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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S18

Name, and/or twitter handle: Tiffany Daniels aka @AutistLady

Pronouns: she/her

Parent/non-parent: non-parent

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic:18

1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?

I really didn't! I didn't feel I was different from any of the other kids! Sure I read more than them, was a little quieter, had a deeper appreciation for interesting rocks than them ( I kept a shoe box under my bed full of interesting rocks I would find) but I never felt difference. Which was why it was so confusing and heartbreaking for me when no one seemed to like me. I was bullied relentlessly and didn't have any friends in my early school days. I didn't make my first real friend till I was in 3rd grade!

2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?

My Dad has unfortunately passed away but he was extremely supportive! My mom and step dad definitely are! It helps that my mom is not what you would call the typical supports Autism Speaks variety parent! To her I'm just Tiffany, and always have been. I dislike loud clanging pans and the sound of drills, pastels make me physically ill, wool and I aren't friends, and I meltdown sometimes with as she states "Perfectly valid reasons!"

My Aunt, not so much. She always treats me like a child, a burden, a tragedy. The family charity case. I lived with her briefly at the end of high school. Nothing was ever good enough. She forced me to participate in akward social situations I was not comfortable with, and never gave me the alone time I needed to decompress for it. I will always be less than her in her eyes, no matter how successful I am or what I achieve.

3. How did you determine your ethical system?

My ethical system in my youth, to be perfectly honest, was largely defined by Christianity. What I took from that which is good, is still very much a part of it. As I got older I became more involved with Disability Rights, and learning of the mistreatment, prejudice, hatred, and ableism we are met with also helped me further form it.

I babble. But to put it simply, It all boils down to this, Love everyone, respect others, and treat others as they deserve to be treated. Also never EVER stand silent when you see injustice!

4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?

I'm not really sure. I have a public mask. One more palatable to the outside world. I give them the illusion that I look them in the eye, I participate in utterly useless small talk, I smile when I would rather roll my eyes.

In private I am rude, crude, and socially unacceptable! I curse like a sailor, let my nerd flag fly proud, I stem whenever I feel like, and in fact most of the time I don't even notice it. Sometimes it even turns into a kind of dance. Rocking side to side, getting my hips and shoulders into it while the hands are going. No one cares here!

5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.?

All. the. DAMN. TIME!! Especially, and I do mean ESPECIALLY when depicting Autistic people. I won't elaborate or it will be an ongoing long rant!

6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend?

Loyalty, honesty, and for them to not give a f*ck what the world thinks!

7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook in a friend?

Gossip (only that is only to a point)

Loud slurping of soup (one of the WORST SOUNDS IN THE WORLD)

Incessant Talking

8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses?

Loyalty

A loving, caring, compassionate heart

Intelligence

9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds?

Honestly? At this point? Retire from normal work entirely and spend the rest of my life advocating 24/7 for Disability Rights, Nuerodiversity Rights, and Mental Health Rights.

Also there would be an island. My island. Just the ocean, and a whole lot of silence! LOL

10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail?

Freedom would be going to the grocery store without being stared at, glared at, or talked down to like a five year old. It would be being in a work environment when I shouldn't have to explain why they have to comply with ADA law for reasonable accommodations! (Thankfully this is no longer a thing for me). Freedom would be that people would not just assume incompetance, child mindness, lack of empathy, etc because that is what the doctors and hollywood told them their whole life when they meet me.

Freedom would be when I am no longer seen as a disease, a tragedy, a burden, a waste of space by some people in this world. I wish that for all of us!

11. What does success mean to you?

RETIREMENT!! *joke* Success is accomplishing in what I set out to do and the great joy that comes from it.

12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?

I'm about the same actually as when I am single. I think it is important to love and be happy with yourself, and enjoy your own company, whether or not you are with someone or have a roommate. I've had, and do have roommates now. And the company is nice and makes taking care of bills easier.

But it doesn't make me happier or more productive.


13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?

N/A

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?

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?

18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not?

God NO! I NEED INTERNET!!!

19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why?

I don't really have one particular favorite. I have an appreciation for all architecture in it's own way.

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