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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S37

Name, and/or twitter handle: awesomebrandi Pronouns: She/Her Parent/non-parent: Parent Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: 34ish

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

Yes, very different. I never really had many same aged peers until I was an adult, and generally preferred adults or working with very young kids. I remember one of the couple of slumber parties I ever went to, and I felt really alone, like I was totally disconnected from all the other girls there and didn't understand their behavior.

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

No. My mother believes in Autism cures.

3. How did you determine your ethical system?

I've always just been very self led with a strong feeling for what is right or wrong. I always want to stand up for people in need. I grew up in church, but I was turned off by a lot of the segregation and fear based practices.

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

I don't think it differs too much. I am pretty out about many aspects of myself, especially regarding neurodiversity and chronic pain. I'm more quiet around people I don't know.

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

I see it a lot, I actually wish I didn't have such a critical eye all the time.

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

Honesty, accepting and willing to grow as a human being.

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

Being late all the time is a big one for me. But, a lot of traits that stress me out, I realize may be other people struggling, so as long as they are inherently a good person, I try and be understanding to their own personal 'quirks'.

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

Honesty, willing to grow, supportive with my issues.

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

Outside of lots of mutual aid and making sure I did the most good possible, I would put money aside for my kids and then travel the world, seeing all the new corners and meeting people who are different than myself.

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

Freedom means being able to be yourself and having autonomy in your situation, and the ability to make the choices that work for you. I don't think people are truly free unless they have all their basic needs met, and then have the ability to make choices outside of that as well.

11. What does success mean to you?

Feeling happy and secure in life, and being your true self.

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

I struggle with certain life tasks that my spouse is good at, so yes I do think I am more stable with a partner. But, I wouldn't just choose anyone.

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

Extremely stressful. I always get very nervous around people I don't know, and school events. We homeschool now, which reduces a lot of stress for all of us.

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

Maybe 25-30% of the time.

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

Sensory issues, really intense emotions, feeling misunderstood our unable to relate to peers are a few of the top most relatable things.

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

The number one most stressful thing is society and their expectations! Any time I go out and try and help my son get what he needs, it is an exhausting fight, which can be really tiring for me and make me very emotional. I will always fight for my son to get the respect he deserves, but I do wish it wasn't a fight. The other issue I struggle with as a parent is noise sensitivity. I have to use earplugs or headphones a lot. Thankfully, my kids are a little older now, so it's a little easier for me to get quiet time.

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

I want them to know that they are NOT broken, or sick, or disordered. They may be disabled, but they are also very capable and deserve to be loved for who they are. I want them to have a desire to learn about other people, places and cultures so they can be more understanding. I want them to be able to stand up for themselves, and others in need, but also know when to rest.

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

No, not at all. Between executive function and chronic pain and fatigue, I want things to be easy and fast.

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

Oh gosh, now this is a really hard question. I am a fan of all sorts of styles, I see the beauty in so many different details. I'm a fan of things with character, texture, history.. that can come in almost any style, really. If you are going to truly twist my arm, maybe I'll say Art Deco.

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