Before the body of my post: I was totally swamped with school work and work-work and a social event over the weekend and had no time to do anything for the This Is Autism flashblog. There are nearly 250 submissions over there, and I would strongly encourage people to go read a few.
This is autism.
“Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee,” I sing-song to myself tunelessly as I make my morning coffee. It’s a ritual I follow every morning. I know it doesn’t make the coffee taste any better, but I do it anyway. This is autism.
I accidentally stay up till 2 AM working on an assignment. At this point, I realize it’s taking longer than I expected. I cancel my plans for the next morning, and decide to pull an all-nighter because it’s 2AM already and morning is only four hours away. With my insomnia, it takes at least two hours before I fall asleep, and two hours of sleep is almost worse than none. This is autism.
I have trouble remembering to bring my assignments so I can hand them in when I’m stressed out. In elementary and high school, I’d often have my completely finished assignment sitting at home on the countertop by the door… where I’d set it so I wouldn’t forget it on my way out, but where it wouldn’t get crumpled in my back pack. As an adult, I just sent myself an email reminder to use the printers on campus. In such a way, university is friendlier to those with executive function issues than elementary or high school. This is autism.
After last weekend, I was too exhausted to do any more writing, even though I wanted to. I tried, and nearly sent myself to a meltdown from the combination of frustration with the fact that writing wouldn’t happen, disappointment that I couldn’t make it happen, and abject fear of being late that was instilled in me through a lifetime of detentions and lectures and pissed off friends. This morning, I had to write it, even though I know I’m late. This is autism.
I flap my hands in front of my face when I laugh so hard that it feels like I can’t breathe and tears roll down my cheeks. My friends don’t mind. This is autism.
I flutter my fingers near my eyes as I try to plan out my day. Time management is hard. Fluttering my fingers helps. My coworkers don’t mind. This is autism.
I avoid doing the above two near my parents and sister. They do mind. They call it childish and weird and smack my hands and tell me that people will make fun. Even though I know they’re wrong, and that it’s not me being weird that makes people make fun, it’s them being assholes, I don’t challenge them on it anymore. I know it’s pointless, that they’ll roll their eyes and tell me of course I don’t understand but that I need to take their word for it. This is autism.
I have an unconventional approach to things, sometimes, because my brain works differently. My boss hired me because of it. It’s what let me think up the idea of applying engineering principles to staying organized, rather than relying on the system everyone else uses, which is so obviously unsuited to my needs. It also lets me be well suited to my current job, where I’m making a better system to do a thing (can’t say more because confidentiality), and my improvements seem so obvious to me that I have no idea why nobody else thought to try them. This is autism.
I am among the few in the world who I think has an appropriately deep appreciation for heavy fleecy blankets. This is autism.
My body can’t tell the difference between merely being cold and being truly hypothermic. It responds to both with similar intensity – any wonder I bundle up so much people joke I’m a bad Canadian? This is autism.
If I read something interesting, I will be able to quote passages from it months later, after reading it only once. If I do something fun, I will remember it in great detail even years later, after doing it only once. This has earned me the nickname “Steel Trap” in my martial arts club, because I remember all of the things. This is autism.
Despite having a memory that good for facts and experiences, I can forget to eat or drink for days, and have difficulty keeping appointments. I have executive function issues. This is autism.
Autism is: Having strengths, weaknesses, talents, preferences and experiences outside of the norm. Autism is being human, and knowing others try to deny you’re human, and choosing to face a world that sees you as not human daily. This is autism.