I would like to thank my friends at the Aspergian for helping me compose this list! They’re the best!
Autism is hard. It can be tiring, terrifying, infuriating, painful, and overwhelming—all at the same time. Yet, in so many ways Autism defines me, and I’m proud of who I am. Here are ten things to love about autism.
- My mind is never boring. While sometimes it feels like I’m controlled by recursive thought patterns, I love that my mind is in constant motion. My brain never stops unless I’m asleep. I can spend five hours practicing for a conversation that will never happen. I can spend another five hours working out a math problem. Sometimes, I spend the entire day thinking about the plot of the show I’m currently obsessing over or brainstorming ideas for my next novel. Once I became a Jewish housewife for a week. My brain is a lot of things, but it is never dull.
- My interests give me a constant source of happiness. Some autistic people have one or two interests that stay with them. Some have many interests over the course of their lives. But for all of us, our interests are a huge part of what makes us who we are. As a kid, my interests were atlases, Power Rangers, and Ghostwriter. I didn’t really care about anything else except those three things. Now, I’m all about General Hospital and the novel I’m writing. Most of the time, my whole world revolves around just those two things. But I love it. If I’m feeling sad, I know I can always read old stories I wrote and see my mood immediately improve. One of the reasons I managed to survive years of physical and emotional abuse is because I always had my interests to fall back on. They were the things I trusted and threw my focus into when I had no friends. They were the reason I kept fighting when I felt hopeless.
- I’m a great judge of character. I can sense a douchebag a mile away. Conversely, I can sense when someone has a genuine, big heart. A lot of NTs want to please everyone so they try to see the good in people even when the person is only going to cause them pain.
- I have the most supportive community you can ask for. The autism community is amazing. Most of us have experienced intense loneliness, and we know how hard it is to make friends. When we find someone we connect with on an emotional level, we don’t take it for granted. We value our friendships because we have to work so hard to obtain them. We support each other, fight for each other, and do what we can to make each other’s lives more bearable.
- I’m not bound by inane social conventions. Most social conventions are silly. As a society, we teach social conventions to our kids without acknowledging that they are social conventions. Everything is black and white. We ignore cultural differences, as well as differences in neurotypes. I’m more likely to question or ignore conventions and do what makes sense to me. I’m also more aware of cultural differences and understand that just because something is different doesn’t mean that it is inferior.
- We have tenacity when the cause is for the greater good. Autistic care deeply about the greater good. I know people who overcome exhaustion, personal attacks, self-doubt, and so much more so they can keep fighting for what they believe in. This extends beyond just autistic advocacy to all marginalized groups. We tend to root for the underdog.
- The mixing of sensory experiences is a unique feature of autism that shapes how a lot of us see the world. Synesthesia allows many of us to experience the world in a way that neurotypicals can only fantasize about. Some autistic people hear music in colors and shapes. Some even see whole landscapes when they listen to a song. Others taste or feel textures when they hear a certain word or have an emotional reaction when they see a certain color. For some of us who have synesthesia, a sensory experience can be so powerful it gives us chills or move us to tears.
- We have an incredible ability to hyperfocus. In high school, my teachers were mesmerized by my ability to focus. I could spend hours on a test without taking a break. I have ADHD and distract easily, but when I have something to hyperfocus on, my brain feels at peace.
- We can feel contentment with solitude. While I enjoy socializing, I’m perfectly content with solitude. I enjoy my own company. Some people sink into depression when they feel alone or isolated, but I just feel like I can freely be myself.
- I’m resilient and perseverant. It never occurs to me to give up, unless my anxiety is at 110%. I strive for perfection because I feel deeply connected to the work, education, and other endeavors I’ve pursued. For example, I had horrible penmanship as a kid. I cared so much about writing and school that I practiced every day until I could write each letter of the alphabet perfectly. As an adult, this trait is invaluable as a novelist.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you love about being autistic? Or, if you’re not autistic, what is a trait you really value in your autistic loved ones?
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I love this list of ten things!
Amen to the entertainment in the brain. I love my brain. I hate to come out of it.
Hello CJ and Patrick.
I love my weird autistic brain and I wouldn’t change it for all the money or love in the world. The fact that everybody else hates the way I am only makes me love it more. I can’t get diagnosed because stupid doctors keep putting me off with dumb excuses like
“but you aren’t a boy.”
“but you don’t act like autistic children” (maybe because I’m not a child)
“but you make eye contact, you just complain constantly about how uncomfortable it makes you”
“but autistics can’t talk”.
To be fair, it’s not my doctors’ fault that they are idiots, it is known they are the worst in the nation, but trying to make them understand me is like trying to teach calculus to dogs.
This is making me so frustrated that I have been going around town flipping off all those stupid blue puzzle pieces all month and even taking selfies of myself doing it (and I despise selfies but I hate autism-propaganda). I keep getting thrown out of places for flipping off the puzzle piece. Should I keep doing it? It feels important to me. Should I post them online somewhere? They’re very unflattering. Need your advice.
oh Sorry I got your name wrong C.L.
I couldn’t concentrate, thinking about that damn stupid puzzle piece.
Hi, Bluebird Bandit. I had difficulty being diagnosed at first. Same story. I talked too much. I’m all about irreverence, and I’d be perfectly blissful if I never see one of those blue puzzle pieces again. If it’s important to you, I’d keep taking the pictures and post them. Combatting negative propaganda is a long and involved process, but all acts of resistance are meaningful.
Here is our Autism Diagnosticians Guide. https://theaspergian.com/2019/04/12/specialists-diagnosing-asd-in-adults/ Depending on where you live, you may find some useful information in this article. You can also message us if you need additional help. You can message us directly if you go to the Contact tab at the top of the page 🙂
thank you Patrick. you are my favorite. after C.L.
when a woman displays the exact same autistic symptoms as a man, she is just “a bitch”.
I’m just contrary enough to take that “bitch” label and OWN IT, but I’ve never pretended to be normal. Or a very nice person, really.
Also, being in my 40s, menopausal, and in autistic burnout (which at least let me be diagnosed, finally) means I am really rocking this Crone phase of my life.
I love ten things you mentioned. It completely relates to me.
I have a 7 year old daughter who was just diagnosed with ASD and I LOVE her brilliant, unique, creative mind. She is so passionate and focused on her interests and always creating.
I thought these were all great examples – even though I have kind of the opposite of synesthesia. With aphantasia, I can still imagine, but nothing is visible. 😀
Just discovered your site. I was diagnosed HF Aspergers by a Melbourne (Australia) professional some 20 years ago. as a semi professional lecturer, I proceeded to offer talks around the traps about my understanding of the Syndrome, with some considerable success.
About 9 years back, I had my own book on the subject published under title of Confessions of an Unashamed Asperger with the Foreword kindly provided by the well-known Professor Tony Attwood. In the book I offer some ideas and suggestions that I think are often rather original, and it may well prove of interest to you and other persons of your group. a lot of my research and speculations are based on the big question of ‘What are many of the fundamental reasons that we Aspies behave think and talk in the way we do?’.
All the best with your work.
Cheers, Ron Hedgcock. (84 years of age).