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I love the concept of neurodiversity – autistic people being accepted and treated as equals to the rest of humanity. We -are- full and complete human beings in our own right, with our own thoughts and desires and rich internal worlds, every one of us.

Despite my enthusiasm for the social attitude towards autism shifting to a more positive one because it will help all of us, I still have very ambivalent feelings about being autistic. I don’t have “autie pride” because I’m not naturally inclined to feel pride as an emotion. For the same reason I have no concept of feeling pride in the country I was born in – both were an accident of birth and both encompass some very good and some very bad things.

When all is going well I am quite fine about being autistic. It gives me a unique outlook on life, I’m honest and loyal, hugely empathetic (maybe too much), I have an eagle eye for detail, raw ability in art and so forth. There’s a lot of really good traits that I credit to being autistic. The problem is, I also have a lot of challenges that get in the way of what I want to achieve and it drives me to despair at times. For me, autism is very much a double-edged sword.

Right now in particular, I don’t feel that loving of being autistic because I very much want to be able to work hard at my art but one of my crashing obsessions has decided to show up and redirect every cell and thought and feeling in my body towards something else. I’m thrown into a state of anxiety, depression and frustration because while autism gave me sheer raw savant art ability, it also gave me a brain that seems to actively do its best to thwart me at every turn. Between executive function issues, anxiety, low energy levels, sensory processing problems and this propensity for sudden obsessions to turn up, I have a plate full of challenges in my mission to become a career artist.

I see the rainbow being used a lot to represent us as autistic folks and I know it’s meant to represent the spectrum, but I don’t really feel like I’m part of a rainbow. Sometimes I’m sunshine and sometimes I’m thunderclouds. Sometimes I love the person I am and sometimes I want to chuck it all in and give up.

dingoeswip11

My current work in progress, a small acrylic painting of two dingoes. On hold until I can gather my executive function enough in the face of a new obsessive focus turning up. Right now I literally cannot mentally piece together how to mix and apply the paint.

 

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