Beautifully autistically alive
Disclaimer: I will say this once because the internet is well, the internet. This blog post is a celebration of the beauty of autism. I never have and never will refute the overwhelming challenges autism brings. Read my other blog posts before considering telling me I’m glorifying autism.
One of the main pillars of autism traits is around sensory ‘problems’. However, it’s important to understand that heightened senses are only a problem in certain environments. Let me talk you through two of the most prominent sensory positive experiences I’ve ever had.
A few years ago, I went to a firework show with my family. It wasn’t too busy, so crowds weren’t a problem, always a plus. The fireworks were set to very loud music. Less spontaneous bangs and more fireworks setting the sky alight to the beat of the music. I stood and watched in awe as the sensory experienced washed over me. I looked up and thanked whoever/whatever made me for making me autistic. I felt the colours in the sky, the music beat through me. I felt so vividly and truly alive.
For a while I have wanted some headphones better than the ones that come with an iphone. Music fuels me. It feels like music is what keeps my heart beating. I can’t live without it and sometimes I live for it. I decided to treat myself to the headphones I’d always wanted, and these turned up today. I put them in and played one of my favourite songs. I normally hear the separate parts of music; it all plays magnificently around my mind and comes together to drive me. With these new headphones I heard instruments and beats I had never before. I heard layers to songs so clearly. Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks as I connected so profoundly to the music I was hearing.
Aside from heightened senses I also have hyper empathy. I feel my own emotions very strongly. I feel other people’s emotions very strongly. Yes, I carry other people’s pain. Yes, times like a pandemic and things that happen in the news can break my heart. But that heightened connection to people, to emotions, is also what drives me to do projects like the sensory gifts project. Extremes in any form need balance. I hurt so much sometimes for things so far away from me and so far out of my control. But that pain is also what drives me to do anything I can to spread kindness. I can’t bear the pain without seeking to balance it by putting kindness into the world.
Autism is a life of extremes. It’s sensory overload in an office and then crying tears of joy to a song. It’s turning off the TV because you can’t bear to see but turning towards a project to help.
Autism can suck. I’m not and never will doubt that. But sometimes it can feel like some miraculous gift to allow me to feel so alive, so connected to the world. I have no doubt autism is what drives me to be the best I can be, to give the most I can to the world.
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