April 23, 2019

“You are so cute!”

My boyfriend said this as I was telling him about something exciting, and expressing my excitement in a particularly autistic way – tilting my head, bending my wrists, hiding behind my hands – letting myself move in ways I often resist around others.

It amazed me, as it always does, that he accepts and celebrates me just as I am. I told him so, and his response struck me as profound.

He said that people tend to feel awkward when they don’t know what’s expected of them. If a non-autistic person (like him) sees an autistic person (like me) break the script of what they’re used to, they may not know how to react.

But we know each other. So when I’m being myself, he knows how to react – by being himself, too!

If he’s confused about something, he asks me about it. If I expected a different reaction, I ask him about it. Neither of us need to guess.

Cut down the guesswork, and awkwardness begins to wilt away too.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.