Autism notes from within
March 22, 2016 § 6 Comments
A photograph taken several years ago for my kids #autism
I’m a diagnosis baby.
It’s just over two weeks ago that I made a journey to the Lorna Wing Autism Centre in Bromley, to probably the most transformative encounter of my life.
I’ve crossed a definite line. It’s true that I was always me. I have always had Asperger’s Syndrome. But it is also true that I didn’t know this until now.
SO it’s the effects of this knowing that I’m living with, and which interest me so.
For instance, because I am autistic means I can have so both at the beginning and end of my sentence.
It also means that pronouncements about autism with even the most minimal whiff of a negative elicit a stronger reaction. Before diagnosis, I understood that ableist words were hurtful and would feel anger and alarm. Now I am hurt. I FEEL it to my core.
You, whoever you are, are talking about ME.
A juxtaposition of cancer with autism (even when you think you mean well) hurts me. Experiments on mice degrade me.
I’m in another country.
Another thing I notice is my sudden and complete repulsion for the diminutive of Asperger – “aspie”
I appreciate others like it and use it, but for the record it is not for me. Michael Scott Monje Jr has written about this in a brilliant blogpost called Don’t “Aspie” Me, so suffice it to say that I find it belittling and it also makes my toes curl. A sensory no-no and conceptual faux pas.
Knowing I am autistic means I no longer have to try to wear bright colours (though intense Summer days sometimes make this possible), and that I will never again buy a t-shirt with horizontal stripes. Jaunty and attractive as they may be on a hanger, I now RESPECT that they will cause violence to my eyes when I worn.
I am at peace with this sensory dissonance between my love of colour and pattern in art and nature, and what I can tolerate in the visual field that is my own body. There are two geographies – at last I get it.
I am also joyful and assertive, believing that I am not dysfunctional, I am radically alternative.
The depth of my joy is surprising to me.
These are my notes from within.