I want to speak to you about fear.
I am autistic. And I am afraid.
Fear of not being seen as fully human when I lose my words. Fear of losing my words because I have so much to say. Fear of not being listened to.
Afraid of getting my experiences discounted, of being told that I can’t understand something because I’m autistic. Afraid of being told I have no empathy.
Fear of losing my job. Losing it again and again. Fear of losing my house. Fear of seeing my safety destroyed.
Afraid of big crowds. Bright lights. Afraid of loud noises. Afraid of tiny noises that are impossible to identify. Afraid of clothes that seem fine one moment and unbearably itchy the next.
Fear. Of you looking at me and seeing a loser. Fear of you telling me that I should stop feeling sorry for myself. That I should try harder. When I’ve been trying so hard all my damn life. Fear of becoming too tired to continue.
Afraid of getting judged for not being able to keep my house clean. Myself clean. Myself fed. Afraid of getting judged for not doing the things that normal people do.
Fear of being told I have no feelings.
Afraid that nobody will understand and I will end up alone. Forgotten. Discounted. Ignored.
Fear that people will only see my defects. Not my strengths.
I am speaking of fear.
You who tell me to look you in the eye. You who tell me to stop fidgeting. You who tell me I’m smart enough to figure it out. You who tell me to use my words when you mean your words, because that’s the only ones you’ll listen to. You who tell me I’m cold and distant because I don’t show my emotions in a way that you recognise. You who tell me lying is bad and then punish me for speaking the truth. You who tell me every person is unique and then tell me I’m too different.
Will you also tell me I have no right to feel afraid of you?