When I was originally putting this blog together in my mind, I kept thinking about themes. I do this every year because I live this #lightitupblue life every day. Since I have a much bigger platform now, I wanted to put even more thought into what I wanted to write. Most of the time, I find a great picture to showcase on the day of April 2nd and write out what I’m thinking at the time about the most amazing person (next to my mother) in my life. My husband. My rock. My best friend. My reason for everything.
One theme I kept coming back to was blue: it’s the universal color for Autism Awareness. “Light it up blue” is the slogan in which we chant every April 2nd for World Autism Awareness Day – even though, those who live with Autism in their lives daily, are already aware of it. Plus, it’s 2018, it’d have to be a pretty big rock for you to be living under to be unaware of what Autism is. Blue is also my most favorite color. Since I was a little girl, it’s always been blue. Some purple thrown in here and there, but always blue. Quite unlike most girls who gravitated to pink. Blue was the main color of our wedding. Blue is one of my business colors. It’s always been blue. Just like it’s always been, Eric.
Eric and I met as high schoolers on a blind date in December of 2008 – neither one of us knew what we were getting into agreeing to that date and as I tell everyone, I was going for laughs since I knew there was no way I was going to be with my blind date for the rest of my life… How wrong was I? To be honest, I’m not sure what Eric’s expectations were for that night, other than I was “hot” in the pictures he had seen. My selfie game was not on point like it is today, considering they were all taken with a FLIP PHONE (did I just date myself? The thirties are coming soon…) After he asked me to be his steady girlfriend, it became a whirlwind.
Nearly ten years have gone by and every April, I remember the night he first told me about himself. I wish I had committed that date into memory, like all the others, but unfortunately, I didn’t. It wasn’t much longer after we had become boyfriend and girlfriend that Eric, ever so timidly and shyly, told me something that not many people knew about him. Select family, hardly any friends knew and then, me. He was especially quiet when I went over to his parent’s house like usual. He was always quiet, though and painfully shy at times, so it wasn’t THAT unusual. Some very quiet time had gone by and some awkward staring on his part as we watched TV, and he told me. He opened up to me, unlike anyone else, and told me that he has Autism… Or rather, Asperger’s Syndrome. A higher functioning version of Autism, that makes social (and romantic) relationships harder, among many other things. I remember the fear in his eyes when he was done - the unknowing of what I was going to say or how I was going to react to this new information.
It all made sense – like a puzzle piece snapping into place of why he was so painfully and adorably shy and why he never really talked. When he did talk, he was the smartest person in the room, no degree necessary. I think my words to him afterward were “huh, okay then.” Or something very boring compared to what I’m sure he thought was going to happen. At least he had a reason for being quiet and awkward, most don’t! I blame Eric for all those similar qualities I possess now, ha! At the time, I had no real idea of what A.S. was, but I knew how much I loved him then, so it didn’t matter.
The main stigma surrounding those with Autism is that they’re labeled as “different” or a little off-putting because they don’t “behave” the same way the rest of us do. You know what I’ve learned about living with Autism every day? It’s made my life easier. Eric is the most level-headed and sensible person. When things get tough, he knows that we’ll be able to get to the other side better than we were before. I truly believe he (or we) are better BECAUSE of the Autism.
Take time out of your day to think differently about things, it may just change your life. Someone who is lashing out at you for seemingly no reason may just have a reason you are unaware of. A different way of thinking, of being, is what changed my life for the better, and every day, I choose to think differently to make the world a better place. Just like my husband. It's always been blue and it's always been you.