IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

I whole-heartedly believe that it’s the small or little things that matter and stick with us most in life. Reason being? The little things all seem to add up and snowball into one big event. That goes for positive and negative experiences. In my own personal life and experience, it has been my advocacy work in Baltimore. Yeah, I like talking about my Autism diagnosis, but to one person, that probably doesn’t matter. If it’s just me and my dad, it’s like “Yeah you have Autism. Let’s talk politics.” I like to think each training I do through my work is a “small” event or accomplishment. It’s just one group of people. BUT the more I do, the more my message gets across and the bigger it gets. See? Snowball or ripple effect.

Now I mentioned negative aspects can add up, too. So what “small negatives” are there? I know for me personally, it is bullying. However, I am an optimist, so I am going to turn the negative aspect of my bulling experiences into a positive. So all the negative, ignorant shit I have had to put up with from bullies growing up, this section is for you. PAYBACK IS A BITCH! I am the voice and somewhat poster child of Autism around Baltimore and am kind of a big deal among the Autism community in Baltimore. In other words…I WIN!

Uncomfortable as I am typing this word, I am using it in this post as a beacon of hope and NOT an insult! I was called “retarded” growing up. I feel so guilty about admitting to this, considering how I am vehemently against that word now, but growing I up, I myself used that word as an insult. Now, before I am dethroned and declared Public Enemy #1 among the Autism community, when I used that word as an insult, I was a lot younger and had no idea what a negative impact that word has. Having said that, even to this day, I use the word occasionally for conferences and trainings. But I do not use it in a mean-spirited or derogatory way. I would never do that now. If anything, I use the word to raise awareness of how impactful and hurtful that word is.

Actually, a little side story. The first major conference for Autism I ever did for Kennedy Krieger, I used the word “retarded” to describe my bullying experiences. As soon as I said that word, there was an audible, horrified gasp from the audience. Part of me, still to this day, feels a sick sense of gratification saying it and hearing that response. It makes me feel like I am not alone in my stance against the use of that word.

I really do think small things can turn into bigger things. Not only that, but the little things in life, at least in my life, stick with you. It’s the little things that make up my life. High School graduation, the first day of school (that I don’t remember), my first girlfriend…all minor in the great scheme of things, but still a big part of my life.

Even things I heard growing up, and still hear to this day, stick with me. They can be from movies, songs, loved ones, friends…whatever. Stuff my parents and grandparents said to me when I was a kid have always stuck with me and always will. Most of the stuff is totally unimportant and/or not “life advice” but it still sticks with me. Even my mom telling me she loves me is something I will never forget, mainly since I hear it every day, but still. I still to this day remember my mom telling me bedtime stories about Mickey Mouse spending the night at my house to play with me when I was a kid. I have no idea how I remember that—I was in my single digits when she told me those stories—but it stuck with me. Meeting one of my best friends when I was in first grade is another thing I will never forget. We are still in contact to this day twenty-some years later! The first tattoo I ever got when I was 17. So yeah. Again…little things can have the biggest impact on you.

I, for one, hope I never let go of the little things in life. I want to hear from you. Do you think the little things matter or are completely irrelevant to life in general? Feel free to comment and as always, thanks for reading!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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