update in lockdown 3.0

🌈 I know it’s been a while. 🌈

I’ve been finding this lockdown quite hard. And hard to find my motivation really.

I’ve recently been watching Fate: The Winx Saga which is where I found the amazing quote “you are like an exposed microphone on a windy peak” which I personally really resonated with. It really stuck with me.

Some days, I carry on getting through all my tasks and other days I feel such overwhelming emotions, of missing the people I care about the most. Of feeling great uncertainty about the future. Of feeling stress at work when I have to talk to difficult customers.

Some days it feels too much and I have to take care of myself and retreat from the world.

Something I have been doing recently is meditating for 20 minutes a day. It’s hard to stick to a routine sometimes, but it does make a big difference.

Just to focus on the present, not the past or the future.

What are you doing to help combat the stress associated with these uncertain times? Comment below! 😉

Saying goodbye for now…

It’s been a while since I last posted.

I had high hopes that I would be able to maintain both a blog and my Instagram, but the truth is, I don’t feel I’m able to right now.

In the last few months, I’ve had a chronic health issue at the same time I got my first job. It’s been quite draining, and I need to retain all the energy I can right now.

I’m hesitant to close my blog, because I know it has potential. Over Christmas, I’m going to have a think about how I can keep it going alongside my Instagram. Perhaps there is a way to post my occasional musings, rather than lengthy posts. I think January would be the best time to return again, perhaps I’ll feel refreshed after the Christmas break.

So this isn’t goodbye forever, it’s just goodbye for now.

October update – seeking a place I feel valued

A lot has changed in my life since my last update in September. When I first saw this card just a few weeks ago out of interest in terms of what was going to happen in the future, I doubted I was going to find Unity in just a month. I’m so used to being a lone wolf, I doubted it would manifest in such a short space of time. Yet, as the beginning of October rolls around, I have high hopes for the future.

Before I begin, I thought this time I would show you the deeper meaning of the card, to be able to effectively describe how I think this card relates to my life right now:

Learning the traditional ways of doing things can be very effective. Other times, though, we need to break out of the box and consider new and creative modes of accomplishing our goals. Discussing various methods – old and new – with those you trust can help you know which philosophy to follow at any given time. If your goals are meeting with resistance, it may be due to the method you are using to attain them, rather than a flaw in your actual plans. Be open to trusted people’s perceptions regarding the right strategy to take. Having a support group of friends and a spiritual teacher who walks his or her talk will uplift you and allow you to stand tall in all your work. It’s important to always stay on a path of integrity in every aspect of life. The Law of Attraction rewards those who follow their dreams while remaining honest and true with dealing with others. Align yourself with organisations of people who have high spiritual ideals. In this card, our two fairy students have found a mentor to teach them both old and new ways of thinking.

This card really speaks to me because in the last month or so, I’ve changed my approach to job-hunting. Before, I was so focused on getting a job in the sector I wanted that I wasn’t willing to settle. The trouble with having that approach during a global pandemic and recession is that it wasn’t easy to get anywhere. Due to the tens of thousands of job losses in the nonprofit sector, with more on the way, it meant that there were likely to be more experienced and older candidates out there who were going to go for the jobs I wanted, in an attempt to secure something. Thanks to a friend of mine, (let’s call him) Oscar, we’ve talked extensively about how we’re going about things, and he was the one that originally looked at branching out his approach, which inspired me to do the same.

The path I was on was meeting so much resistance it left me drained and exhausted. This one week, I felt paralysed in my search and hopeless about the future. I think I had to hit ‘rock bottom’ (it wasn’t really, it was more just that I had hit a wall) and burnout to finally realise that I was going to have to switch paths. I was reluctant to initially because I was worried that, being autistic, I wouldn’t be able to cope with any other sort of role. I doubted myself, and limited myself to one way of thinking. But what I really needed to do, was start coming up with a few different plans. Not just Plan A, but Plan B, C, D even E, as many as it would take to get my foot on the ladder, even in a small, gentle way. So that’s when I adjusted my strategy: getting a part-time job in a different industry to allow me a gentle way in, and not to overwhelm myself.

So I started applying for remote, customer service jobs, and I finally started getting somewhere. Unlike in the nonprofit sector, I started getting interviews. It built up my confidence, and I learned from these interviews how to approach the next ones. It made me more determined than ever to do the best that I could. And thanks to video interviews, I felt a lot less nervous than I would have in an actual interview. I could stim under the desk, I could have notes next to my computer to help remind me what to say and what to ask. And it worked. Yesterday, one of the companies who interviewed me told me I got the job! Thanks to Oscar, who helped to show me that we had to adjust our strategy, it helped me to get somewhere.

Rather than seeing this card as finding a spiritual mentor, I see it as finding Unity and coming into alignment with others. I see it as finding a place where I can feel valued. In this time, I also found another volunteer role to dedicate my time to when I’m not working, and in itself is another way of finding Unity and belonging by working in circles which enrich me. In this space of just 48 hours, everything suddenly shifted in my favour. I’ve been using the Law of Attraction much more frequently, writing positive affirmations in my diary and asking the universe for help, and believing that the universe could provide if I ask. I knew I was doing everything I could, I just needed a break. And when I started doing this, that’s when some great things shifted for me. As a result, I’d like to write about the Law of Attraction in my next post.

And recently, I just celebrated having a following of 600 followers on my Instagram! This was another goal I set myself this year, for fun, and it managed to come to fruition! I’m not as posting as much as I would like, but I’m working on ways to make sure I can post more frequently, like building up a folder of photos I want to use in them to cut down on time, and reigning in my perfectionism and still post in spite of the fact they’re not totally perfect! Which is a massive step forward in terms of where I was just a few months ago.

So things are pretty awesome right now. I hope you guys enjoy the rest of spooky October, and I’ll see you in November!

My favourite books linking autism and spirituality

I’ve been interested in theories linking autism with spirituality ever since I was 17. At this age, I was extremely depressed and wanted to find more meaning to my life than being stuck at school, feeling stressed about exams and how my grades would dictate my future path. I started reading interesting theories online linking autism with spirituality which gave me hope when coming to terms with how different I was to everyone else at school. Since then, life has been busy. But now, lockdown this year has given most people this year a chance to discover new things and that has certainly been the case for me. I’ve dived into reading books linking autism with spirituality, partially as research for my book Girl, Misunderstood as it’s an area that continues to fascinate me.

