Text-based: On building Autistic community

By Kat, published with permission.  Original blog posted here in 2015.

How long will I have to mince my words? You see, I have these traits – I’m 85 to 95% sure that this is who I am. I’ve lived in euphemistic dialogue for some time now…

I’m socially different, sensory sensitive; missing gist for detail. This is who I am, regardless of how you choose to see me, label me. We sustain ourselves in these Voldemorty spaces – that which shall not be named.

I’m autistic. Not that you’ll believe me. We’re unicorns. The highly verbal, completely awkward, often confused. I’m not a 12-year-old boy who like trains. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t.

My passions are information gathering, sorting, and sensemaking. That’s why I’m here today. I brought a list of all the things you might think are wrong with me – I prefer different. This is merely a collection of traits – some of which get me stuck. Please don’t medicalize me, marginalize me.

This is new to you. Not to me – I’ve been this way my entire life – just hadn’t found my coherent narrative. Hadn’t imagined there were others like us, rising in dust and hashtagging it – dialoguing across countries and timezones. Other women like me, yet utterly alien in their own spaces.

We are developing our own dialogue, a shared narrative – together. I see us in a decent-sized room, sitting at a table, offering virtual cups of tea.

Remembering.

Verbalizing.

Being.

In this created space – creative space. We are ourselves, with little explanation. Needing no one else to fill in our gaps. We are our own. Here anyway. Coda. Yet this space, although not enough, is a starting point. Free from labels or to label as we wish. Existing together in a shared collage of narratives.

Of course this text-based medium would serve us well. Free from constraints of nonverbals and missed cues.

We are here in this place. We fit. We belong. And we are enough. Together.

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