My Truths About Living as an Autistic Person
This is how it is for me to live as an autistic person.
Shopping – shopping is extremely tiring. Grocery shopping and clothes shopping are both exhausting. I have no interest in clothes, but I find some clothes difficult to accept due to their texture and color. So I am picky about clothes even though I have no interest in fashion. After I go to a clothing store and stay there for 10 minutes, I have to go home and wind down to calm myself. Shopping is so exhausting.
Executive functioning – I cannot decide on a lot of things unless they are in my routine. If something is in my routine, I do it, so there is no space for worries. Otherwise I struggle with making decisions every day. I cannot decide what to eat. I chose to eat gluten-free and vegetarian so my food choice is limited, yet I still struggle because what I eat has to be specifically decided to eradicate the struggle. I also don’t know what to wear. I don’t care what I wear, but it has to be comfortable. Not being able to decide things like what to eat/what to wear is real struggle and frustration.
Biting inside my lips and cheek – I cannot stop biting inside my lips and cheek. It hurts, especially when I continually bite in a short time. It bleeds, but I cannot help myself from biting inside my mouth. This happens especially after I have a vast amount of stress including shopping and decision making.
Movie – When I go to see a movie, I have to know the story beforehand. Otherwise the movie is so unpredictable, and I cannot stand that. This applies to books as well.
Invisible “disability” – The word disability needs to be in quotes here because I believe disability is what society creates. There is the idea of creating barrier-free space for physically disabled people, but not for autistic people? Why not? Society has to realize that some “disabilities” are invisible, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Struggle to live – I am different. I will always be different. You don’t see it just by looking at me, but as you get to know me, you’ll find differences. You might not like me, but that’s OK. A lot of times, I don’t like myself either because I cannot do what you can probably do without pains and struggles. Things like taking phone calls, talking with friends without having a headache afterwards, knowing what to do with your hands while you talk, or having and keeping friends don’t come naturally to me. I had to learn “how to” in social situations, but they are still as hard as they used to be.
I cannot change how my brain is wired, and I don’t want to because being autistic is a part of my identity. So, I want you to know how we (autistic people) think and feel. Some people misunderstand autistic people as people who have no emotions. But no way. We have emotions. Many self-advocates even say we have hyper-emotions. We just react to things/situations differently from NTs and express our emotions differently. As a Christian, I believe there’s a reason I am different. There’s a reason I struggle with little details of everyday life. I want to tell the world more about autistic people’s lives and want people to know the reality of autism.
Getty image by Torwai.