Good day to you all
I’m writing to you all from sunny Crete on my first full day of holiday. My first abroad in two years. It gorgeous. I am writing this after lunch so sorry if it not as long as usual.
Right to business 🧐
Today the 18th June is Autism Pride day.
A day for Autistic people to celebrate their Autism and identity.
Starting in 2018 this day is influenced by the main pride event. Autism is something no one should have to hide. Many Autistic people mask meaning to repress their traits and appear neurotypical. This is wrong. We all have the right to be ourselves to express ourself. My own autism gives me a sense of empathy and compassion. I often overprocess and overthink. I find adapting hard. So I try to treat other with kindness and empathy.
We’re all different
Famous Autism advocate Chris Packham says there is no typical Autistic person and it’s true we are all unique. Don’t try to put us in boxes let us process and think in our own ways.
I can genuinely say that my autism is something I would not change. Even if it were possible I’d be offended. I hear from many people who are diagnosed later in life I was lucky to be diagnosed at a fairly young age as my parents worked very hard to do so. I literally have always been aware of my autism. It’s as much a part of me as my taste’s in food or my hair colour. It gives me strength. In a odd way even the things that cause me anxiety such as having trouble asserting myself and needing more processing time and misreading social cues have had their good side. Yes these things are not nice. They do make me empathetic though. I try to be patient and kind with others to show empathy because I understand myself how they feel. For example recently I got a string of private messages of someone followed by one after I replied saying sorry got carried away. Most people might not have been nice here I get it. I do the same.
People often remark how mature I am. I have to laugh. In a way it’s true. On a good day I’m very sensible I come across well. On a bad day….I still find myself overwhelmed at times over processing. I worry, worry should I do that, could that have been better? Should I go back and do that again. I’m constantly re-assuring myself your a nice guy your doing good. But my brain is determined to find a fault in what I do. On a good day I keep busy I can squash bad thoughts. I keep busy. On a bad day it can be anything. A late bus,a bad nights sleep a rude person. Little things can cause major ripples in my mood. These are days when I’m triggered more. I can cope with changes to my routine but if they come on a day when I’m already feeling self conscious that when I find it harder. On those days I mumble and mutter to myself fidget with my hair. I often need to take a walk listen to something clear my head .
It’s days like this I’m tempted to over eat. Food solves all problems for five minutes. Then shame why did I do that?
The reason I’m telling you all this is on a good day you would think I had not a care in the world. Autism is a Hidden Disability never forget that.
Even everything I’ve told you about my inner anxieties you may ask am I really proud to be autistic? Yes 100% Without my autism I’d be less kind. Less compassionate. Less curious. I’d never do the extra bit to help. Plus on a slightly selfish note it makes me appreciate things more. I love reading and writing. I could not read till I was eight or nine. Would a love of reading still be true for me without the effort? Perhaps. But I think not.
Most importantly I am proud of me. My autism is part of me. It’s not a separate thing. I’m proud of myself. You should be too.
To those with autism reading this. I would like to offer you all some advice. Some Autistic people find certain things harder. It does not mean we are incapable. In a ideal world we’d all be treated with consideration. As we know that is not the case. I’m sure you have all heard “This might not be right fit you” as a way to shoot down a idea or “this means” presuming a lack of knowledge without asking. People like this or everywhere. Neighbour, teachers. People who think they are experts. Not that I’m adverse to good advice and guidance. But that isn’t this. It’s more like “ hush I know your mind better than you” these people are infuriating. I know it’s hard but try not to waste anger on them. Easier said than done. Most of my teachers were lovely. With one exception one teacher wanted everyone to learn in the same way. Haters me asking questions. Made me doubt myself. Feel stupid. I do not like this person. I have done so much since then though. Why should I think of them?
Life is to short and we have much better things to do. What you should do is not listen to them. Prove them wrong persevere. Believe in yourself. Of course it won’t always be easy but you need to try. If your lucky you will have a a good support network of family and friends
If not I believe in you, be yourself . Remember the people who put you down are petty and small. They want to feel big. Ultimately they don’t matter. You do.
If I might be just a bit pretentious. (Sorry it’s my blog) I’d like to share a poem I wrote last year. This explains a bit more what I’m trying to say. By the way poetry is what some people said I could not do.
A poem for Autism Pride day
I am Autistic
I’m not a statistic
I am not a way for you to score a point
I am not a novelty
Don’t ask me constantly if I understand
Don’t assume what I know or what I’ll be able
Get to know me and you’ll see
Let me tell YOU about me
I am imaginative. Bold and kind
I always get the last word (ok that might be just in my mind)
I am creative
I see things a different way
That doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a say
We’re all people at the end of the day
Thank you all for reading.
Learn more about autism pride day here:
Learn about the language of Autism here