I am a lot of things. I am bookish and interested in fashion, I am too blunt for my own good, and I send pictures of my dogs to everyone I know. Who I am - who anyone is - is complex and mismatched and wonderful. One specific part of who I am defines how I see the world and how I react to it in ways that others might not understand. I am autistic.
I flap my hands or repeat phrases when I feel strong emotions
I can’t eat spaghetti sauce or touch cardboard with my bare hands
I can locate electrical outlets by sound and I know when the tv is on by smell
These are all things influenced by my autism and they are important aspects of my identity that fit right alongside all the other parts of who I am.
In many places I have been made to feel bad for these traits. In school, my hands were taped to my lap so I couldn’t flap them.
At work I was scolded for using rubber gloves while flattening boxes. In stores, strangers whispered and pointed as I plugged my ears to walk down the electronics aisle. There is one place, though, that I have never been shamed or meant to feel bad for being who I am.
Here, in the Ackerly Green Community, I have flapped my hands during a live stream, and no one told me I was disgusting. I have had fellow Mounties kindly explain to me that they were being sarcastic when I took them seriously, and when I don’t understand something, there are so many people willing to help, with not even a shred of judgment. This really is a special place, and I want everyone else to feel that way too. If any of you ever feel that you’re being discriminated against, or being misunderstood, whether it be because of a condition or disability, your gender or sexuality, your race, anything, please don’t be afraid to bring it up to a leader. None of us are perfect, but we want to make this place - this corner of the internet founded on wonder and a love for magic - safe and accepting for all types of people.