Free Radicals — 20

This post is part of Project: Inception, written ~8 years ago. It has been untouched from its original, pseudonymous, form. It is also part of the larger “farewell” tour and countdown as I turn-off this blog and head to the metaverse where I will live out the rest of my wonderful days. I hope to see you there!

Free Radicals

I’ve never been one for chemistry – in fact, unlike many aspies I have almost no interest in the classical sciences. This is a fact since I struggled enormously through those classes even while most of my peers found it fun and exciting to dissect frogs and learn about the human body. No, it was positively boring.

But there are specific concepts in science that do intrigue me, like the difference between centrifugal and centripetal forces which I did enjoy. Instead of the overarching science (i.e. biology, physics, ad nauseum) it was just certain particulars.

There’s one idea in chemistry that has grabbed my attention and it’s the term free radical. I have always liked the word “radical” as it was one of the phrases that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would say all the time, in addition to “cowabunga” and “ninja power” and “totally awesome.” Simply, a free radical describes a molecule that does not have a paired electron; it is an atom, molecule, or ion that has unpaired valence electrons or an open electron shell, and therefore may be seen as having one or more “dangling” covalent bonds.

With a few exceptions, these bonds make radicals extremely prone to chemical reactivity, especially toward other substances and even themselves. Their molecules will dimerize or polymerize on contact. Whether you understand what that means doesn’t matter – the point is that they are chemically different and yet at the same time incredibly important.

For example, free radicals play a fundamental part and role in such important chemical processes as combustion, atmospheric chemistry, polymerization, plasma chemistry, biochemistry, and many more. Biologically-speaking, the products and bi-products of their reactions actually regulate important processes such as metabolism and vascular tone (one’s blood pressure).

Without free radicals we would die.

The combinations and the possibilities of combinations are near endless. They can provide the harmony within a system to make it sing (and exist) or they can be incredibly disruptive, even destructive, in others. The fact that they play a part in combustion proves this soundly.

Do you see the parallel? Aspie creatives are free radicals. We are a part of the human race, similar but not the same. We are chemically different but essential in so many parts of life. There have been (and will be) leaders of every industry that have been aspies that have disrupted entire nations, broken down barriers of thought and science, and have been the sources of incredible invention and innovation. They have been forerunners in science and the arts. They cannot be controlled but within themselves find that control to produce incredible value. Autistics are instrumental in the advancement of the human race, full stop.

We are resilient creatures, misunderstood at times, but we know our own worth, even if we can’t express it very well at times. We are incredibly self-reliant and have found, within ourselves, abiding fascinations that allow us to go deeper into the subject matter than anyone has ever dared to dream. Our affect has been incalculable as every industry has felt the outcause of our work, our minds, our hands, our very words. We are the builders of tomorrow – sometimes we simply need to be reminded.

Just like chemical free radicals our own value is not outside of very selves. Our work is intrinsically rewarding, just as the source of our creativity comes from within. We don’t need fancy toolsets or complicated methods – we are our greatest weapon, our greatest tool, our greatest resource. We may create for ourselves as if our own lives depended on it but the result is the creation of value and an impact on hundreds, thousands, millions of people.

We don’t work for external rewards – we were building and creating before anyone ever thought of giving us paper for it. We want to exist for a purpose, a purpose can be so much bigger than ourselves and we want to make a difference, we want to be noticed. We want to belong. It’s our world too, you know.

We may not necessarily fit in perfectly though – in the company of others and within giant organizations we may appear to be odd, awkward, and aloof. We do things “our way” and although they are unorthodox or heterodox, they work. They really work. We want flexibility to be ourselves and the freedom to construct the rigidity of our own methods for greater productivity. We want to be fully engaged it’s just that your antiquated and close-minded approach to work is unfit for a free radical.

We want to do you right, as hard as that may be to believe. We just want to do it our way. Let our work and our minds be one of full meritocracy. Let it speak for itself.

We are the free radicals of humanity and we cannot do anything else but speak and live our lives to the fullest. Help us achieve that end and we will do wonders. Label us, try to “fix” us, medicate or abandon us and we will be lost to you and the value that we have to give will go with us to the grave. Allow us to build and destroy. Allow us to live!