- THIS IS A TRANSLATION. IT WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN AFRIKAANS. SEE ” EK IS NIE ‘N BOKS VOL STUKKENDE PARTE NIE”.
Autism is not something I can shake off. It’s part of me, like the color of my hair is and my pretty eyes. I’m not someone who has autism.
Autism has been my whole life.
Without autism I am not someone, because we are who we are and that is who I am: I am an autistic young man.
But autism isn’t everything I am.
I’m also smart and funny
and I love people and animals
and stories and History and Science and Maths
and I like to devise and tell stories
and I like watching stories that have a good storyline
and I like to tell my own stories
And that’s who I am, too.
My life is not only autism, my life is also this other stuff that makes me who I am. So, though autism is my life, I’m also more than just autism.
My autism is my biggest obstacle, but also my biggest asset.
This is my Prison, but also my Freedom.
My life is a company with all sorts of shareholders holding different parts of my humanity in their hands. My being is beautifully braided together with the thread of autism running through it all. That’s what makes my life very difficult, but also interesting.
To just say I’m autistic is not to see my whole humanity.
It makes me very sad because it gives people a reason to squeeze me into a box that makes me feel like a box full of pieces that don’t work right.
That’s how people see my autism: a box full of broken parts. That’s not who I am.
It is also my autistic friends’ problem, that they are not seen for everything that makes them beautiful and unique, but only as a box full of broken parts. My heart hurts a lot when I talk about this. It also makes my autistic friends’ lives difficult.
We’re whole, we’re not broken.
We are unique and we make things beautiful and exciting because we think in a different way than neurotypical people.
So, don’t measure us with benchmarks, which have been devised by people who think differently from us.
We are supposed to have limited insight, but who has limited insight when everyone is tarred with the same brush? My own family is not treated with the respect they deserve because off treating me as a human being with future dreams and needs.
Autism is not my problem. What people think autism is, is my problem. My autism is not my best partner when I always have to try to turn myself and my humanity into someone who doesn’t act like an autistic person.
I’m not broken.
I’m not a box full of broken parts.
I’m a human being with many shareholders, not just autism.
Appreciate me for my whole being.