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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S4

Name, and/or twitter handle: Melinda Joy aka Mood Indigo @NegateThe Chaos Pronouns: she/her Parent/non-parent: parent Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: 40 1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?

Somewhat. Got in trouble for talking too much so I learned to be quiet. Later on was made fun of for being the quiet, smart one. As a teenager I was one of the misfit group of kids.

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

No. I have told them but they don’t really have much to say about it. 3. How did you determine your ethical system? I seemed to intrinsically know some of my morals and ethics. Learned the basics of hard work and learning how to do something myself from both of my parents. Never understood things like prejudice and racism. Did not see the point of hating other people if they had done nothing to me. 4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front? I feel like I have to turn down the volume on my personality depending on who I’m around. In private or with close friends, I am a fireball of whimsy and silliness and shenanigans. I talk to myself or my kitten with different accents. I feel as if I’m high on life when I can be my authentic self. Around some family or coworkers or strangers, I have to keep my excitement in. I’ve been told “don’t be weird” and been told to slow down because I’m working too fast. 5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.? Sort of, but it fascinates me more than anything. I want to be entertained and also I have an appreciation for the artistic nature of filmmaking. Many people are critical of these mistakes but I get a kick out of them. 6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend? No-nonsense honesty, a goofy or silly streak, and a sense of adventure. 7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook in a friend? Neediness(because I am the same way), overly protective, and slow to learn. 8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses? Tender heart, silliness, a love for art and/or books, a need for new and creative adventures. 9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds? Move to a little cabin in the Olympic mountain area, read and write and tinker with old cars and furniture and go on road trips and other adventures. 10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail? Freedom is the peace of knowing I can be my true self and share my life with those I love most deeply. Freedom to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Freedom to go places and learn from other people about how they live their lives. To find common ground break bread together. Fellowship.

11. What does success mean to you? Finding the place in life where I can fully love myself and enjoy life in a way that brings me joy and satisfaction. 12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate? Not really. I have very specific ways I need to feel comfortable in my environment. I’m just now, at 40, living on my own and trying to find my way. Living with others hurt my view of the world. I’d still be willing to share space with someone I love very much like a partner or a good friend. If they’re someone I trust, I could be stable and happy within that relationship. 13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions? Yes. 14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk? Almost every time I’m out in public. 15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people? Lots of sensory issues like itchy fabric, loud noise and bright lights. Special interests which are complex and wonderful to discuss. A sense of inner contentment that may or may not require the com

16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an autistic caregiver? n/a 17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world and why? remain curious. Create something you love, live in the moment, be kind to yourself and others, spend time with friends and family. Why? Because those are the important things jn this life. 18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not? yes, always been fascinated with survival skills and have some of my own I learned at a young age. I also like to live pretty simply, I don’t need much fancy stuff. Also want to know that I’ll be okay if any big disasters happen. 19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why? I love homes built in the 20’s-30’s with the solid porches and wide front steps. The kind of homes that welcome visitors because we’re always so distracted with the hectic nature of society. Homes with nooks and crannies, built to last, dormer windows, a driveway lane to park out back.

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