Autism is such an integral part of who I am and how I experience the world. If you managed to separate my autism from me, you would not have me — you’d have an entirely different person.
Every single mannerism, thought, impression, experience, interpretation, perspective, etc. is through an autism lens.
I experience the world by my senses more than my emotions.
Love is about more than the words someone says and their actions — love is about what their hair smells like after their shower, the varying sensory inputs of their voice at different times of the day and during their different moods, their personal aesthetic (visual stimming for me), and so much more.
To connect with people, I need their special interests. I need to know what motivates them to their core and runs their whole freaking life. Otherwise, I don’t know how to trust them. Special interests run my whole life. I don’t have “hobbies”. I’ve tried to have hobbies, but they got in the way of my special interests so I dropped them.
Autism is a fundamental part of who I am because it’s literally my brain. My brain functions the way it does because it’s autistic. Because I was born this way. I’ve never not been autistic, and I will never not be autistic. I have zero clue what life is like as a non-autistic person.
Through autism burnout, I am learning about who I am without the autism mask — and, yes, a major part of who I am is autistic. I am extremely aware of how my autism affects my life and how my outcomes are directly related to me as an autistic person. I don’t know who I am without also considering my autism — and the same goes for me being a lesbian, a DID system, a woman, and so on.
The only difference with all of those identities is that DID is meant to remain covert.
Meanwhile, living life as an autistic person openly is one of the most radical forms of rebellion and self-advocacy in a society that still believes autistic people need saving when we really just need compassion, acceptance and a neurotypical planet survival kit.
You can’t have me without my autism. There is only “autism Jane” — not “autism and Jane”. It is me, autistic Jane.
When I share about my life, I can’t just say I put on clothes and went to the grocery store. I can’t just say I showered before bed. Those statements erase the core of my experience as an autistic person, remove me from the equation and illustrate only that I did yet two more mundane, everyday things that everyone else does.
Instead, I have to say that I put on three different shirts because the one that “felt right” was in the washing machine. I have to include the fact that the dark green capri leggings are an outfit with that one shirt that always feels right, so I spent ten minutes coming to terms with how I was about to wear them with a different shirt that definitely didn’t feel right.
I need to include that I spent two hours hanging out on the bathroom floor (the floor, because I’m a floor person) — to prepare for the sensory input and effort involved in showering, because I really needed a shower but just did not want to get wet (because I’m basically a cat).
Otherwise, no one is going to fully comprehend how my life experience differs from theirs. Fellow autistic people won’t know that I didn’t just get into the shower.
Autism does consume every fiber of my being because my brain is autistic. My autistic brain decides how I behave and experience the world around me. It is such an intricate part of who I am that cannot be changed, and yet…people have the audacity to tell me they dislike autistic Jane because I am defined by my autism. Because I “haven’t overcome” my autism.
Because it is at the forefront of my mind every freaking day, because I am aware that I experience life the way I experience it because I’m autistic.
Because all I talk about — autism, Galaxy, my blogging — is my special interests.
It’s almost like autism literally does define me…
If you have internalized ableism, just say that.
Autism isn’t a bad word. I’m autistic. My autism does define me because it determines how I experience my life.
The entire concept of not letting a disability/neurotype define you is rooted in ableism and the archaic concept that a disabled person is only valuable if they contribute something to society — which is rooted in fueling capitalism (working and buying things).
Not letting a neurotype/disability/etc. define a person is mere propaganda able-bodied individuals LOVE to promote to encourage productivity, self-esteem, etc. because “if this person who looks like THAT could do it, then so can I!” makes them feel much better than accepting their own adversity.
I am Izzy, but I am Jane, too.
I am autistic, and my autism does define me.
I don’t have an issue with that because I love my autism even on my worst days. Without my autism, I would cease to exist. Autistic people cannot be separated from their autism, nor do they need to be. Autism is a different neurotype and not a mental illness; it’s simply a different way of experiencing life.
I do not think, communicate, or in any way behave like the neurotypical population. I have my own language, the universe is a different place viewed through the lens of my autistic mind. ~David Gray-Hammond, NeuroClastic
My autism literally makes me who I am.
If you don’t like my autism, you don’t like me. You just like the ideal version of it.
- Are you perceiving & respecting their Autistic personhood as inherent?
- Is their Autistic personhood causing you discomfort?
- Are you valuing your personal comfort over their well-being?
- Where is your discomfort truly stemming from?
If you do not consider my autism anytime you think of me, because you instead choose not to define me by my autism, you’re idealizing me as if I were not autistic. I am not masking my autism anymore.
If you refuse to also define me by my autism, then you are letting your internalized ableism prevent you from truly seeing, knowing, understanding and empathizing with me.
So long as you view me as separate from my autism, you will never ever know me.
I am autistic. I am autism. Autism is me.
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