You all know that I am a man of conviction. If I have a long-held belief that's contrary to your views, you'd have a hard time getting me to subscribe to your way, at least without convincing proof. In many ways, that's good; if I let the oft-expressed negative opinions of nearly everything I've ever liked get to me, I'd end up spending my time involved in activities that I never have considered fun. Still, recently, some new personal revelations have come to light about my own long-held beliefs that, in all honesty, were started in my own mind. You may be surprised by this, but I promise you it's all true.
First up is one topic that's been the root of much controversy between me and those I've known: driving. What started the "I can't" feelings? Simply put, my high school Spanish teacher informed me that she had a friend whose son also reportedly had Asperger Syndrome, and that he--the son himself, that is--felt that he would never be able to drive because of the concentration it would require. Just like every other high school freshman, I had expected to be able to get my license in the next year or two...but I had never thought about how concentration was a big part of becoming a licensed driver. When I thought about how easily I got distracted--I once missed part of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones--in IMAX!--because my mind wandered elsewhere while it was playing--I realized that I didn't have the concentration, either, and that started a war between my friends, my family, and I. I defended myself out the wazoo, and even went as far as failing my learner's permit test on purpose the first time I took it, just to get out of any lessons.
I later relented, and passed the test the third time I took it--I failed it the second time, but not on purpose--and soon ended up taking behind the wheel sessions with an older friend. He and I did three sessions in a parking lot, and one in his neighborhood, and that was it. The older friend had wanted me to wash my mom's car--which we were using for the lessons--before the next lesson, which I used as a way out; during that last session, I made numerous mistakes that I felt were inappropriate for someone on his/her fourth driving lesson. It was like walking into class the third week of school and not even knowing my teacher's name.
Even after that, numerous people--ranging from Facebook friends of various ages to family members to teachers--repeatedly tried to encourage me to get back on it, but I did nothing but argue with and/or ignore them. My permit even expired, and I ended up getting a non-driver ID. Later on, I learned to walk places and take public transportation, which has helped, but everyone knows it's still not the same as driving.
Now, what I wonder is: Why did I start this whole thing? It's been years since that same Spanish teacher informed me that the fellow A.S. sufferer she knew actually was driving, but I still kept it going nonetheless. There is a possibility that I shouldn't have my driver's license; after all, there are plenty of people--at least, in my area--whose behavior behind the wheel makes you want to shout, "Hey, dummy! Where'd you get your driver's license; Toys 'Я' Us?" It could end up that I was right all along; however, I'm afraid that the only way that could be proven is me being involved in a terrible accident, and I don't think any of you want that.
Even minus what my Spanish teacher said, the case against me driving is still somewhat strong. As mentioned, my concentration stinks--Star Wars in IMAX!--and traumatic experiences with other psychological medications make me quite hesitant to try any that could possibly rectify that matter. Prior to the realization that driving required concentration, I regularly talked about the fact that I was going to have a bright orange car, but that was just as much of a fantasy as when I told my friends I was going to marry Hilary Duff. If I did get a car, it was going to be whatever my mom could afford and was willing to get me, which likely would have been an old, single-seat truck, not a sporty, neon orange, four-door sedan. Even my mom has gotten behind my non-driving conviction at times; during an assessment to see whether or not I would get a disability check, she told the psychiatrist, "He says he shouldn't be behind the wheel, and he probably shouldn't." More to the point, I'm someone who is perpetually preoccupied. You know how some women, the best-known of which is Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting, end up giving birth to one kid and quickly getting pregnant with another one again and again? Well, that's how I am with my predicaments; as soon as I let go of one, another one starts plaguing me, and it's been quite constant for pretty much my entire life, which makes me largely unable to relax.
None of the events or beliefs described above matter as much as one I haven't mentioned yet. Even thinking about it recently has made me wonder whether it was God's divine hindrance or Satan's discouragement. Here's what happened: In late 2006, an adult friend--not the one mentioned above--started doing driving sessions with me. He and his wife both felt that I did great, but it all got stopped because that friend got injured. No, I didn't have anything to do with his injury; not only was I not around when it happened, but everyone who knows me knows that I'm not one to resort to violence, especially towards a long-time friend. It took my friend a few weeks to recover, and that ended up making my driving sessions go by the wayside.
The question is: Why did that happen? I know some of you might say that it's just coincidence, but I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. So, when circumstances led to my behind-the-wheel sessions ending, was God trying to say, "Despite the fact that you're doing well so far, and that everyone thinks you should do this, I know this is not for you"? Or, was it Satan trying to say, "Of course you can't drive! You can't do anything! You're as worthless as those middle school bullies said you were, and should stick to sitting around moping and researching all those actresses!"? Frankly, I'm afraid to even make the call on that one; if I decide it was Satan instead of God, and I end up being wrong, my life will probably end up being over.
As long and "epic" as that just was, there's a completely different issue that I'm having similar feelings about: theme parks. I think pretty much everyone reading this knows that, despite the fact that I have at least one amusement park practically in my own backyard, I haven't set foot in one since 1999. Since then, people have been trying to get me to give them another go; even a teacher at my high school was very insistent that I'd like it if I went. She and I argued back and forth about it, but it pretty much ended in a stalemate: I wasn't convinced I would like going, and she wasn't convinced that I wouldn't. Others probably felt--and still do feel--the same way she did.
However, I'm currently wondering why I began fighting against them in the first place. In fact, there was a time in which I couldn't shut up about going there. I know I said that I wasn't allowed to go when I was younger, but that was an oversimplification; the actual truth was, I was only allowed to go with certain people because my mom was afraid that I would throw a temper tantrum otherwise. Looking back, I completely understand how she felt; I was quite prone to those back then. Still, when I did go, I did have fun, and the only reason I refused to go after that was: "My tastes have changed. I'm not as naive nor as adventurous as I was back then. I don't think I would enjoy it now." Still, without actual experience at that age, how could I be so sure that I vehemently argued against those who believed otherwise?
I don't want you to get the wrong idea here. I'm not giving up on my Christian faith, nor am I wavering about my dislike of sports or anything related to large bodies of water. Still, after all these years of arguing with others and defending my beliefs and opinions on the matters in the previous paragraphs, I wonder: Why was I fighting it? Was it even worth fighting? Have I been wrong this whole time? I, frankly, have no idea; do any of you?