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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S21

Name, and/or twitter handle: Sarah Boon @saraheboon

Pronouns: She/her

Parent/non-parent: non-parent

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: self dx 23 dx 24


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

Absolutely! But at the time I put it down to a personality difference. Although I hear comments from other kids saying they felt sorry for me and were offering pity. I used to seriously annoy me and never understood why but it makes sense now. They probably saw me as inferior in some way because I wasn’t like them.


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

Yes, they’ve been great thankfully. I think they were surprised when I told them I was autistic but once I explained it to them, they understood.


3. How did you determine your ethical system?

What a huge question! I wouldn’t even say I have fully determined my ethical system yet. I feel in recent months I’m questioning everything again. I did this initially after discovering my autism, but as I’ve learn more about myself and the impact I want have in this world, it’s very much a work in progress still. Perhaps ask me this question when I turn 30 in 4 years time, I may have a different answer.


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

My public self engages in small talk and pretends to be happy in strangers company that I barely know. This is rarely the case. Although as I work with supporting fellow autistic people, this is becoming less of a thing putting on a front but I still have to pretend to be somebody else a lot of the time in public to avoid stigma and harassment.


In private, I’m genuinely happy and content. I'm calm and I can live authentically. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. I just feel free when I’m in private, free from a neurotypical society that was not built for people like me.


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

Not in particular. I’ve defo spotted mistakes but I wouldn’t say this happens that often.


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

I wouldn’t say there are 3 specific traits I look for. It’s more if I get on with somebody and if I feel safe being my authentic self around them.


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

Ooo this is a hard question. It’s different with each person, I would say there are 3 traits. It depends on so many things and it’s hard to say without a specific context.


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

Sense of humour is essential! If we can’t appreciate the same type of humour I really don’t see how a relationship would work if we don’t have a similar sense of humour.


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

Build my dream house somewhere quiet and with a few cats. I’d probs travel a lot too.


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

Having autonomy of every aspect of my life and that I don’t need to please everyone. I consider myself a recovering people pleaser and I felt so restricted when I thought it was the only way to navigate this world. I’m less of one now but it’s so hard to switch that mindset.


11. What does success mean to you?

Being happy and content with my life circumstances. It’s hard to say what that would exactly look like, but I feel fairly content with my situation now. Although I’d like a few changes in the longer term that I’m working towards.


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

I’m more stable without a partner or long-term roommate. I’m currently living with family but in an ideal world, I’d be living in my own place with my cat.


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

I’m not a parent so I can’t answer that question, but I will say that I’m happy that I don’t have to deal with playground politics among parents in my life.


14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk?

Ooh, all the time! This is a daily thing for me often more than once a day if I’m out and about.


15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?

Almost everything related to autism! But to be more specific, it would have to be masking and school experiences people have had.


16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an autistic caregiver?

I don’t have children so I can’t answer this question.


17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world and why?

I don’t have kids but if I did, I would encourage them to question everything, I was taught to comply but in the long term, it did more harm than good. Also consent and boundaries. Beyond that, I’m not so sure. That may be different if I was a parent though.


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

I wouldn’t like to live fully off the grid as I like the convenience of modern technology and I need it because of my executive dysfunction. But in terms of not coming into contact with the rest of society that often, that certainly appeals.


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

I love the Architecture in Paris. I’m not sure what the specific term for it is, but I love the continuity of architectural style in the city.

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