A LETTER TO MY 22-YEAR-OLD SELF.

Peter Wynn
3 min readAug 12, 2023

Dear Peter,

Today, you proved your high school guidance officer wrong again. You graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, and you had credits and distinctions, including the distinction that you got for your thesis. Remember the words of your Year Nine Math teacher in response to the guy in your class who was something of a gun nut, and whose father was old school, that somebody can rip your degree into a thousand pieces, and you’ve still got a degree, they only can rip the certificate into pieces, you cannot be stripped of your degree.

In two days' time, however, your mother will say something that will hurt you and it will come to hurt you more in the future, but you’re stronger than that. Your mother might care for you, but she betrayed your trust when you were 12, and now she is being stubborn and difficult. Saying that your friend, whom you trust, and who is a lovely person, “She’s a recommendation?!” and calling her a “bloody idiot,” was undeserved and unwarranted, and you’re now forced to subject yourself to something you don’t want, and that the “bloody idiot” is not your friend, but the doctor she’s pushed you into a corner to see is. Why your mother’s comment will hurt you more is that your friend will die tragically, and it will take time for your mother to accept what you friend meant to you. You loved her like a sister, and she may have been an undiagnosed neurodivergent. The idiot doctor is not neurodivergent, but a dinosaur.

You will go through the motions to please your mother, but you will tell your father how unhappy you really were. That doctor’s remedy was short-sighted, and your mother might mean well by saying some things, but you won’t follow what she says.

Your mother can’t see what is happening, namely, that you are being like William Ah Ket when he told Gertrude Bullock that if he could marry an Australian woman, he could finally be accepted. Your mother talks of your own people, but what she doesn’t understand is, you don’t fit in to the blokey, drinking culture of Australia. You don’t fit in to Australia, and you want to be accepted by the Asian community for your mind and your sense of justice, even though you disagreed with the hanging of Barlow and Chambers 11 years earlier. You’re not turning your back on your own country and your own people; you’re stepping away from those who abused you. They looked like you, but they weren’t your people.

One thing that you can be proud of over the ridiculous doctor is that you didn’t go to university to prove others wrong; you went because you wanted to and in the process proved others wrong. There’s a difference. You didn’t go to school to make friends; you went to school to learn. If you want to be a doctor because you think that people will like you, you’ve got the wrong idea. People who didn’t like you before won’t suddenly say, “Oh, so and so’s now a doctor, let’s go and see them!” They’ll probably roll their eyes! You may help some people and they may like you as a doctor, and you get some who’ll say, “Yeah, thanks for doing that, but no, my opinion doesn’t change.”

But try now to let this ridiculous doctor be a blip on the radar. When he sent you a letter after he’d closed up, you tore it to pieces without even reading it. There’s no law that says that you have to go back.

And remember, your friend is with you spiritually, and you know that what your mother said was wrong.

22-year-old Peter doesn’t need to “have a good look at yourself and grow up,” as your mother said, you’ve had different experiences to your mother. She left school at 15 and was married at 19. You finished high school and university and went to Japan, and growing up for you was exposure to and acceptance of other cultures. You experience the world differently to your mother, and in 13 years’ time, a discovery will change your life. You’re a late bloomer, but you’re NOT immature.

Regards,

48-year-old Peter.

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Peter Wynn

Diagnosed with autism at 35. Explained a lifetime of difference.