After carrying out a poll on Instagram, I was really pleasantly surprised about how many people were interested in this topic. Without further ado, here are my favourite books linking autism with spirituality:

AWEtizm: A Hidden Key to Our Spiritual Magnificence

This book is about the journey of a non-verbal, autistic girl called Lyrica and her mother Gayle. With love and patience she stops at nothing to penetrate her daughter’s wall and communicate with her daughter. As time goes on, Gayle is welcomed into Lyrica’s world. At age 8, Lyrica begins to communicate, first on a keyboard, spelling “I am not retarded, I am intelligent!”. While Gayle attempts to teach her daughter, she discovers that Lyrica is an enlightened spiritual being, sharing wisdom beyond this world.

As Gayle opens up to Lyrica’s gifts, miraculous events begin to shape her life. Lyrica and friends, Leslie, Kellen, and Sara, write how they love their lives in autism and are here with a grand purpose. They share their mystical abilities, including telepathy, soul travelling, healing, oneness, gridding Earth energy, and communing with angels. Lyrica reveals that autistic souls are wired at a higher frequency that enables them to experience multidimensional worlds.

The book is written in two parts: first, her mother describes her younger years, including bits of material Lyrica had written, and how she overcame obstacles and lessons, and the second part is written by Lyrica. I found the first half of the book extremely difficult to read and found myself skipping large chunks of it. It was like I felt it was too painful to read through Lyrica’s experiences as autism is still something that is deeply misunderstood. It broke my heart to learn that when she was younger, she hated people. She laments, “Bitter people treated me like I was retarded. No way to hope in happiness. Lived to feel hurt. Hurt was the only feeling I knew. Not trust in any person or anything.”.

The second part was like a breath of fresh air. It was like the comforting feeling of being under a weighted blanket. It showed me a totally different perspective on autism from a perspective we rarely get any insight into. She explained everything I’ve always known in my heart, but was not validated by society in any way. A society that believes autistic people have an inherent deficiency, a disability, who do not “understand” others. And in many ways, the latter is right. According to Lyrica, the truth is autistic people “are service orientated and agreed to come here to be Lights into the world”. She explains that they have an “autism shield of protection” with the aim of not “becoming part of its (the world’s) lower consciousness”.

So many people will ask “well, if they were here to be spiritual teachers, why don’t they speak?“. She explains this very clearly in the book. There is a clear reason for this. According to her, it is difficult to speak the truth in this dimension due to being attacked in toxic and hurtful ways. She explains “we must hide our voices until the world is ready to hear them”. She explains that “we have held our truth silently until the world vibration can hold a Higher Message.” She shares her truth that autistic people have stayed separate to not share Earth consciousness, that which is characterised at the moment by selfishness and service to self before service to others.

I found her section of the book absolutely fascinating. It made me think about the autism spectrum itself, and how interesting it was to think that those who are non-verbal could have a stronger connection to spirituality than those who are not. I realised that although we are on different ends of the spectrum, we have the same feelings about the world. This book made me feel seen somehow, and helped me to understand more about myself. She said that we have to learn to empower ourselves and “rid ourselves of the energy holds that live in the poor reputation of autism“. “We have to come out of our shells and take a stand. We must speak for those who are trapped in silence. We must stop the hatred of autism and seed its truth“.

It made me think, that’s what many of us are doing on social media. We are spreading messages of empowerment, and in being autistic advocates teaching our message of self-love and self-acceptance, we are paving the way for a brighter future.

You can find the book here.

Pleaidians on Autism

This next book is very “out there” and also very mysterious. I was lucky to find a copy of this book when I did because the book has since mysteriously vanished and is currently unavailable in all online stores. This book is about a psychic woman who channelled messages from an entity known as Alexandrit for the Pleaides. The Pleaidians are said to be an alien civilisation from a constellation of stars near the constellation of Taurus, who are kind and loving and wish to help those of us on Earth. After her Dark Night of the Soul, she established a mental connection with her and this book was the result of the channelled messges she received.

I loved this book for a variety of different reasons. First of all, one of the main messages of the book is that autistic people choose to be born autistic as it is their soul’s path. They are said to come from the Pleaides, but have chosen to be born here on Earth. Not every autistic person is from the Pleaides, and they key to differentiating this is whether or not the person goes through karmic experiences. According to Alexandrit, Pleaidian autistic people they have come for the purpose of helping the planet transition to the next stage of its evolution. While most humans come here for karmic experiences, autistic people do not come here to learn life lessons and to develop through human experiences. The autistic mechanism has been developed to enable the Pleaidian essence to arrive and settle on Earth in human bodies, without losing this consciousness altogether.

Although I found it hard to distinguish between a Pleaidian autistic and a ‘normal’ autistic person, I really liked reading more about this idea that we have a different purpose here on Earth. I’m not sure if I resonate with the Pleaidian idea, I find the Lightworker label more familiar and easier to resonate with personally speaking, but I like that there are similarities. I have definitely had quite a lot of karmic experiences which means that I don’t resonate with her idea even more, but I wonder if the purpose of these karmic experiences was to help the people I came into contact with evolve which corroborates with the idea that we have a different soul’s path to other people here on Earth. And perhaps these experiences were initiatory for me, as they have made me a stronger person.

She explains throughout the book that autistic people have two purposes here on Earth. The first is healing family karma. Fear, anxiety, lack of trust, anger and violence is in almost every family unit. These fear-based energies are passed down through the generations and create more karma. For example, guilt is one of the most common ways to energetically abuse children. Autistic children tend to be born into family units as they do not respond to those same elements of power, control and guilt. Or if they do, they are more likely to heal from this as adults and stop the passing down of family karma, therefore raising the vibration of the planet. I really liked the addition of this into the book because I think it could bring comfort to autistic people who have had to deal with narcissistic family members. It brought comfort to me, as I am trying very hard to heal from the power plays I was exposed to as a child.

The second reason that autistic people have come here it to perform what she calls inter-dimensional consciousness work. If this is true, this corroborates with the first book, where Lyrica goes into great length about how she connects with other autistic people telepathically to perform crystalline grid healing. This is something I found quite alien to me, but I think it’s fascinating nevertheless. So, apparently, Pleaidian autistic people are here to heal the crystalline grid, which surrounds the entire Earth and works as a selective filter of frequencies, by enabling only light frequencies to go through it. However, there is another grid situated between the crystalline grid and Earth that prevents ‘light’ from penetrating and reaching the planet. This is called the shadow grid. Over thousands of years, this has become condensed and now very little light energy can reach the planet. The time has come to “shatter” the shadow grid, and this is the reason why they’re here. I believe that even by autistic people being here, is enough to help raise the vibration of the planet.

