The above image of a dragon in the shape of an infinity symbol using the rainbow neurodiversity colours is the tattoo I am getting as soon as I can afford it – I am proudly Autistic. The artist is @Kayas_Kosmos on Twitter.
What I love about being Autistic is that I am being able to SEE everything in the world in detail…
I see every colour clearer and they are more intense. My tunnel vision allows me to focus in greater detail than most people on elements that others often overlook. I see beauty everywhere, I see the patterns of nature in leaf formations, flower growth, the way that trees grow, the way the wind makes leaves move – as if dancing on the wind. When I do pay attention to something I see, I do it with an intensity that others cannot understand. Each element – colour, texture, and lighting is taken into consideration. I didn’t realise how much I was able to do this for the first years of my life, because I was without glasses. But once I was able to see – I saw everything!
What I love about being Autistic is that I am able to HEAR everything if I focus on hearing it, often I hear things that others don’t even when not focusing..
I hear frequencies that most other people miss, even after aging, I have extremely high auditory perception. I can discriminate between sounds more clearly than other people. When I listen to music I hear each layer one on top of the other, and then as I notice how they combine I appreciate the structure of the way the music is formed. A careful ballet of coordination of sound to make a unifying beautiful structure. I have perfect pitch understanding, but I didn’t know this till I learned about what keys music are in.
I have auditory-tactile synaesthesia some sounds make me feel strong feelings in parts of my body (parts that I associate with certain emotions also). Certain words can bring me joy or a feeling of calm (although not directly associated with this type of synaesthesia).
What I love about being Autistic is that I am able to TASTE everything…
I can smell food more effectively, I am able to discern between textures. I understand what components have gone into making food. I can often find joy in simple foods due to their complexity, where others need dressings or sauce, I can find the enjoyment of eating what they consider to be bland. Unfortunately this means a lot of food for me is overwhelming at times too. To be reduced and labelled as a picky eater is sad, I like the food I like because of the detail of the taste.
What I love about being Autistic is that I am able to FEEL everything…
The feel of even a slight breeze on my skin is noticeable. When I choose to focus on the sensation of my body I notice all the elements at once, if it’s raining I can feel each individual drop, and hear the sound as it hits, at the same time as I feel the breeze around me. When I allow myself permission to feel, I get to feel everything all at once. I have mirror-touch synaesthesia, when other people are touched, I feel that touch. It makes sensual interaction more meaningful as I am more in tune with others bodies as well as my own.
What I love about being Autistic is my DECLARATIVE MEMORY allowing me to encode information ..
I have an extremely large declarative memory, I remember anything that I’ve found interesting or been emotionally affected by in great detail. While it’s not visual for me due to aphantasia (no minds eye), I form thousands of abstract connections between words. If I am processing a lot of information, my brain will take short cuts to remember numbers, search terms, key lyrics, quotes, and accessing this information again allows me to get the full details.
What I love about being Autistic is that I often have a ENCYCLOPEDIC KNOWLEDGE of certain subjects…
I am an autodidact (a self-taught person), I have unique ways of learning information that made school hard, but once the internet became a thing I was able to learn vast amounts of information in any area that took my interest. When something is related to a special interest I will encode all that information. I still can tell you anything you need to know about Vanilla World of Warcraft – even the location of Mankrik’s wife… This information is stored permanently once I am interested in it.
What I love about being Autistic is that I can HYPERFOCUS on things I am interested in…
This allows me to go without food, water, ignoring all other bodily functions that others would be distracted by. It can be a downside due to this but my rigid attention on it allows me not to be undeterred by things other people would be distracted by. Unfortunately due to sensory stimulation or rude people, often when this is interrupted I lose focus and it’s like derailing a train of thought, it’s very hard for me to get back on the tracks.
What I love about being Autistic is that I have greater PATTERN RECOGNITION and PROBLEM SOLVING abilities…
I see patterns where others do not. I think more laterally than most people, which allows me to come up with new and novel ways others had not considered to solve a problem. Although having no memory for faces I have used adaptive coding to find a way to discriminate between faces far better than my neurotypical peers – this allows me to identify people more easily.
