Saturday, November 1, 2014

on being autistic, not okay

Hannah B writes on her tumblr "on being autistic, not okay"

Content warning for abstract sensory overload

it’s dark and i am small. i am okay. the light doesn’t feel like it’s going to pierce through my skin because it is not here, not in this place. there are no people hiding just out of my sight because there is no room for them here. it is quiet and everything i touch is soft and still. i can breathe here. i am okay, in this small space, where it is dark. this is the closet in my bedroom and the temple in my mind. it is sometimes the only place where i am okay.

it’s bright and people can see me. i am okay. the light sort of hurts and the people are louder than they know, because otherwise they wouldn’t be yelling so loudly. the light and the people are here with me. the sounds and textures are creeping dangerously along my body. it is getting harder to breathe. i am okay, in this confusing sea of sensory input that makes my chest and fingers hurt, where people can see me. this is the world and the place people expect too much from me. i have to be okay.

some days the light is brighter and the people are louder and the sounds are scarier and the textures are rougher. i am not okay. i keep trying to fight it, keep repeating it, over and over. i am okay. i am okay. i am okay. but i am not okay. everything hurts and i am afraid and i need to be dark and alone and quiet and soft. they don’t see it, they don’t see me twitching and aching all over. you are okay, they say, because they are okay. because all of these things are okay for them, they are okay. so i try very hard to be okay.
for eighteen years i tried to be okay. i tried every hour of every day and i never ever stopped because i was so afraid. i was afraid of what not being okay meant. everyone else is okay, why not me? why is everything that is okay for everyone else so hard to make okay for me? everything, everything, everything. hard, hard, hard. i ache everywhere with all the okay i try to hold on to with muscles that i do not have.
finally, the okay fell. i was not okay.

people do not like when you are not okay.

i learned that there are people, people like me, who are not okay sometimes, too. people who are not okay when their routines are disturbed without warning, like me. people who are not okay when things are out of order, out of line, out of place, like me. people who are not okay when they can’t figure out the mysteries of social interaction and become overwhelmed, like me.

people who are okay being dark and alone and quiet and soft.

like me.

i learned that there are people who think that if i look like i am okay to them, i should always be okay. always. people who can’t understand why i shy away from their touch and loud words. people who don’t think it’s fair because i look like i am okay. people who don’t want to listen to what i choke out over ragged breaths because i am okay, aren’t i? 
aren’t i always okay? always?

i am not.
i am not always okay.
i am autistic.
and that’s okay.

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