Admittedly I’ve always managed to have some sort of support throughout my life to manage my disability and the issues that come with it. There are fantastic charities out there who merely wish to give everyone a chance to have a life, and having that chance is something that not everyone in the world can get. The Mentoring Plus programme (which I mentioned in my ‘Early Years’ blog) connected me with Pete, who happened to be the exact type of person I needed in my life to help me to focus my ideas on a future. Pete worked with me initially for a year but was prepared to go beyond the expectation of Mentoring Plus, and in fact looked out for me far beyond that. Pete was always someone I had looked up to, and today I had the pleasure, after 10 years, of meeting Pete again! I can’t say I wasn’t nervous when someone has seen you as a troubled teen and had that impression of you as their lasting impression – it’s going to be difficult to believe that that impression can be improved. In fact, Pete was so open when I met him, that I felt that I knew being myself would be super easy. He and I spoke for a couple of hours about things that had been happening since he last saw me, and it was so rewarding to be able to show my gratitude to him for what he did in that time he was around for me – but also to show him that I’ve truly developed as a man. The meeting made me feel so much better about myself because it was recognised that I had changed massively since 2008. Pete was utterly surprised at how far I had come, and what I had achieved in 10 years. It’s quite important to mention here that I have experienced many things beyond what any typical person might experience in their lifetime. I had been through so many different events in my life, and found a way of dealing with them, making me a stronger person. Sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for the amount of shit I’ve had to go through to get where I am now, the people shaking their heads at me, looking down on me, people not having belief in me and people generally believing that I’m slow as a person.
The lengths to which I have taken to get where I am today are drastic, but they’ve been completely worth it. Life is not without its risks, it’s not without its challenges and it’s a test of resilience. I don’t regret the decisions I have taken in my life, and I don’t believe that I should have to attempt to prove all those people wrong with any manner of words, as my actions are speaking volumes for me. I only hope that those people who lacked belief in me, who thought I was stupid – themselves accept that they were wrong. Funnily enough, when I look up the very people who disbelieved in me or called me stupid – they’re the ones who aren’t doing anything spectacular in their lives. It makes me think that perhaps those people actually saw something in me that I didn’t know was there, and now I’ve been able to harness my ability – I’m focused on using it to do great things in my life. This reflection comes after spending some time with Pete and understanding myself better by remembering the experience Pete had with me those 10 years ago. It’s funny how when you meet up with someone after such a long time, it can bring back so many other things you perhaps didn’t think about. The meeting, I felt, was extremely successful and it made me remember exactly what Pete did to help me get through my struggle, and I am eternally grateful for that.
Alongside Pete, I had Daniel who also worked closely with me to help me build a skill set that would make getting a job easier, and helped me to understand my own qualities that would help employers to offer me a job. I finally met up with Daniel last week after not talking properly for some 8/9 years. It’s interesting to understand Daniel’s perception of me from then to now, and understand what Daniel believed was the cause of my stresses and behavioural problems. I believe my Autism gives me an adaptable factor which is like no other – meaning that whoever I spend time with, I reciprocate everything they do and say, and I almost become the people I spend time with. Its normal for people to do this, however, I feel that because of my Autism – I go far and beyond what is normal to adapt to my environment. So, the impression Daniel had of me from when I was younger, was that I merely became part of the environment I found myself in, and similar to those I spent time with. Which is why I was rebellious and troubled, and now that I spend time with people who I aspire to be more like – I am more composed, driven and want to become successful in life.
It’s definitely a fact that those who you spend time with will affect who you are as a person, and I’m not saying that you become a follower in any way. I’m actually saying that when you surround yourself with good people – you become similar to them and encapsulate the good things about them into who you are.
Aaron Rogers said:
“Surround yourself with really good people. I think that’s an important thing. Because the people you surround yourself are a reflection of you”.
Its definitely been a positive week for me, seeing some old faces and reflecting on who I was to who I have now become. The focus is on success and I will continue working for it until I get it.
Thank you for reading.