For November 2018, I’m writing daily posts where I explore different things people have said to me, then the internal thoughts those remarks stirred.
Why does it matter to you whether or not I’m autistic? What do you gain by denying me my identity? Because you wouldn’t say something so blindingly inaccurate without an agenda.
See, I’ve felt out of my place my whole life. I can’t remember feeling like I belonged anywhere, anytime; with anyone.
Depression and social anxiety onset early.
I remember my family wondering where I came from; how different I seemed to them.
I remember the estrangement that came with intelligence, special interests, clumsiness.
Do you think I’ll get something you won’t, now that I know I’m autistic? Do you think I won’t continue to play-pretend being normal, perfect, obedient, now that I know what feels authentic and real?
Do you think I might ask for accommodations that are far too strenuous on your judgment-laden life, like dimmer lights, maybe less tone policing?
Is it easier on you to just gaslight me?
My adult autism diagnosis massaged me like a balm. It gave me perspective on the laundry list of other diagnoses, issues, and struggles that were weighing me into an early grave. I think you underestimate the value I place on this.
Knowing I’m autistic liberated me.
Knowing I’m autistic shattered the chains that held me tight, the misunderstandings and bullying, the frustration and overloading.
Are you threatened by my liberation? Was I easier to control when I was confused, crushed, in the dark about where my strengths and weaknesses lied?
Or is it not so personal?
Is the agenda greater?
Social media is the Wild Wired West when it comes to ignorance.
Do you feel resentful when autistic people are “high function” enough to have a voice, when we tell you how autism actually feels?
Does this get in the way of agendas to cure us, fix us, remove us from the gene pool?
Do you want to stop anyone who has the power to say, “Stop trying to erase us”?
Do you think when you say, “You’re not autistic,” you even know what autism is?
Do you think human society would be this scientifically and technologically advanced without autism?
I don’t mean to interrogate you. I just don’t understand where you’re coming from. When you tell me, “You’re not autistic,” you sound as daft to me as if you’d said, “You’re not white,” or, “You’re not a woman.”
When you say, “You’re not autistic,” what you’re telling me is, you’re missing something important. You’re a person who lacks knowledge at best, and empathy at worst, and in either case, I have to interact with you cautiously.
You do not create a space for love or friendship when you question my very being as if it were your right.
Thank you for reading my blog, where I try to tune in and become more aware of my authentic, autistic self.
Kourtnie has an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno and a BA in English from CSU Fullerton. When she isn't writing or making art, she's moonlighting as a professor at community colleges. Read her writing at Kourtnie.net or Wattpad.com/user/KourtnieNet.