Madison Lessard is an #ActuallyAutistic blogger in college who is documenting her life on the autism spectrum through her own unique lens.
High-Functioning Madison (There’s a story behind this name!)
Your City, Country:
Massachusetts, United States
Inspiration for Writing a Blog:
I started this blog almost simultaneously with the start of my first semester of college in Fall 2018. I was having a really tough time adjusting to college life, and for a long time I’d wanted to find a topic to blog about consistently online. I felt like I needed to share my experiences as an autistic college student, because so much of it was and is so difficult for me. HFM became my outlet for writing about my life with autism in a way I never had before. I find it very easy to express myself through writing; I consider it one of my strengths. So when things are tough for me, I turn to the blog, and I see what inspiration I can make of it.
Intention or Mission of Your Blog:
Although my blog is a personal outlet, my broader intention is to provide a voice in the autistic community. I’ve been involved in autism advocacy and discussions online for a relatively short period of time, and I want to add a perspective to the overall discussion. I also want to connect with other autistic people! I have one autistic friend in real life, and I have a few mutuals online… but otherwise, nobody! Reach out to me. I want to be your friend.
Topics you write about:
I post once weekly, normally on Tuesdays. There are two overall categories that my posts fit into— personal stories and informational posts. The spectrum (pun intended) of topics is broad, from community discussion to key facets of autistic identity and life to trying to put words to things about life I can’t understand. For example, at the time I’m writing this, my three most recent posts are about special interests (defining them and talking about my own), New Year’s resolutions through an autistic routine perspective, and a difficult but honest post about my struggle with overthinking and anxiety.
Most Proud of:
I have a story from before I started my blog. It was a moment of personal growth for me, and was most definitely one of the seeds for why I finally started writing about autism online a few months later. It happened about a month before I graduated high school— it was Autism Awareness Day and I got up on the stage at assembly to make an announcement. It wasn’t my first time speaking at assembly in front of the whole school, but it still was nerve-wracking— I don’t love talking in front of people, and this was a really vulnerable topic for me.
I’d emailed the whole school the night before asking them to wear blue or red in honor of autism awareness. Onstage at assembly, I thanked everybody who had chosen to wear the colors— it was a good portion of the students and faculty— and explained my gratitude for the welcoming school community. I went to a small high school, and I was putting myself out there in a way I really hadn’t before— I was being publicly honest about life with an invisible disability.
It probably didn’t seem like too big of a deal to the others at the assembly, but for me, it was a milestone. I was shaking the whole time. And at the end, I was so, so happy.
Your Top 3 favorite posts:
The title here is deceiving; the post isn’t about being against special interests. Rather, this is a post I made during a period of emotionally taxing overthinking. I wanted to write about “anti-special interests”— things I focus on but don’t want to think about. I’d never gotten quite this personal and emotional on my blog before I wrote this post.
Here, I wrote about my sensory experience with music. I’m a lifelong performer and musician, and I’m of the firm belief that my autism has a direct relation to the way I experience music when I listen, play, and dance. I put a bunch of links and specific references in this post, and I loved the way it turned out.
This one was about autistic masking tendencies, particularly in girls. I debunked the whole “you don’t seem autistic” idea and reinforced the fact that autism isn’t just what meets the eye.
What People Will Take Away Reading Your Blog:
I think this is twofold— because for neurotypical readers, I hope to provide an honest and authentic account of how the world looks through my autistic eye. I want to educate and inform as well as open discussion and create an accessible outlet for me to share myself with the world. The other side of this is— for autistic readers, I’d love for people to be able to relate and see themselves in what I’m writing. That’s so important for me.
I hope you love my blog! I’m also a writer, reader, and amateur podcaster.
Now it’s time to share your geeky side with us…after all, we are ‘Geek’ Club Books!
Quote you live by: This is a Bible quote, but I find it kind of universal. Translations vary, but here’s the gist: “Let your light so shine before others, so that they might see goodness.” (Matthew 5:16)
Book you couldn’t put down until you finished it: Ahh, Planet Earth Is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos! It’s coming out this May, and it’s about an autistic 12-year-old girl. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and write a review. You should totally pre-order it.
Hidden Geekish Pleasure: I love to read the Star Wars Wiki, Wookieepedia. I can just go down a rabbit hole on there for, like, hours. Because yes, as you now may have guessed, I love Star Wars very very much.
More ways to connect with Madison:
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