Learning I’m Autistic has helped me understand myself—why I repeat phrases under my breath (known as echolalia—now I have answer for you, Sammy, on why I do this…), why I love rocking chairs (self-soothing), why I retreat after social events to ‘recover,’ why the drama of the neurotypical world leaves me baffled (Like what is with The Bachelor? Who derives joy from watching that soup of drama,real or perceived?), why I hyper-focus on things (art, dogs, history, news), why I avoid crowds and hellish places like Walmart (the noise and movement is too much sensory input), why I have never understood sarcasm, and many other things.
But while much of the world has told me over my life that these things about me are negative, I’m going to tell you that I always thought these things made me unique, strong and smart—and my feeling that way about myself brings even more hatred from others. Autistic people, especially girls, should not love themselves or think positively about themselves.
I do not see my autism as a disability—though I am not ashamed of my physical disabilities. Rather, autism is who I am. I don’t need to change to make the neurotypical (NT) world comfortable.