Autism Identity Justice Masking

What Autistic Pride Means to Me3 min read

Today is Autistic Pride Day.  It is a day to celebrate and embrace who you are as an autistic person and to be yourself without someone making sure you are acting neurotypical enough to pass as normal.  For today, you can forget about all the neurotypical rules, follow your own rules for once, and just be you.  At least, this is what I have to say autistic pride means to me.

Autistic pride.  I can celebrate who I am and be myself without shame.  For the longest time, I used to feel like I never fit in.  I longed to be normal, but I know now there is no normal, and the only thing I can do is be me.

It takes me a while to accept myself, but it’s much easier when I have an autistic community who helps me to feel that I am not alone anymore.  In this community, I can embrace my identity instead of hiding it.  Until you’ve hidden your true self for a lifetime under a cloud of shame and fear, you can’t imagine how much that means– to be accepted and even loved by a community of people who understand you.  That gives me pride.

What autistic pride means to me is that I am no longer forced to put on a mask.  Whether you accept me or not is okay by me.  I don’t need your approval.  I am tired of living a lie trying to appear neurotypical or less-autistic enough to make others happy.  I am tired of feeling like I am not good enough.

What is the point of trying to do something that I’ll never achieve?  Why should I continue to strive to do something that makes me miserable– especially since my best efforts to be “good enough” still weren’t “normal enough” to make others comfortable around me?

I feel like I am outsider that people never understand.  I am tired of being someone else that I am not, and I want to be me for once.

There is a song called, “This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman.  The song is amazing.  I can relate to this song, and it makes me feel empowered about embracing who I am without shame.

I am going to be who I am and who I am meant to be.  I am autistic and proud, and I am not ashamed who I am any more.  This phrase from the song is especially relatable:

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies,
This is me w
hen the sharpest words wanna cut me down

I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.

When I think of the words, I am inspired to accept the fact that this is me.  I will not apologize for the way I am.  I need to embrace who I am and be me.  I want to be accepted just the way I am and not to be judged for being different.

Being different is okay.

What autistic pride means to me is acceptance.  I want acceptance in the world as well as society to treat autistic people– including me— with respect.  I want nondisabled people to see autism in a positive, affirming way instead of as a flaw or as being broken or diseased.

For too long, the stigma around autism needed to change.  I’m tired of the stereotypes.  Autistic people are more than the stereotype, and we are worthy.  Autistic people are here to stay, and we are not going anywhere.

I hope other autistic people all around the world Happy Autistic Pride Day!

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