Thursday, September 25, 2014

Entry 68 Autistic Woman, Out Of The Closet, Persecuted

Disclaimer A

March. 2. 2014

I am a precocious autistic woman. This apparently makes me evil. This apparently makes me a woman with no feelings, to be feared, to be persecuted for the way I am. Whatever!

I am an artist, a writer, an activist, a friend. I'm considered a daredevil in todays' times, I guess, whence opening up, and speaking out boldly, about things not only I am dealing with as an autistic person, and as a person affected with complex health issues.

I feel a sense of purpose in doing this; it is not for simple attention getting motives. Well, unless it' the kind of attention that's going to be helpful towards real change..and that's different. 

So, I don't know how much clearer I can make that, and yet still; cynical people of power often see what I’m doing, especially, in a perverted light. If not, it's even just a fearful light, where conventional people might have some sympathy but think "oh my goodness, what she's doing will make it worse!"

All right, maybe somewhat so, but when I started all this I didn’t mean for it to happen this way. It was a rude awakening amid my na√Įve expectation to truly be heard, in a way. So now I think: heck, it’s already been done, there’s no going back. Would I have chosen not to if I knew how hard it would be? Maybe, but it already has been, now.

Ultimately, I feel we should not be afraid to speak out. What kind of society is this? A totalitarian one? Where's the sense of freedom and free speech that may provoke change via solidarity? 

I have supporters, who say what I'm doing helps them; and this keeps me going. However, I've also had attackers...big time. Some have been particularly vicious and violent. 

You know what? This, in a way, is reminiscent of a gay person coming out of the closet some 30 years ago, but even more messed up in some ways, or maybe just different...

I am a loving mother, a caring person, a strong person, a sensitive person, and an autistic woman. I opened up. I "came out of the closet" and now; I often feel like a target in a Witch Hunt.

It was proven by my childhood footage that I am autistic. The more I learned about it, the more I knew what the truth was. So, I sought out a thorough review, by an experienced neuro psychological professional. After careful examination, my truth was corroborated by scientific method. I was filled with a mix of joy, grief, and rage, to learn the truth I'd always known deep down in my soul.
I began reading at age 2. I lined up dolls, stuffies and cars too, but in eloquent configurations rather than plain lines. I played with them by design…and I did play too, in my own way. They were all part of a scripted scene; a fantasy world I had derived from different books and movies I'd watch, read, and memorized... but I mixed them all together. I made it my own thing. I still do that. This is still imagination, be it in a rather perseverating fashion.

I spoke in full sentences with cleverly mimicked tones, only to apply them in the correct context, in order to get my needs met. The neuropsychologist watched these videos and noted this. I had mega sensory issues, and still do. It made me quietly, girlishly curl up, and shut down... or shut out into my own world of fantasy. With unicorns, rainbows and friendly fairies that understood me.

Yes, autistics can play pretend. Yes, autistics are creative.

I had meltdowns, when I was little they were subtle because my emotions were up in the sky, I could barely execute them until I was 7, and then I started crying like a 2 year old. My mother would say, "What happened to you, you were so perfect? Now you're acting like a baby!"... Two words: Pervasive Development. 

I couldn't execute my emotions when I seemed stoic, and apparently "perfect. When nobody could tell whether I even liked my birthday gift, and behaved toward me as though they felt I was horrifically and unacceptably rude, as a result; how much of a Princess I must think I am, because I couldn't show my emotions so much.

My emotions; they were too overwhelming, they had to be blocked, hovering above my head…but I felt them. I felt them very much. This was, again, mostly until I was about 7. I now have this process within me, at half-mast, and it can make things rough...particularly when I am going through trauma.
I care very much about people, and would constantly express how I wanted to "give the people on the street gifts and food." So this is "no empathy??" Sometimes, I just didn't know how to cry. Actually, I couldn't, because it hurt so much I had to block it, or completely freak out. My body would shut down on me. I would not be able to even go to the bathroom sometimes. 

I was smart enough to stay hidden. I was smart enough to feel and know it wasn't safe to expose my troubles...or they'd get me. They'd get me because, ironically, they wouldn't get me. Somehow, I knew. At age two!
Sometimes, I injured myself in the bathroom, or in my room…or even the top field at school, when no one was looking, I bit my hands. I have scars to show for it. There are these subtle, white flecks on my hands. When I really wanted to cry, but felt blocked and couldn't, I'd stretch my eyelids open because all I wanted to do was cry! 

