I feel like I need to explain here exactly why I needed to make that difficult decision, I do hope this will help other autistics in assessing opportunities available for them.
As you may be aware, I felt I was receiving loads of support at the radio station and some great posts have been written as a result of that. I was really looking forward to work on the programme run by autistic people, and only… I somehow couldn’t make sense of it all. And I didn’t know why at first.
I had to leave first, and the situation only became clear to me in hindsight (however short time passed, which is less than one day).
During the time I volunteered there, I was on the radio programme run by others twice – the first time is was a programme about living in Swindon, I was prepared to it, yet, felt very stressed. I don’t think I did very well, but that’s not a big deal, at least it gave me some experience to understand myself better. The second time I was asked to go to join presenter for a few minutes only, it was just a few minutes notice and I was asked some unexpected questions; I was also stressed at the time about a different situation, and yet the stress didn’t cloud my thinking process; I was very pleased with my answers. I felt I passed on the information I had but in an entertaining way; which is what is expected of the presenters on the radio or their guests.
I don’t think I described the second situation on the blog; I think that was when I was taking a few days break and never got back to it.
The difference between those two situations was that the second time the questions, although unexpected, were about things that I was already thinking about a lot and writing on my blog so I had the answers ‘in my head’ and only had to pull them out and make them presentable and cheerful.
So that means I can answer questions, with ease, about things that I’m working on anyway, but I can’t provide general entertainment.
Therefore presenting my own programme would hinder future opportunities because, well, I wouldn’t be very good at it.
Swindon 105.5 is a small community radio station, the listeners don’t look for depth of information there, they look for light entertainment and some updates from the area. I just cannot deliver that. It’s not what I do.
This is not to say that, let’s say university professor cannot have an entertainment programme because they will be disrespected for it; they certainly can. There is a doctor, a surgeon I think, in Poland who sings in a rock band and his songs are very comical. He was very popular when I was in my 20s and still carried on with his medical career.
It was good for him, but it wouldn’t be good for me. If I tried to prepare ‘autistic entertainment’ my legs would fall off. I’d get stressed and talk nonsense. It could be ok on the radio as they want to support autistic people, and in a way it would make people aware what problems we have with communication.
And only, if a journalist would find me through my blog and they would think it’s interesting, and then they’d listen to my programme, they’d think ‘you know what… I’m not going to talk to her for a very long. She talks nonsense sometimes. Let’s just make it very brief and I’ll quickly move on’ and that would be it. Having my own radio show would hinder my future opportunities because people wouldn’t understand that I can communicate very well if we focus on information. Information is what neurotypicals find difficult and still, even with all that autistism awareness thing, they don’t get that information is something that we may find much easier; they just assume we’re less capabe than them if it comes to communication of any type.
And the problem that I was having when I didn’t know I’m autistic was that I didn’t understand this is how I think: I assess the situation for a bit and somehow see if I can cope with it or not. If I see I can’t, I move on. I didn’t even need the awarness that I’m autistic to use this skill, but people didn’t understand. Especially my mum. ‘Why do you want to withdraw now, you made so much effort? Why you’re so undecissive? You have to continue, untill you get where you want to be’.
My mum didn’t understand that by making an effort I’m assessing the situation. I’m not sure if this is how neurotypicals think? Do they always know how they are going to cope with something in, let’s say, 2 years? That’s what I got to believe after my diagnosis.
So yes, with a heavy heart, I had to leave the radio opportunity. It’s better not to have a radio programme at all than have a poor quality one.