How does it make you feel to know you are different from others?
By Austin John Jones
You ever feel like a black sheep in a flock of regular sheep?
You ever feel like a zebra in a group of horses?
You ever feel like you know you are the same as everyone else, but you just still feel different from everyone?
Do you feel like you are special? That you standout? That you don’t belong?
I feel this way sometimes. And it makes me sad. And then the realization hits me: I am different, but just how different am I? And how does my being different make other people feel?
I’m not sure I’ve handled this well. I feel pressure and it makes me feel insecure. It sometimes even makes me feel like a failure. Sometimes when I am around a lot of people on the spectrum, I look at them and wonder what I seem like to them or what I seem like to other people. Am I hard to talk to? Is it hard to get my attention? Do they think I am different?
What I always try to remind myself and what everyone tells me is it’s okay to be different, but I’m not sure. It’s nice to hear that from people, but then comes the biggest challenge for people who feel different: believing that it is okay to be different.
I try to talk to a lot of people. They give me good advice, but that doesn’t always do the job. In order for me to believe I can fit in, I just need to be true to myself. I need to be me, but that doesn’t always work for others when I’m in social situations and can’t focus or can’t communicate well or can’t understand when I bother people. I know being different is fine, yet it doesn’t always feel that way.
I am a strong believer in helping others and accepting people for the ways they are, but sometimes I notice that I feel uncomfortable when people are more different than I am. Sometimes when I am around people on the spectrum, I ask myself “is that how I appear to others?” “Are there things I do that really make people uncomfortable?“ I don’t want to make people uncomfortable, but I know I probably do. I don’t want to look at people more different than I am and think about them being different. I just want to help people.
It’s my favorite thing to do for my friends and random strangers — to help them in some way. I know that is a very naive thing to do sometimes, but I believe it is the right thing to do. So what if I am different? So what if I seem strange sometimes? Every day, I try to help at least one person. Because I feel the world will be a better place if I do.
Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it better to look at that than to look at the fact that I am different?
What do you think? Leave comments below about when you have felt different and how that felt to you and how people treated you. Or comment about when you did a good deed for someone else.
My name is Austin. I am an artist. I am an art teacher. I am a gamer. I am a storyteller and a writer. I love my community, I love my friends and family, and I am on the Autism Spectrum. My favorite game to play with my friends is Magic the Gathering. My favorite video game to play is Spiral Knights. I am a Guild Master of my Spiral Knights Guild: Altosk. I am an avid Hearthstone player.My favorite food to eat is Mexican Food. Specifically Carne Asada Fries and California Burritos. I went to Art Center College of Design for college and graduated with a degree in Illustration.