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To the 12-Year-Old Reading Her Autism Diagnosis

A letter to myself, as I learned who I was.

Hello, Abby!

I know you are feeling scared right now, but believe me, you are going to be OK. I know you just found out we have autism. It’s probably scary. But we are going to make it.

Right now, you probably don’t even know what this means. You’ll go home and research it. I would say not to, but it won’t stop you so, don’t take in too much. The information you read is an overview of autistic people. It is not who you are. You don’t have to try to fit or mold yourself into a box or shape you don’t feel like you fit into.

I’m not going to say people aren’t going to push you, because they will. They always will. People don’t understand that you may not want to fit yourself into their molds. They want you to want to be the same as them. Even now, as I sit here, I have read and heard several things in the last few days about how we need to cure autism, and it just makes me pause and thing, why? And I know that is how you feel right now. Why is this happening to you. Why can’t you be normal, as you always fought to pass as. As you push your tears away to allow yourself to keep up the mask that keeps you hidden from them, their eyes sliding through you like you aren’t even there. As if you are just part of the illusion they see every day.

And I know you make yourself part of that illusion. You hide yourself in their taunts and whispers so you can look as “normal” as possible. You don’t have to do that. And yes, I know you aren’t going to listen to me, because what 12-year-old listens to anyone? But hey, might as well try.

I have one more thing to tell you. Your parents, our parents, are not exactly going to be able to give you the support you need. They try, they do. But they aren’t going to understand you very well. Nobody is. You are going to have friends who drift away, who can’t understand who you are, and yeah, it’s going to hurt. And what people call you is going to hurt. I know you don’t understand why they are cruel to you. I know you don’t know how to make it stop. And I still don’t know. Because the human species is confusing. People are hard to read, and they change so constantly that it is difficult to keep up. And it hurts.

You’re going to feel like everything in the world is painful for you. And it might just be. But it’s not forever. You are going to be OK. I promise.

Who we are now

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself on the day of the diagnosis. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images