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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Aubin, LCSW

Reflections from my nightly walk

Updated: Mar 22

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Some of my best thoughts come from when I am walking. I am not sure what it is about the movement and the changing scenery but my brain seems to produce new ways of seeing things. I've been thinking a lot about intentionality lately and the message I want to send to the world.

I think about these types of things a lot, because I truly love humanity and life. In fact, I believe the work I do would be pretty much impossible if I didn't. Which is funny because some of my posts about how hard it is to be autistic give people the impression, I don't like people at all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is that while I love life and I love humans, I am also hurt by these things. Before I knew for certain I was autistic, I was described as "highly sensitive." I have always felt like I was born without the protective covering that other people seem to have. I am like a slug in a world full of snails. I am missing a shell.

Since I have lived my whole life as an autistic person (or snail, if you want to keep with the metaphor), I don't know any other way of being. All of my behaviors and ways of viewing the world are heavily influenced by the ways I need to protect myself that others don't have to do.

So, when I avoid people or talk about how hard it is to interact with them, people assume that I just don't like people. But I do, I just am too sensitive to interact with people in the ways that "typical" people can.

Someone recently asked me if there was some "evolutionary advantage" to being autistic. Perhaps in the past, I would've humored a thought like that. After all, this has been so painful, maybe there was a nice pot of gold at the end that made it all worth it? Or useful? But these days, I see being autistic as part of the complexity of life and something I may never truly understand.

To paint autism as some evolutionary advantage or "superpower" misses how diverse and varied the experiences of autism are. And usually, these comments are rooted in ableism and capitalism in many ways. Instead, I choose to allow autism to be what it is. Just acceptance and learning and letting be.


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