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4 Reasons Why I'm Proud to Be Autistic

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June — what a great time of the year. This is the month where summer officially begins. A time where there is much to celebrate for the recognition it brings. For this is the month when Juneteenth occurs, where we celebrate the emancipation of those who were once enslaved in the United States. It is considered Pride Month, where we honor and recognize the LGBTQIA+ community. Along with these wonderful celebrations, the month of June means a lot for me, as it also includes a holiday known as Autistic Pride Day.

Celebrated every year on June 18, this day is to honor autistic people and the positive role they bring to society. To be honest, it is only recently that I have heard of this holiday and I am glad I did. I don’t usually do this, but I have come up with a list of why I am proud to be autistic.

1. I see things differently.

It is said that autistics see the world in a different way. If that’s the case, it definitely applies to me. When I see the world, I see it through art and music. For instance, there are times in which I travel to a certain place and a song I know would come up in my mind. Or I would also listen to a song and a whole story with characters and a setting would appear in my mind, which would be the opposite to what the songwriter would have in mind. For example, when I hear the song Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, I think about a story set in Ancient Rome. I love this because it gives me the ability to tell stories.

2. I love my narrowed interests.

One of the characteristics of autistics is that they often have narrowed interests. For me, these interests include art, music, literature, history, exercise and culture. These interests make me feel alive. When I read about history, I embrace myself in those facts. When I see a work of art, I study it very well and I educate myself about the many cultures around the world. I am an avid learner and will continue to be so.

3. I am part of a community.

I remember wondering why I was so different before my diagnosis. I thought that I was the only one with these characteristics. But once I was diagnosed and told there were others like me, I knew that I was not alone. Not only was I not alone, but over the years I learned that there was a community of people out there who come together and look out for each other. This makes me feel a part of something and the great thing about this community is that…

4. The autism community is very diverse.

It is said that if you meet one autistic person, then you have met one autistic person. I honestly couldn’t agree more. Our community is extremely diverse. We have members from different ethnic groups, nationalities, backgrounds and orientations. There are those whose interests are different from others and whose life journey is different. I feel that this diversity is great, as our differences make us unique. It is because of our vast differences that we can unite as a community.

Now I know that each autistic person might have different reasons on why they might be proud of being autistic, but these are just some of mine. With that said, I want to wish all of my fellow autistics Happy Autistic Pride Day. It’s very true that being autistic is not easy and that each of us has different struggles in life, but never give up on what makes you unique. Be proud of who you are, as you are the best out there.

Getty image by DmitryMo.

Originally published: June 7, 2021
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