Let me just set the record straight: I am a complete nerd. I mean, of course I’m a nerd. Why else would my friend and I cosplay as Dipper and Bill Cipher to a school dance (true story)? The only reason you don’t see my fics anywhere is that I think they’re bad ideas and then never write them, and so I’m left with three million plot bunnies eating femslash ship carrots growing in the rich fields of Prefrontal Cortex Farms. But y’know, besides my diehard cartoon and gaming obsessions and occasional (every 3 seconds) random musical numbers plus Shrek references, I’m pretty normal. Okay, fine, you’re right, I’m not normal. Normal people don’t spend three hours looking up Soriel fanart (I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, SANS AND TORIEL ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER!!!!). Or use that many parentheses and exclamation points. But the point (see what I did there?) is that I’m a human being and despite my quirks, people usually acknowledge I’m a member of their species. Good old Homo Sapiens Sapiens. The problem is not that I act like my life is a Disney musical, but that there are days when I don’t feel human. When I was in 7th grade, Data was the character I related to most, because I felt like I could relate to his struggle of trying to become human. But why, you might be thinking, as I am a human girl. Well, it can actually be spelled out as one, simple word.
I’m high functioning, which means that if I told you, you might be surprised since I function relatively well and seem to be highly intelligent. Some think that I have relative ease dealing with others, so I couldn’t possibly be Autistic, and that, well, to put it bluntly, that Autistic people lived in the special ed room. And honestly, if I went up to myself and said, “You have Autism, good luck with that,” I would think that I was kidding myself. But I have it, even if it hardly shows. When I got diagnosed in August, I went into the diagnosis clinic, and tried to interact with the other kids there. Most were higher functioning like me. After tests, they said that Autism would likely be the best fit, and ever since then, my parents were adamant about the fact that I was different, not diseased, saying that there was a difference between me and my lower-functioning cousin. But I wondered how different. My cousin could memorize maps and was a human GPS. I remembered details about my fandoms and facts about theoretical physics, but I couldn’t remember simple things like turning in forms or chewing with my mouth closed. My cousin and I could be very silent and still, and then the next moment, hyper and manic like Mabel from Gravity Falls on a sugar rush. Even so, it explained many things. For a while, I felt both proud and ashamed of my diagnosis. I still do. I knew that it gave me sort of super powers, like my intelligence and memory. But it gave me weaknesses, and a label that would never go away. In the wake of Trump’s election and his disgusting comments on those with disabilities, I had a revelation. Though I participated in the vast wave of women’s marches, as well as a precursor march, and was a supporter of the LGBT community on Scratch, I felt a need to act. And then it came to me. The bravest thing I could do was continue to be myself. To resist fear, hatred and xenophobia, all I needed to do was keep being, well, me. I’m Autistic, I’m bisexual, I’m a girl that doesn’t fall into gender roles, I’m a supporter of Black Lives Matter and equality for all. I began to think about if Autism was all I was, or if it was a part of me. But all of those things are only facets of me, and if I was going to resist our president, I would need to embrace every facet of myself and stand for those that didn’t. As a child, people called me stupid, they asked why I walked strangely (I wore leg braces as a toddler and continued to walk tiptoe up until 3rd grade), and they called me a lesbian. I was originally diagnosed with OCD, which wasn’t helped by the traumatic memories of poverty and loss that I had with me after that fateful year of 3rd grade. I used to cry at night when white noises triggered my sensory sensitivity, and then there were times when I felt like I wasn’t from the same planet as my friends. My obsession with roly polies got me nicknamed the “Pillbug Queen.” There are still days, like today, when my stomach churns at the notion of being Autistic. But Autistic is just a word. Bisexual is just a word. I have risen above the homophobia and hate people have tried to pull me down with. I am so much more than a collection of words. I have quirks and crushes and feelings and ideas. I am part of an amazing universe that can’t even be described with the most complicated equations and jargon. In class, we’re doing a project about people who took a stand. Today, even if nobody remembers, this is my stand. My stand, I pledge, is to educate people about homosexuality, Autism and intersectional Feminism. My stand is being who I am. I am a writer, a singer, and just like me, every single, beautiful person on this earth, Autistic or not, is so much more than words.