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Self-Love and Autistic Survival2 min read

Self-love is rad­ical, espe­cially if society con­stantly dis­likes how you exist, wants to change the way you exist, and even uses your neu­rotype to pro­mote fear of sci­ence. It is hard to love your­self when other people are much less likely to accept you. It is hard to love your­self when people openly tell you that dis­abled people are a burden.

It is hard to love your­self when you don’t see rep­re­sen­ta­tive autistic char­ac­ters in the media, only many “autistic-coded” char­ac­ters whom people don’t believe could be autistic. Because, well, they’re people just like them, right? How could they be autistic? Meanwhile, non-autistic white cis­gender male actors play autistic char­ac­ters with no or little input from autistic people. These autistic char­ac­ters are often cre­ated only from the out­sider non-autistic per­spec­tive, and it shows.

Expectations of neu­rotyp­ical society are so high that they are impos­sible to attain without accom­mo­da­tions and sup­port. This is why we have to lower our expec­ta­tions expo­nen­tially for our­selves, which can erode self-esteem and fuel self-doubt, espe­cially when com­paring our­selves to other peo­ple’s lives (not some­thing I rec­om­mend doing). It is espe­cially impor­tant that autistic people under­stand that society isn’t set up for us, and that we must lower our expec­ta­tions only because neu­rotyp­ical people do not care enough to accom­mo­date and sup­port us, or some­times do not believe we need sup­port.

But we do.

What neurotypical people automatically expect us to do

  • Communicate all of our thoughts ver­bally within 5 sec­onds
  • Make eye con­tact
  • Understand implicit social inten­tions
  • Communicate through implicit social inten­tions
  • Pretend we’re not in sen­sory pain

We pay a tax for being our autistic selves, a tax that has no mon­e­tary or tan­gible value to non-autistic people. A tax they do not wit­ness.

The Autism Tax

  1. We pay for not masking with neu­rotyp­ical judg­ment and subtle dis­like.
  2. We pay for being who we are through lack of under­standing, and lack of trust or respect by others.
  3. We pay for being our autistic selves by being pas­sively excluded from social spaces.
  4. We pay for being autistic by get­ting shut out and approached less by neu­rotyp­i­cals.

We pay for being our­selves. We pay in neu­rotyp­i­cal’s judg­ments, mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tions, and assump­tions. We pay with social cur­rency. We pay with infan­tiliza­tion.

We pay with our autonomy. We pay in invis­ible neu­rotyp­ical bias– some­thing that many of us can spot within min­utes, and a neu­rotyp­ical person can ratio­nalize away within sec­onds with plau­sible deni­a­bility.

It is hard to love and accept your­self when people are implic­itly or explic­itly telling you not to be your­self, when people think neu­ro­di­ver­gent and dis­abled lives are inher­ently worth less. When neu­rotyp­ical people think autistic body lan­guage is a threat.

Our own self-love is inher­ently more rad­ical than abled neu­rotyp­i­cal’s. It’s note­worthy. It’s an excep­tion to the cur­rent sta­tis­tics. The next time I hear someone say that autistic people are “ego­cen­tric,” I will tell them that I wish more of us were. Because hon­estly, we could use all the self-affirmation and val­i­da­tion that we can get. We need it. It’s been taken from many of us, through gaslighting, nor­mal­iza­tion, bul­lying, and inval­i­da­tion.

Let’s self-validate. Let’s self-accept. Let’s love our­selves even though many people in this world won’t love us. It’s autistic sur­vival.

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3 Comments

  1. I don’t see rejec­tion and exclu­sion from the NT world as bad things at all; on the con­trary, they are essen­tial to my self-love and an absolute neces­sity to my sur­vival.

    Only autis­tics who have bern brain­washed by NT sen­ti­men­tality feel unhappy being rejected by NTs. Without that brain­washing, you would see their rejec­tion as the priv­elege that it really is.

    Next time you feel sad about being dis­liked by NTs, start to ana­lyze them HONESTLY, without the sug­ar­coated lies they con­stantly spew to make them­selves and each other “feel good.”

    Read the crime sec­tion of any news site. You can plainly see that all of their “feel­good” bull­shit is just how they mask their true destruc­tive inten­tions toward eachother. My favorites are the arti­cles full of grin­ning face­book photos of mur­derers and their vic­tims, pre­tending to love each other. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU BE SAD TO BE EXCLUDED BY THEM? You should be grateful.

    Now flip on your tv and watch the stu­pidest and most pop­ular shows. I rec­om­mend heavy melo­drama like The Bachelor or Real Housewives. So NTs don’t like you; so what? When you look at the non­sense they do like, why would you want to be included in that mess?

    Everything NTs like is either stupid or fake, usu­ally both. If they dis­like you for your failure to be stupid and fake, YOU WIN.

    I really need my own autism advice column. Except that would feel too much like engaging with the world, so no, fuck that.

  2. lol about the problem with autistic body lan­guage. I hide my stim­ming with lots of wavy hand ges­tures or fooling with my hair. NTs always think it means I want to punch them, or that I’m flirting with them.

    Here’s a hint: I’m *never* flirting with them.


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