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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S29

Updated: Aug 24

Name, and/or twitter handle: @anautisticwoman

Pronouns: she/her

Parent/non-parent: Parent

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: 64

1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child? Yes. I admired people who were sociable. I thought being popular was

just random and it wasn’t something you could attain, it just

mysteriously happened or was like a lottery. My parents told me I was

shy and I thought that meant I was quiet. I wanted friends but I thought

other kids already had friends and were too busy doing things with them.

I was oblivious and didn’t understand why some people seemed to know how

to navigate things in life I couldn’t. It never occurred to me that I

was different in a way that other people would call “odd.” School was

relatively easy and I got good grades so I thought that other kids just

didn’t understand me.

2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual? My parents don’t know what it means to be autistic. I started the

podcast, in part, to tell my family how it affects me. I want them to

truly know who I am. Some of my family members are supportive and in

some ways surprised to learn what autism really is.

3. How did you determine your ethical system? In a sense it feels innate. I went to Catholic school through 4th grade.

As a teen I was questioning Catholicism and learning about other faiths

and spirituality. I absorbed all I could and then decided what made

sense. As I experience life my ethics change.


4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front? In private I don’t have to pretend that everything is great. In public I

use energy to handle the stress of masking. In private there is no one

judging me for not being perfect. In public I can seem confident yet in

private I may have scripted and rehearsed a conversation for days. I

rarely show negative emotions in public. In private I laugh at corny

jokes and cry when Bambi’s mother dies.

5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.? Absolutely! I am continuously commenting (often to myself only) about

lighting, direction, writing, acting, setting. And yes, if there are

technical mistakes or subject-matter mistakes I notice.

6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend? Loyalty, acceptance, open-mindedness

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


8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses? Intelligence, curiosity, sense of humor, warmth, sense of adventure,

openness


9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds? Quit my day job. Travel the world, hire an assistant to do all of the

things that use too much energy for me to enjoy doing, have a house with

a studio where I can paint and podcast and pursue the latest special

interest, pay family members’ debts, support autistics.

10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail? Autonomy, privacy, happiness, health, acceptance, financial security

11. What does success mean to you? Satisfaction. Using my mind and creativity to contribute, to be useful.

Connecting with others.

12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate? The most successful times in my life were when I had a partner at home

and in business. It makes a huge difference to have someone whom I can

be supportive of and who is supportive of me. I enjoy lots of alone time

and just as much I value connection. I feel happy, yes, more productive

and more willing to take healthy risks I might otherwise avoid.

Basically, it helps me grow to have the feedback I don’t get from being

alone.

13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions? When I had children in school it was very stressful. I didn’t know what

to say to other parents. I avoided it.

14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk? If I don’t want to talk to them—always.


15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people? Masking, special interests, sensory sensitivities, love of music,

creative, communication style, sense of justice, deep strong feelings,

kindness, taking things literally, loving to research and learn new

things, dislike of small talk, black and white thinking, needing alone

time to recharge

16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an autistic caregiver? Not realizing that both of us are autistic.

17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world and why? -Question what you hear/read—not everything is true. Trust yourself.

School isn’t as important as learning—people learn differently and not

everyone benefits from a formal education. I have family members who

have done impressive things with their lives including one who ran many

of the country’s largest and most complex high-rise buildings as a

self-taught engineer.

-Life is about relationships. Without the energy we gain from

meaningfully connecting, even with one other person, there is no life;

-The world is an amazing place. Travel, learn about other cultures, learn

a foreign language, experience all that interests you;

-I love you with all my heart and soul.


18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not? If living off the grid means using solar or other alternative energy

only, growing some of my food, composting, recycling, respecting nature,

etc then yes. If it means living away from civilization dependent only

on myself to survive, then no. I live sustainably as much as I can. I

love the outdoors, nature, farms, ranches, mountains, forests, the

desert, yet I also love the energy of the city, innovation and

technology.

19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why? Modern and mid-century modern. I appreciate most types of architecture

yet I prefer the clean lines and the uncluttered look of modern design.

I like the large windows and open, light-filled spaces, the unique

elements, the treatment of interior and exterior as one space. Modern

architecture takes risks. It inspires and is inspired by creativity.

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