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  • Community Contributor

The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S45

Name, and/or twitter handle: @ExistentialAut1

Pronouns: He/Him

Parent/non-parent: No

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: 5

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

Yes, I've always had a profound sense of difference to the 'normal' from the earliest age I can recall. This was encapsulated by this overarching sense of always being 'out of the swim' and general mundane social norms and expectations forced upon as subjects from an early age through school and education. I strongly believe now this is what led to such anxiety, anger and subsequent trauma through societies direct and indirect 'othering' of me as an autistic subject. This also related to my 'difficulties' in forming 'normal' friendships and social connections throughout childhood, again the norm being set by the ableist society and world thrust upon me.

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

Yes, very much. In terms of my parent being my mother who has always accepted, embraced and supported my identity and upbringing as an autist. She has always strongly encouraged me to be my "true, authentic self" and to be proud and empowered in accepting my 'diagnosis' and learning about the self, philosophy and sociology, no matter the barriers in my way. Without her I truly am nothing.

3. How did you determine your ethical system?

I identity strongly as an Irish/Celtic Geordie, and this is through my family roots and strong sense of pride of Irish history, culture and identity. This also relates to my Geordie and Scottish roots, as I was raised to appreciate our clans history and sense of strength, spirit and the will to survive, no matter what.

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

Fascinating question. I would say that my private self is one of more authenticity and honesty, through bring in a safe, controlled space away from the rampant pressures and expectations to mask in wider, public society. Yet, over the last two years particularly, since moving to fully embrace and accept my identity as a proud and visible autist, my outward public facing front has merged much more with my true self. Yet masking is still required to protect myself from an ever still ableist, apathetic, discriminatory and ignorant world and society. It is very much situationally dependent on how comfortable I am with said situation or person. It is indeed a spectrum of the self and the journey of authenticity, this is why existential philosophy is so appealing to me. Understanding the nature of reality and the subject is in a constant state of flux, allows me to understand and accept that negotiation of places, peoples and things is essential to lead a more authentic, emancipated existence as an autistic and human being.

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

Yes at times, yet I view mistakes as vital in order to improve situation and outcomes. I can be meticulous or non atall concerned on small details, it all depends on levels of my hyperfocus on the given day and situation.

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

Honesty, integrity, compassion

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

Compulsivity, addiction, mental health difficulties

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

Honesty, compassion, humour

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

Fund autistic led communities, lives and futures.

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

The freedom to be the given the space , time and opportunity to learn about and find our true, authentic selves (As long as that doesn't impinge on other's human rights etc)

11. What does success mean to you?

Acceptance, a philosophical approach to life, authenticity.

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

Depends on the context of the relationship or friendship, but yes overall.

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

I pretend to be on the phone often, especially around those strange and defective neurotypical folk!

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

Identity, lived experience, trauma, passion and desire for social justice, art and general humour and creativity.

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

Yes, it does appeal for in future life, for the peace and serenity it would bring. Yet I don't know how long I'd last without being able to connect with fellow autists online and to advocate and provide support to and from other autists.

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

Gothic, postmodern and renaissance architecture. They all have unique and original touches that inspire peace, creativity and inspiration within my soul. The appearance of each very aesthetically and sensory pleasing, and the stories behind architecture and great buildings fascinate me endlessly. I think we learn so much about ourselves as subjects through physical objects, linking to the philosophy of objects and transformative, magical thinking.

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