Updated: Feb 15
A thing that can happen when you realise your child is autistic is that you also realise that YOU are autistic. That’s the thing that’s happening to me at 34 years of age. Safe to say 🤯😱 mind is blown. Suddenly every moment in my life that has been locked in confusion makes sense to me. There’s a context for my experience that has always been so different to those around me.
Some great things about being autistic are-
My empathy level is high to the extreme,
I’m in love with the earth, the trees, the rocks, the animals
I can paint, dance and write creatively and in my own unique way
I have a unique sense of humour and perspective on the world
I’m open hearted and love deeply
I’m great at public speaking
I think deeply and take nothing for granted
I’m intensely curious
I live in the spiritual world
I can teach myself and build up expertise
I think through pictures
I experience everything intensely and deeply
I sense so much
I give my interests 1000% and make new discoveries
I feel all the suffering so deeply and I want to help
I see everything for the first time
I understand my ND children with an inside perspective
When I’m happy I’m euphoric and blissful
I see patterns in everything
Music is just unbearably beautiful to me and it’s in everything.
I’m kind and loving
I love firm hugs
I don’t see hierarchy and I love everyone as an equal
Some of the things about being autistic that aren’t so great-
I can’t drive
I don’t have a job as the workplace has been so traumatic for me
I upset people and I don’t know why
People think they’ve upset me when they haven’t
People upset me to the point of terror and despair
I often can’t recognise faces even after years of seeing people
I can’t remember names or much of anything tbh
I have very poor executive functioning so I can’t organise myself, my time or my environment
I can’t pub
I can’t mingle
I can’t join a group discussion
I struggle to maintain friendships
Getting out of the house or studio can feel insurmountable
I’ve had public meltdowns and it’s humiliating
I struggle to process real time conversations
I don’t have the opportunity to use my expertise
I can’t do small talk
Authority terrifies me
I sense so much that it’s overwhelming
I want to help but I don’t know how
I want to contribute but it can feel like there’s not a place for me
Sensory and social overload!
I’ve been taken advantage of a lot in the past
Many lights, noises and smells hurt me
My emotions are too big for my body
I need a lot of downtime to process
I can’t read between the lines - whatever that means!
I don’t know what’s expected of me
I don’t know if a conversation went well or not
I can’t tell if people like me or not
I can’t wear smart clothes- anything other than loose cotton hurts me
All this can make me very anxious and feel worthless in the NT world
You can help me
Invite me into group discussions because I don’t always know how to join them
Forgive me my social differences
Give me a chance- I’m a great, loving, supportive and loyal friend
If I ignore you but I know you it’s because I don’t recognise your face- say hi, tell me who you are and in what context I know you
Explain exactly what you want me to do
Tell me if and how I’ve upset you and let’s talk it through
If I don’t answer you it’s because I’m processing
Let’s go for a walk or do a structured activity instead of going to the pub
Please don’t bully me because I’m different
Learn about autism from an autistic perspective because it’s not necessarily what you think
Know that all autistic people are unique
Know that I’m not mad, bad, sad or stupid
Appreciate my gifts
Know that autism isn’t a pathology it’s just a different way of being human
Allow me my unique purpose in the world
If you do this I can
Be part of the world
Stop masking so much because it’s exhausting and depressing
A last word- I don’t know if I’m actually autistic and the uncertainty is killing me. Paradoxical statement I know! But this is how I experience life and it’s certainly given me a framework with which to understand myself. The best thing is the possibility of loving and accepting myself for the first time.
Amy Goldring- an autistic (pending) artist in an NT world
Trigger Warning - the puzzle piece.
In my work I won’t be exploring societal mysteries or dynamics, or a narrative between people or groups. I won’t be reflecting on society or the dysfunction that’s happening there because it completely overwhelms me. I won’t be ironic or fashionable.
My prayer is this, let me be a vessel for the eternal because there is my refuge.
Let me be with what is, because that is my solace.
Let me describe the romance that vibrates all around us- in the landscape, in our body, in a leaf, a tree, a rock or a wave. Let me paint everyday because it’s what I’m made for.
I’m not normal and I’m not here to be normal. I’m autistic (possibly, probably) and it is my gift. To sense what others may not and to share it in flowing colour.
Let me fit in by being unique, we all have something unique to offer and that is how I’m taking back the puzzle piece (CONTROVERSIAL I KNOW!)
Autistic people aren’t broken, autistic people aren’t missing a piece, autistic people are a piece in the tapestry of human society.
If you're interested in female presentation of autism or feel this could be like you then this checklist could be a good place to start https://tinyurl.com/y3d67yrf