You hear the roar, rumble, pop and growl of the engine, you see them, ranging from large to small, crazy looking and very mundane, fast and slow…...ITS A MOTORCYCLE! Hey everyone, its Eric, and in case you can’t tell this little blurb is on motorcycles. I am not just an Aspie, I am a biker as well, ride a Harley, wear a leather vest/jacket and the whole nine yards. But let me start by sharing a short tidbit about a young man with rather severe Autism who took interest in my bike.
I was walking to the gas station with my girlfriend to grab something (can’t remember what) and from out of a car I saw waving hands, a smiling face and the voice of a boy about to hit puberty yelling “HEY GUYS!” We waved back, we are used to this kind of attention when we are in our riding gear which we were. We spoke to the mother and saw the Friendship Circle sticker on her car, turns out this boy had a special interest in cars, trucks and motorcycles. The boy had intellectual disabilities the mother explained, and he had just learned to speak a few short years ago. I must say he spoke rather well, but as things were, I invited him and his mother to meet us at our apartment complex parking lot to see our bike. MADE THAT KID’S DAY! He smiled and if he had been dressed a bit more appropriately I’d have let him climb on my motorcycle and “try it on for size.” Regardless, I made that boy’s day and that’s the joy of my life, sharing my love for motorcycles with everyone.
Now for those of you who are curious, I ride an ’05 Harley Davidson Springer Softail. It has 5 gears and an 88CI/1450CC engine. I call her Black Betty and right now as I write this she is sitting cozy and warm under her cover in the parking lot. Now I have heard it from friends and family, “motorcycles are dangerous,” well…. yeah, duh…...but so is a car if you aren’t careful. For me riding isn’t about the danger or anything stupid, it’s about the simple relaxing effect it has on me. I have about 7 – 8 thoughts running through my head at any given time, so when I’m riding, one of thoughts is on the road ahead of me, another on the cars, the operating of the motorcycle and what’s going on around me, so right there my thought processes are slowed because more of my brain power is being used up. Hope that makes sense because I have no better way of explaining it.
Now I can hear you all going “what does it mean? What does his riding a motorcycle have to do with anything?” Let me explain it doesn’t have to be a motorcycle, it could be any activity, but I believe in order for us Aspies to slow down sometimes we need an activity that requires us to focus so much on it that the rest of the world fades into the woodwork.
Now a quick note about those who ride, we may look scary or intimidating but let me tell you 99% of us are genuine sweethearts, so if you like our bike just say so, we will probably smile and try to chat, I know I personally love making people smile when I’m on my bike, especially kids. Smile when you see us ride by, wave if you like, but most of all DON’T DRIVE TOO CLOSE BEHIND US AND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD WATCH FOR US! Sorry for the raging outburst but it’s something I bring up whenever I write about motorcycles. If you have any more questions about motorcycles and Aspergers feel free to comment them below.
What is your reaction to the following things? Heights, spiders, guns, pain, needles, death and finally, public speaking. I’m sure some of you are jumping with joy at some of them, I know I am. For example, I have a healthy fear of guns, but I still pride myself on knowing how to use them because it’s a healthy respectful fear not a crippling fear. But the point is EVERYONE is afraid of something, and most of them would love to be rid of the fear.
Well, before I begin let me introduce myself, my name is Eric, I’m 25 years old, I have Asperger’s, depression, PTSD, Anxiety and am both a victim of my own fears and a major ass kicker of fears, all depending on the circumstances. For example, here are some of the fears people in my life know I have or had, the fear of needles, the fear of spiders, the fear of heights, the fear of ice (the type on the ground in winter, not the ice cubes, even this guy needs a chilly drink). I no longer have some of the fears I had growing up, like the fear of bad grades, but I’ve developed others, such as sadly a fear of being left behind, or the fear of being unable to defend myself.
Now I’m sure some of you are asking yourselves, “this guy definitely has seen something, how’d he do it?!” Let me tell you therapy works wonders, but sometimes you get a chance and you just take it and other times you have NO CHOICE but to conquer your fears. Look at me, I had a terrible fear of needles, I mean I actively avoided them at all costs, stemmed from my childhood but that’s a different story. But when I was 22 I got sick and ended up in the hospital with IV’s in both arms, turned out I had Type 1 diabetes, and in order to be allowed to go home I had to prove I could give myself injections from an insulin pen (imagine an oversized pen filled with liquid and with a small needle on the end). So yeah, it was hard but I wanted out of the damn hospital so I got through it with help from my endocrinologist and a diabetic educator. So yeah, I got home and took it easy, the next morning I had to give myself my first shot on my own, I sat there and cried for a few minutes in front of my Grandma and dad, then I just did it, never looked back. Now I’ve got 3 tattoos and I want more, MANY, MANY MORE.
When I was a kid a family member who shall remain anonymous for their own dignity and privacy was as a child absolutely terrified of dying. It never phased me until someone close to me died, then I became afraid of having regrets of not showing my affection enough. Now I’m an absolutely loving and affectionate with everyone, I never hate unless it’s a last resort. Doesn’t matter of that annoying 8-year-old cousin is holding onto my leg and begging me to play him in something or if the adults are talking with me about something I don’t want to discuss, I am always loving and polite if I can be.
So, from this screwed up man to all of you I just want to say, if you truly want to be done with a fear, FIGHT IT! If you are afraid of spiders, like I am and you want to cure it, let a spider crawl on you. If you are afraid of heights bungee jumping should cure it. If you fear public speaking, take a public speaking class. I’m not saying you MUST conquer your fears but please from one afraid individual to another, don’t let it cripple you.
So yeah, fear can inspire or cripple, it’s all on you to make of it what you will. Have a good day and keep smiling.
Autism in My Eyes