I’ve earlier written about my stances on awareness, acceptance and allyship in general. These posts have been mostly negative, but hey. I can spin things! Yes, I stole this idea from tonight’s #autchat. Yes, I’m that desperate.
Autism Awareness Month is often harmful to autistics, what with allistics spending April spreading lies about us, without us. Since I support #REDinstead, I’m focusing on actual autistics. Never mind NT opinions, what do autism awareness and acceptance mean to me? My autistic journey also started with awareness. It started when I was told that I was likely autistic. Without this scrap of knowledge I would never have found out what autism really is, and how obvious it is that I am autistic. Although I was happy with this discovery, awareness didn’t do much. I started to learn more about autism and myself, but this goes deeper than mere awareness.
As I discovered the autistic community, I started to accept myself. I’m not a failure who can’t do anything right. I’m autistic. This world simply wasn’t made with me in mind. That’s the problem I’m facing, not myself or my autism. My autistic traits make me what I am, how I experience the world and let me memorise any information I find valuable. Without my autism, I wouldn’t be me. Therefore I have gladly accepted my autism.
This means that I have accepted my needs. They might make me stand out, and they might make me seem strange to others; but adhering to my needs have improved my well-being.
- I have accepted that I cannot socialise like NT people. Socialising is very draining, and I need to recharge afterwards. That is, I have to plan my social outings and making sure I don’t over-assert myself. I’ve also accepted that I’m not going to crack the social code, which I was desperately working on pre-diagnosis.
- I’ve accepted that stimming is vital to my well-being. My autistic body language is me. It’s a lovely, flappy part of me. Finding out what echolalia is, it no longer makes me ashamed. I actively try both stimming and echolalia to boost my own brain & abilities.
- This is a hard one, but I’ve accepted that I just don’t have as much energy as the common NT-person. I have struggled with lacking energy and being ill almost daily trying to keep up with the normal 9-5, knowing it would kill me if I continued. I will never be able to work full time, and that is alright. At the moment I’m struggling working 12 hours only.
- I have accepted (to be fair, I accepted this long ago but still felt guilty about it) that my sleep pattern is not in tune with society’s. I always have been, and always will be a night owl. My most creative and productive hours and are usually around 10-1, or later during the night.
- I’ve accepted the way my brain works. This took having to learn how my brain works in the first place. I no longer worry about my ‘intellect’ or ‘brain capability’ (which don’t matter in the first place). My brain can do a lot of awesome things I don’t ever want to be without, but can’t and never will work as an allistic brain, and I will probably never understand simple logic.
- In accepting that I’m autistic, I realise that I will not be able to pass as NT. I have known for years that I don’t quite fit in and have settled with standing out in a good way. After my diagnosis I’m even more comfortable with standing out. I was planning of scrapping my girly princess-look when hitting 30, but screw that. I’m sticking to pink and red dresses and skirts. As well as my morbid, somewhat sadistic personality.
For some reason, accepting myself as autistic is one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. I still have many other areas in my life that I have to work on, but right now I’m focusing on this. I have been made aware of my autism. I’m now working on gaining greater understanding myself and my needs. Understanding myself has led to acceptance. In accepting myself, I can also appreciate who I am as an autistic person. I’ve come to love myself because I am autistic. I think it’s time for the allistic world to do the same.