Why Autistic Pride and Empowerment are Important

Transcript

Hi humans, NeuroRebel here and this month we are continuing talking about autism topics for April.

Although, we talk about autism topics all year long on this channel, because one month is really not enough. Autistic people exist 365 days of the year. And this week we’re talking about why it is important for Autistic people to be able to have a sense of Autistic pride.

If you’re at all interested, please, do stay tuned.

My name is Christa. Some of you may already know me. I am the Neurodivergent Rebel. I was 29 years old when I found out I was Autistic, because I had been struggling with Autistic burnout. 

When I found out I was Autistic, it was a turning point in my life. When I started to finally get my life on track, because for the first time I started to be able to live a more, authentic, Autistic lifestyle, because for many years, when I didn’t know I was Autistic, I was trying very, very, hard to live the neuro-typical lifestyle and do things the neuro-typical way, not understanding or having the vocabulary for the fact that my brain, and my experience of the world, and the way I operate ,process, and function is very different from non-autistics.

Something else that was very important to me to healing, was learning not to be ashamed of the things that make me Autistic; and learning to be okay, and accepting and compassionate, of my weaknesses.

As humans, we all have weaknesses. Strengths, and weaknesses are just part of the human experience. Naturally, all people have different strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve also had to learn to focus more on my strengths.  In the past, when I had been too focused on the areas in which I struggle, I have found myself in a very bad head space.

And those people who may not understand Autistic pride might ask – “how can you be proud of something you have no control over, like being Autistic?” I’ve actually had people say, I don’t understand what there is to be proud of.

This need for Autistic pride is not  coming from a need to be celebrating being Autistic. It is more from the need to celebrate our right, as Autistic people, to live authentically. Very similar to with gay pride and the queer pride movements. I’m a member of LGBTQIA  community as well and, living authentically and not having to hide who you are or be ashamed is, why we have that need for pride.

Because people are telling us that who we are is shameful, that our existence is shameful. That the way we are born, things that we can’t help -whether it’s being queer or being Autistic, are wrong somehow. 

That’s really not fair.

From the outside, someone might not understand how much the Autistic experience colors, every piece of an Autistic person’s personality, sensory experience, and identity.

It impacts our interests, how we view the world, the choices we make, even our ethics and the people that we have in our lives. Because of this, many Autistic people say that autism is a part of who we are. It’s not a part that can be removed, because it is so heavily interwoven into everything.

Autism isn’t something that can be removed, or an accessory, or like a doll I can leave behind.

This isn’t my autism and I can leave my autism on the table, and go do something else and be myself. It is part of me. It’s not something separate.

This is actually, I think, my first stuffed animal ever. I’ve had it since I was an infant. This is Lammy.

Anyone else have a Care Bear? Do you have a stuffed animal? Do you still have your stuffies?

Let me know. Drop me a comment. Tell me about your stuffies.

If you’re on Facebook, drop me a picture of your stuffy. I’d love to see them.

They make me happy.

I know there are lots of adults out there that still have things like this.

I am ending the shame right now. This is Lammy and I love Lammy and I’m keeping Lammy forever.

Back to the topic at hand, after pleasant distractions, I didn’t know I was Autistic for the first 29 years of my life, but I was still Autistic for those 29 years.  I will be Autistic all the way to my grave. That’s because the way I interpret and interact with the world and how I cope with the world has, and always will be, the Autistic way, even if I am mimicking neuro-typical ways of doing things.

Autistic pride isn’t just a celebration of being Autistic and belonging to our, beautifully vibrant and amazing, amazing community, despite the messages that our society likes to send, that we should be ashamed of who we are, as Autistic people.

We are at a point where, as NeuroDivergent people, having pride in yourself is in its own an act of rebellion.

We are Neurodivergent Rebels rising here.

That’s because the natural habits, mannerisms, even our body posture and communication styles, of Autistic people are often pathologized – because of our differences, because we are the minority.

What I mean by this as Autistic people are often chastised and scolded by non-autistic people around them for expressing themselves in the Autistic way.

“You’re being weird. Why are you rocking?”  “why aren’t you looking at me when I’m talking to you?” Things like this.

Many of us learned to mask in school as a way to avoid being picked on or bullied by our peers or even authority figures. I had problems with that.

All over the world now, even,  especially within the workplace and professional settings, many Autistic people still are masking and hiding, and disguising their neurotypes – hiding who they are, because being openly Autistic, isn’t safe for everyone.

That’s why we need  Autistic pride, right now. For those people who can not be out and open. I do so for good, to try and do something good with that ability, that I am able to be out.

I’m not in the Autism closet anymore. I am someone who has come out of multiple closets, many times throughout my life.

I know from personal experience, closets are oppressive places, and sometimes you have to hide in them, because it is the only safe place you can go.

Because of that, I am so extremely grateful for people who have come out of the closet before me, even  when it wasn’t safe for them to do so.

That’s a privilege right now. It shouldn’t be a privilege, but it’s a privilege.

We’ve talked about in previous years, “take the mask off” and “free the stim” and “love the stim” and “appreciate the stim”.

Yes, all of those things are great.  I think we should always continue to be doing those things, but we do need to realize the other side of this.  Not everyone can just free the stim, and take the mask off, and be open.

It’s not always safe for every single Autistic person. Not everyone can do that.

Autistic pride isn’t just about celebrating who we are. It is about coming together and building a better future, remembering who we’ve lost, and trying to do something better for the next generations of Autistic and NeuroDivergent people.

All right, everyone, if you are new, I hope you follow and stick around and subscribe. I do put out new videos each and every week.  Don’t forget to turn on those notifications so you never miss an update.

Extra thanks as always to the Patreon supporters, Facebook subscribers, and YouTube subscribers, who chip in that little extra, to help support the blog AND had access to this video over a month before it was released to the general public.

You get the videos early. It’s just a small way to say,” thanks for the help you do in supporting the Neurodivergent Rebel blog and the creation of the high quality content.”

Did you tell me about your stuffy below yet?

Let me know if you have suggestions for an upcoming topic or if you just have questions.

I will talk to you next week.

See you later. Bye.

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3 thoughts on “Why Autistic Pride and Empowerment are Important

  1. I still love stuffies, I have one that travels with me I’ve had since I was a kid. Mr. Chewedupface was recued from a Doberman Pincher and has had several reconstructive procedures and I love him to death. Funny thing is when I take him travelling I can tell it’s a really good place to stay by how they treat him while cleaning the room, he’s been carefully placed in chairs with the remote for the TV, tucked in beds and had an unfortunate tongue bath by a Cocker Spaniel.

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