The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S14
Name, and/or twitter handle: Thomas Brevik, @miromurr
Parent/non-parent: Parent - two kids
Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: Formal diagnosis at age 54
1.Did you feel you were different from others as a child?
Yes. I felt that everybody knew something that I did not. There was a
level of understanding the world, and especially other people, that I
did not have. I escaped into reading. Reading books gave me some
insight into how other people felt and why they acted the way they
did. That helped me mask and function. Reading was also my socially
accepted refuge from stress and overloaded senses.
2.Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?
My parents did not know I was autistic until I was 54, but they where
always supportive, if a little baffled, at the way I was. I felt
accepted, but maybe not understood, by my family at most times, and
3.How did you determine your ethical system?
I am extremely frustrated by unfairness, callousness and “treating
people as things”. I suppose I turned to fiction to find my ethical
ideals. Authors like Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis and Diana Wynne
Jones writes it best.
4.In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?
I show very little of the anxiety and depression I feel a lot of the
time. I present a postitive, active and professional face to the
world, but inside I struggle with low self confidence, anxiety and
depression. I do enjoy the few times when my outward upbeat face
matches my inner landscape.
5.Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and
No! On the contrary, I have cultivated my suspension of disbelief so I
can enjoy films, TV-series and books. I get really upset when people
point out errors in movies. But if I, myself, discover a mistake/error
that breaks the illusion I can drop the film/TV-series and never look
at it again.
6.What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend?
Sense of humor, independence, acceptance. Basically that we can meet
after years of not seeing each others and we continue as if no time
7.What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing
to overlook in a friend?
Tardiness, not enjoying my favorite movies/tv-shows and books,
anything if there is a will to change or work out accomodations.
8.What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your
Sense of humor, acceptance, kindness
9.What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds?
Give it all to Greta Thunberg, she is way smarter and wiser than me,
and would find good ways to use the resources to save the world. Other
than that, write, donate to lost causes, fund the bookboat
10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail?
No anxiety, no depression, neurodiversity accepted and understood by society.
11.What does success mean to you?
That the people around me think I´m kind and supportive. That my
professional peers think I did an ok job
12.Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a
relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?
I think so. I have been married for 35 years, so it is hard to
compare. But I generally get stressed and tense whenever my wife is
away for a few days, so highly likely.
13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?
YES! It is the worst situation I can be in. Purgatory! The small talk kills me!
14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t
want to talk?
I do not need to pretend. I am face-blind, and will walk past people I
know without recognising them. I am usually too focused on whatever I
am on the way to, so I hardly see the people around me as anything
other than obstacles I need to avoid crashing into.
15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?
Social awkwardness, special interests, feeling like an outsider,
mental issues. The best thing is meeting other NDs and feel more
relaxed and at ease with other people. Not masking in a room with
people who understand is wonderful.
16.What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child
as an autistic caregiver?
That other people (NT neighbours and teachers) did not understand my
kids as I do and refused to accept my understanding as a key to
understanding my kids better. That doctors and psychologists think
they understand my kids better than I do (there where times when I was
wrong, but it was still stressful).
17.What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the
world and why?
-That you will find people that understand and accept you.
-Anxiety and depression does not last forever
-Kindness is the best approach to other people
-Be aware of your privileges and if possible use them to help others
-Knowledge is power, and neccesary for understanding yourself and the
world. -But school is not about knowledge, so find your own way.
18.Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not?
Yes and no. On a personal level I would like to just get out of the
world as it is today, but as a human I am part of the world and
responsible for my part in relation to everybody and everything. Going
off grid is selfish and a privilige that I know does harm to the
collective effort to save the world from climate change and the
destruction of the natural world.
19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why?
It varies a lot. I thinkt that almost all architecture has something
that makes it interesting, attractive or impressive. Today I find that
accessible and sustainable architecture is what draws my attention and
admiration. I like wood and natural stone, I like zero emission
houses, I like green architecture, I like houses that focuses on the
people living there, and I like autism friendly architecture where
there is room to withdraw, that gives control over sensory stimulation
and that are accessible to all disablities.