It might seem to contradict what I have said in other places,
for example the title of my article “autism does define me”
(but if you read that article you’ll find a similar message to what I am writing here but with a slightly different emphasis);
It even feels a bit incongruous to me to say it,
because so much of the past year for me has been about identifying as autistic
and unpacking all that means including all the parts of me that work in autistic ways;
But autism is not the reason why I do everything that I do.
I do not make all my choices the way I do only because I am autistic,
I do not enjoy all the things I enjoy simply because I am autistic,
I do not dislike all the things I dislike just because I am autistic.
Being autistic helps to make me who I am,
but so do my personality, my experiences,
and the cumulative effect of the decisions I have made throughout my life.
I am a writer,
I am a critical thinker,
I am a mentor,
I am a partner, parent,
a daughter, sibling,
a friend, and colleague.
I am happy, sad,
intentional, and disorganised;
I am confident, insecure,
brave, and terrified.
Like all people I am a paradox,
a complex and beautiful mess of contradictions and truths,
a balancing of harmony and discord;
Simultaneously content and dissatisfied,
striving for more while wishing for less,
creating chaos and craving calm.
Being autistic is a part of all of that, but I am not just autistic.