This month I have decided to write about something a little closer to home. I want to say thank you to my youngest brother Samuel.
A few people in my inner circle of friends have met Samuel, who is 13 years younger than me and has Asperger’s.
In 2009 I became Samuel’s power of attorney which has meant that we have spent more time together than we have had for most of his (then) 25 years. Over the past 4 years, my brother, who has simply been himself (and anyone who knows someone with Autism/Asperger’s would know exactly what that means), has challenged me on many levels. I can now see this has forced me to face a few personal truths, which has not always been easy…
Samuel, being Samuel, does not have a filter between what he thinks and what he says. I know that some people say that about other people, but with Asperger’s, the filter really doesn’t exist.
He says it how it is; how he really sees things and without cultural, polite considerations. Things like “I am the person you love the most”, has made me rise to the occasion to create a rebuttal of ‘there are lots of people I love’. But the real fact is, he speaks a universal truth. He seems to always be able to do that. What he said is exactly how we all like to feel with people around us. We always want to be the person that significant others love the most, or think more highly of or respect more. Furthermore, if we sense that this might not be true, we can get very indignant about the whole situation. Don’t we all want to be the centre of the universe of everyone else’s lives??? Well, certainly in some people’s lives.
So these wonderful statements that Samuel makes, like…
“it’s so inconvenient that you only have one toilet” (when both of us are heading the same direction)
“You have nothing to eat”, when there is fruit, veggies and uncooked meat in the fridge, but he doesn’t like eating that sort of thing
“I am bored” because he feels like he has nothing to do
“Everyone is a …..” This is my favourite. Big, huge, massive statement about the entire population. Think about it – we all do it. In fact, everything he says is something that I would have thought to myself, but would have never said or admitted it.
Thank you Samuel, for being my best life teacher. You are in my life for a reason and I will learn to have more patience, acceptance and learn that my opinions are simply my own personal projections of my personal filter.