I went to sleep tonight, but I could not sleep. I realized that I had not been talking a lot lately about being autistic. But some part of me thinks that might be a mistake. Being autistic is not an excuse, or even a reason – but is simply a fact. I realized that I do nobody any favors by “learning not to be autistic,” or “pretending not to be autistic” – or even ignoring the fact that I am indeed autistic. But it is not for me that I feel it a mistake. Autism has presented challenges to me in my life effort of “being successful at being a person”. But what do I – or does any other autistic person gain, if I “become successful at being a person” by pretending that I am not autistic – when in reality, I am?
What I need to accomplish is to be successful at being the person I am – an autistic person. What I need to do is manage to achieve the goals of importance to me within the framework of who I am. If I try to put aside my autism, I not only increase the pressures on myself, and perhaps make more unlikely my ability to achieve those goals – but if I do achieve them, I in fact have minimized them. I would not have proven that an autistic can accomplish the things I in my life hope to accomplish, I would only have proven that an autistic who could successfully pretend not to be could in fact accomplish those things. That is not what I hope to show the world. I hope to show the world that the love in my heart can bring me where I hope to be – as an autistic woman. As a woman who has gone through life with the struggles and difficulties that autism presents – that in fact is still going through those struggles. That will always be autistic, and hence will always go through those struggles. But that, in fact, the love in my heart matters more. It is simply love that will lead me to my goals.