aspergers, autism, culture, health, living abroad, psychology, travel

Asperger’s Aspirations and Inspirations

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I’m Not in Danger; I Am the Danger

Hollywood has an averse effect on even the most rational people on. Clinical studies have proven this many times over. I imagine many are wondering what prompted me to go abroad and make a life for myself as an Aspie. There were factors other than my mother brimmed the notion. Four fictional characters inspired me to be who I am today. The first is Walter White from the TV show Breaking Bad played by the magnificent Bryan Cranston. White was an overqualified high school chemistry teacher who learned he had terminal cancer after his 50th birthday. He then partnered up with one of his former students, Jesse Pinkman, now a drug dealer. White’s objective was to cook crystal meth to pay for his treatment and provide for his family. Little did we know, White would become more evil as he got wealthier and his ego grew bigger. White used the pseudonym Heisenberg to remain anonymous as his brother-in-law, Hank Shrader, a DEA Agent was on his trail. The show is full of twists and turns, but the viewers see a man who was once an underachiever use his talents and become a breadwinner.

Becoming Daredevil

The second character who encouraged me is the Marvel superhero Daredevil. I began watching that show on Netflix between classes my first year in Thailand. Daredevil during the day is a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock. The man can’t see, yet his other senses are enhanced. He can tell when a person is lying by hearing how fast one’s heart is beating. He can smell how far away they are by their body odor, sweat, perfume, etc. Daredevil fights at night as his heightened senses enable him to see in the dark through sonar like a bat. There he has the advantage. Most people would believe Daredevil has a disadvantage because of his visual impairment, but he proves them wrong. Even Daredevil is strong enough to go toe-to-toe with heavy hitters like Kingpin. I may be on the spectrum, but I’ve thrived on the other side of the globe with my reasoning skills and background in anthropology and geography. The latter two have given me a leg up as they’ve enabled me to relate towards other people’s customs and whatnot. That makes it easier for them appreciate me more and me to relate to them.

Calling Doctor Stranger

The third person who influenced me is another Marvel superhero, Doctor Strange. This superhero was once a neurosurgeon in New York City. Stephen Strange was wealthy and acclaimed but arrogant. One day Strange crashed his vehicle off a cliff while joyriding and lost the use of his hands. His fall from grace was a humbling experience. I thought I was invincible when I graduated college like Doctor Strange and that the whole world was mine. The humiliation of being underemployed over a five-year span while living in my mom’s apartment killed that sentiment. Getting up was the hard part. I’d already been living in Asia for a year-and-a-half when the 2016 film was released, but I still use that to goad my enthusiasm. Like Doctor Strange, I went abroad and reinvented myself learning new skills and honing my craft. Eventually, I was able to jettison my old self and allow my new identity to surmount that such as in the case of Doctor Strange. That movie gave me the confidence to believe I can accomplish anything to which I put my mind.

Unlimited Possibilities

A fourth character after whom I modeled is from the 1982 classic Tron. Jeff Bridges played Kevin Flynn, a gifted programmer with genius ideas, whose work was stolen by a fellow coder. Flynn had the knowledge to be more than he was, but luck wasn’t on his side until he wrote the code for Tron. Later he went into the grid of a digital universe where there were infinite possibilities. I used my TEFL certificate as a carte blanche to try something new and innovative the same way Flynn did Tron. At first, I was skeptical, but I realize now it’s what I was made to do. I took a leap of faith and stepped way outside my comfort zone to become the person I am today, and I don’t regret it. I morphed into an upgraded version of myself the same as Kevin Flynn, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, and Walter White. No longer am I an overqualified security guard living with his mom watching life pass him by while his peers feast on the pleasures of life. Now some of those folks are jealous because I’m doing things they wish they could’ve when they were younger but are in no position to. Funny how that works and how quickly the scale can tip. I’m not a disappointment anymore. I’m a pioneer now, and nothing will stop me as I continue my journey around the globe. No longer do I expect people to feel sorry for me because I have Asperger’s after I crushed many stereotypes ten times over.

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