The first things that come up for me when I start typing in “autism stories” to search
- autism stories of hope
- autism stories from parents
Both are well and good, but we need more autism stories from autistic people.
To that end, I’ve opened up shop on YouTube and launched my first video, where I cover why it’s critical for us to share more from our unique autistic perspectives. I’d love you welcome you as a subscriber there!
That said, I can see why autistic storytelling is in shorter supply.
IT IS EXHAUSTING.
I think I left that above frame in the video, and I didn’t act that one out. I was spent after sitting in front of a camera for 7 to 9 whole minutes, framing what I wanted to say, and front-loading my most expressive self.
IT IS NOT EASY.
So not only am I “keeping my jets on” for camera, I’m contending with those obsessive, OCD-style things that threaten to disappoint and dissuade me from just opting out of this mess altogether.
Did you notice:
- I have a loose hair clinging to my goatee, and I noticed it all too late after I was halfway into editing
- I said I cried during all three Toy Story films. There are four. (Thanks a lot, Zach Bowders).
- The audio that jumps too high when I read off the numbers to the “five things”
- At least three cuts that were a millisecond too quick
- How I started reaching for my glasses too early to stage the “expert” scenes
It’s normal to pick at your own imperfections, but when you’re both autistic and hyper-self-aware-critical, it’s enough to keep your story from coming out. And then all the “pre-staging” I’m doing to prep for people who don’t like this content or getting my first thumbs down – it’s like I have to check my anxiety cloak at a door that I keep entering and exiting.
IT IS A LOT.
But it’s necessary.
I’ve been super grateful for the kind words and the feedback and the people who think I’m good at editing (thanks 😛 ). And because it’s worth mentioning, I’ve spent years in front of a camera for virtual work meetings, so it’s something I’ve acclimated to. It still gets to be a bit much, but I can do it a little justice in short bursts.
So what now?
If you’re an ally for autistic causes, support your autistic storytellers. I know it’s hard not to share your proximity and your involvement as a parent or significant relation to an autistic loved one, but their voice matters.
If you’re autistic, share your story. You deserve to. The platform should be yours, ours.
It’s exhausting effort, but it’s worthwhile. And I’m going to continue doing so here, in writing (my first love and best skill) and on video.
I hope you’ll do and support the same!
I am glad you’re reading this blog! This is my “easy” medium, and it’s nice to use one of my few skills to do good. Video is my “hard” medium, but I’m giving it an earnest go. To learn more about autism from an autistic person’s perspective, follow & subscribe to The Life Autistic here and on YouTube — or follow the more whimsical, spontaneous, and amusing content on Twitter / Instagram. Thanks!