I can’t talk about my new work yet, but it makes my pulse race and spurs me on even as we face the tipping point of winter (my life long nemesis!) What I do want to do is offer encouragement to others, wherever you may be in your journey to congruence.
It wasn’t until I was home again and took off my handmade brooch (pictured above) that I made the connection between the powerful congruence I felt at #InsideOutAutism and wearing it on both days. I’m still processing why this act of making and wearing felt significant. I’ve never been one to wear text on my body in any form, perhaps because my identity has been at times uncertain and under siege.
But my self-fashioned brooch was different. Here was an artefact, crafted over time and without conscious purpose, redolent of my journey as an autistic woman in reclaiming the language used about me, and my people. So antiquated is the text that I am unfamiliar with some of the words, and it acts as a curio, or something I could have inherited. I feel I have. It holds a familial feeling, and when I peer at its loveliness I hear the ancestral whisper – we were once like you. If an object can be joyful and witty, it has those qualities. Have you ever bounced on a trampoline? My brooch is the rebound which tosses your heart in the air. It gives me abnormous joy. It trumpets confidence. That zing-a-ling feeling that I’m A-okay.
Paradoxically, artists like me are ‘relevant’ by our very nature, but demonstrating the relevance of our projects may be beyond our ken because it will be further encoded by a neurotypically-led bureaucracy.
I recognise that in some profound and irreversible way I’ve unmasked myself, and that yet in doing so I’ve hardly faltered, feeling that it is worth it for my community and for the future I want for my children. But it’s not all about altruism and social change.
I’m an autistic person who embraces my disability as identity (not all of us do), and finds the ‘label’ liberating. The more I push through the better my life gets. I only struggle when confronted face to face with people who are patronising, angry, or want to deny my struggles. I chose to paddle away as quickly as possible. I’m too old to spend my time engaged in this kind of nonsense. I’ve spent too much of my life confused and wrong-footed.
Yes – it’s happening again. Well-meaning cookie-cutter ableism is at the heart of a theatrical production in the UK once more. We’ve been here before quite recently with Kibo Productions The big Things, in 2018; non-autistics writing plays with autistic characters determining the action, their autism and their characterisations being ‘othered’ right down to the marketing.Continue reading “Fancy a bit of ableism? I know you mean well but…”
It’s been a curious time – one of transitions, I guess. Spring weather and lighter nights coincide with reaching beyond the 2 year anniversary of my diagnosis of autism. A decisive diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome came as a surprise, I expected equivocation and maybes’. Hidden disability is a tricky rogue, adept at fooling evenContinue reading “Not thinking in pictures; autism and a possible sub-diagnosis of aphantasia.”
Let’s see what this week brings. I’ve already been more vocal today than I have been in months. Perhaps the value of such blighted awareness campaigns are that they can make us think about how to do something differently.
Photograph by Stu Allsopp 2018 Don’t bother reading this. Yes – probably this blog post has been written before. Possibly even by me? I’ve written so very many posts since my diagnosis that even I can’t keep up! Deja vu, reinventing the wheel, this is what comes to mind when I hit the web theseContinue reading “Saturated – losing my mojo, & the question of embodied existence as an autistic person.”
It’s perhaps important to conclude with the view that faux enablers are not necessarily ‘bad people’ per se. They may have good intentions which are simply maladaptive. This is tricky, because the truly malicious may be easier to discern and disengage from. In the end it doesn’t really matter – the only thing which does matter is you.
But unmasking means changing habits and changing thought patterns too. Unmasking means I can begin to find my own contours and stay me shaped for longer. This makes it easier to locate myself if I have to mask. I can recover more quickly too.