Sunday, November 1, 2015

Acknowledging Me

This piece was originally posted by TuttleTurtle at Turtle is a Verb.

How my body moves determines how much I know.

I mean, I know this to be the case, because of how I interact with you. The same person, the same people, but completely different interactions. How my body moves determines if my words are worth hearing, or if they're only to be discarded, into the abyss of "we're trying to fix the autism".

If I rock, or sway, or so much as tap my fingers, then how can I make decisions? I don't know that much. How could I? You decide so. You know this about me. You know that people who move like me do not know how to do such difficult tasks.

Yet if I'm still, I can lead. I can provide new information that none of you have seen before. I can teach, and share, and you listen to me!

You. The same people. Depending on my movement that day.

Because how my body moves must determine how much I know. Not the words I speak, not the thoughts I think.

It must be how autistic I look.

Ironic, it is, that these movements regulate me. These movements organize me. These movements help my thoughts fit their pieces together into these words that you hear.

Ironic, that while they don't determine how much I know, they determine how well I can use what I know. And yet, if I am in a state where I am using this self-regulation, then I am deemed not capable of knowing this information. Not capable of knowing about autism.

Ironic, that making it easier to think, easier to share, easier to know what I'm saying, what I'm doing, how to exist in a world not meant for people like me, makes me know so much less in your eyes, that I should not be listened to, even about people such as myself.

But, how my body moves, doesn't actually determine how much I know, and you can't see that. You only see the stigma of a diagnosis, not the person in front of you. You don't see the same me every day, only that who you want to see.

I'm autistic every one of these days, moving or not moving. I'm the same person, with the same strengths and same impairments; same job and same college community; same interests and same need to teach and share and improve myself and what is around me.

I'm always Tuttle.
The same Tuttle.

I'm just actually autistic, and it's sometimes harder for you to pretend that I'm not.

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