My therapist basically told me the same thing. He’d be happy to talk to me about autism issues, but he he didn’t think he had a lot to offer. He said when he diagnosed me, it was just because he wanted me to know. He thought it would help me understand myself better.

And he was so right! Especially when it comes to taking things literally. I struggle with that even when I know I’m doing it. Also, my writing! People praise me sometimes for writing very carefully and boiling complex ideas down and organizing them so they’re easily understood.

What they don’t realize is how frustrated I feel when other people don’t do the same thing. It’s not because I’m judging their communication skills, it’s because I genuinely struggle to understand what they mean.

I think I was an excellent intel analyst in the Air Force BECAUSE of my autism, not despite it. Military life suited me to a tee. I didn’t have to figure out people’s feelings, I just had to follow carefully written instructions and issue my own. And as for the actual work? Geeking out on analyzing Soviet force structures was awesome. I’d put in 12 hour days organizing reams of data and teasing out conclusions that nobody guessed were there to find.

And all along I had no idea that I loved it because of how my brain works.

I should write about it some, I think. I’ll start getting some ideas together.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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