Written for the This is Autism flashblog taking place today.
I write a lot about the more challenging aspects of being autistic but not today. Today is about the awesomeness that is my autistic brain.
When I read Suzanne Wright’s letter about Autism Speaks’s view of autism, I was shocked and angry. Again and again she used the phrase “This is Autism” in bold letters. Yet the autism she was describing was nothing like the autism I know. I watched the protests unfold across the internet and still those words burned in my mind: This is Autism. Linked to misery and loss, burdens and hopelessness, broken families and broken children.
That’s not my autism and it’s not the autism that I see in the people and families in our community.
What is my autism?
This is my autism: Getting stuck on that phrase and not letting go of it. Getting so stuck that I can’t not think about it. So stuck that I have to act. Perseveration. Obsession. Special interest. I don’t need a national Call to Action. All I need is an idea that I can’t let go of.
This is my autism: Waking up in the middle of the night and creating a flashblog website. Because if my body has decided that we’re done sleeping for the day at 1:45 AM, why not put those extra hours to good use.
This is my autism: Learning to use Blogger, because I’ve always been curious. Reading, researching, problem solving. Forgetting where the new post button is every single time, even though it’s big and orange. Or maybe because it’s big and orange.
This is my autism: Stimming with joy at the first submission, at the enthusiastic signal boosting and the support of our allies, at watching someone type their thoughts into the submission doc, at logging in to find a dozen new submissions, at reading the words of so many people who feel like I do about autism–words that directly counter what Autism Speaks wants the world to think.
This is my autism: Hyperfocusing for hours on scheduling posts. Making a plan. Creating a system. Organizing, organizing. Cutting and pasting, cutting and pasting, cutting and pasting. Making notes and lists. Rewriting the lists. Revising the system. Rewarding myself with a cupcake.
This is my autism: Completely immersing myself in something I love. There are no half measures, no going slow, no wait and see. Once I’m in, I’m all in.
Autism is different for each of us. It’s hard and joyful and confusing and wondrous, just like life. It’s what makes my brain seize onto an idea and race after it, full of excitement, completely engaged.
This flash blog? This is autism.
a/n: Thank you to all of the people who supported the flash blog by contributing, signal boosting, sharing and cheering it on, especially Beth, Heather, Sharon, Alyssa and Leah for their help in organizing and promoting it these past few days.