As a teenager that process started by rebelling against the norm. Showing my difference and taking pride in it. Although I never gained many friends, those that I had were accepting of me in all my ways.
Now that I am a grown woman and a mother I can see how my journey has influenced my character. Yet underneath the personality lies the inherently autistic traits that give me additional bonuses to flourish in life.
“Autism is a difference that should be celebrated.”
Here are the reasons why I love my autism:
Autistics tend to have a deeply ingrained interest in certain subjects. You may think of stereotype interest like trains for boys and horses for girls, but this is not true. In talking with other autistics I’ve learned that interests are as varied as they are and that they grow and change with the years. What makes it a special interest and why do I love it? It is special because an autist delves deeply into the subject of interest and gains an expert level of knowledge on that subject. Some people with autism have been able to make their special interest a career opportunity.
When I am interested in a subject I delve into it with deep passion. I can forget my surrounding and only have eyes and ears for my interest. If I make music or any other creative form of self expression I will focus so intensely on the process of creation that the world outside of it no longer exists. Neurotypicals call this ‘flow’ for neurodivergents it is called hyperfocus. No matter what you call it, neurodivergents have been proven to easily go into and maintain hyperfocus for hours. This can be extremely helpful when creating art, gaining knowledge or simply having fun with your special interest. I do set an alarm clock on my phone to remind me of taking a break to eat and drink.
“A common myth about autistics is that they lack empathy and emotional intelligence. This again is a false claim and the opposite is true. Autistics tend to experience the world intensely and struggle with overstimulation from the outside world.”
Although there is clearly a negative aspect to being hypersensitive there is a huge positive to mention. Autistics who are highly sensitive can feel their surroundings with impeccable clarity. They sense danger before anyone else does. They smell foul food or fire before others notice. They hear a car coming up faster than others do. They see beauty in the color schemes of art. They hear the intricate details of a musical piece with vibrant clarity. They know when their friends are hurt or stressed. All these aspects of hypersensitivity are the beauty of this trait. The key to having this become a treasured and loved aspect of your autism is balans. When overwhelmed with sensory overload take a break and regain energy. Embrace your sensitivity as a gift to both you and the world.
It is said that autistics can’t lie. In all honesty I can lie, however I do not see the upside of this skill. Lying is harmful in all forms that we put them into the world, so I refuse to participate in this kind of behaviour unless my life is in serious danger. When you ask me a question I will give you a direct and straightforward answer, no double or hidden meanings, no puns intended. I walk to the beat of my own drum and I give expression to my opinions and ideas. I do not follow fashion. I have my own style. All these aspects allow others to perceive me as being authentic.