Looking at autistic identity as if it were a potato
It is soon to be Autistic Pride month yet again (June) and I am eagerly anticipating the Autistic Pride Online event which I am performing as part of, writes autistic author CALLUM BRAZZO.
Now, I am sure that these lockdown and Covid years have tested us all to our limits, but perhaps particularly the worst affected might well be autistic people with heightened anxieties, therefore times of distress on display.
A negative feedback cycle here can be catastrophic.
What I mean by this is that if misunderstandings about why an autistic person might be in distress, generally but also with the world reopening having potential to isolate, it can be easy to fall into self-hate and difficult dynamics.
So when self-hate and misunderstood communication, sensory and social differences combine, how can you feel PRIDE in that?
It is an uphill battle from before the days of any prospective diagnoses but the journey and discovery of an autistic identity can be made easier with a few key principles.
Let’s think of it all like our humble Lincolnshire potatoes.
1. Root yourself in fertile soil; there are autistic people, advocates and communities out there to help foster a positive sense of self. No one is saying the autistic self is ‘easy’ without difficult times but examining the environment in which it grows is essential.
2. Consistent nourishment/tending; this is more reflective of growing produce generally but keeping and reinforcing positive messages about what it is about to be autistic will empower autistic people in multiple ways. For society, this means authentic
research (NO CURES), books and other such commodities and events that uplift rather than leave autistic people…downtrodden.
I’ve written this before but technology has made productive narratives more realisable than ever and a mix of this and offline proactiveness when it comes to questioning the ‘norms’ that stunt our collective growth.
3. Saleability; when these two principles are applied through generations and we SPREAD these messages through the plethora of platforms that exist, that’s when lasting change occurs and we all feast on… the versatile, beautifully sumptuous ‘potatoes’ that find their pride of place in this world.
But I guess this is all just food for thought…
Dedicated to my grandma. I love you.