I’m a maverick. I have been ever since I was young. I have no desire to do things the tried and true way. Part of this stubbornness has to do with the fact that I am on the autism spectrum.
How I operate isn’t easily plugged into the plug and play world that society structures for its denizens to follow.
The second reason I fight against being tamed into society’s mold is that I’m also gender non-binary. I tried to fit into the “girl” mode for decades. Most of the time people think I’m confused. Other times, they give catty remarks on everything from how selfish I am for not having children to how I broke my poor mother’s heart by changing my given name to a more gender-neutral one.
To these people I wish to say—give it a rest. People who are different from you and who live their lives in ways that conflict with your idealized version of how life should be lived aren’t the enemy to be scorned.
We may be marginalized by you, but what you don’t realize is that we have perspectives that may be crucial for fixing the shitshow that our society is currently wallowing in.
Autistic people, especially, see things differently than the majority of society.
There are gifts that come with our neuro-diversity as there are obstacles.
The gifts and obstacles can stem from the same traits.
One of the gifts that I have is a well-honed bullshit meter. I know when people have their heads in the sand just as I know when they’re trying to sugarcoat reality to soothe their fragile souls.
I like to look at problems pragmatically.
I have an excellent ability to see through the misdirection that people utilize when they’re trying to cover their butts.
I also have an incredible ability to see when the happy rainbow I’m being sold comes straight from a unicorn’s ass and not from a passing rain shower.
The hope I cherish comes from the deep well that I’ve dug over many years. I encourage others to dig such a reservoir and fill it with rich resources of wisdom and hard-won skill.
A stoic mindset is better than believing in the mirages that get offered up in times of trouble. These mirages don’t last long. Reality is good at brushing away our dearest hopes—especially when our hopes are built on sand.
People on the spectrum are also good at seeing the hypocrisy of people saying they accept people on the spectrum only to continue to exclude us from their social lives.
I admit, people on the spectrum will make you uncomfortable. We’re emphatic in our statements. We don’t spend a lot of time trying to massage our observations into palatable forms. When we see injustice, we don’t care why things can’t be fixed—we just want them fixed and now.
I know that these traits disturb many people.
The thing you have to realize is that our everyday existence is a struggle. Meeting people is a struggle, trying to react to social cues is a struggle. Our minds process the world in ways you can’t comprehend.
These struggles are also our greatest assets. They are a two-edged sword that’s both painfully prescient and wondrously insightful. It’s a gift that can bless society if you truly include us and accept us for who we really are.
Instagram makes people believe that everything in their lives should be perfect.
Real people aren’t perfect people.
Perfection tricks us into thinking that life can be tamed by the right camera-angle, the right look, the right filter. Perfection makes us feel that we’re in control.
Autistic people may not tick many of the boxes that society says we should, yet I believe that if you try to see the world through our eyes you will find that the time you spend making things look “just right” can be better spent in doing right and just things.
—Tessla, Lost Soul Found