Finding Myself Again

You can also read this story on Medium. It is April of 2020. It is, I’m frequently reminded by social media, autism awareness month, autistic acceptance month, or even autistic advocacy month, depending upon who you ask. Every year for the past three years that this month has rolled around - ever since I found out I was autistic - I feel a sense of gnawing, dread, and nervous excitement. I feel a vague uncertainty, a hesitancy. I feel I must have something to say on the matter: I am autistic after all, and tons of advocates are making blog posts, writing informative material, selling T-shirts to support the cause, raising awareness for identity-first language and getting rid of functioning labels, and are directing people to autistic-centered organizations. All good stuff. But when I try to think of a way I can contribute, my mind goes blank. I feel as though I’m at a distinct disadvantage, that this signals a lack of courage or not knowing enough about my own community, as

This is Hell

( In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, 2018. This post was originally published on, my old blog.) Living life as an autistic person is an exercise in contradictions, every minute of waking. Life feels as though it were an elaborate game designed specifically to torture you. Life says: Give her heightened senses and an above-average appreciation of beauty; let her find it where no one else seems to — and then punish her by giving her sensory overload and meltdowns. Give her a burning, aching desire to connect with other people, an endless capacity to feel their pain, sorrow, joy, and hope — and then punish her by making her literally incapable of crossing the veil into their world. Give her excellent language skills, an intuitive grasp of the English language, and a quick wit — and then punish her by giving her social anxiety. Make her verbally incompetent, anxious, and unable to articulate herself without stuttering or wavering, no mat