I’ve been thinking about Autism Awareness Month a lot for a while now. This was before the impending apocalypse, of course, so now with things being the way they are it seems to have flown under the radar. I haven’t seen it mentioned much. Not like last year when the awkward blue puzzle pieces were everywhere. In case you didn’t know: autistic people really hate the puzzle piece.
On one hand it feels potentially inappropriate to bring it up now.
On the other hand, it seem fitting that our lockdown has happened during April.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how everything is wrong for all of us right now. And how a sense of wrongness is something that quite aptly characterises the life experience of many an autistic person. The stress of the not quite right. And the even bigger stress of all that wrongness not being accurately acknowledged.
If you ever thought it was strange how an autistic person might meltdown because of a change in their routine, maybe you can understand it a little bit now.
If you ever thought it was “naughty” that an autistic child just refused to conform to something being forced on them, maybe you can understand it a little bit now.
If you ever thought it ridiculous that an autistic person just could not conform to expectation, maybe you can understand it a little bit more now.
Because I think sometimes an autistic life can feel a little bit like a forced quarantine. You can’t be who you are. You can’t be where you want to be. You can’t do what you want. Because the world is saying that’s unacceptable. So you conform. You become acceptable. And in the process your whole life gets lost in someone else’s idea of how and who you should be. And not because the world is an asshole, but because they’re doing what they think to be best for you. Or they are expressing what is best for them.
Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes not.
And all you can do is wait and see what happens.