Autism Acceptance Month – Day 11 – Communit...

— How are you treated by your local community? —
Well, I don’t really go outside of my house much, so I don’t interact with my neighbors at all. Even though I tend to wear shirts with Autistic related things on them when I do go out and about, I haven’t had anyone hassle me or anything.

— Do you participate in any online communities? —
Yes! I am part of a few. Obviously the Autistic community, which I usually have nothing but positive experiences with (although there are a few exceptions). While people in the other online communities I am a part of know I am Autistic, they do not seem to be comfortable when I bring it up or mention things relating to it/me. Or they ignore that I have said anything and continue talking as if I didn’t post anything.

— How have they reacted to you being autistic? —
My friends in the various communities that I do talk to a lot have reacted positively. Some of them are Autistic themselves. Like I mentioned above, most just ignore me. During the convention I run everyone who I told that I was Autistic (including those who attended my panel) were actually very interested and wanted to learn more. Overall I have had more positive experiences than negative ones.

Autism Acceptance Month – Day 10 – Happy Th...

What makes me happy? Actually, a lot of things!

I love being able to engage in my special interests. Anything regarding those usually puts a smile on my face or, if I am having very rough day, at least helps me feel a little better. I am very happy and content when I get to play video games, read books, or see movies. I also collect things relating to my special interests as well. The items I collect are in various spots around my house so that I can usually look over and see one of them, which puts a smile on my face.

My husband and my very close friends make me happy. I love hearing them info dump about things they enjoy, hearing about their day, or spending time with them online or in person (especially in person!). I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have them in my life. My close friends are my chosen family.

My convention! I love event planning, so naturally getting to work on my convention each year makes me happy. I love seeing everything come together and seeing all the attendees have an amazing weekend. I always shed tons of happy tears once the weekend is over.

Working on plushies and other items that help my fellow Autistics also makes me happy. This has made me quite thrilled as of late, as it combines many special interests of mine into one thing. I love my job, even though it’s mostly mentally rewarding and not really financially rewarding. I do the things I do not for the money, but to make others happy. This in turn makes me happy!

The Autistic community makes me happy, of course. I love helping out others and giving advice when I can. I love knowing that there are people just like me out there and that I am not alone in the world. I love that I now have the words to describe my experiences and can share them with others, which I hope that I can use to help them.

Last, but not least, being and knowing that I am Autistic makes me really happy. It means that I am not a broken person. It means that I go about life in a different way then most. It means that I finally understand myself. It means that I now know how to advocate for my needs. And, most of all, it means that I love myself just the way I am.

Autism Acceptance Month – Day 9 – Friendshi...

Friendship is something many Autistics have had trouble with throughout their lives, and I am no exception. While I do have some amazing friends now, that hasn’t always been the case.

I have been used by a few people who I thought were close friends. This in turn has made it harder to trust new people who do want to be friends. Many friends that I thought would be lifelong ones have disappeared from my life, though I still have fond memories of some of them. Friendship is a hard thing to maintain sometimes, especially as you get older and have less time for hanging out. I know I have trouble trying to make new friends. I am never sure how to break the ice and initiate a conversation that leads down a path of friendship. For most of my current friends either others introduced them to me or I met them through my convention. Others I have met because of various fandoms I have been in online throughout the years.

I am really lucky in that it turns out many of my really good friends are also Autistic, although none of them knew until I started researching autism and talking about it. Quite a few of them have since gone on to get an official diagnosis, while others are content with being self-diagnosed. We Autistics seem to be pretty good at finding each other, even when we don’t have a label to use. When I was younger, sometimes I just knew someone was one of my people, although I had no idea that my people had a name other then “geeky”.

Let me talk about my wonderful best friends for a moment. So my best friend, we clicked right away when we met at a mutual friends birthday party. We have been friends going on 13 years now and have talked to each other almost every day of those 13 years. My other best friend I met in the fall of 1997. We were apart for 12 years because our parents got in a fight. We didn’t see each other from 1999 to 2011. As soon as we found each other again, we picked up right where we had left off. It was as if no time had passed at all! Even now I don’t get to see her a lot, but we are always able to pick up where we left off. And even though we don’t message each other a lot, we tend to favorite each others stuff online to say we are still paying attention.

Lately I have been preferring to mainly interact with my Autistic friends, even though I love my non-autistic friends a ton. I have found that it’s less work for me to interact with other Autistics. I don’t have to worry about my body language, what my face is doing, small talk, or anything else that might cause a misunderstanding with non-autistics. The past few weekends I have gotten to hang out with a small group of my Autistic friends and it’s been been amazing. We all understand each other and our natural body language makes sense to us. Also, it’s one of the best things ever when we all happy stim together or play with our stim toys together. We also can info dump at each other without it being an issue. I can’t wait to see them all again! It seems (at least for me) that I somehow gain spoons when around others like me. I don’t feel mentally exhausted at all after a weekend of being around other Autistics. Physically exhausted on the other hand, that is another story…

All in all I love all my friends! And I hope many of them end up being lifelong friends. <3