I could write a whole essay on why I love this book, but I’m going to have to stop myself there! It’s absolutely fascinating. The book corroborates with a lot of alternative material I have read, and it again really presents a different perspective on autism than society’s view. I would argue it is more important for autistic people to find meaning than the general population due to our isolation and alienation at various points in our life, and I think reading this book could be of some comfort to people who are equally as interested in spirituality as I am.

If you would like to know more about this book, please feel free to contact me.

Autism and Spirituality

As for the next two books, I didn’t quite enjoy them as much as the previous two. I think it’s because the next two are academic in a sense, and the amount of information in these books are overwhelming in comparison to the first two which read as stories. Although a lot of the information in this book went over my head, I really liked her analysis of the sensitivities found in autism. She goes into greater depth about this than other articles or books that I have read, and there are many interesting observations that she talks about, particularly how autistic people have different ways of expressing themselves because of their sensitivity.

One of the interesting myths that she busts is that of empathy. As we all know, there are a lot of myths that are spread around about the fact that autistic people lack empathy. This summer, I started reading a book called Empathy by Roman Krznaric and was shocked to read that he lumped autistic people in with psychopaths as being two of the worst categories for having empathy for others. According to him, these 2% of people are not “hard-wired” to have empathy, unlike the other 98% of people. Shocking, right?! And this book is about having empathy for others! Quite ironic, really.

The author busts this myth, explaining that there are two types of empathy: emotional empathy and sensory empathy. ‘Normal’ people have emotional empathy but some of them may be very deficient in sensory empathy. By sensory empathy, I mean that autistic people can pick up the emotions (emotional energy) of others and become quite distressed by it. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve asked people close to me if they’re angry with me, and when digging deeper, find that something else is troubling them and they aren’t angry with me at all. She explains that this might be the reason why autistic people exhibit ‘challenging’ behaviours as they seem to amplify their carers’ emotions and feed them back. She quotes Temple Grandin (2006) who says the following:

“I really relate to physical hardship. I have observed that normal people have had bad visual empathy. They are often not able to perceive how another person would see something.”

Another thing the author talks about is that of spiritual intelligence (abbreviated as SQ). Spiritual intelligence is the ability to ask ultimate questions about God, the meaning of life and the ability to experience the connections between individuals and the world. Wolman (2001) distinguishes seven factors of spiritual intelligence: divinity, mindfulness, extrasensory perception, community, intellectuality (a desire to study and discuss spiritual material and/or sacred texts), trauma and spirituality. In particular, the author brings our attention to a particular list that delineates ten distinctive features of highly developed SQ:

  1. The capacity to be flexible (adaptive).
  2. A high degree of self-awareness.
  3. A capacity to face and use suffering.
  4. A capacity to face and transcend pain.
  5. The quality of being inspired by vision and values.
  6. A reluctance to cause unnecessary harm.
  7. A tendency to see the connections between diverse things.
  8. A marked tendency to ask ‘Why?’ or ‘What if?’ questions to seek fundamental answers.
  9. Being ‘field-independent’ (being able to work against conventions.
  10. Being responsible for bringing higher vision and value to others (inspire others – being a servant leader).

Although she doesn’t explicitly say so, I believe that she is trying to imply that there are traits of autism which allow autistic people to have a more highly developed SQ. By being detached from other people to a slight degree, it can allow us to have a more spiritual experience and go against the norm. It would have interested me to see whether this is what she was trying to imply. Her work reads more as an introduction to various different topics, but there was no argument running through the book which slightly disappointed me. Nevertheless, her examination of autistic traits and sensitivities was an interesting read.

You can find the book here.

Autism and the God Connection

Another really good book to read is one called Autism and the God Connection. The book helps parents realise their child’s uniqueness and reaffirm that our gifts can be seen as a blessing. Through multiple interviews, William Stillman (who is also on the autism spectrum) documents extraordinary examples of spiritual giftedness, and boldly challenges our traditionally held beliefs about people with disabilities.

Right from the beginning, he talks about the pitfall of an autism diagnosis in our society. He says “the clinical definition of autism is not family – or individual – friendly. It is, unfortunately, oftentimes an indicator of one’s perceived deficits rather than one’s strengths, gifts and abilities. Many parents tell me their child’s diagnosis is a death sentence… The focus so frequently becomes how to best manage and control those with autism for the sake of conformity and normalcy.” This interestingly corroborates with both the Pleidians on Autism and AWEtizm books, where the authors all state the same thing: by the parents seeking for their child to be like everyone else, this actually damages autistic people more than does them good.

According to Stillman, he belies that “if our souls are on a path of perpetual learning in a journey toward attaining spiritual perfection, it may be congruent that those individuals with the greatest life challenges are among the most advanced of souls”. By stating this, he implies that although autistic people ahve more challenges, that we are the most advanced of souls because we have had to overcome a lot of challenges in just one lifetime. He repeats what an autistic girl called Angela has told him:

“I pray Heaven has a plan for my life. God loves people with lives like mine.”

It is his belief that we are selectively chosen to be challenged in collaboration with a Higher Power. He explains “no wonder autistic people often use the analogy of feeling like strangers on a foreign planet – the distance from their spiritual tier to our earthly plane is vast”. Reading this quote gave me goosebumps because I truly believe we operate on a different “frequency”, and this is why as a result we have such a difficult time here. If you’re reading this and feel sceptical, it might comfort you to know that he does not want to suggest every autistic person possesses multisensory abilities (such as being protected by divine intervention) but it does seem to be a common thread.

There are too many stories to review in detail, but I’ll share my favourite one. He describes a group of autistic people called The Nightingales which was a monthly gathering from across Pennsylvania and its bordering states. They all used alternative forms of communication including Facilitated Communication, and each member brought his or her communication device to the meeting, whether it’s a paper keyboard or an electronic word processor. By email, he contacted the leader in 2003 to add to the agenda the topic of autism and spirituality. The leader, Mark, forwarded the request to the group and he received his greatest response ever as many had a strong interest in this, and the biggest turnout to the meeting ever. As he met with the group, and spoke to them, people gave their various comments:

“You are a blessing.”

