I talk a lot about being autistic. Because I am autistic. It is a fundamental part of who I am. Deeper than that. It is who I am. I am not neurotypical, I am different. Without autism in my DNA, I would not exist. And I hear the imaginary gaggle of well-meaning NTs telling me that I shouldn't let my disability define me as a person. That it isn't who I am. But they are missing the point entirely. And so, in my bumbling meandery way, I will endeavor to explain why autism pride is a thing and why I need to tell all of the people about my autisms!
Standard disclaimer... I am one autistic person. I am speaking here about myself exclusively. All autistic people are different, just like all neurotypical people are different! Imagine that ;)
Situations generally arise like this... I'll be meeting new people and, as my standard, much practiced introductory speech, I will mention that I am autistic. (And also that I can't eat gluten. And that I love planners....). And in a lot of cases the new NT I am meeting will ask me why I feel the need to out myself as an autist. Which I'm pretty sure is NT speak for 'You could pass as normal! Why would you not want to pass as normal?!'
Because I am autistic. Because I am proud of my differences. My strengths, my abilities. All of the quirks that somehow combine to make the awesome lady I am. When you try to tell me that autism is something I should hide (something to be ashamed of?), then that is really extremely insulting. I am autistic and I chose to take pride in my part of the neurosdiversity spectrum <3
Autism Pride! Segway... The sin of pride! Having recently come to embrace my status as a Bad Catholic, I am currently reveling in trying to experience all of the sins, as often as possible. Sin points! More on this soon, probably...
It has recently occurred to me that lots and lots of people still have no clue what autism actually is. This, in and of itself, is a huge problem. And a problem that can only be solved by autistic people actually talking about autism. As often as we want to. A really good explanation of what The Autism Spectrum actually looks like can be found here. And I'm sharing the bulk of it visually too because it's just that good!
So yeah, when I tell you that I am autistic it is because this information is important to me. Sharing this information is very very important to me. It is basically my mission (never ever underestimate an autistic person with a mission!). I am not telling you this to elicit sympathy! I do not need anybody's sympathy. If I am talking to you about my autism, it is because I want you to actually know who I am. And I would like to show all of the people that my disability comes with many strengths and many weaknesses, but that the main point is that autistic people are just different. Not less. And that I am autistic, but also an intelligent, (relatively) independent adult who owns her own body and mind and does not need protecting (mostly.)