I am Saleh, currently finally taking a much needed time away from projects to get my life back on track. I had a very atypical journey in open-source, and most of my life really, until it was finally evident to my doctors that I got also diagnosed with ASD (at 34) along with ADHD and Visual Processing LD (at 25) — and struggling for being open about this kind of thing is a burden I no longer want to have to keep.
You can say I by far have the least amount of contribution in the ecosystem in terms of lines of code. But the contributions I can make that way had become harder by the day, and so I had to figure out how to make a difference in my own unique ways.
All my life, nothing gave me more peace than how predictable code is, when it breaks, you know there is a problem, and you can systematically identify and correct it.
But things moved too quickly in recent years, and troubleshooting forced us to have to rely on getting others to understand the problems you are facing. And so it was a tough journey for me to learn that sadly, not all issues will be treated equally. I somehow had to come to accept that problem-solving code was no longer the sanctuary it once was.
And while my own journey was tough, I was also very lucky to come across a lot of exceptional folks along the way. And thanks to many folks in CHAOSS and Agoric, I become empowered to want to fight for inclusion and to stand by my less-conventional but not insane ideas.
So it might be difficult for me to communicate, and that makes it hard to collaborate, especially on code, but at the end of the day, my difficulties are not mine alone. More importantly, there are so many others who have their own share of difficulties, and who would offer far more value than I ever could, if only we could make our ways equally inclusive of their norms.
If you had asked me about neurodiversity in early 2018, I would have not even known what it actually means. If you did in early 2019, I would have thought it was people who are not neurotypical.
As I took time to learn about all this, I realized that the only way it makes sense is to say there is no such thing as a real neurotypical human. That everyone is somewhat neurotypical, and everyone is somewhat neurodivergent, that’s my take on things at least. All while accepting that the burdens are exponentially higher the more neurodivergent we are, because of prejudices and norms, which are destined to change!
I guess it’s a good thing I tried to keep this short… But as you can see, I am extremely happy to be here, and I look forward to connecting with folks and sharing in the victories we all make together