Can it be? Can a person with a neurological [disorder] like Asperger’s [syndrome] really celebrate their [infirmity]? I can. I do. So do others. When I wrote a post about my son disclosing his Asperger’s, he was excited—not embarrassed. When dozens of great bloggers choose to reveal their membership in the Asperger’s nation, they are not ashamed. We may be defensive, defiant, or overly zealous about our identity, but we are not ashamed of the truth. We are smart enough, secure enough, and gosh darn it—some people like us.
Learning to celebrate yourself is part of healthy human—spirituality, psychology and sociability. Whether in response to Asperger’s or something else, the seeds of self-acceptance yield the fruit of celebration. It is hard to live apart from the herd, for isolation is stressful. The laughter and casual affirmation of personhood is a balm to a wounded soul. When denied that social salve, we with Asperger’s can get cranky, dark, and dangerous. We are more likely to harm ourselves than others, but harm we do.
Celebration is the stage of surging up from self-acceptance to self-appreciation. From the steady breeze of acceptance blow gusts of celebration. We optimize the files at work, find the elusive bug in the software or design the perfect flow chart. We are valued, and we add value. That’s worth celebrating. In our Asperger’s we find an identity, not a disability. It is part of who we are; so after the darkness and emerging acceptance we celebrate our syndrome as part of embracing our undivided self. If you have ever fallen asleep with a sense of satisfaction—knowing you have observed, solved or created something new—then you are living in stage seven. Your celebration may be ever so private, but it is celebration all the same. Thank you. By accepting and embracing yourself, you accept and embrace all the citizens of Aspergia.
With celebration we gain a thicker skin and more energy for introspection. Freed from the dangers of darkness, we can explore our motivations and abilities without fear. The window of our blindness shrinks even more. With confidence and the courage of celebration, we come out to the world and our public sphere expands again. We speak, write, blog, and act on our behalf. We tell our story—if only to ourselves. But when we share with others, they respond to our new-found confidence and share back. That shrinks our hidden zone as well. The stage of celebration is good for our psychological development. It makes us better people and better friends.
As you might expect, celebration represents a restoration of appropriate self-esteem. The grid above needs another dimension; because the esteem of celebration is not the saccharine high of dawn. It is a steady faith in our own goodness and value. It is just as high, but it is far more deep.
If you love, serve, or are someone with Asperger’s Syndrome I applaud you. You are valuable and worth celebration. You deserve the love you get.