“Not everyone understands.”

“I teach loving. I picked my life… I have an old soul that is nearer to Heaven. I was an old soul a long time. I love my life… I want to give my gifts to all.”

Not only that, but many of them explained how their spiritual protectors were grandparents with whom they were close. One told him “I have seen grandpa so many times when I felt I could not go on. He has told me that I can go on and I should because I have a job to do before I see him again.” As a result of sharing, many family members also present at the meeting were brought to tears when hearing of such divine experiences.

I really enjoyed reading this book because a lot of it resonates with me. I am in awe of the author who bravely came out with this book despite the complaints and negativity directed towards him for speaking his truth. I think he was brave to do so because autism is still vastly misunderstood, and many people cling to their version of the truth, one in which autism is a “lifelong disability”. This is just a label, or one version of the truth, but it doesn’t have to be every autistic person’s truth. This book emphasises that it may look that way on the surface, but there is a reason as to why we chose this life.

You can find the book here.

I really hope you enjoyed reading my review of these books, and I hope that in doing so, they make you question things the way that it has helped me to question and evaluate my own journey. It can often seem like being here is an uphill battle and that life is meaningless but according to these books, it seems like we have a lot to do and to give while we’re here. I hope these books serve to encourage you along your journey.

Why autistic people tend to be lonely – a spiritual perspective

In society, you will often hear that because autistic people haven’t got the same communication skills neurotypical people have, that this is the reason why we tend to be lonely. To others, it is apparently somehow an inherent deficiency, a disability, that we can not foster the same social connections that others would. This might come in the form of our difficulty in recognising social norms, avoiding eye contact, feeling overwhelmed in crowded places or even selective mutism. Some would even go as far as to say we “like” being alone, closed off in our own little worlds which couldn’t be further from the truth.

What if, rather than listening to what most people think of autistic people, I were to present the flip side of this coin? What if I were to present an opinion I have formed over the last 23, almost 24, years of my life that is actually at odds with the fact that it’s our social awkwardness that is the “problem”? I think that this opinion is very surface-level and doesn’t even scratch the surface with regards to what it is about autistic people that means they are still not fully accepted in the same way that everyone else is. I think there’s more to it than meets the eye.

In order to present my views on why I think autistic people tend to be lonely, I want to explain it using my current special interest: K-drama. Specifically, one in particular called Mystic Pop-Up Bar. I know what you’re thinking: why on earth would she use a Netflix drama to explain her spiritual perspective for why autistic people tend to be lonely? I promise you, it’s worth hearing me out.

The K-drama, Mystic Pop-Up Bar, is a 12-episode series which centres on a 27-year-old part-time worker in customer service at a supermarket who has a special power, one in which he views as a curse. Every time he touches someone, whether that’s a family member, a friend or even a stranger, that person will immediately speak their truth and explain exactly what is bothering them in their personal life. There is no sugar-coating, they will tell him exactly how it is. This leads to him encountering many issues along the way. It included friends in his life criticising him and making him feel bad. It included his girlfriend’s best friend being mean to him for not making more moves on her. It even includes one episode in which he was chased by a mob of women who were eager to share their problems with him.

It is revealed near the end of the series that he resents his power, and that he wants to be “fixed” so he can be “normal”. In a particularly revealing conversation with the angel of Death (just go with it), he explains how it makes him feel lonely and how he feels intimidated by people. On the surface, they appear one way, but when he touches them he reveals their uglier true nature and deceitful ways. “It’s why I avoided being friends with people for a long time”, he laments, implying he was intimidated and afraid of them.

The angel of Death offers an explanation for this. He says that maybe he is intimidated and afraid of them, while at the same time, the others he is is intimidated by are intimidated by him for being able to be a beacon of light, and exposing their uglier true nature. This leads me to think Kang-bae, the protagonist, is like a mirror: he holds a mirror up to these people and exposes their true selves, not the mask they wear to fit in to society or with other people in their lives.

To come back to my perspective of autism, this K-drama enabled me to visualise and articulate why autistic people tend to not be accepted. I believe that every autistic person has the potential to be a Lightworker, just like Kang-bae is. I say the potential to be one, rather than they are, because every autistic person is different and I do not wish to make sweeping generalisations just because we are of the same neurotype.

A Lightworker is anyone who devotes their life to being a bright light in the world. They understand that their actions (no matter how big or small) have the potential to raise the vibration of the planet. A Lightworker is someone who makes a conscious decision to endeavour to answer the call of Source (light) over the call of the ego (fear). A clear example of autistic Lightworkers are those I have met on Instagram, that choose to shine their light and their journey in unmasking, therefore, encouraging others to accept themselves too.

They are here to help people, to experience pain themselves, heal from it, and teach others how to do the same to help end these karmic cycles Earth is stuck in. This includes generational trauma – trauma which they are here to end. This is why many autistic people/Lightworkers have grown up in a household with narcissistic family members, including myself. When I realised that the pain I have gone through in my life can be used to help serve others, it has helped me to become empowered on my journey rather than believing I am somehow a failure. (For many, this is a difficult, momentous task to overcome their trauma, so we must be accepting of those with wounds however hard that can be sometimes.)

So, this comes back to the question, why do autistic people tend to be lonely?

Short answer: Many of us are Lightworkers, which can intimidate others.

For a more detailed response, this is my longer answer:

It is because we come from a place of Truth, and we choose not to answer the call of ego because this isn’t who we are.

Although we might struggle with ego at various points (“why aren’t I good enough? etc), it would never typically involve putting others down or deceiving. (If it does, it’s because they were taught or conditioned to do this. I don’t believe any autistic child comes in to this world with a hardened heart.)

I’m sure we all have examples where you tell people why you’re upset with them, and rather than apologise, they will get defensive. People can be deceitful, hurt others, lie to others and betray others and even then they are not willing to accept responsibility because to do so means that they need to accept the truth. People live in constant denial, and this is the entire problem humanity has. This is why we cannot band together to solve global issues.

Autistic people talk about a barrier between themselves and other people. I know for a fact in my life this barrier is ego. If ego didn’t exist, deceit would disappear and we would not feel this sense of apprehensiveness when dealing with certain types of people. We tend to reject those who are self-serving, while those who are self-serving reject our kind nature.

The truth is, people prefer comfortable lies to uncomfortable truths. Many people in the world right now have cognitive dissonance.

