I asked the community: If you could let people know one thing about being Autistic what would it be? This blog is based off your amazing answers.
Anyone of any identity, culture or heritage can be Autistic so we obviously aren’t all the same! However, we do seem to experience similar things across cultures, namely oppression and stigma, difficulty with fitting into capitalist society, and immense joy from sensory input. One community member reflected on their Autistic joy:
“The joy I feel at ‘the little things’ is so much greater than I can express and way more than allistics (non-Autistics) tell me they get from the same thing. If they could understand the depth of my joy, their pity at some of my struggles would evaporate because it’s worth the trade off.”
This person shared that they got immense happiness from their Autistic embodiment and that it was worth the issues they struggle with. Personally, I agree, I get so happy when my husband shakes my hand a certain way, it makes me giggle for ages and I have to ask him to stop as it becomes too fun. Things like this, as well as the way my brain spots patterns, how honest and loyal I am, are all parts of my Autistic self. Many of us enjoy aspects of life that others take for granted. Although, we can struggle with sensory overwhelm, burnout and meltdowns, I think most of the issues we face as Autistic people come from neuro-normative people and the systems they have created. This was echoed by other members of our community:
“I’m sick of changing everything for a world that won’t change anything for me.”
“We are trying SO HARD, and we are TIRED.”
“We’re extremely exhausted dealing with NT ignorance!”
So many of us are completely exhausted trying to find where we belong in a world that continuously hurts us or tries to assimilate us. Our experiences are often ignored or invalidated (“When we say something hurts, irritates, or if something is too much for us. We really mean it.”). We carry the burden of one way effort – we are seen as the issue, the problem, the ones who are doing it wrong. We are very rarely met halfway. Too often we are seen as not understanding the world around us or how we should be reacting to it. We are constantly told that we are wrong, incorrect or (a personal favourite) over-sensitive.
For Autistic, and otherwise neurodivergent and Disabled people, most days we can only survive, we are not given the opportunities to thrive. We must fight all day every day to be able to sit at the kiddies table (see Fighting for the Right to Exist). We are still seen as a pathology, as a broken neuro-normative person but we are not broken: a bowl isn’t broken because it is not a knife.