Boring is a Great Privilege

If I were a drink, I’d be tap water served eerie still, unshaken and not stirred. As a cereal, I could ‘outbran’ bran. And as ice cream, I’m the kind you get when “Plain Vanilla” just seems a little too adventurous.

I’m a boring guy.

I eat dinner earlier at a time where even senior citizens would make fun of me. I prefer muted colors. The hardest thing I’ve had to drink was Mike’s Hard Water® from my shower. I haven’t had a birthday party since age 8. The last time I went out after dark was to check the mail.

I’m boring autistic.

So not only am I boring, I’m an autistic boring. Even among autistic advocates: I’m not “hip,” I don’t have cool multicolored hair, and I still think “vibe” is a noun and not a verb.

I’m old, I’m a homeowner, I’m a dad, and I have a job and career I’ve held for over a decade. And I’m autistic. That doesn’t really connect with a lot of the autistic audience who is younger, still finding their way around themselves, their lives, their present and future. Of course you “vibe” with someone more like you, only cooler. Not “less like you” and “way uncooler.”

But that’s not every autistic audience. That’s not every autistic advocate and ally.

Some groups, companies, organizations: they’re boring too. They’ll nod inside when you bring up autism advocacy, but they’ll recoil as soon as they see a visible face piercing. They’ll say they embrace and support autistic initiatives, but whoo boy hold on, not if it means, you know, “having weird colored hair.”

It’s not bad to be boring. It can be bad to want boring.

Boring is my privilege.

For all the uphill traction that genuine, authentic, “weird,” hip, and otherwise non-boring autistic advocates would face in the boring bastions — I don’t face that. I love that many passionate autism allies are authentically themselves, acerbic, and colorful, and dedicated their voices to bettering neurodivergent lives.

It’s a shame that many more boring places and spaces aren’t ready to embrace you.

But they embrace me. They see my straight laces, my straight edges. They think, “Well, he looks like a put together young man with a well-tended rolodex. THIS is the kind of autistic advocacy we can tolerate.”

Boring privilege is my weapon.

Because guess what they hear as soon as they make the mistake of letting me in the lobby? Of thinking that my plainer-than-vanilla, more-boring-than-bran veneer would somehow let them off the hook? Of assuming that I’ll have “more institutionally friendly” autism guidance fit for people who wear collared shirts?


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 Instagram.

Oh, latest episode! Enjoy.


Save Yourself: Why Autistic Self-Advocacy Matters

I love my daughters dearly, but when two of them woke up from their naps right as I was signing into a meeting that I couldn’t postpone much further — well, I still love them, but the dry-twig bundle of my sanity began snapping.

“You know, this just isn’t going to happen. I’m so sorry.” I apologized, aborting out of this meeting just as soon as it began.

My youngest was crying, my second-youngest was about to lock herself out of the iPad, and I was scarcely holding any part of these situations together.

Yes, interruptions happen. Yes, I’ve given myself room for calamity. But even with (MAXIMUM SARCASM QUOTES) “high functioning” autism, I found this strange intersection of events (kids waking, meeting needing to happen, internet being down) all tripping a wire that made me feel like my day’s foundation shifted far forward far too soon.

And that’s just it.

In the autistic experience, you can kinda “manage,” until you can’t. I felt like I’d been hit with an out of body phase shift that just undercut the range of expectations — it hits you in the core, and while it keeps the shelves up, the plates and cups come tumbling down from that plane shift.

It felt bad, and it was bad.

Sometimes I’ve got to duck a little early and “be 100% dad” whilst at work, but 40 minutes early felt just too soon, ripping my headspace out of place.

You may be reading this and think: “Yeah man, it happens.”

I know it happens. And that’s just The Life Autistic – getting wrecked by these sorts of things.

So here’s where it got interesting.

I called this person back over the phone to salvage the rest of the meeting; he was more than gracious about it. Meanwhile, I’m just trying not to overspin and overspill and blow the calamity combo out of proportion — after all, it’s hard to explain why these things throw autistic me more out of whack, right?

“Hunter, don’t worry, man, I get it. I get it. I do follow your blog and catch some of your YouTube channel—” he assured.

Folks, that right there. This is why I self-advocate.

I can’t always just tell everyone I’m working with.

I can’t explain autism and impact from ground zero with everyone. It’s exhausting. I don’t have the time. I cannot summon the energy.

And coming from the defensive, it’s even harder.

So when my stakeholder here volunteered that info, I think I intentionally sighed relief.

I could level with him on WHY this tremor of events earthquaked me instead. I may have even laughed, just shocked with joy that I didn’t ruin this transaction, that, in some way, I’d laid out enough rope.

To where I could grab hold, hang tight, be glad that I’d saved myself in this moment. I could have cried, had I not been pivoting to “the next thing” so quick.

But I do feel that way, when I think of all the past judgments, scorn, impatience, misunderstandings that came before.

People didn’t know. I didn’t know. I didn’t say anything.

No one did.

I still make mistakes, fall short, imperil myself with dumb things. But when it comes to my autism, how it affects me, and how I manage: I can advocate for that now.

You should too.

It matters.

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 Instagram.

Oh, in case you missed it, check my first ever Life Autistic Q&A!

What You Tell Yourself at Day’s End

Memory is a scheming demon. A strange and warped aperture, altogether tinted more in dolorous hues, monochromes, quicker to drain itself of color and hollow itself down to dampened bark and snuff out the obvious verdure.

There are many hard days in autism.

And coupled with hypercriticality, hyperintrospection, and a whopping dose of imbalance toward scathing self-talk and distorted reflection — we often misremember every single day as a hard one.

I know I do.

It doesn’t take much for my mental oxen, resolute and routine creatures, to be veered into a ditch—cart, goods, wheels, and all—at the slightest daily shakeup, misconstrued feedback, tonal ambiguity, cloudy days, sleeping in 4 minutes late.

And there we are, up from the shallow crevasse I peek, hearing those horned beasts low confused, grimacing at skidded furrows as far as the eye can see. Never mind the many days in which the path was narrow, trod firm and straight.

Don’t mistake me for an optimist: there’s a lot of ‘not good.’

But I’ve become better at mental optometry: there’s a lot of ‘not bad’ either. I’m getting better at this in my old age.

Seeing others succeed where I do not: these are not the slights they used to be. Furiosity and frustrations within my orbit: these are not always intended for me. A bad morning-afternoon-evening: these are just the days that feel longer. They are not longer.

Thus far, at each day’s closing bell, whether it took a minute or a millennium, I realize I can tell myself this one thing.

“I did make it through this day.

It’s one of the harder things in the moment for us autistic people. I’ve had ‘patently normal days’ where minor subterranean quakes to routine foundations send pain up my spine and attack with exclamation pointed PANIC! Honestly, I still get derailed by the dumbest things too.

But thus far, I’ve made it through every day. Maybe not always at 100%, and sometimes perilously close to 0%, but I have made it through 100% of my days on this terrestrial plane.

I’m hoping to start working on my long memory here with this. To etch even the simplest day’s successes in stone. Notch those rocks.

And though my autistic critical self often wills the iron quill, I should more so scribble and write off the bad days in the inky puddle, where I’ll reminisce far less, remembering that there bad days I’ve penned away here.

But they don’t compare to even the milder days, where I survived and did much better.

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 Instagram.

Oh, psst, hey, if you missed my latest video, come check it out! I promise it’s worth thirteen minutes of your day – or else you can have your money back: