• Community Contributor

The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S44

Name, and/or twitter handle: Tilly, @wonkypeppers Pronouns: she/her

Parent/non-parent: non-parent

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: 12

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

Yes, I definitely did, I just couldn’t work out why. I followed all of the rules that I had to study 10x harder than everyone else. I felt very alien and that made me quite a defensive person. I was a very bright kid, which I hated as it alienated me even more. I felt so smart yet so foolish and senseless.

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

More than most. They definitely try. I feel as supported as anyone would feel by those who will never understand what you go through.

3. How did you determine your ethical system?

I found connecting with autistic people online very eye-opening.

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

Honestly, masking/camouflaging is a very complex thing. My private self versus my outward facing self varies a lot based on the day, the time, who I’m with etc. Many people get to the extreme point of masking that they forget who they are. They put on this character even just to themselves. I’ve definitely experienced that and am slowly trying to get past that currently.

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

I wouldn’t say enjoy? I do notice mistakes sometimes, as I believe a lot of people do. They don’t really spark any emotion in me; I feel indifferent about inoffensive mistakes in production.

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

My idea of friendship is changing as I work myself, and my friends, out. I can be vulnerable in friendship due to my hyper-empathy and understanding of others.

I’d say 3 important traits I look for are:

• Not being offensive to minority groups, including offensive jokes. Jokes that people make really show a lot about someone’s beliefs deep-down.

• Someone who makes me feel comfortable in a way that they don’t judge my autistic behaviours. People would be surprised if they knew how their tiny actions make autistic people feel like they need to hide away.

• A person who has more of a light-hearted approach to life

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

As I’m growing my understanding of friendship and boundaries of mine, I’m learning that I’m not sure I have an answer to this at this time.

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

Same as the friendship answer, really.

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

The goals I have and the things I would ideally like to do in the world rely on more than just unlimited funds. I would love to find a way to change how healthcare works all over the world, which is a pretty broad statement. Accessibility in everything we do would be amazing. I mean, it should be a neutral thing as it’s basic human rights but in this current climate, it would be an amazing thing.

In regards to my personal life, I guess it's pretty similar to most people’s. A big house, nice holidays, lots of dogs, long-term stability. It would be nice to have unlimited funds so I could change my career almost every week without worrying about how I’m going to do that or worry about finding a job I want to do for 50 years.

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

This is a very difficult question to answer as, as I’m growing and learning, my idea of freedom is rapidly changing. As a disabled person, I believe the very basics of freedom is accessibility. Simply being able to access basic needs and wants.

11. What does success mean to you?

Like my previous answer, this too is an ever changing concept of mine. I think it’s strange how people’s idea of what success is lowers as time goes on. I believe autistic people’s idea of success changes the most out of any group. Unlearning allistic success yet remembering the things we are capable of is an intense process.

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

For sure, and I believe most people would be. Again, this idea is somewhat more intense for autistics. Long-term relationships of any kind with others is comforting in the way that you understand their communication style and you don’t have to relearn that over again. Figuring an allistic person out as an autistic person takes up a lot of time and energy.

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

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

I guess I’m at the age right now where if I do see someone I know, we don’t stop and chat; more of a quick acknowledgement. But I am lucky as many people haven’t recognised me since I left school and shaved my head.

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

This is quite a broad question. I identify in almost every way and being involved in the online autistic community has really helped me to see that. The most impactful thing I’ve experienced is knowing others feel the same in regards to discrimination and the idea of living in a world where you are desperately trying to be and understand everyone else.

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


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

At the moment I’d say:

• Nothing matters. Everyone dies. No one gets out of this alive anyway.

• People are wrongfully scared of differences yet hide it in scary ways.

• It’s loud and bright out there.

• Sometimes you have to work twice as hard for half as much.

• Jealousy is everywhere.

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

If the world continues in the way it’s going right now, yes. Ideally, no but it might come to that.

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

I’ve never actually thought of this and honestly, I don’t have an answer!

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