For example, many people with narcissistic traits paint themselves out to be wonderful people, kind fathers, people with integrity whereas in reality they will step on anyone they can to rise to the top of the corporate ladder. They paint themselves a reality which doesn’t actually exist. Anyone who threatens this image is on thin ice. This is why narcissists in leadership positions do so well. If anyone threatens them, they have money and power to eradicate dissenting voices.

Being truthful in a world which a lot of the time values fakeness over authenticity is…. intimidating. This leads me to my second point.

We are sensitive to energy. We can pick up through vibes whether someone is who they say they are. We see right through people.

Ever since I was 16, I have had a hard time being friends with girls in groups. The reason why? Because there is always a “leader” to these groups, a “leader” that isn’t as nice as they appear to others. A “leader” that cares about their social status more than others and step on people who they consider at the bottom. A “leader” that doesn’t like it when others don’t conform and see their true nature.

I call these types Queen Bees. I have dealt with three of these types of people, and the social exclusion I’ve experienced was so painful and isolating. I would not back down though. It did mean that I had to go off and find other friends because I found it upsetting that their friends couldn’t see them for the person they are. Because these people had money, or good connections, they chose to ignore who they were. They chose to apply cognitive dissonance because it’s easier.

If there’s anything in the world that bothers me, it’s people whose actions speak louder than words. The older I get, the more I choose to listen to my intuition. And there are a lot of people out there who have red flags written all over them. They don’t like people like me that pick up on that.

We are like mirrors: we reflect back to people the wounds they need to heal, because we hold people to high standards.

We do not conform to the herd mentality. We like to be independent.

People who strive for self-growth can be really intimidating to some. A recent example highlighted in The Independent recently really shocked me: a woman who decided to stop posting bikini and fitness photos lost 70,000 followers on Instagram. I don’t know if that’s because those who post similar photos felt intimidated, or whether a lot of her followers were just checking out her body, but it goes to show how by not following the herd mentality, it can often cast you out.

I don’t really understand the herd mentality, especially in the digital age – surely standing out should be a good thing? Maybe it’s because by standing out, you have the potential to be adored by people for who you really are, not just a fake image. Perhaps the people around you prefer you when you’re dimming your light rather than shining it bright for others to see. Maybe that’s because if successful, you’ll be making new friends and followers, and leaving them behind in the past.

I think this herd mentality can work against us when it comes to forming friendships. As stated in the previous example, if the “leader” of the group doesn’t like you, the chances are that the others in the group are less likely to speak up if that person is targeting you, especially if the bullying is subtle. They tend to remain silent for fear of conflict or because they are in danger of being cast out as well, and this may hurt their social status. There’s a comfortableness to the status quo, even if it is hurtful.

We prefer deep connections, where people are real with each other. Deep connections are a rarity in this world.

The curse of today’s generation is that there is a hookup culture, and a fear of commitment. I know it’s not true for everyone, but for those who are single like me this tends to be the general vibe – dating involves games most of the time. I think it’s partly to do with the fact that playing around with others makes their ego feel good, but I also think it’s because people like this do not love themselves. When people do not love themselves, it means that they have not integrated their shadow, and there are parts of themselves they wish to hide even if this is something they would never admit and lays dormant in their subsconscious.

Relationships are our prime portals for growth. I would even go as far to argue that they are the only true ways of growing as people. You can drift apart from friends, but when a break-up happens that’s when you really begin to question everything. So when a person who has not integrated their shadow side might start to fall in love? “Omg, they might actually expose me for the person I hate! But do I want to change? No. So, quick, run for the hills!”. In fact, people like this can actually reject you first even if you are the one to reject them.

So even though we desire close connections with others, friends and romantic partners included, it can be threatening to those who have not integrated their shadow side. Even though we don’t consciously realise, we intimidate these people! We are willing to be vulnerable and honest, and there are people who thrive off deceit, manipulation and lies because in doing so they can avoid being rejected or abandoned for who they really are. But to have fulfilling connections with people, you have to risk being hurt. Yet, for some, deep connections may expose too much.

We’re just different. And that’s okay.

We’re by no means perfect, or above, anyone else.

We make mistakes and can be a bit selfish at times. We too can lie as well. That’s because we’re here to grow. We must go through self-growth ourselves to help others grow from our mistakes.

I do believe though that many of us are here to try to help others. Those who are isolated or tend to be loners are the type of people who are here to be spiritual teachers and wayshowers, as hard as that might be to believe. We’re not prepared to settle with friendships or relationships and in doing so, inspires other people to grow and be better versions of themselves. Our haters can even be the ones who aspire to be more like us. Our friends can be encouraged by our own spiritual growth, and praise us for being so strong.

I believe we’re here to to expose the darkness in people we have conflict with to encourage them to be better people and we’re here to inspire and encourage our friends and family. And in doing so, we help to raise the vibration of the planet.

Autistic people are more of a blessing than the world realises. There will be people who come into your life and see your worth. Hold on to them.

kdrama network — cuddlybitch: Everyone has a wound that pains...

(Artwork by @goddesscollage on Instagram)

September update – it’s time to move on!

It’s been a strange year. A very stationary one. With lockdown happening at the end of March, things became stagnant… and remained stagnant. With lockdown lifting only in May/June, it was already summer and summer is always a time of reflection and stagnancy, especially towards the end of August. I always welcome the onset of autumn, I feel in some ways that’s the beginning of the ‘next year’. It’s a time where things start to move forward again.

So I find it very fitting that this card is about desiring change and wishing to move on from where I find myself now. I really like this card because the fairy currently finds herself in the seemingly shadowy forest, but she contemplates walking out of it, towards the sun which is shining. It gives me the vibe of ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel’. It gives me this sense of hope that the worst is now behind me, and things are about to get much, much better.

I’ve been feeling this desire to move on for a few weeks actually, in many different areas of my life. In June, I cut out a toxic friend which was very sad. Being autistic, it’s hard to find friends that I resonate with, especially sharing the same sense of humour and interests, so to have a friend locally with those in common was really nice. Yet, if this year has taught me anything, it’s taught me how much I give to certain people, and how little I receive in return. When I came to this realisation, I had no choice but to cut this person out.