I see patterns everywhere, and due to my pattern recognition, I am extremely adept at interpreting uncoded data and identifying common themes, I have a systemizing brain that allows me to see systems in a way most others do not. I often have considered so many possibilities due to the way my brain functions interrelate – my declarative memory allows me to make abstract connections, and my pattern recognition lets me use this in a way to draw conclusions.
What I love about being Autistic is that I am LESS PRONE TO COGNITIVE BIAS…
Once I know of a cognitive bias, I will account for it more readily. This means that I am not swayed by gimmicks in advertising. I can see false attribution more easily than others. I see the world as it truly is, and not how it’s made to appear.
What I love about being Autistic is that I have a strong MORAL CODE and SENSE OF JUSTICE…
I love rules and order that make sense. There’s a logic to the moral choices I make, and I will often violate social norms that I do not think are good, simply because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. I speak out about issues I care about such as climate change at councils, I march, I seek abolition, I write politicians, I try to stop harm where I know it’s occurring. I seek only the best for each person in life, and want them to succeed in life. I have no care for status, net wealth, or the natural or learned abilities of that person, I just care if they are content with their lives – and given the support they need. I adapt my morality always based on new information, and I live by a set of five core values that allow me to adapt my moral code as I need to.
What I love about being Autistic is that I can SENSE EMOTIONS in others…
I have a complex understanding of human emotion. I am what is known as a hyper empath. I feel things that most people feel at the same time. For most of my life this has been incredibly difficult for me to deal with – because as I was raised in a masculine environment – I was taught not to have feelings. I stopped actively identifying this due to it, but since I have accepted I am Autistic, I have realised that I am in tune with everyone’s emotions. Even ones they don’t realise they are having often. I notice whenever anyone has been hurt in a conversation – I am extremely adept at empathizing with other people.
This also makes me incredible with animals, I can sense what they are feeling, and they will often single me out as I like to single them out at parties, or gatherings – only to hear “they never do that with other people”. I understand animals better than most people. I love my cats so much.
What I love about being Autistic is that I feel MORE EMOTIONAL INTENSITY than others…
Autistic people have a hard time identifying their emotions due to the complexity of our emotions, compared to the simplicity of others. We are expected to have one congruent emotion, but often I have many at the same time, and there are not words when you are feeling happy-sad-hopeful-distraught at the same time – so these are hard for me to express. We are often asked to name the one emotion we feel, but how can we – if we don’t have one emotion and any everything written about emotion has implied that they occur in a single instance. We can rapidly cycle through emotions quickly if we allow ourselves. On top of this I tend to feel emotions everywhere in my body, not just my mind. Emotions are incredible and intense.
What I love about being Autistic is the AUTISTIC COMMUNITY…
They made me feel less alone. We might not always agree on everything but when we disagree we tend toward finding the most correct answer, rather than trying to win the argument. It’s filled with a diverse range of people from every country, all who have varying strengths – there’s a wealth of information to learn. They have no interest for small talk, so instead we get to talk about lots of amazing topics, while they might not be my specific interest areas – an Autistic persons’ passion for a subject is intoxicating to me, I will listen to them for hours, and sometimes end up with that special interest also. They are generous, kind, helpful, and only seek the best for each other and themselves. Everyone is welcome.
Daily blog challenge
I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:
Alt-Text Format – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:
- Day 1 – Introduction
- Day 2 – What I love about being Autistic is…
- Day 3 – My diagnosis/discovery story
- Day 4 – Reactions to “coming out”
- Day 5 – Special Interests
- Day 6 – Supports and Appreciation
- Day 7 – The Autistic Community
- Day 8 – Favourite Autistic Blog
- Day 9 – Favourite Autistic-owned Business
- Day 10 – Sensory Life
- Day 11 – Stims
- Day 12 – Favorite Autism-charity
- Day 13 – Family
- Day 14 – Routine
- Day 15 – Everyone should know…
- Day 16 – Work/School
- Day 17 – Accommodations
- Day 18 – Someday…
- Day 19 – I hate it when…
- Day 20 – Communication
- Day 21 – One thing other people don’t understand
- Day 22 – Dispel a myth
- Day 23 – Can’t live without…
- Day 24 – Political Issue
- Day 25 – Symbols!
- Day 26 – Favourite Autism book
- Day 27 – Identity Language
- Day 28 – Dealing with meltdowns
- Day 29 – Famous Autistics
- Day 30 – Acceptance means…