Autism: What Was I Thinking?

11 Nov

I walked past the house, and 4 men were on the roof, happily working away. I looked to see if they are attached to safety lines. It was hard to tell. They were wearing harnesses, but what I saw could have been ropes, or could have been extension cords. I don’t know.

Fear filled my gut. I could never work so high.

I would probably fall off just because of my fear of falling off, and I would have stressed the men out worrying about them.

What was I thinking, going into construction?

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. I would learn how to renovate my own house, the pay is good – at least, a whole lot better than my motel job. I would have winters off, and could afford to visit my mom, maybe… I had my reasons, and they sounded good.

People were encouraging, and thought I would do well at this. Some were with me on our missions trip to Mexico, and thought I was a good worker.

“Go for it!” They told me.

While in school, my grades were top of the class. Even the guys came up to me to help them.

By the time we started building, however, I knew it was a bad fit for me.

When the teacher said, “Do this,” the others in the class jumped in to try, while I held back. “He hasn’t shown us how,” I would tell them. “I don’t know what I am doing.”

I couldn’t learn that way. I have to watch. I have to know – to really feel I KNOW how to do it, before I even try. Even then, if others were watching…

And then there were the safety videos.

I understand their purpose – usually a construction class is a group full of young men who feel invincible. Not me. I could go to a job sight, and see everything that could go wrong.

So they would climb the walls, and I would cringe. They would walk the floor joists, and I would visualize them falling through.

Too much stress – for them, and for me.

Too much fear – the heights, the tools, the mistakes…

Too physical – I could not lift a 75lbs sheet of plywood once let alone again and again over an eight hour shift. I haven’t the energy to be on the move for 30 minutes most days.

What was I thinking? I guess since people had told me if you push yourself enough, you can do anything… I believed them. Maybe I believed them. I had to.

But that was wrong. Don’t try to be someone you are not. That is what they should have said, maybe.

But who am I?

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Posted by on November 11, 2015 in Autism: Jobs and Careers


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