Have you ever gotten a call from a telemarketing company trying to offer you that last-minute deal on insurance or a new security system? You probably have. In the last few years the humans who used to attempt to reason with the angry recipient of the call got replaced by a friendly computer secretary who seems much too happy to help you as you scream at it for wasting yet another minute you’ll never get back. You might be wondering what my point in all this is… well let me explain. Next time you are the unfortunate recipient of that call try listening to the computer’s responses. The conversation usually goes a little something like this.
Friendly computer lady- HELLO! (super enthusiastic like) How are you today?
This is where it gets interesting. You can literally say anything you want here–great, terrible, meh, got milk? The computer will most certainly answer with, “I’m good, thanks for asking,” or something eerily similar. That is because the computer is set up to anticipate your response which in almost every case is usually, “I’m fine.” People generally don’t open up to strangers about how they are really doing and thus respond with something automatic and positive yet vague, or they are actually having a pleasant day, and it’s truthful. (Or that is my theory at least.)
That scenario is much like the introductions I make when I am meeting people for the first time. In 90% of cases the scripted responses I rely on when meeting strangers works in my favor, and no one is the wiser that I have Autism. However, about 10% of the time when I make my introduction speech they will decide to go off-script, and no one knows what is going to come out of my mouth. It’s too bad spoken word can’t be typed out into entire sentences only to be backspaced if they are entirely too inappropriate or need to be edited before saying them officially. Each time I meet someone I’ve never met before gives me a little more practice at making my introductions just a little less awkward. I won’t ever be flawless, but it might be my quirkiness that adds to my charm. That being said, let me introduce myself a little better.
Hi! My name is Sara Kerkstra, and I have Autism. I didn’t choose to be this way, and every day is a challenge, but I wouldn’t change anything about myself. Life is very interesting to say the least. My hope is that by sharing my life experiences (the good, the bad, and the entertaining) I will help at least one other person out there who is struggling with any number of the issues that Autism can cause in a world where most people are still ignorant to what Autism is and how it works. I am not a doctor, a certified counselor/social worker, a brain surgeon, or rocket scientist, but I believe my nearly 25 years of experience living with Autism does make me qualified enough to give advice that is rooted in fact and, of course, trial and error.* I look forward to providing my take on Autism and all the fun kooky stories it creates along the way. I hope you will stay tuned for more coming very soon. Until next time– Stay different, stay positive, and always remember, nobody’s perfect.
*Disclosure: I cannot diagnose anyone, nor should my advice be used solely as a means of treating or trying to cope with Autism or any other health related disability or illness. Please keep in contact with a health care provider or counselor and use your best judgement whether or not to begin any new lifestyle changes recommended in any of my blogs. What worked for me may not work for someone else as we are all different and unique in our own ways.