Growing Up Different, Part 1

I have been reminded recently of how growing up different was a difficult process, but at the same time such a rewarding one. So I thought I would tell you a little about me, much of which I find very difficult to vocalise.

Last night I saw a story on a local station about X Factor contestant Declan Sykes (You can see the story HERE) . I thought Declan was an awesome contestant from the start but maybe I could just relate to a small part of him.

Growing up with Aspergers (for me undiagnosed at the time), was full of frustrations. I really didn’t know why I was different but I always knew I was. This was probably compounded by the fact that I was gay. the strange thing for me was it was all about ups and downs. When in primary school I knew I really wasn’t like everyone else. Although I did not have a lot of friends I did have a small group who were amazing. Unfortunately for me, my best friend moved just before I entered high school. However before this even though I was quite often seen as the social outcast I ended up going to the end of year graduation with the hottest girl in my year. Go figure, I really didn’t get this but it was cool.

However entering high school was a completely different story. Thrust into a school and a class with no one I knew really caused high levels of anxiety and I struggled for the first couple of years. I was hit, bullied and generally frightened for my life most of the time. However there were breaks in this with one of the coolest guys taking me under his wing. Unfortunately a few years later he took his own life which was due to a tragedy. I still think of him and what he did for me. I only which I knew where his family were so I could tell them this.

Then I moved schools, and things started to change for me. I moved to a private school and found myself again dealing with bullies, but at the same time with a small group of friends who really did mean the world to me. Although there were a number of guys who really were the bullies, they generally left me alone. I found that this move was a complete change and even when people didn’t like you they didn’t really interfere. For me, a geeky kid who a many just couldn't work out, I managed to find my place. There was still the occasional confrontation but generally things went well. I give the school credit as well because they instilled in everyone a sense of maturity. Particularly once I entered my senior years the school (or awesome principal) encouraged the students to take responsibility and even allowed students to decide if they would attend.

I still knew I was different and quirky but didn’t really understand why. I did however start to grow and eventually I found myself in a position to be myself. This took several years, but I did find myself. I think looking back that I survived only because it was mixed with positive experiences. My life of Growing Up Different since leaving school has been even more different and has had many more positives. Will write Part 2. soon