Please Accept Me For Who I Am: How Should You Tell Your Blind Date/s That You Have Autism

“You’ve said on your profile that you’re autistic?” That’s one question one I got asked when I started online dating. And before you ask; yes, I did write on my profile that I have Autism – and I don’t regret it.

When I started online dating, I decided to be open and honest about myself because I wanted to make new friends, as well as finding a possible future lover.

According to Dating Sites Reviews. com, 91 million people worldwide use dating apps and 7 in 10 of these users are between 16 and 34 years old. So when you think of how many users go online, how many of them tell the truth? You don’t know. However, you’ll know if they’re interested in you and message you privately. That’s what happened with me, involving a couple of users – half of them stopped contacting, weeks after we exchanged; the rest are still in conversation with me.

And, I don’t feel bad about myself because there’ll be plenty fish in the sea. When I got in and lost contact with my first guy, I did feel disappointed and confused. In time, I began to realise that not contacting me back is their loss; they never confessed that they didn’t want to contact me anyone, but I guess that’s boy talk for, “I’m done with you”. However, they may contact again, but I cannot guarantee that it’ll happen.

Before that stage happened, everything was building up; we got to know each other like what we study, work and lives. Most of their lives were extremely interesting; each person reminded me of an interesting character in a William Shakespeare play, a Jane Austin novel or one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock series. I couldn’t believe that there were so many fascinating lives in the world. And this, the concept of online dating, has taught me something – it’s fun (in the words of my closet friends,”it’s like exploring a sweet shop”) and educational. There, you can learn, through others, about different cultures that are happening all over the world and what happens in their lives, like the subjects they study at University for example.

But when it came to the Autistic part, I knew I had to speak the truth. I had many questions from them – “what’s it’s like being Autistic” and “how does it affect you?” When I was younger, I felt uncomfortable talking about it but since I became one of the 91 million online dating users, my confidence grew and grew. And what I replied to them was the truth. Not the truth that I just gabble on and on, without stopping to look. But the truth that I take to write and re-write, taken straight from my heart. And with that, I leave them to judge their opinion. So far, I’ve had positive, confused and some, out of tone responses. None of them have been negative (thank goodness). However, I don’t know what I’m going to receive next time. It may be good; it may not. As long as I’m comfortable speaking about Autism, that’s all it matters to me.

Can online dating improve your life? Possibly. Can it teach you something? Absolutely! That’s why I highly recommend it. Time maybe changing, but in a way that you may not expect it to be.

If you are considering online dating, then don’t be afraid to start today; it could change your life. Whither you are Autistic or not, it could be an excellent way to start new turns in your relationships and friendships. It certainly did for me. However, it may take a while before you might find the right people – possibly years (which is similar to finding love, off the screen). But don’t lose hope; love can happen to everyone – we all deserve it. But remember when you sign up and thinking of what information to write on your profile – Just be Yourself! Don’t get carried away or lie your way around situations; that’s not the answer to make new friends or a future love.

Also, don’t be afraid to share your hobbies and your daily life. You may meet fantastic people, who may share the same activities as you! You could be very lucky this way, as sharing them can make a relationship and/or friendships stronger.

As for me, I’ll continue to seek new friendships and possible lovers, until I reach success – it may take a while, but I’m not giving up that easily. 😉

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It All Started With A Small Tank Engine – Happy 70th Anniversary, Thomas and Friends

“There was no doubt in my mind that steam engines all had definite personalities. I would hear them snorting up the grade and little imagination was needed to hear in the puffings and pantings of the two engines the conversation they were having with one another: ‘I can’t do it! I can’t do it! I can’t do it!’ ‘Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!'”

Those were the words of the late Reverend Wilbert Awdry, whose memory of hearing trains, travelling past his house in the night (while listening in his bed) later became the inspiration for Edward and Gordon, one of the first stories in the Railway Series books. Now, seventy years later, it’s hard to imagine children not seeing their favourite number one tank engine. But today, Thomas and Friends haven’t just won the hearts of children.

It seems that Thomas’ fans are children and adults on the autism spectrum. So why is Thomas so popular? For so many, Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends play an important role for helping their social and creative skills, such as human emotions, imagination and communication. Through these experiences, both children and adults begin to have strong relationships with Thomas, when they have a few or no friends of their own. Thomas can also give comfort, and make children and vulnerable adults safe in their world, when they are frightened and/or upset. Because of this, Thomas’ relationships with the children and adults last longer than their siblings.

As a child with autism, I used to love Thomas; I would watch my old videos of every early episodes (between 1984 and 2000) and Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Watching them made me feel safe and secure whenever I had a bad day. I loved Thomas, as much I loved watching my other favourite children’s shows including Fireman Sam and Postman Pat. Like so many children with autism, I was fascinated with the scenery, background, colours, the stories, storylines and the imaginative play. Looking back on certain episodes as an adult, nothing has changed. I guess I can say I’m young at heart.

I wonder what Awdry will think of Thomas and the small blue engine changed the world? All it took was pure imagination, and amazing creativity to make Thomas and his friends a reality. It’s hard to believe that seven generations of children and adult alike still remember Thomas the Tank Engine. Along with eighteen series’, two hundred and forty-one episodes and eleven films, I can see that Thomas and his friends will continue to live on forever and possibility the next seventy years.

And with that, I leave you with this final sentence:

Thank you, Thomas

For making our childhood,

And for being there when we needed you.

So, Happy Birthday Thomas

And many happy returns to you,

On the year of your seventy birthday.