My name is Chris McFetridge. I am a 45 year old who is on the autistic spectrum. I have been told by many people in my life to write a book about my life story and my experiences as an aspie. Nobody has been a stronger proponent of this than my partner Steph. It is she that really, really tipped my hand in this regard. I never thought much about my life of course, because I am in it. But after much thought, I realized that I do have a worthwhile story to tell - not just about a world that no longer exists, but a story about three distinctly separate lives that I have lived in those 45 years. I have started the process of writing a book which consists of a series of short stories about my life. I am very much interested in criticism of my writing, and so I thought that the best way for me to share stories and obtain feedback about the stories and the quality of my writing is to share them via this blog. So without further ado, I give you the forward to the book:
“Mr. and Mrs. McFetridge, you are going to have to come to terms with several realities as they relate to your son. Specifically, Christopher has a schizoid personality and will never be normal. He will likely never finish high school, let alone university. He has serious social deficits.” These were the words spoken to my parents by the psychologists at BC Children’s Hospital who conducted a rigorous assessment on me in 1980. I am now 45 years of age and in that time I have lived what I feel are three full and very different lives. I was born to a 15 year old mother in a Catholic home for unwed mothers and given up for adoption. I was found by my birth-mother 35 years later, and now have a relationship with both families. I grew up in Australia and Hong Kong at a time when political correctness was unknown. I left home and moved to the other side of the world to start my life at 17. I was an accountant for 21 years, making it all the way to the coveted position of partner in a regional Toronto firm, before walking away from it all to pursue my dream business. I will have been married three times and was financially and emotionally decimated by the failure of the first two marriages. Each time, I have rebuilt from the ashes and reinvented myself. I am on the autistic spectrum and only now am I coming to terms with all that this entails. Recent tests reveal that I am an almost perfect blend of a Neurotypical and an Aspie.
This book is a collection of short stories which traces my journey through three lives lived. Join me, won’t you, as I make you laugh, cringe, cry and look back fondly on the world as you read about my experiences over the past four decades.
My goal of this book is to show people through the stories that:
- As aspies, we are unusual to most neurotypicals, but we are not as weird as you may think. Most of our idiosyncrasies do have plausible explanations that lie in the way our brains function.
- We are not without feelings or empathy
- Being on the spectrum need not define us as people. There are many more aspects to living than dealing with autism or Asperger's.
- We aspies can still experience many of the things that most neurotypicals experience, but the way that we view and experience the world is different.
The title of the book is: Three Lives Lived - Experiences of an Aspie. I call it this because as of October this year, I will have been married three times, to three very different women. In each of these marriages, the life that I lived (or live now) was/is completely different. I have also lived in three countries: Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. Finally, I studied three different major subjects in University: Biology, Archaeology and Accounting. Only the last would become my career for 21 years, but during this entire time, I would develop my interest in philately (stamps). Eventually as I entered my third life, I would shed my career as an accountant and would begin to pursue my dream of becoming a professional philatelist.
So I will be posting some stories as I complete them in the hopes that you will read them and comment on them. Tell me what you liked or didn't like about the story. If you thought it was lame and uninteresting, then please by all means tell me. If you thought it was OK, but not book worthy, I would appreciate that as well. If there is something in the story you think I should develop, I would be very interested in your thoughts. In short, I am completely open to any and all criticism.
My next post will be my first story.