Year one post-autism-diagnosis was a year of changing how I see myself. It was a year of learning to accept my changeable limits and deciding to work with my autism instead of against it.
So far, year two is about other people. Those in my immediate circle, family and friends, have begun to feel comfortable asking me questions, they’ve mentioned memories I’ve long-forgotten and been able to apply correct motives to confusing actions.
And now I’m moving on again, to interactions with other autistic people, and I’m finding a whole new view; how I come across to those who intrinsically understand how I’m seeing things.
Growing up I would have been described as prickly, temperamental, angry, unpredictable, enigmatic, anxious, cold, detached, blunt.
For the first time I have been described by a new friend as gentle, soothing, certain, brave, clear, powerful, even-handed.
These are new angles for me, new ways to view myself. They are not distracted by my need to plan, my difficulties with change, my emotional reactions to sensory difficulties; those things are overlooked as default settings, they see through to the rest of me.
I have always been careful not to call myself an anxious person, I do not think of myself that way. Any anxiety I have is a logical result of a situation and my processing of that situation.
But oh how I love to be a gentle person. How I love to be the oil on troubled water. If someone can see that softness through all my apparent coolness, then how perceptive they must be. Why oh why is it the non-Autistics, with all their fancy social-wiring, that struggle to see beyond the superficial? Why is it the so-called “disordered” who have all the insight?
Could it truly be that we are not disordered at all? That we just can’t translate each other properly across neurotypes? That the only advantage you have over me is numbers, the many versus the few? That we are equally at sea with our interactions outside our own brain-types?
Could it be that all my problems have stemmed from allowing non-Autistics to define me? As though I was answering the questions for a French Language exam, but you were marking me based on how well I wrote in German?
Could it be that I have the orderly disorder compared to the rest of you?
The picture above is of a harmless beetle. Its black and yellow stripes scream, “DANGER! I will harm you!” But its true nature is harmless and its true voice is, “Please don’t hurt me.”
It’s all in the translation.