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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S41

Name, and/or twitter handle: @CuriousProviso

Pronouns: She/her

Parent/non-parent: non-parent.

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: 42 (on waitlist for official dx)


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

In some ways. I was definitely more interested in things like social justice and computers and reading and less interested in typical “girl child” activities. I didn't see this as a problem with *me*, and was generally fine as long as I had at least one other “weird” kid as a friend.


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

I'm estranged from my parents, for reasons that in retrospect are likely related to autism. Their approach was to attempt to control and punish, not investigate and support.


3. How did you determine your ethical system?

I dunno, I think it came preloaded. I assume it's related to hyper-empathy: it is obvious to me when people are in pain, and when people with power to help choose not to. I've definitely become more radical in recent years, as I've read about the systemic nature of most issues and observed widespread apathy and inertia.


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

I'm not sure! I figured out I've been masking HARD for the past decade plus, and have yet to determine how I'll present to the world once the pandemic ends. I've also figured out that even in private, when no one else can see me, I still require “proper” behaviour of myself. This is sad and I'm working on it.


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

“Enjoy” is not the right word. I don't set out to do this, it just happens, and it often negatively affects my enjoyment. What I do enjoy is when someone I'm watching something with engages in discussion of the error with me, in an analytical and non-dismissive way.


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

Haven't thought about this before! I guess the main trait is that they're someone I enjoy talking to, which probably means they have to be smart and silly and analytical and kind. (I guess that is either 1 or 4 traits.)


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

I know I've considered it disrespectful when someone is late for arranged hangouts or forgetful of things I told them, but learning about neurodiversity has helped me see this in a different light so I don't find it as frustrating now. I'm not sure I would be friends with someone with other negative traits (e.g. apathetic, judgmental, shallow).


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

Required partner traits are generally the same as required friend traits, except we also have to enjoy getting physical with each other. I've also figured out the hard way that I need someone with a similarly proactive approach to truth-telling, and the neurodivergent love languages thread really made clear the type of relationship I want. (https://twitter.com/neurowonderful/status/1398061897086226432)


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

I don't think much would change except I could devote more time to figuring out how to be truly useful. Honestly the most helpful thing I've done in decades was the transcript for the Philly D #StopTheShock segment (https://twitter.com/CuriousProviso/status/1423391341711663109).

I would love to be able to do that type of thing more often than having a day job currently allows.


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

I don't know! I don't think it's as evocative a term for me, not being American. The absence of sexism, racism, ableism, etc, I guess? Meaning the ability for everyone to participate in all things fully, not just those few who've been hoarding power and wealth for generations.


11. What does success mean to you?

This is another difficult term. Up until recently, I'd have said I'm successful because of my career. But I've been rethinking everything (everything!) and now I don't have a clue what "success" is, or if it even matters.


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

I haven't had a partner or a roommate in a long time. I'm definitely happier and more stable when I have good friends, which I do! But I'm only just now learning to actually be vulnerable around them and discovering how amazing and supportive they are when given the chance. (“Productive” is a word that I'm currently raising an eyebrow at, same as “successful.”)


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

Not applicable.


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

I don't think I do this very often, which I assume is a function of refusing to lie and also decades of masking to seem “professional.” (But then I will fixate on impromptu conversations that went poorly.)


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

So many! Sensory issues, too much empathy to function in this world, communication frustration, trauma, etc. I think the main way I don't identify with other autistic people is that I never assumed anything was wrong with *me*: it was clearly *all of society* that was wrong.


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

Not applicable.


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

Not applicable, and actually this is part of why I never wanted children. I wouldn't be able to sugarcoat the badness for them, or participate in societally approved types of deception.


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

Not if “living off the grid” means a rugged and amenity-free existence. But I would definitely love to live in as eco-friendly a tiny house as possible, minimize my footprint, spend more time with trees and water.


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

I don't know the names of any styles of architecture, but I like buildings that have interesting angles, arches, turrets, swoops, lighting and colours. (The day I learned about Gaudi was a good day.) I hate brown / gray / black boxes. Why would you do that to the landscape?

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