The Life Autistic: “But Hunter, you . . .”

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Let’s hear it.

It’s ok.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it from the outside.

Folks, I’m definitely autistic, even if I don’t look and don’t always act it.

But Hunter, you . .

I what?

Moved out?

Yeah, because my family thought it’d be easier for me to be out on my own and not have to worry about me during their next cross-Atlantic move. I was 16. It wasn’t easy for any of us.

Have a career?

So? Even many neurotypical, non-autistic people don’t! That’s just as normal as it isn’t. I was fortunate to learn, to adapt, to grow, and to work in a place that has mostly valued my work. I’m different, and I work for a place that thinks different.

Got married?

Well, hah, ok, I lucked out there. ^_^

Have friends?

I don’t have a lot of friend-friends. They are special and rare. They’ve stuck around. But I’m an odd duck. And even to this day I’m afraid I’ll lose them if ever I’m too weird. But I haven’t yet. I still have them, and I hope I find more.

Have emotions and empathy?

It’s not that I don’t feel. The intensity is different, the expression isn’t what you’d expect. This surprises me as much as it may do you. I’m autistic, not inhuman.

Are almost fun to be around socially?

Who am I kidding, no one says that.

But if they do – it takes effort, it’s all been work, and none of it comes naturally. I’ve worked hard—HARD—to be a more likable person, and it’s work every step of the way.

Folks, I’ve never grown out of it. I never will.

Autism and its quirks and perks are with me forever.

If they’re not obvious, that’s because I don’t make them obvious.

I’ve grown with it. Into it. Learned to cope, to adapt, to respond, to foresee and plan better.

 

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