“Maybe if I can skydive, I might someday feel secure enough and steady enough to sit in conversations with people and not play on my phone. “
By Austin John Jones
Do you ever get that feeling that you think you might want something, but you aren’t exactly sure? Like you can’t make up your mind? Or you just feel so uneasy that it makes you afraid? Or when you try to come up with a witty comeback while messing around with your friends, but you just end up laughing so much that you can’t even finish your joke?
I have been in a lot of situations like this. And I always have a feeling it’s relevant to being on the spectrum. But not always.
I call it: Insecurity.
A couple years back, I had a lot of problems with insecurity, whether people realized it fully or not. I still sometimes struggle with feeling insecure and it’s not a good feeling. The lack of confidence I feel is very hard and it makes it tough to do things.
In order to make choices in life, I know I need to feel those choices are the RIGHT THING TO DO. And sometimes…I just don’t know.
I have met a lot of people in my life. I have met thieves (I just met a shoplifter at the card store I work at and it was kind of scary), priests, soldiers, artists, athletes, business people, mothers, fathers, divorced mothers and fathers, good people, bad people, homeless people. I could name more, but my point is: each one of them was living a different life and it seemed like they were living the life they chose to live. I wonder how and why they made choices they did. Did they do it because they felt steady and secure in their choices?
I know that the choices I make shape my life. Sometimes I choose to play video games on my phone when I’m with a group of people because it’s easier than trying to talk or listen when a bunch of people are talking. Sometimes I go into my room when my parents have people over because it’s better for me to play a video game or talk to just one person online. I do it because I don’t have the confidence to sit in a conversation and try to figure it all out. It’s easier to not have to worry about it. I know there are consequences when I make a choice like this (at least I am learning that with my parents’ help). People might think I’m rude or not interested in them or that I don’t love or care about them. But I do. This is just one example of the consequences of how making a choice effects how I feel about myself, and how I will end up deciding what to do in social situations for the rest of my life.
Making choices can be really scary and it can leave me feeling unsteady and insecure. I know this very well. At one point in my life, I never thought I would ever want to go skydiving. But I am going skydiving this June! Some of my friends think that is cool! Some think I am crazy! But it’s just a choice I made. And that’s fine. Will I die doing it? Probably not. Maybe. But I don’t care! I just want to live my life to the fullest and have fun! I think that it is the right thing to do for me right now. And maybe if I can skydive, I might someday feel secure enough and steady enough to sit in conversations with people and not play on my phone.
I don’t know. But I want to live life to the fullest. And how can I do that? I have to have confidence in every aspect of my life but that is not easy when you are on the spectrum. I often do things differently than the people around me, and they need to understand that’s just who I am. Even though I’m not always good at it, I think it’s important to believe in yourself and I am trying all the time to do that.
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.
Hey there, Austin! Great piece!
I am an autistic, award-winning graphic designer!
And, after living in Dallas for 20 years, I LOVE Mexican food, too!
Though, 2 years ago, we got outta there, and moved to rural/remote northern Arkansas.
Here’s my site if you’d like to take a look at my work: http://www.studiokerns.com
I have a very dear autistic friend who lives in the UK…she did the skydiving thing a few years ago, for pretty much the same reason!
Austin, great practical advice and great topic. I am actually working on a conference presentation on the topic of Autism, Motivation and Depression. Like the advice on self-confidence and feeling sure these are both key to having motivation.
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