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A photo of Australian-based Autism support specialist, Kristy.

This is Me.

autism boundaries communication identity legacy neurodivergent Aug 13, 2021
I no longer paint my nails.
I don't adorn myself with jewellery.
I take my time responding to messages and I seldom answer my phone. I have a message bank.
I say no to social invitations when I mean no.
I cut all of my long, dark hair off after years of wanting to. And I love it.
I create space for colour. I wear clothing with huge pastel prints. Although I'm wearing black in this image.
I allow others to photograph me. And I share images of myself in all my imperfection.
I get on camera with a double chin, hairy brows and acne.
I observe my thoughts and limiting fears. I note them and let them move onwards.
I hear the little voice inside every time I post a picture of myself that says "They'll label you, misunderstand you..." and I post the damn picture anyway.
I tell personal, vulnerable and exposing stories from my life. I want others to know they're not alone.
I don't count calories. I eat food that isn't right for my body. I'm not particularly healthy.
I observe behaviour in others, see patterns and use that information to guide me in my essential care. To keep me safe.
I struggle with groups and pack mentality. I've always been safer on the periphery.
I spend most of the time I'm on screens learning about others. Their experiences.
Culture, identity, race. So that I can be a better friend, supporter, ally, human.
I tell people I'm autistic. ADHD. Sometimes, PDA.
I mask in situations where I need to be careful. Masking will always be a part of my life.
I fawn in situations where I need more time to process and gauge the energy of others. Fawning hurts my relationship with myself.
I'm not wired to be quiet or motionless. But I've spent many years of my life being those things. It made me ill.
There are people for whom I am too much. Too intense, too emotional, too analytical. Some of those people are my own family.
Sometimes I feel incredible grief, isolation and sadness in relation to this. I practise letting it go.
I can't change it. I am who I am. Healing requires accepting that people won't like me.
I am not for everybody. Everybody is not for me. That's the beauty of human nature, culture and connection.
I pretend to understand far more than I actually do. I'm working on being more vulnerable and open; asking for clarification.
I'm constantly working through internalised ableism. Am I disabled? Yes. Oof, am I sure? Yes. Surely I can keep pretending and push through? No. It will kill you.
I started biting my nails again last year after mindfully avoiding it for 23 years so I could reflect on what I believed was true feminine identity. I was masking. I was wrong. I like biting my nails and my true nature is not to be bound or limited by binary expression.
After a lifetime of anxiety around medical support in the form of medication, surgeries, etc; I now use a medication that has given me a life. In the next 12 months, I am having three major surgeries that will further improve my life.
There is nothing heroic or noble about suffering needlessly.
I love people. I don't trust others, but I trust myself and so knowing I am boundaried allows me to love fully. I have my own back.
My heart is open and I invite new experiences.
School was a painful experience for me as a young person. As an adult, I became a teacher. It was a healing experience, as I was able to learn that the problem was not with me after all. It was most definitely the system.
My husband and I argue. We fight. We get mad at one another. At the moment, our emotional experiences are intense. We're autistic folk. Relationships are hard. We love one another deeply and expansively.
I'm learning to embrace anger as a sacred ally. It's okay to be angry. It's a functional human experience. It is especially important for those of us who are more vulnerable.
I'm grateful to be alive when toxic positivity is being challenged. Every thought, feeling, experience has a right to exist.
I am not responsible for being abused. No. It is not my responsibility to pick up the tab for my abusers. I choose to because I want to live for my children and for myself.
I post stories, images and videos of my humanness frequently, in order to nurture my essential care. I challenge the part of me that wants to be anything other than who I am. I expose the inner critic.
I have made many mistakes as a parent. I was a baby when I had my first baby. One of my children has a hard time believing I love them. We require frequent space from one another. I love them endlessly, so much that my heart aches.
Parenting is not easy. It is incredibly challenging for those of us who hold trauma.
I work on self-forgiveness every moment of every day.
I am passionate about holding space for those of us who are doing our best whilst working through insurmountable sadness held by the little person within.
I have a terrible relationship with food. My body was criticised, my eating was reprimanded and disapproved of from a very young age. I'm still working on this.
In my healing and my coming home to my true neurodivergent self; I have settled into many parts of myself that I once feared and criticised in others. Humans do this when we're terrified of who we might be.
This is the only life I get to be me. But what a gift life is. I want to make the most of it after so many years of hiding and suffering.
So much of the above has been a part of my homecoming to my birth rite. My autistic identity.
In order to learn who I truly am, I accept that time and time again I will have to surrender to a falling apart. A dismantling.
I'll change my mind about things. I'll regret things I said, shared and posted. I'll learn new things about myself through being called out or criticised or even trolled.
Relationships will end and new ones will begin.
This is the nature of being. A constant churning; doing, redoing and undoing.
Tell me about YOU. Tell me about your inner critic. Your anger, your joy.
Tell me about YOU.

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