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