The really strange thing is, once I started noticing it with this person, cutting them out, and focusing on myself, I’ve noticed how other people do this to me too! I honestly feel like I’ve been tested by the universe these last few months. I’d have someone I spoke to a few times pop up and dump all his problems on me and then leave again, and it got to the point recently where I was like “You know what? Why am I letting this person treat me like a dumping ground?” so I cut him off too. I have friends who are constantly “too busy” to talk, or quite clearly putting me at the bottom of their priority list, so I’ve been putting more distance between myself and them. Setting boundaries feels good, and that is something valuable I’ve learned this year.

So yeah, it has been a lonely time for me. I’m very lucky to have an online friend who has really helped to pull me through, and remind me what a true, reciprocal friendship feels like. I’m hoping that things are going to get better, and soon there will be more opportunities to meet people locally as it would be really nice to start building a support network here. I’m part of a volunteering group that regularly ‘meets up’ on Zoom, and I’ve started getting in touch with a few girls in my area, so I have hope that I’m going to grow some friendships and feel just a little bit more supported than I do now.

I’ve also felt this need to change my approach when it comes to job-seeking too. For the last few months, I have been trying to apply for jobs in the charity sector (which is where I’d like to work one day). Yet, in every job I’ve seen, they want experience which is something I’m working on, but I don’t really have. I only have one year’s experience volunteering for charities, and half of that experience is remote. After reading pretty depressing articles about how medical research and international aid charities are doing pretty badly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re laid off, creating more competition to get a charity sector job.

So I’ve decided to switch up my approach, by exploring alternative options. I’m doing some online courses including digital marketing to improve my CV, and the main switch in strategy is that I’m looking for part-time jobs, either in the local area or home-based. By doing a part-time job and continuing my internship for a mental health charity, I hope that this will help to see me through for the next year. I think it will give me transferrable skills, while also giving me some money which would be nice! Now that the general mood has changed, I feel a bit more positive about trying again with getting a part-time job (either customer service or admin), and I think it would really increase my confidence too.

I feel this sense of ‘something has gotta change’. I’m spending time rearranging my room, organising the files on my computer, prioritising job-seeking and even changing up my style by wearing make-up every once in a while(!). I feel like I’ve been a caterpillar in the cocoon this year, and now I’m ready to complete my transformation into a butterfly. I want to spread my wings, and find meaning and joy again in my life. I’m looking forward to making some major life changes in the upcoming months!

New blog series announcement!

I really enjoy writing, it’s my passion for sure. I want to use this space as a place where I can discuss issues or interesting developments in the autistic community. This includes things such as the blog post I did last time about Love on the Spectrum, or more insidious issues such as DNR orders on autistic people during the pandemic.

However, at the moment, I feel in a bit of a funk. With my internship, job-seeking and uploading creative content on my Instagram page, I don’t feel I have the energy at the moment to contribute to this as well unfortunately. Yet, because it’s associated with my book, I don’t want to forgo this space altogether.

So, I’ve decided to create my own unique blog series: life updates featuring my tarot cards!

Tarot cards are my special interest, and have been ever since I was 17. I love them. They are a form of divination used to either predict the future, or to expand deeper on emotional issues someone is currently facing, and tarot cards give advice to that person. They can make conscious what someone’s subconscious is trying to tell them. In my opinion, they’re a form of therapy.

So every year, I print out what’s called a tarot forecast of that year. You pick one card which is the theme of the year, and then you pick out 12 cards pertaining to each month of that particular year and tell you what the emotional theme of that month will be. It has been very accurate so far. It predicted the sad fall-out between me in January and one of my former close friends, and the emergence of a new, more fulfilling friendship in March. It also predicted very sudden, unexpected changes in June.

What I’m hoping to do is take a picture of the tarot card pertaining to a month, and write about how it resonates (or not) with me. I’ve already had a look at the tarot card associated with September, and immediately it completely resonates with me.

At the moment, my anxiety has been particularly bad. I remember how I started one of my first ever blogs as a form of therapy for me when I was a teenager, an outlet for emotional release, and this is what I’d like to do on this space. I want to use this space every month to talk about what’s going on in my life and use it as an almost diary. I’ve self-published my own autobiography, why not release my own monthly diary too! What do I have to lose, right?

I believe this space can act as a space to either discuss or vent what is going on in my life. A space where I can articulate exactly what my issues are, and in doing so, help me to resolve some of the emotional issues in my life.

I will either publish these at the beginning or in the middle of every month, depending whether or not they resonate as some might only become apparent in the middle of the month. I’m hoping to release my first one quite shortly, as it resonates so much with me already.

I hope you’re all doing well, looking forward to sharing my monthly diary with you guys! See you in September.

Love on the Spectrum Review – an autistic perspective

I was so excited when I heard about the release of a dating show about autistic people on the spectrum. Although there have been TV shows in the past such as The Undateables which have featured autistic people, it somehow felt validating to watch a TV show exclusively dedicated to following the dating lives of about autistic people. Autism representation on TV still has a long way to go. Disappointed with how there are very few shows which accurately highlight the struggles women on the spectrum have (with Please Stand By the only movie coming to mind), the fact that this show features both men and women really drew me in. So, overall, I rate this show 4.5/5. Rather than write a typical commentary as do most reviews, I’d like to celebrate what I liked, but also shed light on what I thought could be improved about the show, in case other shows like this were to take off in the future.

What I loved about the show

The show included both males and females on the spectrum

The myth that only males can have autism has been prevalent for so long, that it is nice to finally see some female representation too. Due to the fact that autism has mainly been studied in boys, it often means that girls get overlooked. That’s why females are more likely to be diagnosed in their late teens/early adulthood in comparison to autistic men whose traits are typically spotted in childhood, as early as two or three years old. So the inclusion of women on the spectrum was really refreshing, especially as it was interesting to compare the men and women on the show. I think that the women on the show were typically better at masking, although I must admit, there were a lot of pregnant pauses coming from the women on the show when asked how their date went, which I found so funny! I don’t think it would take much to at least say that they had had a nice time, but instead it was loaded with “well, I’m not really sure how I feel about this, or you…”.

The show shed light on intersectionality

Straight away, I got the impression that the Australian TV show aimed to be progressive and celebrate autism and all of the unique individuals on the spectrum. The first episode really impressed me, particularly featuring Chloe. Chloe is partially deaf and is bisexual, and I liked that the episode followed her on both her date with a man and a woman, as she came to the realisation that she preferred the idea of dating a woman instead. Intersectionality is so important, and often I think we forget how identities overlap. You’re not just black OR gay OR autistic. Sometimes you can be both those things. Sometimes you can be all three. I think we forget how often you can have multiple identities. In fact, research suggests that there is a slightly higher percentage of gay, lesbian and transgender autistic individuals than in the general population. The fact that the show shed light on intersectionality was really impressive.

