Learning that I was autistic was one of the most enlightening and relieving experiences in my life. Finally, after 30+ years of being bewildered and confused, I had an identity that helped me understand myself more than anything ever has. What’s funny is that a lot of people, due to their lack of understanding of autism, are confused that I am #actuallyautistic. I don’t fit their mold or the pathologized version of what they believe autism to be.
Since I learned I was autistic later in life meant I wasn’t subjected to ABA (harmful autistic conversion therapy) and that by the time I learned I was autistic, there were so many autistics who had paved the way to show me what being neurodiversity-affirming is. It was hard to go through 30+ years not knowing I was autistic but I am forever grateful to the autistic community who showed me that being autistic is beautiful.
I love being around other autistics, in fact, I now offer therapy solely to autistic people for this reason. We simply understand each other better, no one needs to mask or translate our ways of communicating into something a neurotypical could understand. I can lack eye contact and speak tangentially, and my clients get it. We can just be ourselves and our autistic traits are celebrated and always welcomed with open (sometimes flapping) arms.
It breaks my heart that most autistic people (late-diagnosed and early-diagnosed alike) have been taught overtly and covertly that being autistic is not beautiful and something to be ashamed of. It’s like being taught that the color of your skin or eyes is shameful and not beautiful. We were taught to dislike or sometimes even hate ourselves due to who we were. If you are an autistic reading this post, please know that being autistic is beautiful. When you talk about your special interests, that is beautiful. When you stim, that is beautiful. Your sensitivity is beautiful. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being autistic. There is nothing wrong with you. You are enough. You are whole. You are welcome in this world. We need you, just as you are.