The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S30
Name, and/or twitter handle: Emily, @ItsEmilyKaty
Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: Diagnosed aged 16
1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?
Yes. I’m not sure how old I was when I realised that I was different to other
children my age, but it was clear to me in everything, such as my interests, my
communication, my friendships and how I expressed myself. It didn’t seem
apparent to other people because I was constantly copying other children in
order to fit in, which I now understand to be autistic masking.
2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?
My parents are incredibly supportive of me. I couldn’t be more grateful to have
them. Every step of the way along my journey, they have been my biggest
supporters and advocates, fighting for me when I couldn’t fight for myself, and
speaking up for me so that my voice was heard.
3. How did you determine your ethical system?
I don’t really know. I guess as a child through my parents, then as I grew up
just through everything I experienced, witnessed and read about online. I have
a very strong sense of right and wrong and can be quite black and white in my
4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?
It really depends on the context, who I’m with and how much I’m masking. I
would say that in some environments I appear quite confident and sure of
myself, but that is covering a lot of anxiety and self-doubt, which can be
debilitating. If I’m masking in a social situation, then my private self will be a lot
blunter and freer than my outward facing self.
5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed this if I’m honest.
6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend?
Them being loyal, non-judgemental, and fun. I want to be able to be myself as
much as I can around them.
7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook
in a friend?
I’m not really sure…I don’t think my friends have any particularly negative
8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner
My boyfriend is incredibly kind and patient (he helps me navigate life and
translates neurotypical language into autistic language for me!). He is also
non-judgemental and makes me feel comfortable to be myself around him. He
is a gem!
9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds?
Travel, especially to New Zealand to see all my family out there. Self-publish a
novel. Buy a horse. Buy a house. Support charities. If I have unlimited funds,
then I guess I can eradicate poverty everywhere?
10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail?
For me personally, freedom means being able to be myself. Being able to
remove the mask and be my true authentic autistic self. It also means being
able to make my own decisions and live my life without being constrained by
mental illness and without my illnesses and services controlling my decisions
for me. It means being able to follow my dreams, feel pure joy and share that
with the people I love.
11. What does success mean to you?
It’s very hard to not define success in terms of how it is defined by our
capitalist society. It’s hard to define it without looking at objective measures
like finances, awards and other people’s praise. But to me, I’d like to think of
success as feeling proud of myself. Of finishing things I’m working towards. Of
making it through another day, another week, another month, another year,
without hitting the rock bottom mental illness once had me stuck in. For me,
success is living authentically, and this includes experiencing moments of
12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a
relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?
I’m not sure. I met my boyfriend eight months ago, and since then I have
grown a lot in myself, become a lot happier and probably more stable.
Perhaps I would be as happy and stable without him, but I can’t know what life
would be like without him, and I don’t want to know!
13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?
Not applicable to me.
14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to
I wouldn’t pretend not to see them if they had noticed me. But if they were far
away and it would be awkward to go over to them, I wouldn’t go out of my way
to make them notice me.
15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?
Through connecting with the online autistic community, I think that probably
feeling misunderstood in life, finding life exhausting and difficult, feeling
frequently confused and overwhelmed, and having been bullied at school are
all things many autistic people seem to experience which I identify a lot with!
16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an
Not applicable to me – but I imagine that advocating for my child and fighting
against the system to ensure their needs are met and enable them to thrive
would be difficult. I also think it would be hard feeling judged by other parents,
as well as managing my own mental health and exhaustion levels while doing
my best to meet my kid’s needs.
17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world
I would want my future children to know that…
1. The world will constantly tell you that you are not good enough, but this
couldn’t be more wrong. You are not broken. There is nothing about you
that is wrong. Every part of you is perfectly and wonderfully made, even
the parts you hate. Especially the parts you hate, and the parts you wish
2. The world doesn’t always make sense. People say stuff that they don’t
mean. There are rules that don’t make sense. People will ask you
questions that they don’t want to know the answers to. Hold on fiercely
to your honesty. Question everything.
3. The world can be really cruel. Even when the world feels hard to be in,
you are meant to be in this world. The world needs you.
4. The things the world says that matter isn’t always the case. What does
matter is joy, friendship and love.
5. Staying true to yourself whilst navigating your way through the world is
essential. Make the decisions you think are best, be authentic in your
relationships and hold onto your ambitions.
18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not?
No. I need my home comforts and my relationships. I need to feel connected
to other people. I need to be able to seek support whenever I need it. Living
off the grid frightens me!
19. What is your favourite style of architecture and why?
I’ve always wanted to live in a little cottage in a traditional English village! I
think they’re very cute. Saying that, I also travelled to Bath recently and the
architecture there is stunning!