even when the road ahead seems daunting.

Despite these uncertainties, I knew that I could rely on my Mom's unwavering support and understanding. She has always been a pillar of strength in my life, and I am grateful to have her in my corner as I navigate this new journey of self-discovery. As I continue to unravel the complexities of my experiences, I am also reminded of the power of self-trust and intuition. While it may be easy to question ourselves and our past, it is important to have faith in our own inner knowing and to trust that we will find the answers we need in due time.

Upon reading my own words, I am struck by the incredible power of writing. It is amazing how just a few words can provide comfort and clarity when we need it most. For me, the phrase

"trusting that we will find the answers in due time"

resonates deeply. At present, I am grappling with some challenges related to my neurodivergence in my workplace. It can be overwhelming, but I am reminded to take things one step at a time. Through my own experiences, I have come to recognize the value of self-expression and the importance of trusting the process. Writing has been an invaluable tool for me in this journey of self-discovery and healing. While the road ahead may be uncertain, I know that I can find solace in the power of writing and in trusting myself to find the answers that I need in due time.

This book will be a reflection of my journey in real time, as I am committed to writing at least three pages every day. With this pace, I anticipate completing the book within 100 days, marking a significant milestone from my “coming out”. I am incredibly grateful and humbled to have you, the reader, accompany me on this journey. As I share my experiences, struggles, and triumphs, I hope to create a space for understanding and compassion for those who may be on a similar path. Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to sharing my story with you.

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