I embrace my Autism as a very significant part of my identity.
I embrace my autism as very significant part of my identity.
I suppose this means I acknowledge that it really is an integral part of me, so intertwined into my very being that it permeates across everything I do, everything I think, everything I feel.
It builds upon the issues raised in the previous post about Identity First language. Building on this to display that this whole identity first thing is a real thing, that it’s not just a preference, it’s a reality experienced in a tangible way.
To not embrace it would be an act of denial.
To not embrace it would be an act of self-loathing!
I’ve done enough self-loathing in my life to willingly move beyond that and to accept myself for who and what I am. An autistic human person.
Imagine pretending one wasn’t really left-handed when they were. Thinking about handedness can be a good demonstration. I am left-handed, to pretend otherwise and to not embrace this reality would be an act of self-denial. The reality is that everytime I go to pick up a pen or pencil and write it is a natural function to do so in the left hand. If a ball was to come towards me my reflex response will be to block or catch it with my left hand.
Clearly, I don’t have left-handedness or I am not with left-handedness. I am left-handed. Similar examples can be drawn from thinking about LGBTIQ people. How offensive would it be to refer to them as people with gayness?
Just as handedness is a significant part of my identity, just as sexual orientation is an integral part of identity so too is neurology.
Suspension of disbelief is a term applied often when reading fiction or watching a movie or a play. It is an appropriate term for allowing oneself to suspend your rational thought and knowledge of how the world works, what is possible and not possible in order to participate fully in the experience of the movie or story.
When it comes to neurology we can’t simply suspend our neurology for a bit. I can’t suspend my autism, just as my ADHD friends can’t simply suspend their ADHD. It’s just not possible. This is not a movie or a book. This is life. And life should be lived with integrity to one’s self.
I guess it comes down to this:
When I go into a social setting I go into it as an autistic human.
The moment I experience sound I do it as an autistic human.
When I write some text I do it as an autistic human.
I simply can not do them as anything else.
It makes no difference how much I try, how much therapy I have, how many strategies and skills I learn. It will not change the reality that I am autistic and therefore should embrace that reality and be true to myself.
There really are many situations in life where as an autistic I have to choose whether or not I should attempt to pass as “normal”. Sometimes this is the right thing to do, mostly it isn’t but sometimes it is. And when it is, it matters not how succesfully I pull it off, it changes nothing. I am still autistic, I will remain autistic.
The truth is that when I pretend or pass I can do this with reasonable success, but, the cost to myself is high. It is utterly exhausting. An act of passing for a few hours often requires more than a full day of recovery from the sheer exhaustion it results in.
I embrace my autism because it is a significant part of me. To do anything less would be a crime against myself.