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Learning to Be Kind to Myself as a Person With Autism

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Dear Ashley,

I see you there tonight, defeated. I saw you beat yourself up year after year. Why can’t you just act “normal?” Why can’t you just blend in? Sweetheart, I’m here to ask: why on earth would you want to?

The fact that you feel too much sometimes, it’s autism. The fact that you can’t always coax the words to leave your mouth; that too is a part of your autism. The silly way you wrap yourself up in the warm arms of your blanket after a meltdown? Autism.

You convince yourself there is no place for you in this world, but honestly you are irreplaceable. You may hurt others’ feelings, but your heart would never mean to. Yes, the blasts of anger are also a piece of your autism. The anxieties you feel, the heavy weight of depression, and the “thousand” other conditions you live with. Autism.

You can’t control any of it, though you try. I see your attempts to handle life with grace and not make excuses for yourself. I also see you refuse to accept that it isn’t your fault. I know us better than anyone, and I’m here to say it truly isn’t your fault.

You are rocking this autism thing, and you know what? Your children are too, and a big part of that is because of you.

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Thinkstock image by Isaxar.

Originally published: November 15, 2017
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