Laura Nagle – Paving the Way

The following was a “comment” sent to me by Laura Nagle, who is the star of the wonderful, powerful and not to be missed documentary:  Vectors of Autism: Laura Nagle.  I couldn’t just include it in the comments section, you will see why.  So I asked and received Laura’s permission to publish it here as a post on its own.

Laura Nagle writes:
“I self diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome several years ago. I told my sister, who told our father who confirmed my suspicions with recollection of my official autism diagnosis long ago, before the flood. I soon learned of a local chapter of the Autism Society of America, meeting in Flagstaff. I went there. Walking into that first meeting was a large and difficult step. I am so glad that I summoned the courage.

You see, I have always been autistic. I have always been a misfit in the world. I have had all the typical autism issues, but without having any answers as to why. I have paid my bills, but otherwise have wandered aimless upon the earth. I have lived in crushing financial poverty, as do far too many of us. I have found a form of poverty so much worse than that of mere money; and have lived this soul poverty most of my life.

You see, I have had nothing to give. I have been so deep in money trouble that I have not been able to give to charity. By the end of a day’s work in the real and generally entee world I am exhausted, and melted,  and depressed, and not capable of any optional accomplishments. And I have lacked any special worth or skill or talents. What can a poor, fatigued, worthless loner give to anyone. Nothing. Nothing at all. That is the desolation that I have endured. . .

. . . Until my walking into the meeting of the Northern Arizona chapter, ASA. I must note, and strongly, that my life did not change at that moment. That would be to assume that I had a life prior to the ASA chapter and the people I met there. I did not have a life, I had a rude existence. My life began at that moment.

I found the ASA and was found by them as well. It turns out that all that I learned during those harsh years is of value to others. It happens that I have an essential talent of putting an esoteric condition and its personal reality into words understandable by persons who will never experience it. This talent is a gift, I cannot take credit for it, but I will use it as well and as often as I can.

I am motivated. As I scan the decades of my life I see so many ”autistic moments” in which I adjusted my life’s trajectory downward. I see so many moments in which things might have turned out better for me if only I. . . If only someone near me had known the whats and hows of autism. They did not. I want new ones of my Spectrumite Tribe to excel! I want them to do far better than have I! I want them to exceed me in every way.

And I have the chance to do this! These wonderful people around me, people of ASA, people of TASH, these people have given me purpose and friendship and thus life itself – on a silver platter! I have gone so long in a drought! I have people and purpose! The drought is broken, and I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and I so deeply appreciate it all!

Without the ever growing people I cannot fulfill my purpose. I need people to dream with me and also for support and guidance. I need those people who listen to my message and apply these concepts in real life and so insure that new auties shall exceed me and my success! People and purpose. I would never have dreamed of this. I have thanks that would take several lives to give.

And I would like to offer those thanks here! Thanks big and wide to the ”Vectors of Autism” team, to my ASA and TASH friends and to all who watch our film and are moved by it. Special thanks go to John, our director, who insisted on making this film more than a documentary. Thanks to our cameraman, Matt who lent his vision – literally! And most of all, thanks to Susan, producer of this film, and of my life!

Dang I am lucky!”

*I believe, but I haven’t verified this with Laura, that when she writes “entee” she is referring to NT (neurotypical).

I was going to title this post “Laura Nagle – Paving the Way For Emma” because Laura is, but it isn’t just Emma who profits from her words and this documentary.  The more Autistics are given a platform from which they can speak out, discuss their experience of the world, the better this world will be for all of us, not just our children, but for every single child and every human being on this earth.

Thank you Laura for writing this.  Thank you for being who you are.  And thank you Leah Kelley of Thirty Days of Autism for introducing me to Laura.

11 responses to “Laura Nagle – Paving the Way

  1. I am glad I learned about Laura Nagle, thank you Ariane!

    What Laura said about “People and Purpose” resonated with me the most — that’s what I’ve been trying to figure what’s “bugged” me about the cultural approach/perspective to autism!

    Autistics are people! My child is a person, unique and interesting, with his own set of challenges like many other even if his challenges are not yet as well understood as other types of challenges… but we’re getting there.

    Autistics have purpose and they have a right to claim purpose. I think this is where we as a society remain lacking, because we lack a framework to think about — and act constructively and integrate — differences in our culture. We have a long way to go in this department.

    People and purpose — amazing.

    • Thanks so much Jane for your comment. Yes, we have such a long way to go, but I am so hopeful! Laura’s message is so strong and one that everyone can identify with. Living life with purpose, this is a universal desire, something all of us strive for, even if some don’t know it yet.

  2. Hi Ariane,

    I am glad that you found Laura and that she gives you purpose and that Laura, in finding her voice has found purpose. We all need a purpose, and a steady diet of it helps us to not just survive but thrive.

    The longer I am on this journey of life I see the vast differences among us, but in those differences I see a shocking amount of sameness. We are like an art museum, full of variation in shapes, sizes and color, but all art none-the-less and we share among us, as pieces of art, the need, the desire to be what we were created for – to be seen, heard, recognized, appreciated, as we are, for who we are, and to have purpose as part of the collection.

    May hope and purpose continue to fill your life and Laura’s.


  3. yes
    ok im sorry for my emails
    forgive me

  4. i thank you for your comments. laugh i love the ocean and your emma is perhaps a ocean girl like me May i email you privately

  5. Reblogged this on Delightfully Different Life and commented:
    I missed Ariane’s post, but Leah Kelley thankfully pinned it and brought it to my attention. It is a powerful letter from Laura Nagle, star of “Vectors of Autism” and one of my favorite people. It will touch your heart if like me you missed it the first time around.

  6. I can not say that I’ve lived Laura’s words. But I reside in the spaces in between the words. I’ve lived a rich fortunate life without living. Experienced without being able to share the experience. I sing the contra song. Therein, we blend and our vectors unify. I can not thank Laura enough for all she has done for me in such a short amount of time.

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