At 7 years old, I told my mother,
"You're not my real mom.
You're my Earth mom,
And at night when I'm asleep,
I go back to my home planet."
As the years sped onwards,
I conceptualized myself as a three headed alien,
A Poet From Another Planet,
Acutely aware of my innate differences.
No explanation had I other than being extraterrestrial.
Those around me, too, seemed to sense I was "other."
Playground insults supported by adults who floated labels like
"Lazy," "Difficult," "Rude," "Deliberately Obtuse"
Over my head as if they were a crown,
Signifying I was queen of kingdom "Unlike Us."
No one looked deeper at the poor social skills ,
The rigidity, sensory difficulties, challenges with executive dysfunction.
It was easier to pretend I was in control,
Choosing the route of difficulty and belittlement.
It was only after I nearly succeeded in killing myself
That someone assembled the whole picture.
My story is not unique among women
Born into bodies and brains whose operating system is Autism.
We are the forgotten, the alienated, and plastered with assumptions,
Lost under the blind eye of those who spin tall tales of
"Only straight, white little boys can possibly be autistic!"
Generations of autistic women have known not a name for their difference,
Bogged down under self-loathing, eating disorders, and suicides,
Anything to cope with a world designed to break them
For the differences everyone noticed but no one could see.
Now that women are finally coming onto the scene,
A subtle shift in the awareness that the clinicians, teachers, doctors
Were missing a whole population of autistic people,
Answers are gate kept behind assessments that are thousands of dollars
And diagnosticians who've yet to see the error of their ways.
Peace of mind seems to be a right only of white autistic men
Who are lucky enough to have the "profile" of autism modeled after them.
It took 19 years, two suicide attempts, including 10 days in a coma
For someone to finally "see me,"
And I'm one of the lucky ones.
Answers were finally mine,
But understanding one's own brain should be a human right.
I think we can all agree:
The price of a diagnosis should not be your life.