Autistics Speaking Day 2013: Fear

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.

And you?

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?

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15 thoughts on “Autistics Speaking Day 2013: Fear

  1. Wow. Just wow. Fear is a constant part of my life, a part that I wasn’t always consciously aware of but which had insidious effects on my ability to function. Fear is a part of me that I’ve kept (mostly) hidden from even my closest colleagues, and often from my spouse, yet fear is something that impacts every action I take, every decision I make, and every sentence I speak.

    Thank you for giving words and meaning to my fear, to our fear, the fear that is shared by our tribe!

  2. Well put. I would say fear makes up a huge, overwhelming part of my life. Especially when I was growing up, the deep confusion I felt around others resulted in a great deal of fear, anxiety. Posts like this help shed light on subjective experiences that can be so difficult to explain…yet you are extremely insightful, articulate, thx for this post.

  3. Thank you for these words. They are so powerful. I want to give you a virtual hug and let you know there are NT’s out there that have your back (virtually, anyway since I live in the US 🙂

    Thank you for helping me see the roadblocks, the challenges, the tension my son may encounter, and also the beautiful, wonderful, quirkily awesome things too.

    And for what it’s worth, I suck at keeping my house clean too – always have, and I’m no where NEAR the autism scale (at least the online quiz version)!

    HUGS!!

  4. Pingback: Autistics Speaking Day 2013: This Is What Autism Looks Like | letters from a patchwork wizard

  5. thank you for sharing – i am married to a man who has aspergers – i can see many of the same fears in him – this gives me a lot to thing about…

  6. Pingback: The Responsibility of Representation | Walkin' on the edge

  7. Pingback: Autistiscs Speaking Day 2013: Angst | beingapart

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