July 12, 2019

I wasn’t always a fan of neurodiversity. As a teenager, I often believed that my unusual way of thinking was the best way, and that other people were just wrong.

In college, I grew. One turning point was discovering a book by Shauna Niequist, who wrote:

“I have been surprised to find that I am given more life, more hope, more moments of buoyancy and redemption, the more I give up… The more I let people be who they are, instead of trying to cram them into what I need from them, the more surprised I am by their beauty and depth.”

That quote struck me like a chord. I copied it onto a bright yellow piece of paper, and taped it to my mirror. I wanted to learn to see that way, feel that way, live that way.

Little did I know how much I needed that kind of grace from others, too.

Three years ago, I learned what makes me so different – I am autistic! Since then, I’ve been writing about what it feels like on the inside, hoping that deeper understanding will lead to wider acceptance.

But for me, accepting others didn’t actually begin with understanding them. Acceptance came first, creating space for them to reveal their beautiful, sparkling, truest selves.

I’m grateful to them for accepting me, too. We grew to understand our differences better as we celebrated one another’s existence.

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.