When I started to accept my diagnosis not as a diagnosis, but as something that I am (being a person with Autism versus being autistic), I could start making changes in my life to accommodate myself. I realized for how long I tried to fit in, and tried to live life according to certain scripts embedded in our society. How much I tried to be something that I’m not, tried to do as much as other people.
I grew up believing that if you don’t do everything for everyone else beyond the point of exhaustion, you are not a good person. I believed, for very long, that my needs had to come last. I also believed I have to work and achieve certain things in order to be “successful”. When I truly started to accept myself, I had to put in very definitive boundaries.
Once I started doing this, I started to bloom. Gradually I started dreaming again, getting excited again. It was like my creative self who was stuck under all the pressure could finally emerge again, to create beauty and give it as a gift to the world.
I started saying no to certain people and situations in my life. I started to organize my schedule to fit in with MY energy bank, not those around me.
One of the traits of many Autistics is Stimming: behavior consisting of repetitive actions or movements of a type that may be displayed by Autistic people.
When I listen to stories on my noise-canceling headphones while I am drawing, I’m stimming. And it is the most satisfying and calming feeling I have ever experienced.
It is really the only activity in the entire universe that completely satisfies me, doesn’t drain me, and actually gives me energy.
I can sit and draw for hours and hours! (This is also another aspect of many Neurodiverse individuals: Hyper-focus)
The artworks in this section are in three sub-sections:
BLOOM: Titles include: Bloom, Good Thoughts, Flowing Flower, Daydreamer and Wings
ACCEPTING: This is represented by some of my very first works, which I don’t think are so good (as back then), but which I’ve accepted as a part of my body of work as they also played a role in getting me to the point where I am now.
CONTROL: The Artwork(s) titled: Consciousness – Intact, represent my journey of understanding my brain, where I can identify triggers and emotions correctly with practice
(By the way, another aspect I struggle with is Alexithymia: I don’t know what I’m feeling, or very often don’t attribute it correctly. For example: I will feel very anxious and start thinking I’ve made the wrong career choice. Meanwhile, I perhaps didn’t sleep enough the previous evening and I’m just grumpy!)
This section also represents the systems I’ve put in place to control my emotions and self and the constant upkeep of that.