Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2292799-Takiwatnga
Rated: E · Chapter · Health · #2292799
A short piece on being Autistic

I love language, it is this love which drives my writing and my poetry, yet as an Autistic it also causes me some problems. One of the reasons I have developed a desire to write is because I am not good at speaking, I ramble or stutter, I take long pauses between words or fail to finish a sentence. It can be an unpleasant effort if I am talking to someone I don't know, my brain just wants to shut it down and instruct my body to walk away. I cannot fully describe the execrable feelings I have when strangers say hello and want to engage in small talk, hence I listen to my audiobooks and avoid eye contact and pretend they are not there.

Conversations with people I know can sometimes be fraught with problems too. If something isn't clear to me, I will churn it around my brain and inevitably come up with a meaning far from what was intended, I analyse body language, looks, tone and it is like decoding some elaborate cipher. Things get misconstrued. I need clarity and conclusion.
Acronyms and initialisms annoy me, by the time I have figured out what they mean the speaker could have said the full phrase and I would not have missed the latter half of the conversation. Yet ironically, the online autistic community is rife with them: ASD, ND, NT, Dx , ABA, it goes on and on. Please just write the full phrase!

If I am verbally asked how I am, I will most likely respond with "I'm ok thank you" or "not too bad", internally I could be in utter turmoil. If I write what I feel then I can produce monologues like this which you are reading now, or I could write several poems in a day. It comes easy to me in a way that speaking does not. I think it sometimes comes as a surprise when people have heard me speak in my monotone and uninteresting way, and then read something I have written, there is a stark contrast.

I hope that it is understood by the reader that I am not complaining, I have been living like this for over 4 decades, it is just an insight into how things are different for me, and how living in this world with no sensory filter and very little grasp on the subtle aspects of human interaction, that most people take for granted, is often very difficult. A lot of Autistic people, who have been diagnosed for a long time (most at childhood) have said to me that I should be proud to be Autistic, embrace the difference, wear it as a badge, I am not at that stage yet, for me it is something of a curse, a "why me?" kind of thing, but I am trying to see the positive aspects of it, the aspects of it which make me stand out in a positive way, I am trying.

Takiwatānga. A friend posted on Facebook a picture which said this word was the Māori word for Autism, which means "In their own time and space". It struck me deeply, as I said I love language. Having read up on it, I found that it does indeed mean this, and I think it is a beautiful way of describing Autism and has somewhat helped my acceptance. Such a simple group of words which encompasses such a huge part of my life.

In my own time and space.
© Copyright 2023 Erithacus (erithacus at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2292799-Takiwatnga