Poetry: Unmasking As Autistic Pride1 min read

in the world we live in,
we are told the fol­lowing things
over
and over
and over
again:

“get up.”

“try harder.”

“use your words.”

“speak louder.”

“stop whining.”

“you’re fine!”

“just ignore it.”

“stay seated.”

“don’t talk.”

“stop moving.”

“be quiet.”

“life’s

      not

              fair.”

“get used to it.”

and in that world,
i now have to learn
how to rec­og­nize the fol­lowing thoughts
(because i was taught
that i was wrong about them):

“i am uncom­fort­able.”

“i don’t under­stand this.”

“this is too loud.”

“i am too cold.”

“i am too hot.”

“i am too tired.”

“i can’t ignore this.”

“i can’t do this.”

“i need to leave.”

“i need to stay home.”

“i don’t have to do this.”

“i don’t owe the world.”

and that means
that you might see
me do the fol­lowing:

cover my ears when it’s too loud
cover my eyes when it’s too bright
hold my nose when some­thing smells bad
use blan­kets and extra clothes when I’m cold
take clothes off when I’m hot

sleep when i’m expected to be awake
sit when i’m expected to stand
stay silent when i’m expected to talk (or laugh)
talk (or laugh) when i’m expected to stay silent
furrow my brows when i’m expected to smile

take a long time to answer
take a long time to get to the point
hide when i don’t want to talk
stay at home if i need to
leave when i’m uncom­fort­able

look away when i’m expected to look at you
get loud when i’m expected to be quiet

make sounds you don’t under­stand
use lan­guage you don’t under­stand
use my body in ways you don’t under­stand
react to things in ways you don’t under­stand

I will do things dif­fer­ently.

I won’t be stopped
by arbi­trary rules of what is normal
if my normal
doesn’t hurt anyone
and your normal
hurts me.

So you get used to it.

This article is also pub­lished at the author’s blog, NeuroInsurgent.

Ren Everett

Latest posts by Ren Everett (see all)

8 Comments

  1. Yes, I com­pletely agree. But for me it is very hard to imple­ment without becoming the bad one. People around me don’t accept that, and finding new people.… wel I think there is no need to explain that.

    I lost my little sister today at the age of 45, and I was not allowed to say goodbye.
    Every time I think I am at rock bottom, life finds a way to show me how wrong I am.

    Love the poem though, thank you!

    1. This is so sad. Everything I think of typing to express empathy feels glib and reduc­tive. I hear you and feel for your loss. These blogs make me feel rec­og­nized in a way I rarely do where I live. You are not alone, but we are scat­tered throughout the world.

      1. Thank you very much. Your words meant a lot to me.

  2. It’s a good stat­ment to be making and helpful to affirm these behav­iours are okay.

  3. This is really helpful. I am not there yet — only diag­nosed in spring and pro­cessing it makes me hurt a lot. It’s real­ising how much of myself has been a lie to appease the expec­ta­tions of other people. Having hidden my pain from myself for so long, having berated myself for not trying hard enough, these new feel­ings are at times over­whelming. Giving myself per­mis­sion to make sounds with my mouth or flap my hands when I over­load feels so good and still very trans­gres­sive. Thanks for this.


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