My on and off relationship with writing

close up photo of gray typewriter

Writing has always been a part of my life in one way or another, I used to write poetry and short stories when I was younger and then lost the joy for writing during college and when I went into full time work.

I had no energy and the creativity was crushed from me anyways.

I was laughed at by my teacher and classmates in primary school for saying a pirate character in my story had ‘black eyes.’ It’s made up, so why couldn’t he have black eyes? And even if this was impossible, why laugh at a small child who did your bidding ‘wrong.’

I remember going to a uni open day once – some ‘able student’ trip at school – I booked onto the creative writing session and everyone thought my poetry was weird and didn’t ‘fit the brief’. I thought this was supposed to be creative writing? Fuck your brief.

Then half way through my MRes I told my parent that I wanted to write a book some day and their reply was ‘didn’t people have to actually know or experience something to write a book about it?’ Wow. I didn’t know what to say about that then and I still don’t now.

After five long years of writing uni projects I’ve finally come back to writing for myself. For the first time, I’m sharing my writing openly and widely (or as widely as my small part of the internet allows!). This brings with it lots of mixed feelings.

I can share my thoughts and find similar others (thank the Gods!) and we can all learn together about neurodivergent and queer experiences. Sometimes, people even see themselves reflected in what I share. I appreciate when people add their views to my writing, keeping each other accountable. These are important conversations which need to happen consistently to create small changes in our world which will eventually change to suit us all.

I am not an expert on all things, in fact, I’m not an expert on anything except from my own experience. I don’t talk for all neurodivergent queer folk. I talk for me and I am aware of the privilege which I come to this with – middle class, well educated, white, to name a few.

Writing is cathartic but it loses that element when people drag it down online. I often see the very things that we vilify neurotypical folk for doing, being done between Autistic people. Assumptions are made, people read intent in stuff that wasn’t said, people see a snippet of text and make a snap judgement. The word ‘ableist’ is thrown around willy-nilly.

Autistic people are having a go at other Autistic people for Autistic-ing! I see this most days and every time I do I shrink a little. I see the trauma of not being ‘good enough’ thrown into people’s faces constantly, in the name of fighting about something that has usually been completely fabricated by the reader. Of course, they bring their trauma to whatever they read too, we all do. Let’s be gentle with each other, we’re all carrying around baggage others can’t see.

I shrink and I write less, or I pen myself into my writing comfort zone – about the only thing I may ever be an “expert” in – trans and non-binary Autistic experiences. It is a real passion of mine and our stories need sharing over and over until the world finally understands and appreciates us for the beautiful beings we are. It’s not the only thing I want to write about though, but the expectations put on online writers is a lot and it’s hard work.

I am exceedingly privileged to have the platform I have, I enjoy connecting with people online so much and I’ve truly found neurokin here. There are so many things left unsaid, so many parts of myself I am still discovering, so much trauma, identity and experiences to unpack. I don’t know where my flow and my power lies yet.

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