Thirty Two

What is the essential part of me?
What am I synonymous with?
What am I the epitome of?

I am a quiet baby who rarely cries.

I am colours in motion on the wheel of fortune®.
I am tiny red berries in my neighbour’s front yard.

I am the natural conclusion of a satisfying task.
I am the crackling sparks of one unexpectedly unplugged.

I am a precocious child brimming with nervous energy.

I am crisp white paper, folded and stapled.
I am persistent ideas with a false urgency.
I am a tangle of stories which must be told.

I am an air of haughtiness lined with good intentions.
I am smart and should have known better.
I am the anxiety of not knowing the answer.

I am a boy-ish girl in sweatpants, shirts, and shorts.

I am struggling to make friends.
Then, I am struggling to keep friends.

I am “four eyes.”
I am “ugly.”
I am “gross.”

I am gullible.
I am wary.
I am easy to provoke.
I am easy to ignore.

I am a perfectionist because I have to be.
I am loud until the only option is to be quiet.

I am a spindly pre-teen with my sleeve between my teeth.

I am digital dissociation.
Or I am childhood depression.

I am a hostage of my emotions.

I am a locked volume dial.
I am an explosion of tears.
I am the volcano boiling under my skin.
I am the lava running down my arm.

I am a clumsy teenager who is desperate for connection.

I am shared awkwardness.
I am unbridled enthusiasm.
I am purple silk.

I am exploited naivete.
I am resigned compliance.
I am torn fabric.

I am confused and young and cornered.
Then, I am older and tired and know better.

I am an annoying friend who is terrified of being left behind.

I am unsure of my place in the world.
I am starting to realize that I need help.
I am the first step of a long journey.

I am a girl-ish boy in plaid button-downs and jeans.

I am a student of machine shorthand stenography.
I am a college diploma holder.

I am consistently inconsistent and still struggling.

I am not what people expect me to be.
But I am not sure what people expect me to be.

I am an indifferent lover who is easily replaced.
Or I am hardly a lover at all.

I am a burnout.

I am burned out.

I am the clouds that keep me company.
I am the connections made through disconnection.
I am the grounding force for the tornado above.
Or I am on tiptoes.

I am glowing embers of fires once burning.
I am ferocious flames that swallow what remains.

I am a connoisseur of boundaries.
I am a lifelong lover of language and lingo.

I am critical thought.
I am incessant grace.

I am justice and fury and takedowns.
I am passion and reaction and meltdowns.

I am honest.
I am loyal.
I am trying.

I am a secret idealist with imagination trapped somewhere inside.
I am a perpetual seeker of knowledge in pyjama pants at lecture.

I am an organized mess of a human, born 32 years ago.

Poetry: Unmasking as Autistic Pride

This article was originally published at The Aspergian.

in the world we live in,
we are told the following things
and over
and over

“get up.”

“try harder.”

“use your words.”

“speak louder.”

“stop whining.”

“you’re fine!”

“just ignore it.”

“stay seated.”

“don’t talk.”

“stop moving.”

“be quiet.”




“get used to it.”

and in that world,
i now have to learn
how to recognize the following thoughts
(because i was taught
that i was wrong about them):

“i am uncomfortable.”

“i don’t understand this.”

“this is too loud.”

“i am too cold.”

“i am too hot.”

“i am too tired.”

“i can’t ignore this.”

“i can’t do this.”

“i need to leave.”

“i need to stay home.”

“i don’t have to do this.”

“i don’t owe the world.”

and that means
that you might see
me do the following:

cover my ears when it’s too loud
cover my eyes when it’s too bright
hold my nose when something smells bad
use blankets and extra clothes when I’m cold
take clothes off when I’m hot

sleep when i’m expected to be awake
sit when i’m expected to stand
stay silent when i’m expected to talk (or laugh)
talk (or laugh) when i’m expected to stay silent
furrow my brows when i’m expected to smile

take a long time to answer
take a long time to get to the point
hide when i don’t want to talk
stay at home if i need to
leave when i’m uncomfortable

look away when i’m expected to look at you
get loud when i’m expected to be quiet

make sounds you don’t understand
use language you don’t understand
use my body in ways you don’t understand
react to things in ways you don’t understand

I will do things differently.

I won’t be stopped
by arbitrary rules of what is normal
if my normal
doesn’t hurt anyone
and your normal
hurts me.

So you get used to it.