The biggest insult I’ve had growing up was being called Weird. I didn’t really know what was wrong with me, or even if there was anything wrong with me, and I just self diagnosed with Asperger’s last year and that plays a lot of it and puts the final piece of the puzzle into my life. Here’s Autism: Changing Weird to Gifted
Autism: Changing Weird to Gifted
But, I want to talk about growing up, and how I turned my weirdness into a gift. This can be done with any person out there that has Asperger’s, there’s hope for you, so stay till the very end.
Growing up, I had a tremendous amount of attention to detail. In fact, I could stare at a wall and be entertained with just my imagination. Then I discovered music, and I had a canny sense of duplicating the song, mimicking the song, the exact pitch, the tone, the beat, the pattern, and so forth. I didn’t know this was a gift but I was drawn to music and I laser focused on it.
When I was 17 I was very awkward in school, I couldn’t get a girlfriend, people thought I was weird, I was quiet, I was insecure – and my main focus was still music.
But then something happened, I found alcohol and alcohol became my first lover, the way that it made me feel, the way that it touched my mouth and exploded in my mouth and made me feel almost immortal. Within one drink, I felt totally different, I felt like I could breathe, I felt like I could talk to people, and I was spontaneous, I didn’t have to plan anymore. I didn’t have to feel awkward and insecure. Unfortunately alcohol took more away from me than it ever gave me, and I almost died from it.
The biggest insult I’ve ever had was being called weird by a girl. And this was a girl that became my girlfriend and I had fun with her, but she accidentally called me weird and I just felt crushed. I didn’t care if people called me anything else, but if they called me weird, I was destroyed.
Later I found out that I had many gifts, and all I had to do was laser focus on them. And that’s the great thing about Asperger’s, is that we have attention to detail, and we are great at certain things. There’s other things we are not great at, for example, social interaction. That might seem like a pain. We might think, what’s the point of this conversation? And if we’re around people that are in drama mode, and they’re talking about rumors and gossip, we might not have any interest in that, because we have high integrity. We have high integrity, and we want the truth.
In fact, a lot of us are more drawn to nonfiction than fiction. I cannot stand watching TV, I cannot watch someone else’s pre written script. Why should I watch a show that’s made up when I can use my imagination and create anything I want?
So, the gifts are unlimited. You just have to focus on what you want and what you’re passionate about and forget trying to fit in, or socialize, or gossip with the rest of them, or create drama like the rest of them.
You have gifts, and that weirdness can blossom into your gifts. As you get older you will realize they are gifts. It might be hard in school. I know I’ve been there, I was bullied, I only had a couple friends, but those friends that I had, those were very special relationships, and I didn’t even really find good friends until after high school.
Then I got rid of all those friends in high school that were rude. Life is too short to put up with people who are rude. So if they’re calling you names, and they want you to do things you don’t want to do, just remember that your imagination and your mind is very powerful, and you can do things with your mind that no one else can do. You can create imaginary worlds that are unlimited, in interest and power.
In fact, staring at the wall for me was a way that I could expand on my imagination, and I could create new ideas. And in the business world, I succeeded in an industry that was only meant to be for extroverts, and that was network marketing.
I kind of laugh about it now, but I put my mind to it, and I made over $200,000 in a extroverted industry that I had no interest in pursuing, I just wanted a passive income stream, but I put my mind to it, and I love creating websites and blogs, and I was always a great writer, so I was like why not, why can’t I do network marketing?
So, I did it my way, and it worked. Just like a Frank Sinatra song. I did it my way, you can be your own boss, you can be your own director, you can be your own creative director of your life. Don’t worry about peer pressure if you’re in school right now. Just hold on tight, and stick to your imagination and know that you are gifted. You are not weird.
Only people who don’t understand you call you weird and they can’t put you in a box. When they can’t put a box around you, and they can’t title you and they can’t label you and they can’t comprehend how you’re behaving, they’re gonna call you weird. It’s a lazy way out for mediocre people by labeling you weird, so hold on.
When I stared at the wall, amazing things happened. In fact, one time when I was seven, I was staring at the wall, and all of a sudden, a ghost appeared, and he walked towards me in my room, and of course I freaked out, and I cried out to my parents and they came and rescued me.
But I basically saw one of my deceased grandparents possibly or apparition or something. I created that with my mind because I had laser focus, I had attention on one thing. And with that attention to one thing you can do incredible things.
In fact, Mozart had Asperger’s or he had Asperger traits. And look at all the music he created, there’s several artists that have Asperger’s, and they’re awesome. In fact, one of the first musicians I loved was Gary Numan. The song was Cars, and I would play that over and over and over, and that repetition soothed me – playing songs over and over, and I could daydream, and I could escape this reality, and create my own world.
