If you’re not really, truly listening, please don’t read this post. I mean it. Go away, please. It’s extremely important, and it’s not something to be read lightly. I hope you’ll read it, and think about it, and come back here and tell me what your thoughts are. I’m terrified that I’ll write this and scare everyone away and no one will leave me anything, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take, because this is important.
It’s been a typical Saturday. I’m on meltdown patrol, deescalating after a day that involved fasting bloodwork, out to eat in a noisy cafe, getting sick all morning from the small amount of gluten I ate, stopping at Mom’s, going to get Mom’s glasses, getting cat food, back to Mom’s, and about two hours shy of church is when I lost my words and said that I needed to go home.
Mom and I were talking in the car on the way home (well, I was typing, because Mom doesn’t mind terribly if I type) and I said something to the effect of, “Loss of speech is not a result of anxiety but rather one of an overtaxed sensory system.” Mom said that she understood that.
“So why don’t they believe me?”
I could tell Mom tread carefully. Well, she said… you seemed so social and so happy in high school, you did so many things, silk line and performances and everything, and you didn’t appear to have any issues…
I stopped her.
“I wanted to die.”
For almost 10 years, I prayed every night that I wouldn’t wake up to see another day. I didn’t actually have the energy to kill myself, but if I had, I probably would have. I hated everything about my life, I was on the receiving end of so much cruelty amongst my “friends,” I truly didn’t believe that I deserved to live, and then didn’t believe I deserved the relief of death at the same time. I knew this world wasn’t made for me. I didn’t know why, but even then, I knew it.
And that is what you need to know. You need to know that, at least for some people with autism (I’ve heard similar stories from other people), when you force them to be “normal,” you make life not worth living.
So when I am pushed to speak even though I can’t, when I am told not to chew or tic or flap, when I am told not to type, that is why I refuse to listen. That is why I fight back.
I deserve a life, too. It may not be what you think of as ideal, but it’s mine, and I will make it my own. I am a square peg, and I will not be made to fit into round holes. It’s time to start drilling square-shaped holes where I can fit. If you are here to help me in this, good. If you’re not, I have no need for you.
I wince, I cringe when I hear of parents trying to quelch the autism out of their kids. Yeah, maybe we can learn to be “normal,” to appear “normal.” I could. But there was no life in me. I was devoid of… anything.
I won’t live like that. I don’t deserve to. No one does.
And so I won’t. No more.
Be who you are, okay?