Even if it was induced by too much air irritating my eyeballs, I thought, could bring on a real cry and get this junk out of me!
It began to work. This is how the tantrums started, at age 7. 

My intelligence masked my deficits. When I appear "scripted" and speak with my female voice and soft features, I'm seen as some sort of calculated little dark witch, rather than a human being. It's also because I'm hyper verbal: hyperlexic. 

Do they even know hyperlexia is a trait of high functioning autism, and autistic savant? Can they not understand an intelligent brain of different wiring trying to cope in a world inhospitable to them? Can they not commend, support, and have compassion, instead of judge and attack? One-day maybe, one day...

I am persecuted because I can speak eloquently well, like some are with the math, words are the strength of many verbose autistics. There's a dictionary in our brain. All memorized, via savant working memory drawn upon by a special interest in the meaning of words.

However, to me, they all appear as patterns first...until I key into my working memory bank and rapidly apply the words. This takes a lot of work.
Though we're able to be articulate, it doesn't mean we aren't still socially different, challenges, and may miss certain nuances. We will often be "inappropriately" verbose in many ways, including narrow focus topics, and over-sharing. We may apply language in very unconventional ways, in which can offend social expectations. 

This gets us badly judged at times, but it isn't our fault. It's an attempt to connect with others that, if it fails, results in a proverbial "whack upside the head."

In addition, being capable of verbosity doesn't mean we're verbal all the time, or are able to be verbally versatile outside of special interest areas and if the "rules and/or script changes abruptly". Society doesn't understand this discrepancy at all.
I can mimic the scripts of how to use my voice tone...all the way to elaborate conversations. Yet in person my behavior is childlike. Well, not little child, but girlish. It's also intellectual, sometimes verbose and even wisely apt, but with the former too.

I have gotten passed off as a stupid know-it-all who knows less than what she thinks she does (by those who aren't really able to grasp what I'm saying), or frowned upon as if my behavior and demeanor somehow warrants that I couldn't really be smart at all. Society cannot fathom this kind of discrepancy, clearly. More research needs to be done, and awareness propelled for people like me to get a fair chance.
I have an intellectual understanding of sociology, albeit not an inherent one. However, rather than a performance of passionate effort, because I care to try, and at times even want to try... I can be seen as a criminal manipulator.

This is especially because of the way I can look and present, which as a woman, society pressured me to do. I took the cues and introspectively trained myself. I trained relentlessly throughout life, with many bumps, bruises and full-blown falls along the way... until I was polished enough to not get hurt.

However, I still do get hurt, whence I’m only as good as I can be in that moment. Under pressure, it’s harder to “perform” right. When I’m being judged, I feel it.

I had honed a "somehow cool" kind of shtick. When it’s “top” I can even win points. NTs may even like me. It's in me, too, and who said I don’t like it at times. It depends, though, and it’s hard to keep up. I don’t always have the energy. This isn’t natural either: I learnt it.

I taught myself how to be and express to connect with others. I used to try harder, in a way that diverted from being true to me, though I was always an artiste type wanting to express my own. I express the real me far more today, and it does feel good.

However I can get hurt being more ‘me” than I used to be.

Today, I can’t repress anymore, so I need to be. When I don’t feel I can be, I prefer to hide, unless cornered. When I’m cornered and not prepared, it’s painful.

I still perform a bit, especially if I don’t feel safe but feel I have “no choice” I can still try for the “too over polished” here and there. However, I internally struggle with being allowed to, and wanting to, just be me. I can't help this. 

I was suppressed most of my life. I don’t want to be anymore, it’s like twisting an arm back, practically.

Well, on top of being seen as a "witch" to be persecuted, I actually am pagan... so I guess this doesn't help. It's an earthy spirituality, and I respect all religions and nature. 

Ultimately, what I feel like saying to society is: This isn't a Salem guys! Really, this isn't Medieval Europe. This is 2014. In some ways, they haven't changed it seems.

They still jeer, heckle and bring forth the rope. However, they do it in a different way. In a way in which they have you thinking you're doing it to yourself. I have to keep trying to rise above. I know I said I would, but sometimes…it’s really hard.

- Rose Whitson-Guedes

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