Word

“Autistic…”

I freeze where I stand.

A single word

Thrown out

Carelessly cutting to the core.

Why does it hurt so?

‘It’s just a word

And aren’t you just being too sensitive?’

Yet I’m still stuck there

Nailed to the spot by the hammer blow

Of indictment.

 

Had it been another word

Would I have felt the same?

Fat

Ugly

Awkward?

Surprised, probably.

Hurt, perhaps.

But feeling as though my skin has been flayed

Exposing the quivering fleshy

Substance beneath?

 

I like words.

Words carry meaning.

Meaning conveys truth.

From the configurations of letters and syllables

Words are born that make sense of life.

When you say ‘apples’

I think

Of glossy sweet fruit with a crisp crunch.

When you say ‘wonderful’

I think

Of good news and smiling faces and pats on the back.

When you say “Autistic”

I

 

People with autism are

Intelligent and lovely and interesting

People.

So it isn’t the label per se

As much as the libel.

Because words carry meaning

And meaning conveys truth

And that word carries a meaning conveying a truth

That is not true of me.

Autism is a complex developmental condition

Present from early childhood

With diagnostic features of deficits in social communication and restrictive repetitive behaviour

And while some of that may describe me

Autism does not and cannot define me.

 

See, I like words.

Words carry meaning

And meaning conveys truth

And when words are used inaccurately

I am upset.

So if you call me fat or ugly

They are subjective terms which I could possibly be considered to be-

While I am definitely awkward.

 

But when you say I am autistic

I think you mean that I am

Abnormal and defective and

Wrong

When wrong is actually the incorrect use of that word to describe

Someone who likes words and is particular about meaning because truth matters.

But yes, I am complex.

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