Being Happy

I am usually a very happy person. I am not happy all the time and my face does not always show the depth of my emotions. Sometimes my body reaction to situations is very similar, even when I experience opposite emotions.

It seems a little complicated but the fact is that I am happy. I can even be happy after a seizure. That is because I am very comfortable being myself, despite all my needs, despite the seizures and despite all the bad things that happened or were said to me.

I am writing this because I am an autistic who does not want to be cured.

I also don’t need to be cured because I don’t believe autism can be cured. It would be like saying that I am not good enough and that I should be someone else. Autism should not be cured because my community has some amazing people. The reason why they are amazing is because they are autistics.

In any case I don’t think a cure is possible since there is no cure for something that makes us who we are.

I have to say, before wrong conclusions are drawn, that I am not an autistic who works, or who goes to college, or who lives independently, or who needs very little assistance; nor am I an autistic who needs accommodations but can manage fairly well without them.

I am the opposite of all this. I look and am very disabled; I am non-speaking; I need 24-hour care; I need help with everything. I have issues that will go unmentioned. But I think the picture is clear: I am the autistic, according to some, or most, neurotypicals, who should be pitied, fixed, cured, so that I could finally have a good life, a chance in life.

When I write comments on line, the reaction is, sometimes, that I am probably faking it. If I am really so “severe”, I must want to change and be “normal”.

I don’t. I don’t know how not to be myself. I don’t want to be someone else, I don’t want my autistic experiences that shaped my autistic life that made me into the autistic I am today to become a waste of my autistic energy. I would disappear in a neurotypical world and another person would be replacing me. I, the person I am, would cease to exist.

There is also the fact that I have friends who are part of my autistic life and they love me because I am who I am, and I am who I am because I am autistic.

It took a long time, and a lot of energy for me to finally value myself. I still have moments when my self-esteem is low, or when I wish some things were easier, that some things were less overwhelming.

I don’t deny that being autistic can be hard. But I can’t say that not being autistic would be better. Neurotypicals can have the same feelings of wanting things to be easier just like I have. Only their issues are different.

Besides, I believe most of the things that bother us about autism have to do with how the neurotypical world treats us, with how little accommodation, understanding and acceptance we might face.

I know some other things can affect autistics, like some health issues. They can be hard to deal with. But the more we promote acceptance, the more natural, for the neurotypical world, our differences will be. Then, we will be able to focus our energy on things that can give us a better quality of life. Isn’t that true for everyone, autistics and non-autistics?

I don’t need or want a cure. I am working on having a fulfilling autistic life; I am getting the support I need as I continue to fight for my rights; I have friends and allies. That’s a pretty good life. It is even, sometimes, an awesome life.

And I am happy, autistic happy.

 

Amy Sequenzia, AWN Contributing Writer  About the Author, Amy Sequenzia.

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