The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S15
Diagnosed age 50
1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?
I thought I was missing something, I couldn’t relate to a lot of children, found them very loud and violent. Thought I was not with people who understood me. Felt displaced. I couldn’t quite figure out my feelings and why I was so lonely.
2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?
Although I know they love me I feel like my mother was so stressed out with not understanding my behavior that she shut me out and neglected me. I’ve been misdiagnosed most of my life and mom is tired of me mentioning the abuse I received in hospitals and doesn’t seem to even have an interest in the fact that It was misdiagnosed all my life and a woman doctor saved my life. I still feel guilty for not being what she wanted.
3. How did you determine your ethical system?
I wanted to believe there were nice people in the world. I was taught violence is wrong and was terrified of war. I figured that learning about different religions, cultures, beliefs & science were the way to make friends. I thought animals were more kind than humans when I was 5. I was sexually molested by neighborhood children then humiliated and punished. I just thought that if I am loving, and sharing they would stop hurting me. I was wrong. The were physically violent. I believed that if I was to run away other kids and adults would be nice.
4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?
I try to dress conservatively in public. I watched C-SPAN, PBS and BBC to learn how to act like an adult in public. I also studied all my doctors very closely. I modeled myself on American values, Various cultural myths & am independent. (Before C-SPAN my style was a sci-fi and fantasy informed style. I was a mess in tshirts and jeans.) When at home I curl up in oversized hoodies, t-shirts and yoga pants. I like snarky mugs, dragons, crows and insects. I feed a local murder of crows, draw and do ceramics. I love nature. I love watching Aliens and I find Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC funny and weird.
5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.?
Yes, I often watch the same movies over and over again. I love glitches in computer games as well.
6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend?
Compassion, open minded, interested in science and art.
7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook in a friend?
Lateness is the only one I can think of right now because the other negative traits that come to mind are abusive. I finally learned not to tolerate abusers.
8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses?
Love, gentle intelligent.
9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds?
I would buy land for a house & studio then fund clean up & building of safe public housing for independent living for disabled people. The public housing system in this country is inhumane.
10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail?
Freedom of my own thoughts, motions and religion. Freedom to not be forced on meds that almost killed me. Freedom to fire bad doctors. Freedom to drive, and hike in the parks. Freedom to own land far away from noise.
11. What does success mean to you?
I am 50, never wanted children and do not have children. I think some children are loud awful and violent. I think some mothers are doing the best they can. I do not know parents of small children.
12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?
I mostly stay alone with my fiancé who also is autistic. Most of my local community never sees me.
13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?
14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk?
15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?
Selective mutism, being constantly bullied and harassed, unable to tell when people are using me or dangerous. Not able to understand my emotions a lot of the times. Repetitive behaviors and deep focus on my interests. Overstimulated by touch, sound, smells and messy disorganized rooms, meltdowns.
16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an autistic caregiver?
17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world and why?
I do not have children but I hope for other autistic children to know it is not their fault, your expression and movement is yours and is ok, you are not a freak, doctors are not always right, if a doctor touches you and you are not at a physical exam tell a trusted adult or parent.
18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not?
No, I can go camping on a vacation if I need to but I am in my 50s, I have other disabilities and need certain modern conveniences to live. Due to my disabilities I need connection for emergency services and health reasons. It’s a nice fantasy.
19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why? Old Victorian houses with wrap around porches. Enough room for living and art. Sit on the porch with ice tea and enjoy the wildlife and sunsets.