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A Life Once Lead

In my life as an autistic person, I have faced more than my fair share of narrow & crooked paths. One notable time, however, was during my senior year at my previous college, Drew.

Last October, Woody Allen came to my school to shoot a movie. I was so excited to have celebrities on my own campus! In fact, when I met him and questioned his status as Mr. Allen himself, he said “Does that amaze you?” As if that wasn’t enough, I talked with one of the writers from Marvel Studios about an idea I had. She seemed pretty excited about it, especially since she was curious about new ideas. However, my life took a turn for the worse the following Monday.

That night, I was trying to sleep, but negative thoughts kept clouding my judgment. Eventually, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed “Stop raping me!” Then, somebody called the police on me, out of concern for my safety. One of the policemen asked if I was okay, then asked why was I screaming. Deeply embarrassed, I said “I had a nightmare where I was being strangled.” Worried, he said “Would you like to talk to someone?” I said, “Yes.”

That exact same night, I was brought over to the hospital. Due to his history of sexual allegations—which several Drew kids unapologetically coveted—the people at Drew believed I was traumatized by having him on campus. However, Woody Allen is one of my favorite classic actors, partly because he looked exactly like my grandpa. However, because the people there didn’t want me mentally unhinged at Drew, they decided to keep me at the hospital for a few days. When my dad visited later that evening, I felt terrible that I had let him down.

The psych ward, while still technically a psych ward, was a rather cozy place. They had a Wii to play games, magazines, books, and TV. I had become friends with another young woman with drug problems, who was surprisingly friendly despite her reckless behavior. However, after what had happened, everything seemed to go downhill for me.

For starters, I was not allowed back in the dorms for the rest of my semester, due to my behavior. For example, comedienne Samantha Bee performed at Drew, but I wasn’t allowed to attend. In fact, when I did go back to the dorms to study, I had a panic attack so intense I screamed someone was raping me. Of course, I was thinking negative thoughts, which made me lose it. Eventually, I had a hearing at Drew to discuss my incident. While they let me off the hook, I was dangerously close to being kicked out.

My dad had pointed out that my behavior could get me kicked out, and that I had to shape up if I wanted to stay in college at all, let alone a tough one like Drew itself. Because of this, Mom was much more attentive to my academic needs. However, how tolerating I was of them depended on what mood I was in.

This made my parents see the light and realize that the school was not the best place for me. Dad looked into another college, St. Elizabeth’s, which had a more supportive environment. Furthermore, because I had written a book about my experiences with autism (It’s Not A Perfect World But I’ll Take It), one of the social workers there decided to set me up with a lady who worked in the theatre community for a possible stage adaptation.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get my life back together, but it hasn’t been easy. Sometimes, people will say things that hit certain nerves, and I just lose it. I’m working on it, though, and hopefully I’ll be able to handle myself in the real world.

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A Life Once Lead
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