Guess what! My neighbor just told me a story about how people like you (he’s never met you, he’s just generalizing) are stupid, lazy, and probably shouldn’t even exist. You really want to hear all about it, right?
What if I approach it differently, and say, “My neighbor said the most horrible thing about people with autism yesterday, you would not believe it! He actually said ___________! Isn’t that disgusting?! I’m so grossed out!” Continue Reading
I see this a lot in parenting circles: “autism parents” looking for puzzle piece shirts, hats, blankets, pillows, all supposedly for their kids. I’ve seen ads shared for stuffed animals with puzzle piece emblems stitched into the bellies. Continue Reading
“You’re so quiet.” Outside of generic pleasantries, it’s easily the most common thing people have said to me throughout my life.
Twelve years ago, I wrote in an email to a friend:
I never talk about myself either, and it’s noticed more than one realizes. A guy I see maybe once every couple weeks for work, just to pick up parts or drop them off, asked me how I was doing right after I’d started eating a cookie. And I just looked at him, and he said, “You never talk much anyway, I figured I’d get the same answer whether you had a cookie in your mouth or not.” It’s weird how much more people blab about themselves, or things around them. The opportunities to do so myself that I never even notice I’m missing. And it’s also funny how everyone says thinking before you speak is such a good quality, and they tell cheesy inspirational stories about god giving people two ears and one mouth, and all these other virtues related to being quiet or thoughtful. But no one really likes the people who are that way.
I had no idea at the time that I was autistic–I may not have even heard the word at that point, and if I had it certainly wasn’t in a context that would lead me to suspect it could have anything to do with me. But I’ve always been aware of being different, especially in social situations. Continue Reading
Soon afterward the little man came in and asked, “Now, Madame Queen, what is my name?”
She first asked, “Is your name Kunz?”
“Is your name Heinz?”
“Is your name perhaps Rumpelstiltskin?”
“The devil told you that! The devil told you that!” shouted the little man, and with anger he stomped his right foot so hard into the ground that he fell in up to his waist. Then with both hands he took hold of his left foot and ripped himself up the middle in two. [the Brothers Grimm]
I haven’t torn myself in half yet (not literally, at least), but I certainly relate.
One of the more surprising traits that sometimes show up on lists of autistic characteristics is having difficulty with names, both using them for others and being addressed by them ourselves. Whenever I’ve brought this up with other autistics, the response is almost always the same: I thought it was just me! Continue Reading
The first time I suspected I was autistic was after reading an article about how visual thinking can make writing difficult. I was 27 years old and immediately recognized my lifelong troubles with writing, especially fiction–trying to translate the vivid movie in my brain into descriptive language is painful, frustrating, and takes a long, long time.
I told my best friend at the time, a woman younger than me but much better traveled, both literally and socially. She raised her eyebrows and said, “I don’t think so. The people with autism that I’ve known are way worse.” Continue Reading