Saturday, September 6, 2014


Tonight,  I gave a speech on life with autism at a local synagogue.

My favorite comment after it was the person who said "You have such love for the topic." I was so happy that someone could see who I was beyond the topic of the speech - see me, see my love, my passion, my self that just happens to inhabit an autistic body.

I spent a lot of time tonight contemplating how to validate myself and how to have different ways to understand my experience of things other than the quantity and quality of feedback I get from people.

Not being able to type much has maybe made this more of a necessity but is driving me crazy just the same!

That said, I got at least a dozen comments and conversations after the speech. We stayed at the oneg after to 10pm, literally to 10pm. Usually everyone's gone by around 9. As lovely as that was, like I said, I found myself contemplating how not to judge the quality of the experience by the feedback, which is new for me.

There were about 35 people, 12 minute speech, about six questions after.

It all came together very nicely, and it was an arena in which I had superb confidence and mastery of material, so it felt very enjoyable to speak and answer questions. I rarely have that much confidence. It was so refreshing  to know exactly what to say.

To all the people who asked "Are you nervous" before.. No, I was nervous about my physical body and how well it would respond. But I was not nervous emotionally. I am nervous in everyday conversation. But I can't possibly be nervous presenting about autism because I know it like the back of my hand.

There were questions about savants, removing Asperger's from the DSM, non verbal learning disability, the nature of sensory and nonverbal language difficulties, what kind of services, accomodations would help, etc.

I met an OT who works in Portland schools and may want me to speak there, and a dozen other interesting people.

So, yeah. I think it went pretty well. A lot to process though.

I don't want to rest in the identity of disability. I want to find ways to access joy, love, fun with other people. I had no way of accessing the social world other than expressions about me, about pain, about disability, they were the only access points I had. But I am starting to see and feel the need to have ways of interacting with others that are FUN, that are light and easy. I just have NO idea how to do this, other than improv, but the random walk I had last night with a new friend put a hell of a lot more joy in my heart than talking about autism for 2 hrs, and I want more of the former. I'll take the latter if it's the only social interaction I can get, but it's not what I want. I have to find a way to acknowledge my disability and limitations while not letting them overrun and define me as they have been doing. My sensory and physical body limitations make this harder but not impossible. Where to start? I am hoping by validating myself and finding ways to be silly with people but as always I find myself impatient. I need to slow down and trust in the universe's power to allow me to access what I need when I calm down enough to see it right in front of me.

Alternately, if anyone wants to come over and sing 60s music with me, feel free. =)

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