A little bit of support goes a long way

Relationship expert Jodi Rogers was featured in almost every episode, and I loved how warm and encouraging she was for the men on the spectrum (the women actually didn’t have a session with her!). A few of her tips went a long way, especially with Kelvin, as he came across a lot less awkward when introduced to his date. Autistic individuals need support to thrive. They really do, especially in romantic contexts. I think having her there, and to follow up with them afterwards, was really nice. I think a lot of us almost need a translator when it comes to dating, who explains to us exactly what we need to do to keep the conversation going or what to do with our body language to show that we’re interested in someone. So her presence throughout the series was really nice, although I personally would have found it interesting if she had coached some of the women too. I personally find it difficult to initiate conversation so I would have liked for her to have coached one of the women.

Established couples were also featured

I thought it was really cool that they showed the flip side – autistic people in long-term relationships. I thought Ruth and Thomas were absolutely adorable, especially when Ruth was standing in the front entrance with a snake wrapped around her glasses, and after they kissed a few times Thomas responded “It’s like I’m kissing Medusa”. The way Thomas proposed to her was also pretty adorable. Jimmy and Sharnae were also cute, but in a different way, perhaps a way I didn’t quite understand from the outside. I liked that they included Jimmy’s frustrations such as having to buy navy socks because the socks he was wearing were not aesthetically compatible. It’s good to show the frustrations as well as the good times, such as Ruth and Thomas’ romantic night out.


Need I say more?

The parents of the autistic individuals were lovely (and all the men cried!!!!)

I loved how they interviewed the parents of autistic individuals. They were all extremely lovely and so supportive of their children. I particularly liked the first episode, including Michael (who was definitely my favourite, if you couldn’t already guess), where he announced at the dinner table “A lot of people our age aren’t interested in commitment — they’re only interested in intercourse” to which his family laughed in agreement. His mum said “I think every family needs a Michael… it just adds something different.” I think what surprised me the most was how the fathers seemed to be interviewed on their own more, and how many of them cried when talking about how proud they were of their children. At one point it had me tearing up as well! I think it’s lovely that they shared how loving an autistic child made their families stronger.

What I didn’t like so much

There are also autistic individuals who can pass as neurotypical. Not all autistic individuals are as socially awkward. It’s called a spectrum for a reason. It would have been nice to have seen this representation too.

Some people argue that we are still in the Awareness phase, where we still need to make others aware of autism before going onto other stages (the next one being Acceptance). So they defend the show for not representing other autistic people because they argue that the show is aimed at making society aware of what autistic people are like. On the other hand, I feel strongly that we need to show how autism is a spectrum. The truth is, there are still myths in society and remarks people still give autistic individuals such as “you don’t look autistic” or “you’re autistic? But you’re so empathetic”. We need to show a variety of people on the autism spectrum, ones that could easily pass as neurotypical too, because otherwise these myths are still going to be present in society, especially if people don’t know anyone autistic and base their views off shows such as this one. By showing people who pass as neurotypical too, it could make people re-evaluate a lot of these pervasive myths, and realise that masking is a huge reason why autistic people tend to act like others (rather than themselves).

Almost all of the matches for the autistic individuals were also autistic. And it almost never worked out! I would have liked for the show to match them up with neurotypical people too!

This is probably the main reason why I gave the show a 4.5/5 star rating. It was so good in other areas, and so promising, but it really fell behind in this area. I had high hopes for this show presenting what NT-ND (neurotypical-neurodiverse) relationships could look like. But strangely… it didn’t. The main focus of this show was either interviewing couples who were both autistic, or pairing an autistic individual with an autistic date. And surprise, surprise… it didn’t really work out. I felt like in doing this, the show was subtly implying that autistic people are too socially awkward to date neurotypical people, so “let’s just pair them up with people of the same neurotype!”. I’m sure this wasn’t their intention, but this is how it came across to me. The thing is, yes, autistic people do have an inexplicable connection with other autistic people, but it requires more than that to form a romantic bond. It requires having similar interests, values and experiences too. I don’t know what NT-ND relationships are like myself, I can’t say from experience, but I think this is the reason I would have loved to have had this perspective even more too, and for the show to interview couples and ask them how they make it work. Like, for example, which qualities the NT in the relationship loves about the ND one, and vice versa. I found its absence odd, especially as autistic people are statistically probably more likely to date an NT person. I feel like they missed a critical perspective in this show by excluding it, either intentionally or non-intentionally.

However, all that being said, this show is definitely a stepping stone in the right direction.

Overall, I was really impressed. I think the success of this show will hopefully guide other shows about the autism spectrum in the right direction too, and hopefully more girls on the spectrum will be accurately represented in the media. There needs to be more shows with autistic females in them too. For these reasons, I’m looking forward to the release of (another Australian) TV show Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, featuring an autistic female who is on the spectrum herself! Hopefully these little stepping stones will amount to huge changes in the way society views autism.

Why the term “autism sufferer” is stigmatising

This week, I searched for autism in the news because sometimes I like to blog about articles related to policy developments in the UK, and I came across an article with certain language that surprised me.⁣ The article talked about an ‘autism sufferer’. I looked further back at other articles to see if this was an anomaly, but it wasn’t. One of the biggest (and most provocative) newspapers in the UK consistently talks about autism in this way, even in 2020. Other smaller news outlets also describe it like this, as well as other related comorbidities such as ADHD and OCD.

Autistic people, and with comorbidities do struggle in life, but to suggest that they ‘suffer’ is a really limiting perspective to have. As someone interested in spirituality and the Law of Attraction, words are really powerful. To imply that people who have different neurotypes “suffer” because they are different to what neurotypical people expect of them is really damaging. To suffer is to imply that autistic people have a debilitating illness which is far from the truth. Struggling is not the same as suffering. Incidents like these remind us why autism awareness is so important, and that more could be done when (some) journalists report about autistic people.

Neurodiversity is invisible. It’s not as explicit a difference as physical appearance, a physical disability or being gay. It’s nuanced and not as easy to immediately understand. But the point is, you educate yourself, you don’t automatically assume that a person “suffers” or even wants to be mentioned in that way. Being autistic is an inward rather than outward experience, it’s not easy to relate to someone unless you have spent time with that person. Unlike prejudice against those who are gay or have a different skin colour, their experiences stem from outward judgement. Being autistic is much more subtle.

