Thursday, June 18, 2015

From Lizzie to Autistic Kids

At school people told me I was weird, my behaviour wasn’t normal, and I was told I needed to try and be normal to get on in life, I needed to be normal to have friends, to be happy, to have a relationship.
But this wasn’t true.

People were telling me this because they didn’t understand how I could possibly be happy being me, and that is really sad because it showed they didn’t know how to be happy being themselves either.

The idea of being like ‘normal’ people is not one that has ever appealed to me.
Why would I trade up getting so interested in fascinating things that I lose all sense of time: I learn so much more about the things that interest me than most people ever do.
Why would I chose to stop feeling the joy I feel in tiny things that I love: in repeating words that sound and feel wonderful to say, or watching lights dancing on the river. Because these things are so beautiful and cool and awesome and so many people just do not notice! Why on earth would I want to stop noticing these things?

So much of my autism is about me enjoying being me and while at school people kept telling me I couldn’t live my life without ‘fitting in’ they were so wrong. When I left school, I went in search of other people who liked being themselves and didn’t mind other people being eccentric and happy. I found these people and while it took a while to find them, they were so very worth the wait. 
Now have life long friends, I have autistic friends and eccentric friends and we understand how much fun it is to sit and watch interesting vehicles together or to talk about trains for hours, or ferrets or to just sit in silence drawing or watching TV. We know it’s ok to say: ‘you’re talking a bit loud again’ when we end up accidentally shouting at each other when we get excited, or to say 'this is sarcasm' to make sure the other person knows and isn't confused. We know it’s ok to rock, to stim and to laugh at the autistic traits we share that are honestly really amusing to see in other people, because we thought we were the only ones who did these things.

And despite my school friends telling me that a ‘normal' relationship is the correct one to have, a normal relationship didn’t make me happy, so now I have a lovely crazy eccentric relationship where we can go several weeks without seeing each other and it's ok
A relationship where I can say: I don’t want to ever live in the same room as you because I find your mess stressful: and that’s just fine.
Where I can say: I’m having an alone day today, and it's absolutely fine.
And when we are together we watch films over and over and we talk for hours and hours about geeky things we both enjoy and we discuss wearing clothes that make us feel happy. Where we talk about what things we find useful when coping with stress. Where my partner knows to remind me to go for a walk when I start to get upset because I want my social skills to be on form that day and they just aren't, and where my partner knows they can cry and get a hug from me because they said one thing wrong that day and now they can't stop obsessing over it.
 And my partner's not even autistic, they just know that it's ok to be themselves and it's ok to say they find some ‘normal' things difficult.

The best decision I ever made was to stop trying to be good at appearing ‘normal' and to just get on at being good at being myself.


  1. This gives me such hope for my son ( he's only 4!) But he is a unique person...!! Thank you so much for this letter ... I'll show him when he's a bit older ....😀

  2. This is wonderful. I miss seeing you.

  3. They didn't understand when I said I was a unicorn..
    from Geneva Poteet

    School was tough. I am not going to lie. We are immersed in a group of people who try to tell us who we are, or what we should be and should do with ourselves without one very important detail. They are not US. They don't know what goes through our heads, or how we feel, and what we need, because we are different then them. And they don't understand that...

    But it's ok for them not to be able to understand. Just like it is ok for us to be "weird" and "socially awkward" and "intense." It's NOT ok for anyone to bully anyone, whether they are different or not. Nobody deserves that.

    I am a unicorn! I am an honest unicorn, so if asked, I will tell people that I am a unicorn! Some people will laugh, and look at me in disbelief, but it is really all for the best because then I know I do not want to interact closely with that person. It is better to be hated, then loved for what you are not. It is better to be yourself and be free, then constantly have to bear the judgements of the world on your shoulders. And you deserve to be free, and happy! Just like everyone else, even if what makes you happy is different from what makes other people happy. When I realized that, I learned that I didn't have to hide my unicorn-ness. And in fact, I could live as the unicorn that I am all the time, and people were somehow mesmerized by the magic of it all, once I was able to embrace it, and they became my true friends. I would much rather live in Unicorn land where magic is alive and faeries dance in the moonlight, then any of the worlds I am told I am supposed to live.

    We are different, but we are all the same. We all have hearts, families, parts of us that are hard to understand. We all want to be understood, and loved. But it is so important to realize how different we can all be, while still being the same. We cannot assume that other humans we interact with have the same experiences as us, and it's okay to daydream about "impossible" things! And it's okay to imagine events that put all of the laws of physics in suspension. In fact, it's BRILLIANT! Don't let anyone take your own unique brilliance away from you, simply because they cannot see how brightly you shine.

    From someone who was bullied mercilessly from elementary through to highschool by students and teachers alike, I can tell you they choose to bully you because somehow they KNOW, that YOU are the stronger person, and they can't bear the thought that they are weak. This is their journey, and does not reflect anything on you.

    It is okay to be magical, and unique! It is such a profound gift, do not let them take it away from you. It is okay to be a unicorn!

    Geneva Poteet

    p.s. If you see any other unicorns, let me know? I have been keeping an eye out....