One of my biggest problems in life is people not understanding me. They just can't see how a guy can hate sports, or how anyone could prefer a morning of garage saling to a trip to Busch Gardens. You may think that's just a problem that I've had with people who didn't know me all that well, but there have been times where folks knew very well what I liked and what I didn't...but failed to apply that knowledge. James 1:22-24 says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." The same could be said of any information, whether you read it in a book, see it on television, or hear it from a friend: Knowing what was said doesn't do any good if you don't apply it.
If you've known me for a while, you probably know that, back in the day, when I would go places with my sister and brother-in-law, people would assume they were my parents. Once, I was talking about that with a longtime church friend, and she said, "Sometimes people just don't think." She proceeded to talk about how, when her son, who is about my age, was a baby, she would take him on walks, and people would ask if she was his grandmother instead of his mother. What she said is true, and not just about familial assumptions; oftentimes, people who know me very well would say things that couldn't have been thought through very well. If such people had stopped to think about what they were saying, and whom they were saying it to, they probably wouldn't have uttered it.
While I can't expect to be understood by everybody on the planet--because nobody is--I do hope that those whom I consider my friends do understand me. Some of you may think I'm talking about my "condition," but it's more than just that, and for two reasons: First off, I think I've pretty much recovered from it; I'm not the same person I was back when I was younger, and the residuals that I'm still dealing with--talking to myself, poor handwriting, having to take a psychiatric medication--are present in plenty of people without any sort of autistic disorder or disability of any sort, not that my "condition" is truly a disability anyway. Second off, even if I do have a "condition," that alone doesn't define me. I am plenty of things besides mildly autistic: a Christian, a library employee, a Mac user, an entertainment lover, a Disney Channel fan, a blogger, a son, a brother, a brother-in-law, an uncle to three great kids, an avid reader...and it doesn't stop there! When I've met other people with who also had Asperger Syndrome, it seemed that our condition was the only thing we had in common; they just weren't into what I was, and vice versa. Part of that is a product of my unique upbringing; whatever the reasons, I need someone who understands what makes me who I am.
Unfortunately, just like the case with my aforementioned friend, too many people want to make incorrect assumptions, which end up causing them to have a less than favorable opinion of me. When talking about Disney Channel, they assume I like anything labeled Disney, which isn't true; I've never been a big fan of the old-school animated films from the House of Mouse, despite their continued popularity. Even back when I was a kid, my favorite Disney theatrical films were ones like Rocketman, George of the Jungle, or Flubber; live-action ones, not cartoons. I also never did care for Kim Possible; seriously, a show about a cheerleader who saves the world? Give me a break! They also assume that I'm an overgrown kid, aka somebody who refuses to grow up, not realizing that those shows are truly mature entertainment, not raunchy sex comedies or grisly, violent films that appeal to a middle school mentality. It's the same with anything else I do, and even what I don't do; when they hear that I don't like anything to do with large bodies of water, they assume I'm a wimp or just an idiot. People, especially Christians, shouldn't be judging anyone like that...but they are, and they especially do it to me. Just look at all the unfriendings and friend request denials I've had on Facebook!
I would hope that my true friends know why I do what I do, and why I don't do what I don't do. (If you don't, but would like to, feel free to ask.) However, it doesn't seem like that's always the case. If you consider yourself to be my friend, don't just assume that I do or don't do whatever because of my "condition," because I'm just plain weird, or some other pat reason like that. You'll likely find that the reason is more complicated than that...but only if you ask! Honestly, I'm tired of being misunderstood; I need people in my life who truly understand me. Will you be one of them?