Part 2: (Redemption)
September 30th, 2015
About 3:00 pm US Central
Yes, I remember the date and time. Being at a defining moment in life does that to a person. I do not remember the exact words that I used but what I wrote the next day became the script that I use for every genuine apology I make.
I stated what I did.
I stated that it hurt people.
I stated how I hurt people.
I stated that I needed to teach myself more.
I stated my original intent.
I stated that I understand intent does not forgive harm.
I stated an apology that my actions caused harm.
The response to that apology is unlike anything I experienced up to that moment. The people I hurt forgave me quickly if not in that moment. While close to a some of those people before my apology, many became close afterwards. There are few of them that are no longer in my life.
Perhaps the most surprising thing to me is that almost everyone wanted to help me. All of the people who I did not know are autistic came together to educate me. As it happens, all of my friends are autistic; I just did not know it.
A support group formed to help me explore autism. Most of the people in this group knew they are autistic. A few of the people in the group suspected they are autistic. Wife joined the group, too. She figured out she is autistic shortly before I figured out the same about myself. One other person joined completely new to the idea of being autistic. She and I took our journey of self-exploration and understanding together. Now I call her Girlfriend.
I am not here to tell anyone that everything will be okay after hurting someone but in the end, it is not who we hurt or how we hurt them that defines us. It is what comes after the hurt that defines us.
Apologize. Apologize as best you know how.
Say what you did. Stat that it hurt you know it hurt. Say how it hurts. Say that you need to improve. Say what you meant originally. Say that intent does not forgive harm. Then say that you are sorry. The rest is not under your control.
You might be amazed what people are capable of forgiving and you might be surprised at the amazing things that can happen next. I was. We are human. We make mistakes. That does not mean we cannot learn, grow, and become better people.
This is how I came to understand that I am autistic. This is my autism origin story.
This story originally appeared unedited on Candidly Autistic
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