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Self-Acceptance This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I believe in self-acceptance.

For me, self-acceptance is about understanding exactly who you are and accepting all of your personality traits, flaws, and mistakes, and knowing that is you. You can't be perfect, so you have to live with what you've got. It's about being okay with who you are.

I should know. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at a very young age, and have had to manage with it. Asperger's is a developmental disorder, according to experts. I don't care what the experts say; it is not a disorder or a disability. It's a difference. People with this difference see the world in a unique way.

My distinctions started showing when I was little. I learned to read before I talked. I was drawn to letters and numbers, stopping to read signs during a walk before I was two. I never had to be taught to do basic math or writing. I knew that stuff the same way any “normal” toddler would learn to point or nod his little head.

There are trade-offs though. I had to be taught basic things that people take for granted, like pointing at objects and making eye contact. I didn't start talking until I was four. It took many hours and a lot of hard work, but I did master these skills, and I accept that I had to learn what ­others seemed to be born knowing how to do.

All through school, my greatest fear has always been my difference being revealed to classmates, but now I know that it's actually something to be proud of. Asperger's has made me who I am today, and I am very grateful that I was gifted with this so-called curse.

I believe that Asperger's has given me a passion for writing and creative thinking, because there's a world of thoughts and ideas inside my head, just waiting to be unleashed. Asperger's has also given me the gift of being comfortable onstage, with hundreds or even thousands of people watching me in a talent show or a school play. I never really understood why others would be nervous in those situations. Maybe the reason lies in a social cue that, due to my nature, I miss.

As much as I hate to admit it, picking up social cues and subtleties was a challenge for me most of my life, and I still find myself pondering what something as simple as someone waving at me really means. Over time, I've gotten better at this, but I'm still not as good as I'd like to be. That is, as good as everyone else. Even so, I've come to accept it as part of who I am, and I'm convinced that eventually I'll be as good at picking up social cues as anyone else.

Sure, I have my quirks, but who doesn't? Asperger's Syndrome has made me a little more unusual than most, but I'm proud of my differences, and I believe that everyone should be proud of theirs too. I know from experience that kids aren't very accepting of others' differences, but I've stopped caring. The people who make fun of me for being who I am just aren't worth my time. Asperger's has given me a truckload of obstacles and difficulties, but these helped shape me into who I am. Like it or not, I am here to stay, Asperger's and all.

My differences may be a bit more profound than others', and my main difference has a name, but I know that the reality is that we're all different. No two people are the same. I believe that we should embrace our differences instead of hiding them. You're all you've got, in the end, so make it the best you that you can. Be different. A world where everyone is the same is boring.

I believe in self-acceptance, and the acceptance of others, differences and all.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

Kinlee is me said...
Nov. 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm:
wow. just truly amazing. i am speechless of how perfectly its written. good job! and just for the record Aspergers isn't lame ;) even though i don't know you, im proud that you would write this so people can learn to look at things in a different way. Thanks
 
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Mrs. Louch said...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm:

Spenser,

So beautifully written! I'm glad I got the chance to experience another one of your many talents.  While I only see you in the very narrow context of one classroom, the impact you (and your actions) have on your peers is evident and noteworthy.  Not only do you help them realize and mold the individuals they are still working on; you teach them kindness and compassion.  You make our classroom a fun and interesting place to learn.  Your spirit and ... (more »)

 
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blablabla said...
Feb. 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm:
What an amazing writer you are! I love your candor and honesty.
 
Spenser This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm :
Thank you so much! :D
 
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