As an adult I still think back to those times of isolation and feelings of lonlieness and I realize how I was very lucky to get through them and grow into adulthood to accomplish all I have and to marry and be blessed with a wonderful son and it is my hope that our son can also grow into adulthood and not be limited and can achieve all he wishes. I know I will be behind him every step of the way with my wife as my parents were for me.
I certainly had a crippling shyness that caused me to withdraw and I felt especially shy around girls and feel this was unfortunate because when I think about it now they are just like us but obviously much cuter and sweeter!. I wished I had made friends with the girls in my childhood as I feel it would have made me more well rounded and a better person. Girls have a way of understanding and being more kinder and expressive of their feelings. As a shy kid I was free to do anything I wanted in my world I created for myself through my self imposed isolation and sometimes wished I could have had that time back to make a concious effort to try to come out of it and open up a bit more with my peers and enjoy more relationships with the girls. I always had crushes on the cute girls but I could never summon the nerve to talk to them and this made me feel sad as it limited my experiences. I read stories of people who have experienced the same things I have so I felt good that I was not alone yet I did feel alone because I was always isolating myself from others as I could not deal with others as I knew they would not appreciate that I was just painfully shy. I was always a good kid and a very quiet one and I lacked friends because my self confidence was low at times. My parents worked on helping me to be more proud of my accomplishments and to learn to acquire a higher level of self esteem.
I tried many times to break through this isolating world I created for myself but felt I had too many insecurities. I felt like I could do anything in my own world and I believe autistic children feel the same way in their world.
As an adult I feel I have made strides but still am shy and find it sometimes still a bit intimidating to speak with attractive women. Having grown up with family illness and uncertainty I would feel very depressed and all alone if I did not escape into my secret world from time to time. In fact I feel this is what kept me sane and allowed me to grow and become a very sensitive, compassionate and truly understanding person. It taught me that we should never judge others and we should always accept them as we are all created by God and are all special.
I am a strong person having dealt with so many tragedies in my life and I always know that life is a gift and we are always caught up in the petty things of life never looking at the complete picture. When I see the complete picture I gain perspective and when I gain perspective I then understand what is most important. We are not guaranteed tomorrow so we must live each day to the fullest because we have a job and a responsibility. I know I want to live to see my son grow up and go to college and hopefully marry one day. I will not pressure him but I wish for him to have everything I have been fortunate to have and my love for my son is infinite and I will never judge him as my parents never judged me. They embraced me as I embrace my son and I will guide him and help him as best I can. My son is autistic and I understand he is different from others as I felt different as a kid myself but we are all capable of great things and should always be encouraged so we can achieve and see the most important part of the picture which is love and understanding.
I will live my life for my family and be the best I can and still cope with my feelings and escape into my imaginary world from time to time as we all need to escape the realities of life from time to time. It is what makes us human.
Edward D. Iannielli III