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.
I’ve spent thirty years feeling like I’m like other people, yet I’m not at all like other people, so if you’re referring to the familiarities between us, then yes, sometimes I see it, too.
But it isn’t the familiar behaviors that I’d call autistic. It’s the signs of differences, the neurodiversity, that’s on the table when talking about autism.
So I wonder, why do you want to deny these differences? When you focus on similarities, sameness, everyoneness, can’t you see you’re marginalizing, waysiding, dodging the autistic behaviors that set me apart from you?
I want you to accept those behaviors, not marginalize or assimilate them.
I want you to be okay with me being different, and the way I see it, you’re hardly communicating that you’re okay with my autism; not when you tell me, “Oh, everyone’s autistic.”
Seems like you want me to be like everyone.
Seems like it’s easier on you to pretend you’re above the autism, see beyond the autism; this way, you don’t have to accommodate, learn, think, or do anything to help the autistic people around you.
I bet you also tell people, “I don’t see color.”
Instead of telling me that I’m like you, or like “everyone,” I’d like for you to be cool with my autism.
Instead of marginalizing my sometimes-very-different experiences, my developmental disorder, my neurally different wiring…
I’d like for you to see the difference, and embrace the difference, so I can at last feel loved for who I am.
I don’t want to only feel loved when I play-pretend I’m neurotypical. I don’t want to only feel loved when I’m doing my social dance.
I miss being loved as-is.
I miss being accepted with my stimming, sensory sensitivity, vocal tone, nonverbal gestures, special interests, clumsiness, awkwardness, honesty, stomach pains, and meltdowns still intact.
Few people love the whole me. And when you say, “Everyone’s a little autistic,” I hear myself fading into your background. I hear how you’re one of many.
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.