I always understood something was off in my life. I looked and acted similar to other people, but there was something not right. This confusing haze lasted about 48 years of my life. Now I have specificity for my confusing life. I discovered I have autism. Some people call it high-functioning autism, and some people dislike that term. I realized my view of the world was different because I perceived reality differently. Most people can ignore the world around them. Reality is not something I can escape or ignore easily. I have a heightened sense of reality compared to most people. This has made me an expert at accepting reality for what it is and dealing with it.
I am fascinated by science as a way of understanding reality. When I was younger, science offered a logical understanding of people and the world around me. It did not stop bullies from picking on me, but it offered me an understanding of their behavior. They ridicule others before they get ridiculed. I knew psychologically why they did this, but they were physically larger than me. I knew my scientific studies of people would not help me in a fight. Knowing they would pay the price for their simplistic views as adults did not protect me against their fists when I was young. The unpleasant behavior of these bullies seemed illogical because it was.
My journey toward reality acceptance began when I realized I was an atheist. It started with just not believing in God, but progressed until I realized I did not believe in any supernatural beings or religion as a concept. I knew all the cool supernatural beings like vampires, dragons, and wizards were not real, so why would I believe in uninteresting supernatural beings? The whole concept of worshiping God seemed negative. He seemed like a being who did not care about people until they needed smiting. The image of Jesus on the cross was an image out of a horror film, and I did not like horror films.
Eventually, I went from being angry at believers to feeling sorry for them. They were so focused on supernatural things that they did not notice the wonder of nature and reality around them. They would rather look at a religious building or statue than the enormous variety of nature’s wonders such as trees, plants, and animals. A building constructed 100 years ago cannot compare to nature that developed over billions of years. Their beliefs were keeping them from experiencing realities that could improve their lives. I want them to question their beliefs because those beliefs are preventing them from being as happy and healthy as possible.
I am a caring atheist. I care about other people, but I do not concern myself with their beliefs unless those beliefs keep them from caring about others. All the major conflicts in the world have been from differing beliefs. People claim wars are for economic issues, land ownership, and resources, but the real catalyst for their actions are their beliefs. People hide their beliefs if they think those around them do not believe the same as they do. The people who believe hideous things are not hideous, their beliefs are.
From the time humans have interacted, their beliefs have separated them from other humans. I definitely separated myself from other people because of my beliefs. If I disagreed with other people’s beliefs, I knew why their beliefs were wrong. I did not have the same awareness of my own beliefs. My beliefs were guesses about the world by which I was living my life. I thought I was using my experiences, problem-solving skills, and knowledge, but I was mainly using my beliefs to guess my way through each day.
In high school, my parents went through a bankruptcy because of a failed business. This negative event forced me to accept realities I had not confronted in the past. I had to put myself through college, drive whatever car my parents did not need, and live a stripped-down life for which I was unaccustomed. The college I went to did not have a football team or frats, but it had students who knew the importance of the education they were getting. After five years, I graduated with a four-year degree in English Composition. My degree seemed useless, but it has served me well in my life.
I accepted reality in my writing long before I accepted reality in my life. We must live life in chronological order whereas I could write in a random order as thoughts occurred to me and organize them later. My mind works randomly. I could work through problems by writing about them much easier than I could work on them at other times in my life. As time went on, I could transfer my skills in writing to the rest of my life. Writing taught me to organize my thoughts into categories. Once organized, I could express them to others more clearly.
I have written my observations about the world most of my life. Eventually, I focused my thoughts into a general acceptance of reality. As I collected similar thoughts into different categories, four categories emerged: Health, Science, Thinking, and Other People Exist. I had written about science, health, and thinking throughout most of my life. When I wrote about my interactions with other people, it developed into Other People Exist. If you did not agree with other people about science, health, or thinking, you could agree that other people exist. All four of the categories overlap with each other. If one category does not cover a certain topic, another category will. If you can think of a topic I did not cover dealing with accepting reality, you need to tell me what it is so you can blow my mind.
As a young adult, I accepted the reality of my health. I noticed a correlation between eating sugar and getting acne in high school, so I stopped eating sugar. The acne went away. I also stretched and exercised regularly. Periodically, I stopped exercising, but I always stretched. To this day, I am still more flexible than most of the people I know regardless of their age. Several years ago, I started eating a vegan diet. I allow myself to cheat when I am on vacation. I always notice the dip in my health after the vacation, despite exercising. I have never broken a bone, have no lingering aches or pains, and I walk up and down stairs rather than ride an elevator. I am losing my hearing in one ear, I still struggle with my posture, and I do not get enough sleep most of the time. I am not as healthy as I could be. There is always room for improvement and more reality to accept.
I am hoping to use what I have learned in my journey toward accepting reality to expand the concept of Reality Acceptance with the help of others. Only by accepting other perspectives on reality can Reality Acceptance grow as a concept. My goal is to allow the greatest number of people to enjoy happier and healthier lives and to make Reality Acceptance an accepted term by both scientific and non-scientific people alike. I am not claiming I am taking a scientific examination of reality, but I based the concepts on established science. I hope Reality Acceptance will continue to improve long after my journey ends.