Alternative Reality – Living with Autism without knowing it!

My alternative Life – Before my diagnosis Part 1


To Neurotypical (Normal) People the definition is:

Alternative: Relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms.”an alternative lifestyle”

Oxford Dictionary

To Neurodivergent People like me, it is the exact opposite – I only visit Normal; I don’t get to stay there…


Part 1

  • I was born at a very young age on 19 August 1978. It was a Saturday.
  • I grew up in a small town. The bank in our town was only open on Fridays. We did not have a High-School, only a Primary School with a total of 127 scholars.
  • My father was a Dutch Reformed Church Minister, he passed away 15 years ago. We did not have a close relationship. My mother was a housewife, we did not have a close relationship.
  • I have 3 brothers and 1 sister, but I grew up alone. I entertained myself by reading Encyclopedias, this was before computers and the internet naturally.
  • My father purchased our first computer when I was in primary school and I would play Space Invaders. This would start my fantastic lifelong journey with PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones.
  • In 1991 I was selected to attend a Winter School program for Gifted Children at the University of Pretoria. I was 12 years old.
  • I went to High-School in 1992 in a neighboring town 60 kilometres (37 miles) away and had to stay in the Hostel. This was the beginning of living independently.
  • In 1994 I received Provincial Colors for playing the trumpet in our school band at the National Championships. I cannot read music and play by ear and memorizing the tunes.
  • In 1996 I was voted a Prefect at school and I was voted Head Boy of our Hostel.
  • In 1996 I received National Colors for placing first in Individual Performance in Drama in a National Acting competition.
  • In 1997 I studied Method Acting at the University of Pretoria. I did not finish due to an opportunity to travel to London, England.
  • In 2000 I traveled to London with a backpack and a little bit of cash to see ‘if I can make it’. I knew no-one there and did not have a job or a place to stay.
  • I lived and worked in London for a whole year at a 800 room Hotel next to Tower Bridge.
  • I served Sir Alex Ferguson without knowing who he was. He asked me when he settled his bill whether I knew who he was, I said No. He shook my hand and said that it was the best breakfast he had ever had.
  • To receive large tips at the hotel I would challenge tables to test my memory. They could order food and drinks and I would not write it down. I would only memorize it. If I could serve all their orders without double checking anything, they would double or triple my tip! I made zero errors, and a lot of money.
  • I developed a Shift Roster for the Hotel which they still use today.
  • In 2001 my visa expired, and I returned to South Africa and started working as a Project Manager with my cousins in the Construction Industry. I developed a Marketing Strategy for them to increase their sales and exposure. They still use this strategy today.
  • In 2004 my cousins left the group and started a family business and asked me to join them. We were successful until 2009 when the global credit crunch forced us to shut down operations.
  • In 2001 I started training in Shaolin Longfist Kung-Fu with Master Weng Jun-Yi in Pretoria, South Africa. I received 5 Black Belts and retired as a Kung Fu instructor and a Tai Chi instructor in 2019.
  • In 2006 I was voted Time Magazine Person of the Year!

If only…

I wish I knew what Autism was back then, we didn’t have sites like:

Autism Speaks: Home

What Is Autism? | Autism Speaks


We also did not have cool articles like:

3 Saints who may have had autism spectrum disorder

Genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder linked to evolutionary brain benefit

We did not have the convenience of expert advice:

Children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder show unique handwriting patterns: Integrative education system should consider this factor, say experts


Read more on:



3 responses to “Alternative Reality – Living with Autism without knowing it!”

  1. Msdedeng Avatar

    Holy shit!!!
    I love your story. The bit about the tip bet is pure genius, lol. Now, I will be off to look for that 2006 Times’s Person of Year. Bravo, and I hope you are still a success, even though autism is considered a disorder.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Msdedeng Avatar

    Stories like your fascinate me, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] autism is a double-edged sword. Good budgeting skills can help avoid taking on debts. However, those with autism may have trouble saving up for emergencies or handling the unexpected costs that need to be paid […]


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