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I’m Autistic, and I Will Always Be Autistic

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When I was born I was autistic.

When I spoke my first word I was autistic.

When I was diagnosed at 11 years old I was autistic.

When I started experiencing puberty and the changes of becoming a woman, I was autistic.

When I finished secondary school with GCSEs I was autistic.

When I finished college with offers from five universities I was autistic.

When I got my first job I was autistic.

Peri-Ann selfie.

I’m a 21-year-old woman and I’m still autistic and always will be. I wish I could hide it away at times; I wish it was as easy as stuffing it back where it belonged. But it belongs in me — even when I’m made to feel like it doesn’t.

Autism is not the measles. It’s not something you will “get over” with time. Just because you are doing “typical things” does not mean you are any less autistic.

I was born autistic and I will die autistic. As I grow the pressure to act “less autistic” grows, but guess what — I can’t do that. I try and I try and gosh I would die trying because I just want to fit in — I don’t want to be lonely anymore.

I’ve grown and adapted to so many things. I can speak, I don’t wet the bed, and I can use a washing machine!

I’m smart, but I’m autistic. I’m hard work, such hard work that at times I hate myself. I feel like a disappointment when I can’t reach those goals you have placed upon me, and that’s because I’m autistic.

I speak in a monotone. I can’t tell when I’m being rude and I can’t work out other people’s tones, often resulting in arguments and misunderstandings. I’m not being a smart ass; I’m actually confused by what you meant. It feels like walking on egg shells, hoping I don’t do anything “wrong,” knowing full well that if I did I couldn’t change it, because it’s in my DNA.

I want to be able to go into a conversation carefree without having to open a manual on how to have a conversation without offending people. I want to joke and get jokes. I want to accept love and give love. I want to say what I mean and not just mean what I say. I don’t want to be locked in a jail cell where I can just about reach the keys but can’t get them to fit into the damn holes. At times I wish I was never able to reach those keys in the first place! I want to connect. I want to understand your feelings, but this barrier between us has been moved as much as it can be.

Please don’t say I’m not trying, because I’m trying as hard as I can. If this was a physical problem, I would be sweating blood because of the strength I’m using to try. I want to be a role model, but I’m only human — a human with autism.

I will probably never be good with tones or loud noises, changes, lack of control or lack of routine. I’m not a nasty person who destroys lives. I’m autistic, but that often gets treated as the same thing these days.

Autistic people are the square peg that will never fit into your circular hole, yet you continue to bash us and try to make us fit because it seems like we almost can. But we can’t, so please stop or you will end up breaking us completely. Kids don’t grow out of autism, even those like me who went from a nonverbal, unable, incontinent child to a well-rounded, smart woman who got into university. We are still autistic.

Autism will not define me, but it will never ever go away. I can spell, I can write, I can talk, I have friends and I feel so deeply, but I’m autistic. I wish I could get “better” in the way you want me to, but this is for life. I was born autistic and I will die autistic, just don’t let me die lonely and autistic by assuming I will grow out of this lifetime condition.

Don’t pity me, but understand me.

Getty image by ezoom.

Originally published: January 15, 2019
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