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  • Community Contributor

The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S30

Name, and/or twitter handle: Emily, @ItsEmilyKaty

Pronouns: She/Her

Parent/non-parent: Non-Parent

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

television...continuity etc.?

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

failure too.

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

autistic caregiver?

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

and why?

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

were different.

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!

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