From East to West Explorers Camp’s the Best

Hello world, The Epic Autistic is back from another epic week with Easter Seals’ Explorers Camp. Once again it was a phenomenal week that helped me grow as a person and a leader. This year was particularly interesting in the sense that I got a very imaginative camper who at times was a mirror image of me in my youth. Unfortunately it was through him that I was once again reminded of the harsh realities of being different.

Hearing his stories of being bullied turned my stomach because it brought me back to some of the darkest times of my life. Those days where I felt alone in the world and didn’t have many people to count on but held those I could count on really close. As several times during the week he constantly told me that I reminded him of his one on one who he holds in a very high regard. Receiving such a title was humbling yet overwhelming considering I didn’t do anything drastic, I just reassured him that he had nothing wrong with him and that everyone makes mistakes.

Through the course of the next week he would beat himself up for things as simple as forgetting something somewhere or losing something like shower supplies or clothing articles. On the surface it’s rather hard to wrap your head around why someone would get so angry at themselves for the smallest things until my past self made it click, in order for him to be angry at himself for the little things, someone else had to be angry at him first. At various intervals in his life people go angry at him for things that amounted to spilt milk.

At times I was worried greatly by his his stories and the way he reacted to certain situations. As happy as he was during camp, I feared the life he’d go back to when this was said and done. The world is a cruel place and if you lack the will power and a strong support system it will eat you alive. There was a time where the world constantly got mad at me for the smallest mistakes and with time it caused me to beat myself up. I developed a system where I would psychologically break myself every time I screwed up. It took me several years to break that habit and I don’t ever want to see others do it to themselves.

This week once again reminded me of my purpose in this world and that is to help out those on the spectrum as well as helping the world understand the world that is Autism. Being compared to someone’s one on one reminded me that I mean more to people than I realize. I’m still on the fence on how I want to work within the Autism community beyond camp and this blog. I have many options and I have to also think of going back to school depending on what I’d like to do. It’s still all very confusing and I hope to figure all of this out soon. I love working at camp but it’s only for one week and before you know it I’m back playing the “let’s look for a job” game and hoping that what ever I find doesn’t interfere with me being able to do camp. When people ask me if I’m coming back it used to be a definite yes but after the difficulty of getting time off this year all I can say when I’m asked that question is “I hope” I would love to commit to that week for a really long time but you never know what can come up. I’ve always loved this camp but it was the process of getting this week off that had me questioning my priorities in life. To have enough passion for this to put up the fight I did to get this week off made me realize where my heart truly was. I know what I need to do but beyond this blog I don’t know where else I need to go. Whether I should juggle this mission with my career or take this job on full time is a tricky decision that lies before me. Hopefully I can make this decision before it’s too late.

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