NOTE: Some autistic & ADHD folks process reading better, some listening… some both at once. So I include a transcript, podcast, and “pretty” captioned video below. #InclusionMatters.
I’m an #AutisticElder. Late diagnosed… at 63.
Wanna know what autistic life looks like at 70?
Joy… and horror.
Joy. Cuz every DAY since diagnosis gets easier. Less energy spent masking. More comfort allowing myself to stim. A thousand things.
I learned em all by listening to other adult autistic voices… writers, podcasters, videocasters, #actuallyautistic folks on Twitter, Facebook… and two established resources I’ve come to trust.
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But horror too.
You see… I can’t communicate. Without great effort.
And always pain. Either for me… or someone else.
I’ve spent a life just one poor word choice away from condemendation.
One missed social cue away from losing family, friends, wives…
I shed friends like tears.
What’s weird…? All the effort I put into masking? Was always to take of others. To not disappoint them. Hurt them. Drive them away…
Rehearsing every statement. Trying to keep status in mind. Carefully considering every tone of voice, gesture, facial expression… before opening my mouth.
NOT just with average citizens. Pros too. Every therapist, doctor, pastor & guru… protecting THEIR egos… as I looked for help with my pain.
Even within the autistic community… where so many of us share similar feelings.
And ultimatley ALWAYS failing.
Cuz my autistic brain went directly from point A to point B once too often… with too much of my truth. Without carefully sidestepping all the cracks in the sidewalk. And breaking relationships.
But at 70… in all honesty, there’s a not a human on earth I can be totallly myself with, seek help from… love … and not fuck up.
I can honestly say, the rest of my life has become a source of joy.
But for this final, oldest challenge? I don’t have a personal solution.
Maybe 7 decades trying to survive autistic is too long to overcome this one. Maybe I’da been happier as a monk taking the vow of silence.
I’ll never know.
I only know I’m doing my best to make this not true for the next generation.
I want better for you.