And those worlds led me to very ingenious ideas, not only in my life but in business and finance. I changed my credit score. I got out of debt. I feel freer than I ever have. I can work on anything I want with my laser focus, I can become superhuman. I can memorize anything I want, I can create songs out of thin air. I can create sonnets and poems with my imagination effortlessly.
When I played drums, my friends tried to play drums like me, and they couldn’t do it. I could play without looking at music, I could create songs off the top of my head, I could create drum beats that they just scratched their heads to – all because of my mind, and because I wanted to be free. I didn’t want to be told what to do, I couldn’t read sheet music.
What I did was stream of consciousness, and it was spontaneous and it felt free. I didn’t like school, in fact I flunked out because I didn’t want to play by other people’s rules. Later on I was getting A’s in college because I wanted to go. I didn’t want to go to high school, I wanted to be a rock and roll star.
And in my own mind I was a rock and roll star, I did everything a rock and roll star would do: I trashed my home, I dumped girls, and I almost died from alcohol. Later on I obviously realized that was not a good path to take in life, and I changed and I found God, and I took to spirituality, I did Ayahuasca, and I became a spiritual person, I meditated, I stopped rocking. After 46 years of rocking back and forth, I finally stopped rocking. I quit all my addictions, and now I’m learning how to love myself and others.
So you can do anything you want with your Asperger’s, Asperger’s is actually a gift. The only people that call you weird are the ones who can’t label you properly. It’s kind of like a general go-to term and it’s lazy. You don’t need those people in your life.
In fact, all you need is your imagination. If anything were to threaten you, it would be someone telling you that you can’t fantasize, that you can’t daydream, that you can’t use your imagination, that you can’t write poetry or create art.
Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t create those things with your mind. In fact, when I did go to art school, I created a piece of work. Actually, it was a five page paper, and this was my first year in art school, and the teacher, who was an English teacher said to the classroom about me, “he must be smoking banana peels.” And it was a beautiful piece of writing, five pages worth. Did that stop me? No, it fueled my fire.
And yes, I did fuel my fire with revengeful thoughts. Then later on, I forgave him because I was forgiving myself, I forgave my dad for teasing me, I forgave teachers for bullying me, I forgave the bullies for picking on me.
At the very end of the day, at the very end of your life the only thing that’s gonna matter is that you love yourself, and you love others. That’s it. And so it comes down to forgiving yourself every single day. And you don’t even have to forgive yourself if you haven’t done anything wrong.
We have high integrity. We don’t play around with gossip, we don’t like lying. We want to be good people, the only thing that sets us back is feeling that we have to belong to some certain group, or some social class and that’s not true at all.
You can create anything you want and people will follow you, they will start to become interested in your ideas. In fact, what I did with bullies was I started creating things in front of them. One time I was in detention and I started drawing on a piece of paper and a bully came up and he was gonna start picking on me.
So I deflected him by simply asking about his life and he softened up and started to talk about his life. That’s all I had to do to disarm the bully. He just wanted attention. He hurt people because he was hurt – his dad hurt him, he was picked on, so he went to school, and found a scapegoat and picked on them, so he could take out his anger because he couldn’t take out his anger at home, he was being beaten by his dad.
My dad was picking on me. And so I would go to school, and instead of being a bully, I withdrew. I was withdrawing from everything, friends, classroom, myself.
I got lost for a long time and I nearly died. But I found myself again and now I see that all those things I did lead up to my gifts, the mastery of my mind, my imagination, my artwork, my words, everything came together, so you just have to wait until all of those things come together.
Everything is meant for a reason. It’s just refining you, and making you better, making you sharper, making you more resilient, making you more tenacious and all those things will come together and you will become a gift, and people will love you and they will adore you for your uniqueness, not because you sold out, and became like them.
You can’t become like anyone else. I’ve tried, and you can’t do it, and people will see that you’re phony and false, they will be begging you to tap into your genius, and it’s only a matter of time that you will be diverted back to your genius and laser focus on it with all your mind, and all your might. Because what you do with your life will matter, and it will become genius, but you have to laser focus on you and only you. I’m not saying be self centered, you will learn how to love people in time.
But don’t ever forget about your creativity and your mind and your imagination and your focus to detail. There’s room for you. In fact you can become a leader in this world, stick to what you know, laser focus on it, and people will start watching you.
They’re watching you right now, you don’t know it, but eventually they will start following you, and then you will have a huge network of people that look up to you because of your ideas and your creativity. I love you guys. Hang in there, and we’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for reading Autism: Changing Weird to Gifted
Here’s more Resources for Autism and Addiction
Erik C Johnson