Actually, autism DOES define me

I’m still recovering from a very busy few weeks but I wanted to get this down while it’s still Autistic Pride season.

I often hear people say “autism doesn’t define you”, and sometimes I hear autistic people say it themselves. Yes, you’re autistic, they say. But there’s MORE to you than that.

Sure there is. I’m also a parent and a musician and a gardener and many other things. But the WHOLE TIME I’m doing these other things, I’m autistic. I’m not autistic ONLY when I’m stimming or when I’m experiencing sensory overload or when I’m having a meltdown. I’m also autistic when I’m noticing the small, beautiful things in my garden and when I’m nailing some really awesome vocal harmonies.

That’s not what people see, though. They only see the autism when I’m having a meltdown or taking longer to process something in a conversation. But just because they are focussed on the negatives, it doesn’t mean that autism isn’t always there. It is, every second of every day. I’ve been autistic from the day I was born; every single thing I’ve EVER done, every experience, every emotion, every mistake, every triumph. EVERYTHING. It’s all been processed by my autistic brain. I probably even sleep autisticly. How can autism NOT define me?

I’m autistic ALL THE TIME, not just when something bad is happening.

Because that’s what people are really saying when they say “autism doesn’t define you”; they are saying “autism is bad and you’re not a bad person”. I know they mean well when they say it, but they’re wrong. I agree that I’m not a bad person. I’m an autistic one. That doesn’t make me good or bad, it just makes me autistic.

No one ever says “being a bass player doesn’t define you”. I wonder why that is?

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3 thoughts on “Actually, autism DOES define me

  1. Thank you!!!
    I am autistic and have been saying autism does define me for a few years. It was not received well by my fellow autsitics and neurotypicals (mainly parents) were positively hostile! Here is what I wrote to this effect:
    “As politically incorrect as it may be, I say autism does define me.
    My whole life, I have perceived the world and processed those perceptions through an autistic mind:
    Everything I see, smell, taste, touch or hear – is shaped by autism.
    Every emotion I have ever felt – it’s been felt by an autistic mind.
    Every experience I have ever been through – has been processed by an autistic brain.
    Everything I have ever been taught – has been learnt by an autistic intellect.
    Are we not all a sum of what we perceive, of what we have felt, of what we have experienced, and of what we have learnt?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am coming around to the thought that I need to be authentic to myself which may mean showing my autistic traits to people. I don’t need to label them autistic though. I think it is easier for people if I say “I can’t think clearly when you interrupt me when I’m speaking” rather than “look I’m autistic, don’t interrupt me”. I guess it is about education too. I want people to like me for who I am full stop. Most people don’t get what being autistic means, and let’s face it, it means different things for each and every one of us.

    Liked by 1 person

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