When You Say I Don't Look Autistic

You tell me I “don’t look autistic”
as though I’ve won a prize
When really you make it harder
For me to let go of all the lies

My pretense is successful
I can almost even “pass”
If you could see behind the curtain
You might understand the farce

My normalcy is faked
A cunning rehearsed role
It binds me and constrains me
Stealing pieces of my soul

I must be “mild” you tell me
I don’t rock or flap or twirl
My stims are much more subtle
An elastic that I curl

“High functioning, right?” you ask me
As if you know what that might mean
It means I struggle on in silence
Hide my worries away, unseen

I don’t look autistic, you promise
Little comfort that provides
Because no matter how well I hide it
I’m autistic on the inside.

Getty image by M. Gucci.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Group of people walking across a pedestrian crosswalk.

How I See the World as an Autistic Person

Do you have a smartphone? Is it capable of taking a burst of continuous photos? Open it and point it at something moving like your pet or a car. Take a burst. Now open up that burst and see the minute differences that between each photo, each frame. That’s how my brain reacts when I [...]

A Conversation Between a Parent of a Child With Autism and an Autistic Adult

My friend, Debbie Abbs, and I had a conversation about autistic perspectives on autism and how autistic voices are often excluded. I am autistic and we talked about how I train police officers on autism. Usually, I get in front of a room full of police officers and discuss autism with a friend, who is [...]

My Son Has Autism and I Don't 'Light it Up Blue'

April is Autism Awareness Month. People “light it up blue,” especially on April 2nd, Autism Awareness Day. I should be excited, but I am not. Personally, I am avoiding the color blue, but you may wear it if you like. My son has autism. He has had it since he was in my womb. It [...]
School classroom.

My High School Years With Autism

Ever since I graduated from high school five years ago, I’m still grateful for being a person with a disability who had the chance to meet and learn from other people with disabilities. My six-year journey in high school was rewarding and inspiring. Throughout those years, I experienced great life lessons about what a person’s [...]