My Personal Awakening

June 27, 2012
By BryannaAkins PLATINUM, Garden Grove, California
BryannaAkins PLATINUM, Garden Grove, California
21 articles 4 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"Love is NEVER ugly."

It was confusing. It was helpful. It was the moment that would forever change my family’s lives, my friends’ lives, and, more importantly, mine. It would also change the way that I viewed myself as a person. I knew for some time now that I was different from my other shallower friends, and not in the good way, either. I knew that my more sensitive, girlier friends thought that I was weird. I read more than any of my friends. I hang out alone and with my teachers. I have a stutter. It’s hard for me to make friends with my, at times, indifferent nature. Then, I come off as mean or stingy when I don’t mean.

I suppose you’re wondering where my awakening started. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was spending the summer with my loving grandmother, Beverly Jean Bird. She may be old, but she stays hip and in-the-now; she’s a real modern granny. Anyways, I was watching TV in her old apartment out in the beautiful countryside, in a town called Arcata. Out in the mountains, where it was perfect weather during the day, but freezing cold at night, I spent altogether three to five summers with my grandmother before she moved to Huntington Beach. As I was watching her TV, the phone rang in its repetitively monotonous ringtone. My grandmother answered the phone and talked to my mom for about 10 minutes until she gave the phone to me. My mother, Cyndy Louella, had told me to look up a mental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. Reasons being because Tracy, my uncle, said that I might be able to get social security and there could be a possibility that I have this mental handicap. When I did, it shocked me, flabbergasted me, scared me, but on top of it all, I got a feeling…an unexplainable feeling. It was as if the final puzzle piece fell into place. It was as if I found the light at the end of the dark tunnel that symbolized my horrible childhood.

But the one, single, enlightening thought that went through my mind was, “Oh, so that’s what’s wrong with me…” I had all of the mental disorder’s symptoms, which included the following: Inability to make and keep friends, communication problems (stuttering and cluttering), lack of ability to pick up social cues, inability to empathize with other’s feelings, not being able to understand humor, dislike of routine change, and heightened sensitivity to loud noises, strong smells, etc. My mother wanted to ascertain whether I really had this disorder or not, so I made regular visits to my therapist, Yisun, and after a while, she told my mom and I that I definitely had Asperger’s Syndrome. I didn’t stutter as much when I talked to her and when I didn’t stutter, I could communicate better and I made a greater impression on her. I had to make a few changes to my life since I technically had the “developmental skills of an 11 year-old.” So, I started to do things that normal teens my age do. I have chores every day now, I’m trying to get over my fear of driving, and I’m trying to loosen up and be kinder to people.

However, it’s not as easy as it may seem to you. I don’t like meeting new people because this is when my symptoms get enhanced or “amplified”, so to speak. I stutter more, I tend to look down and not at people, and I run out of things to talk about after awhile, partly because I only spend like a minute or so on each subject I talk about. These “symptoms” that I may seem to have are explainable. I don’t like looking at people because I feel like they’re judging me. I tend to not be very helpful because there are certain things that teens my age should be prepared for. They should come prepared to class without asking me for paper or a pencil. This is partly why my friends think I’m mean or stingy. And I don’t let people copy off me because I don’t want to get myself in trouble. The reason I may not cry at a funeral or relate to someone that’s going through a bad breakup is because I haven’t experienced these kinds of things yet. The only reason I come off as mean is because I like it quiet when I am in my classes. It’s hard for me to think when people are talking all at once, even if they’re using their “indoor voice.” And finally, I get along better with older people because they are more accepting and more understanding of me when I spend time with them. Plus, I don’t stutter as much. I don’t choose to be alone or to be mean. I just don’t feel comfortable when I’m around teens my age.

My awakening has shown some light on the things that have left me confused or stuck. The only good thing about my awakening is that I am obsessed with reading books of all varieties, unlike some of my other friends who have never read a real book in their whole lives, and this gives me an advantage when reading books like “The Scarlet Letter”, “Rip Van Winkle”, and “The Awakening”. I’ve only told a handful of my friends that would understand me best because not a lot of people know about this mental handicap that I possess. I haven’t really changed that much, physically, but I have changed more mentally. It’s clear to me that I’m going to be alone for most of my life due to my disorder.

One of these days, I will become a famous author and people will remember my name for many more years to come. With my intelligence and inner beauty, I will go on and become successful. Only time will tell of where I’ll be 10 years from now…

The author's comments:
After I read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, my english teacher had us write a narrative about our own awakenings, or turning points--the climaxes--in our lives where we started to change the most.

So I wrote mine about how discovering I had a mental disorder, or handicap, changed my life and the people around me, and how this disorder changed the way I perceived things in my life.

Bryanna Michelle, B.M.A.

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