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?