When you’re on the autism spectrum, sometimes the difference to other people is invisible or so nuanced that people don’t even realise someone is autistic unless they say so. Or, if the autistic person in question is non-verbal, it’s difficult to know how they relate to the world. But who are we to judge if they “suffer” from autism? We can’t, and we shouldn’t. I must admit I haven’t personally met someone non-verbal, but in some documentaries I’ve watched, they are so quietly radiating with love, that I don’t personally see them “suffering” in the way the media portray. How on earth could we possibly presume that they are “suffering”?

I believe that’s why the neurodiverse movement, or at least the charities/organisations who represent us, have to find ways to speak louder make others aware. We could be creative: we could make street art installations, we could educate people about famous autistic celebrities in history, we could collectively make a short animated video explaining so many different facets of our lives. We could make neurodiversity trendy like gay pride. Most importantly and relevant to this blog post, we could create policy proposals aiming to eradicate language such as “autism sufferer” from the media, because that has just got to go, and has no place in the news.

It’s 2020, and stigma around autism still exists. It started with Nickelodeon endorsing an organisation called Autistic Speaks that none of the autistic community endorse because they are hateful on Instagram. When the autistic community spoke out about this via the comments, they were silenced and the comments were deleted. They refused to publicly apologise. Then there was the TikTok challenge where people pretended to be autistic. And now, multiple websites referring to people with autism and ADHD as “sufferers”.

Dear journalists, autistic people do not “suffer” from autism. We are not limited by our condition, we are limited by how some (thankfully, few) of you perceive us. Your role is to create awareness by educating yourself before posting and informing others, not adding to the stigma.

I don’t want to go ‘back to normal’…

In the UK, lockdown restrictions have been easing for a few weeks now, too quickly might I add. One minute the streets of Britain were silent and there was a relaxing lull to the fast pace of life we’re used to, and now it’s almost like the UK has done a 180° turn. Shops and businesses are opening too quickly in my opinion. Avoiding a second wave should be a priority as it is going to damage our economy further, but apparently it isn’t. Leicester is about to have its own local lockdown, which shows the price that is already being paid. It is an unsettling time for the British economy, but British lives come first. It is the government’s fault that we didn’t lockdown quicker, and therefore they should be taking responsibility for their actions. Not just ‘relying on the common sense of the British public’. That’s just deflection of accountability at its finest.

In recent days, I’ve witnessed many people queueing up for McDonald’s, Costa at drive throughs, and the vast amounts of shopping bags from Primark and TK Maxx, as if they have been deprived. I understand the need to buy a few new things here and there, but this was like they were replacing their entire wardrobes. I think there are many people who would like things to back to normal. I think they’d like to go shopping, get back to having coffee with their mates and going out to bars again. I get it, and I think all of us want that to some degree. I’d love to have a coffee in town again. At the same time, I’m disappointed. Think of all the plastic that has been saved by McDonald’s and Costa being closed. Not to mention that people are probably eating healthier. And think of how much less clothing waste has come as a result of lockdown (discounting how many people have probably recycled their clothes with all their spare time).

Do we want to go back to a world where we’re polluting our planet? I really don’t. I was becoming minimalist anyway, but lockdown really made me realise that I really don’t need new clothes. Most women only wear 40% of their clothes anyway, and yes it might get boring sometimes to wear the same thing, but honestly I’m happy with the clothes I have. I don’t feel this need to go out and buy more clothes. That’s what accessories and different make-up styles are for: to make it seem like you’re wearing something slightly different even though you’re not. I don’t want to go back to a world where Primark clothing hauls flood YouTube, showing off what a great deal they got for a bunch of clothes they will probably hardly wear because they have a tonne of clothes anyway. I don’t want to go back to a world where we’re feeding into a system that isn’t sustainable for us, and even less so for future generations. I don’t want to go back to a world where we think it’s okay to leave 41 tonnes of plastic on Bournemouth beach in ONE DAY.

That’s not the only thing I don’t want to go back to. Recently, I’ve been volunteering for a charity in the UK, remotely based, and I actually love it. I love having the odd Zoom call because lockdown has allowed me to recharge and become more confident in myself to the extent where I enjoy the odd moments of social interaction I do have. I like doing odd bits of research and being able to spend time with my mum during the breaks. And being able to cuddle my dog at the same time as researching. I don’t want to go back to an office. As an autistic woman, I dread the idea of having to commute on a train to London, where most jobs are, five days a week. I think it would be fun for a week or so, but I know that my energy would drain faster than an iPhone 5 in the following weeks. I don’t want to have to feel the anxiety of not understanding the common social rules at work, like when you want a cup of tea you have to ask everyone in the office if they want one as well, or announcing you’re going to lunch (which always made me feel so awkward!). I liked getting to know people in person, but I wouldn’t be sad if I didn’t have to go back to that.

I think my ideal would be working from home. I’d like to have a job that is similar to my university experience. I miss how at university you could work anywhere you wanted to. You could go home, you could work at the library, or you could sit in a cafe and get on with what you have to do for uni. Why can’t work be like that? My best ideas came from walking around campus and then sitting in a cafe because I really enjoyed that experience of being able to move around freely. I don’t want to be chained to a desk all day and be restricted because it’s not socially acceptable to work somewhere else. And, yes, I do understand that I sound like a whining teen that maybe isn’t in alignment with the real world, but I don’t want to be! The real world sucks. I want coworking spaces like Workspace to become a bigger thing so that you can work in your hometown and not have to pollute the environment by commuting. I’d like to work at home, but have more focus on community-building and making new friends locally. I’d love a four day week and maybe on the fifth day everyone volunteers or does one thing for the community together, to build stronger bonds. I don’t know how that would be possible, but I want to dream.

That might not be immediately possible in this COVID-19 world, but I want to dream of a better future. I want WFH to be socially acceptable, and work some days in the office and some days at home. Getting up five days a week is exhausting for autistic people. There is no time to recharge, only a couple of days on the weekend. Society is built for extroverts, not introverts. I want us to collectively think about cutting down days commuting which will help the environment. I want us to think about how necessary it is to travel abroad for summer vacations. I want us to reconsider our consumerist ways. I don’t want to go ‘back to normal’. Normal wasn’t working for us, especially autistic people. Our house is on fire, I want us to start acting like it is.