yeah, eff that noise

i’ve come to a conclusion about my mental health
but i’ll get back to that

prologue:
when i was young
i remember people talking about autism
as if it were pitiable, contagious, debilitating

spoken of in hushed tones
did you hear about margaret?
her son is…
the word is barely audible

by the time i saw rain man
the concept had become cemented in my head
autists were robots with human flesh
unfeeling robots
so sad

phase 1:
aba stands for anything but autism
that’s how society acts

some parents would rather risk their child get
measles, mumps, rubella, even polio
than risk them being autistic

autism doesn’t come from the tip of a needle
but just in case
just on the off chance
just to be safe

phase 2:
my brother tells me i’m autistic
i absorb it like an insult
i reel
i react in anger

i know what it means to be autistic
out of control
unable to navigate life
incapable of rising above the struggles

incapable

that is what it means to be autistic

yes, i have problems
a raw and vehement temper
social awkwardness
trouble understanding my peers
difficulty staying on a task
why can’t people understand me anyway?

but i am not incapable
i am not disabled

phase 3:
i have earned the word disabled
well-meaning people have tried to take it from me
tried to convince me i am
differently abled

i am not differently abled
i am not handicapable

i am as i am
i can fill my cracks with streaks of gold
but kintsugi will not change my nature

accommodations are excuses
but excuses are rewards
i cannot do it
i am incapable
i am a victim of my brain
i am a victim of my upbringing

i do not need physical crutches
my disability is my crutch

phase 4:
we are not defined by our circumstances
we are defined by how we respond to them

if we know our limitations
we can work within them and
in so doing
overcome them

i am disabled but i am not incapable
i am disabled but i am not incapable
i am disabled
i am not incapable

phase 5:
i have come to a conclusion about my mental health
looking back, the shattered moments that i attributed to mental illness
were masks
it was better to be psychotic than autistic
it was better to be depressive than autistic
it was better to be anything but autistic

but retconning over the canvas of my life
it’s okay to be autistic
and it should have always been

04.27.23

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