Poetry: Unmasking As Autistic Pride

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

“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.”




“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.

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8 Responses

  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.

  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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