Yes, I am autistic.
I am not ashamed of this fact.
It does NOT define me.
I would like to thank you for reading — both this blog post, and my stories!
I had this really long post written up, but really, I’m going to make this post as simple as possible.
Two years ago, at age 27, I was diagnosed with mild autism (aka Aspergers or high-functioning autism) after years of misdiagnosis’ that mostly tried to pin me as “crazy.”
It wasn’t something I was sure I wanted to be public about. I wanted my writing to stand on it’s own, but the truth is, it can…and it cannot.
The way I see the world, the way I feel things both inside and out, and the way I describe things are my own, but they also colored by my autism. I feel, and quite deeply I might add, but in some ways, I also lack.
I am a well-spoken woman who has lots of empathy and no shortage of compassion, but experience relationships differently than others. I’m highly literal, majorly “black-white” in my thinking, and my initial instinct is to help someone fix their problems when they come to me with them, even though I can’t manage to solve my own.
The way I react to things would be seen as “hysterical” and “immature” to many people not on the spectrum, but if I write my characters as reacting with what I think would be a mature reaction, I sometimes feel as if the person is not reacting strongly enough. Imagine feeling this way in real life, as I am often unsure of how one is supposed to react to such things.
I’m not good with describing places whether I’ve been there or not. I don’t use location in most of my stories because I refuse to make stuff up about real places, and even with lots of info, nothing catches a location like actually having been there. I am often blind to the world around me and while I can describe colors and shapes, the wind to me is painful and often noises are blocked out by my brain so I won’t freak out.
When it comes to characters & their stories, I am very focused on them. To me, unless something is important to what is going on, I don’t feel it necessary to describe it. I mainly write in first person, and find myself telling a story as I would see it, and for this reason, little character details are sprinkled throughout the story as they become relevant. Many times, if something is left out, it’s simply because I’m unaware people think in such a way.
Why am I telling you this now? Because chances are I will be at a signing one day, and I want my readers to know I appreciate every single one of them. Online when I interact, I am a completely different person. Here, I am free to write, edit, and change what I want to say until I say it in the way I intend. In person, I will be bound to say something wrong. I am not able to converse normally, I am soft-spoken and often slow to react. I won’t look in your eyes, I may mumble, and unless you ask me a specific question, I am often unable to know what to say. To many on the outside, I can come across as rude and unappreciative because I am not what they expect. Physically, I’m unable to stand long and hover on the line of disabled. I need my personal space and don’t like to be touched. I am not able to fake a smile, nor am I energetic and outgoing. I am a shy, introverted person who loves and craves social interaction as much as the next person although in a rather limited amount.
This matters to me. I don’t want to not do signings because of my fears that I will offend someone or someone will think I don’t want to be there. I do, I am simply not capable of expressing it, and my face isn’t able to show you. I may come for a short time but not be able to stay the whole time. I may need to walk away or take a break, and in the end, may have a sign indicating this very thing.
I’m not ashamed of my autism. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and of my writing, and I stand by it even if sometimes I wonder if my writing isn’t deep enough or detailed enough. Believe it or not, while I cannot read between the lines of other’s work, I often am surprised at my own writing when people see the things I wanted them to see but wasn’t sure I conveyed.
I’ve changed my author bio’s to reflect this. I never intended to hide it, but I have realized perhaps doing so hasn’t done me any favors. I have a unique perspective of the world and I want to share it.
You may love all of my writing, or you may hate some or all of it, and that’s okay. Just know, if you ever meet me, that I am just as happy to meet you as you are to meet me, even if I can’t smile physically in a way that shows you how happy I truly feel on the inside.