Issue 14’s Big Question!
“What have you accomplished that you thought you would never be able to do?”
I became a paramedic. I did a job that requires multitasking, flexibility, and tolerance for extreme lights, sounds, smells, as well as strong interpersonal communication skills. I loved every second. I also went on to work in disability support services that further heightened my communication skills and self-awareness. My family was especially dubious at my capacity for the last job as I’ve been described as “intense” but my friends always believed in me.
I flunked out of university in my first year and I thought I would never go back to school, that it just wasn’t for me. I’m now back at school, taking one class per semester at community college (any more than that is too much for me), and loving it!
My biggest accomplishment is completing a full year as a middle school science teacher fresh out of college with no experience with that age group before day 1. I managed to stay put together through kids fighting, someone swallowing a bottle cap, running clubs based on topics I only have vague knowledge of (robotics and student council) and more girl drama than I could have ever imagined.
I’m autistic. I spent a lifetime of abuse having to pretend I wasn’t affected by my environment, repress all rocking and eye-avoiding that could’ve made my life easier, unable to express my needs because oral speech was mandatory and never let me convey any emotional meaning (and what I said would’ve been dismissed anyway). Now I finally escaped that place, I’ve been slowly getting the trauma out of my system and learning to just be me. I officially quit forcing myself to speak, and text communication is changing my life. Like I don’t have to cry on my own every night. Like I can actually express myself. I feel possible.
Tales is an autistic AAC user, aspiring writer and full-time book sniffer from Rio, Brazil. Asexual, quoiromantic, genderflux trans boy and probably some other color, he goes by he/him pronouns.
This year has been wild! I kicked off a new business where I can delve into my special interest – music. I’m a publicist so I act as the link between artists and media, and being in a home office where I’m able to decompress/stim/autisticly autism at will has changed my life. I also recently started as the Music Coordinator at my local community radio station, where I have found the most wonderful, accepting humans out there. In 2018, I finally feel like I can be myself authentically.
I’ve become a professional mermaid, after it being my special interest for over a decade. My platform is disability, and all of my mersonas are autistic. I designed my tail with colors and based on pictures that made me happy; when designing it, I’d send a pic with exclamation points if it made me happy to the point of flapping. I think the incorporation of my autism into my mersona will cause some cute/funny situations that other mers have to fake at, such as taking the humans too literally. And I want to flap in front of autistic children and let them know that it’s okay. I want to become well known for speaking up about accessibility and disability activism.
I graduated high school and got my Associate of Science. degree. I want to finish my 4 year college education at some point, given that I am only 18 units away from graduating from that.
Read about our “Off the Beaten Path” trailblazers in Zoom Autism Magazine, Issue 14:
- A Journey with Fire by Brigid Rankowski
- The Ideal, the Real, and Disability Advocacy by Finn Gardiner
- What Can Neurodiversity Libraries Do for the Autism Community? by Lei Wiley-Mydske
- Building Pride and Feeling the Weight of Marginalization by Kris Guin
Don’t miss these other great articles in Issue 14:
- Cummings and Goings: Creating Your Own Footsteps to Follow by Conner Cummings
- Live Your Dreams Autistically by Becca Lory
- Will There Be a Future Beyond Acceptance? by Megan Amodeo
- The View from Here: My Road to Motherhood by Carly Fulgham
Listen to an audio version of this article