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.