“It Fits Like a Glove”
This weekend, For Autistic Empowerment at the University of Texas at Dallas had a Autistic Culture Rally and brought in Kassiane Asasumasu to speak. It’s the first time I’ve been in Autistic Culture in 3 years? 4? 4. Of the people, I knew 2 as friends (at least in the past), 1 as a newcomer, and the rest had no idea who I was. This was good. It’s been 4 years and no one knows me, my past, my fears, or my regrets.
But as I entered autistic space, I made decisions based off what I wanted or needed. I followed my friend around. I hid beside another for a bit. I rocked, I flapped, I fidgetted with my cube. I didn’t sing. I didn’t dance. I didn’t draw. I did give some welcome ideas. And I did what I always did in autistic space, I did what I knew I could.
And like the title says.. it fit like a glove. It was welcome to be in a space where it was ok to get out of my seat and lay on the floor. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that did many of these things.
It fit me like a glove, but I’m not sure it fit everyone else the same. It hit me as I did what I do in autistic space, these are students who are just learning there is an autistic culture. This may have been the first time experiencing it. And as they experienced it, did they feel like they could rock? Are they the generation we’ve been warned about for the past decade that are “the epidemic about to become adults”? That have had intense behavioral and social skills training to tell them how to be?
If they are, is autistic space hard to be in? Does it make them anxious? Or uncomfortable? To see someone fidget.. to see a grown woman sitting on the floor.. or reacting in unexpected ways? Or was it finally a release they wanted? Needed? Did they remember what it felt like when they flapped and rocked and spun and got dizzy (or didn’t get dizzy)? Do they want more?
I hope there can be more for them. No matter which is the case. And I hope they can learn the community and history.