Last month, before I left for BotCon, a friend of mine decided to let me in on some news that she had recently gleaned. It seems that my ex-boyfriend was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in 2005 and had been using this as an excuse to play Peter Pan. He is currently jobless, living at home with his mother and refuses to acknowledge any of his friends. He’s basically become little more than a hikikomori in the last decade; he interacts with no one except members of his family.
When I heard this, I was stunned. But not long after I got this news, I was told about another friend of mine, one who happened to live here in Wisconsin. This friend had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and his diagnosis wasn’t good.
That friend died yesterday morning.
I’m genuinely upset about this; I’ll never see him again and never again will we trade stories or complain about things in the fandom. But the one thing that upsets me more is thinking about my ex, how he’s used his diagnosis to make his family feel sorry for him and how he’s used his Asperger syndrome as a “Get Out of Life Free” card. He’s basically wasted a decade of his life, feeling sorry for himself and for what? Because he was told he has high functioning autism? Because he’s not truly “normal”? Because he thinks that he’s some fragile little flower who can’t cope in the big scary world? The thing is, he can and he did, he just chooses not to now.
One friend is dead and a former friend has chosen to throw his life away. To me, the former is far more tragic than the latter.