July 28, 2021

When I first began learning about autism, I related to some traits but not others. I thought, at first, that I might be “half-autistic.”

Here’s why I thought the other half of me was not autistic – and what changed my mind.

“I can make eye contact.”

Yes, but not without sacrificing concentration. I’ve written about my complicated relationship with eye contact here.

“I don’t have narrow interests.”

Well, not ones that are easy to label. But once I found the labels, I realized nearly everything that excites me falls within two buckets: phenomenology and storybookishness. I’ve written about that discovery here.

“I don’t stim.”

Well, I came to realize that I was suppressing movement to avoid looking weird. As soon as I entered a place where it was socially acceptable, like if music was playing, then I was moving more than anyone! I’ve written about my need for movement here.

What changed my mind, on all of these points, was learning from autistic women. I hope that my writing will help others to discover themselves, 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.