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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S6

Name, and/or twitter handle: Thorin (@OtherBodhiGirl)

Pronouns: (She/Her/Hers)

Parent/non-parent: Non-Parent, unless you consider dogs and tons of plants

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: Was officially diagnosed at 50


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

I always felt like an alien, a changling, or an android. I have always understood and empathized with robots/replicants/androids/cyborgs. I’ve never felt human. I am also agender, so that’s furthered my feelings of “other.”


2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual? My parents are supportive, yes. They have been great.


3. How did you determine your ethical system? I have a strong ethical core. Always have. I have a master’s degree in Religious Studies, because I wanted to explore many of the big questions in life. Buddhism has always resonated with me, and it has a very strong ethical core.


4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front? I have always been “what you see is what you get.” I don’t have a lot of patience for other people, and I never feel like compromising myself to “fit in.” I’ve always been true to myself no matter what. I have masked, of course, like all autistic people, and it has created a lot of self-doubt and anxiety.


5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.? Not really. If something isn’t logical, I get annoyed. If a stunt seems implausible then I start to lose interest. I’m a stickler for believability. And when things prove too outlandish – like the Fast and Furious films – I have zero interest in them.


6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend? Honesty, intelligence, compassion


7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook in a friend? I actually don’t have many friends. I have always been a loner, usually sticking with one person. I don’t feel like I need people around me. My tolerance level isn’t high. Like I said, I have a strong ethical core, so if someone isn’t ethical, I’m not interested in wasting my time with that person.


8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses? Intelligence, empathy, good communicator, honest, straightforward, funny but my kind of humor which is pretty strange. I was very lucky to find someone who is all these things. He is able to explain people to me, which has been amazing. I often don’t understand people at all, so it’s nice to have a human Rosetta Stone.


9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds? I would not be chained to a desk or work anymore. I’d probably just spend time with my dogs, my partner, garden, watch movies, and write.


10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail? I have problems with authority or more specifically someone in a position of authority who gives arbitrary rules or makes unjustified demands. I really need to be my own boss, and to not be micromanaged. I’ve been lucky to have found jobs that have allowed me this freedom. I cannot work a 40 hour a week job. I have to break my time up into manageable chunks. I also have to be my own boss and have autonomy. I need a lot of space and freedom. It’s paramount for my mental well-being.


11. What does success mean to you? I don’t need things. I don’t care about cars, making lots of money, possessions … none of that. I don’t care about how people dress, their children, their “success” … nope. Success to me is making a difference; being able to share my experience and knowledge to affect change. That’s success. I couldn’t handle being famous. I think there’s something very pathological about it. People who want to be the center of attention – not me in the least.


12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate? I like being with one person who “gets me,” but those people are few and far between. I was in an unhappy marriage for a long time, because I bought into what society told me was important. I was incredibly lucky to get into a relationship with the person I’m with now. I am the happiest and most comfortable that I’ve ever been. Supporting and understanding autistic people is so important. Acceptance. We don’t often have those things so when they come along, we need to really embrace and treasure those things.


13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions? I feel uncomfortable being around other people. Full stop. I don’t like it. I don’t like socializing. I do all of my socializing online.


14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk? If I see someone I know, and they haven’t seen me, I quickly get out of the line of vision. If someone I know calls me, I still won’t answer the phone. Or if they text me. If I’m doing something else, I don’t want to get pulled into something like a conversation.


15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people? I have some sensory issues – bright lights, certain sounds are like a knife through my body … I need routine and structure. I hate surprises. I want to know all the parameters of everything. I have been called bossy, defiant, strong-willed … if those are autistic characteristics, I’m definitely autistic.


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? N/A


18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not? Sort of. I live near a park and a lot of trees and green space. I need nature, but I am afraid of being off the grid in case of illness or problems. I know I couldn’t survive just on food I can grow. That uncertainty is stressful.


19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why? I used to like the Frank Lloyd Wright house Falling Water in Pennsylvania. I like something that’s not too artificial or contrived. Just a basic, natural space to inhabit. I also like really out there stuff like Antoni Gaudi’s Barcelona structures; I also like Bauhaus style (which can look a bit FLW). I don’t know that I would live in a place like that but anything that has an odder aesthetic, I do like. The one thing I abhor is an old house that has had all its natural elements ripped out and replaced with “modern” aesthetics. And that’s so common. I hate popular, mainstreamed boring things for mass production and consumption.

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