I don’t know about about the rest of the autistic community but if I am completely honest – I am fed up.
I am sick up of our voices constantly being ignored when it comes to conversations about autism. Why do parents of autistic people, teachers and other trained professionals always think they know better than us about our own disability? It’s exhausting having to repeatedly say how each autistic person is unique and how we all have different needs amongst other things. It also doesn’t help that the media can portray us in such stereotypical and occasionally negative ways.
We are not burdens.
We do not need to be fixed.
We just want to be accepted and understood.
We are in need of some positivity and the best way I can do that right now is to share what I personally love about being autistic because the list is endless and most of all; I want others to truly see how brilliant it can be!
I Feel Empowered
During the interview for my current job, I was asked to describe what it’s like being autistic and of course it was the one question I wasn’t prepared to answer. I had to think quick on my feet so I compared it to having a superpower: I experience certain things differently to those around me and although it can be overwhelming at times, I have found ways of coping and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I Enjoy My Own Company
I can not express this enough! Sometimes I need time to recharge after a busy week and other times I’m just in the mood to sit in my room and read all day without any contact. Don’t get me wrong, the time I spend with family, friends and boyfriend is great but I have learned over the years that I need to listen to my body when its telling me a need a break from the world.
I Process Information In An Unique Way
Damn I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant but I do find my mind to be pretty great; in the way that one thing that everyone else seems to find simple I find baffling yet other times it’s the other way round. This isn’t me calling myself smart by the way, not by a long shot! At the same time I do enjoy the fact my brains like to learn. Honestly if I thought I could I would happy stay in education forever – is that weird?
It Enhances The Passion I Have For My Interests
Now this is the fun part. There’s no in-between when it comes things like hobbies because I will either love it to the death and learn everything about it, or not bother with it at all. Almost like a obsession but hopefully not as dangerous. If there’s a new song that I’m enjoying, I will happily listen to it 10 times in a row without getting bored and the same goes for my favourite TV shows, books and food! There’s nothing wrong with nothing what you like.
I Can Empathise with Others
As hard as it may be for some to believe, autistic people can in fact feel empathy *shock horror* including myself. Of course I can’t speak for everyone (nor would I want to) but for me inside of being instinctive, it was something I had to learn and I’m still learning now. I have a somewhat better understanding of how to read other’s emotions. Sure, I can still can’t quite understand sarcasm for the life of me but c’mon we can’t all be perfect!
The Online Community Is Pretty Great
If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me use the hashtag #ActuallyAutistic a couple of times. For those who don’t know, it’s one that’s been made specifically for the community as a safe place to have discussions with each other without rude comments or non-autistic people talking over them. I actually only discovered the tag this year during World Autism Awareness Week and as someone who grew up knowing less than a handful of autistic people, it’s great to finally have somewhere to go chat to everyone!
I Find Having A Routine Far From Boring
It’s almost funny how true this is but all joking aside, me having a good routine is vital for my mental health. Whether it’s for sleep, food or travel I have a certain way of doing things that helps me with everyday life. It doesn’t restrict me in any way, in fact it makes me feel more free. It may be difficult at times but I can do anything I want to if I put my mind to it!
It Makes Me Who I Am
When I was at school if someone responded to my diagnosis with “Oh wow I never would have known” or “You don’t act like you are” I would be so happy because it made me feel as if I fitted in with everyone else. Now it just frustrates the hell out of me. How am I meant to act? Why should I have to prove it?
I have achieved so much in the last 23 years and it isn’t in despite of being autistic, it’s because of my autism that I am like this. Anyone else who says otherwise can go suck a very sour lemon, or better that go educate themselves.
So there are some of the reasons why I love being autistic. To all the autistic people who have been made to feel like they aren’t good enough please believe me when I say you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that being autistic means you have to change. Being yourself is more than enough and you don’t need to prove anything to those who say otherwise.
Photos courtesy of the amazingly talented Kaye at Fordtography.
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I have absolutely loved reading this post. I love every ounce of you Ali, your so honest to yourself and ain't afraid to chat about the important stuff that others don't. I'm going to share this everywhere, it's an amazing post. Also very gorgeous photos too!
Emmie | http://www.carpediememmie.co.uk
Girl reading this comment almost made me cry I swear you're so good to me <3 Thank you so much for being such a great friend and always supporting me.
Hell yeah! I love positive autism awareness!
I'm sat here after reading your post with a massive smile on my face. It's great to hear from other autistic people about the things they love about being autistic. You put your thoughts across so elegantly and I agree with them all wholeheartedly. I would happily stay in education forever, even though mainstream education doesn't work well for me and I've had to make the decision not to go to university just yet. I lose hours researching random things, or getting deeper into a story than one news article allows. For me it's fun, but others find it weird, haha!
On a sidenote, I love that your employer didn't automatically dismiss you when you told them you were autistic. It seems like a lot of people don't understand that people have different difficulties and strengths on the spectrum, just like non-autistic people, but it's great that they were willing to listen to what you had to say! It definitely gives me hope when I start my own job search!
It means a lot to me that you enjoyed this post Rebekah 🙂 I want other autistic people to know that there are so many of us online that can support each other and that have somewhere to go where their voices will be heard.
Also I agree I did get very luckily with my employer. It's better to be honest because then you know you have given 100% to the job and know you are capable, then it's up to them to decide and you know you've done your best either way. Not to say I think anything bad is going to happen, I just wanted to give a heads-up so I purposely mentioned my blog that has autistic posts everywhere haha!
I knew I would when you came to me on Twitter about it. I love hearing positive stories from others. It's definitely important that autistic people know there's a whole community of us out there on the internet; it's definitely helped me since my diagnosis! You've done a great job of it by publishing this post.
That's a really great way of handling your employment situation! I've always said that I'm going to be straight about my own experiences, too, even though I've been warned off doing so by literally everyone in my life. What's the point in lying when it could only lead to problems down the line, anyway? It definitely seems to have worked out in your favour this time, and I'm sure your employers will trust you more for being honest with them about yourself!
This is so, so needed!
Thanks Emma! I'm glad you agree 🙂
I really loved this post, you're an amazing girl and you deserve the very best! xxx
Awh that's so lovely of you to say Lauren thank you 🙂
Soooo much respect for this post!!! The positivity just radiated off the page and I really appreciated reading about Autism from this perspective. I don't actually know much about autism, so reading this has also educated me. I suffer from depression so know all too well about the misconceptions and stigmas associated with invisible conditions. Posts like this are so needed to raise awareness and educate!
This is the exact reason why I wanted to write this post and it makes me so happy to read that you feel like it has educated you! I love your blog btw 🙂
Yes! I am so so glad that you look at your autism in a positive light – it's certainly not something that you should ever think is a bad thing because you are still you and you should embrace that just like you are doing!x
Claire | clairesyear.com
Exactly! I won't pretend that being autistic is all shiny and perfect but whose life is? We should all give ourselves more credit and try to accept as well as love ourselves for who we are and this is what this post is about 🙂
I'm so proud to call you my daughter. Almost 20 years ago when you were diagnosed the consultants said you would never live a 'normal' life. I've come to realise there is no such thing as normal. You have achieved so much already, you are an inspiration to others, especially the young ones getting diagnosed now. Autism doesn't define you, nor does it stop you doing anything. Love you loads
Loved this post! It's great that you came up with this idea! Hope it can help others feel better about themselves 🙂 x
This is a brilliant post; I have Aspergers, and it has not been for a very long time that I have felt proud to be on spectrum. This really made me smile; maybe we could collaborate one day?
This post is so important, it would be great to see more people thinking like this! x