Merry Christm-Aspie

Before we start talking about the magical day of goodwill to all people, I’d like you to take a moment to appreciate the title of this blog post. I personally think it’s one of my best yet.

I should probably elaborate that I use the identifier ‘aspie’ interchangeably with ‘autistic’; I know that some people draw a more definitive line between the two, but I’ve found that I’m comfortable blurring those lines. My actual diagnosis uses both ‘autistic’ and ‘aspergers’ in it’s official terminology. I would never identify anyone as one or the other against their will – just as I will never label anyone ‘queer’ against their will, even if I will fight to the death for my right to use it as my own. 

Now that I’ve patted myself on the back for my hilarious title (which I definitely didn’t spend several days coming up with), and I’ve completed a very brief explanation of the terminology I’ve used to make that hilarious title (which I definitely should probably write a longer post about at some point), let’s talk about Christmas! 

Now, like with most things I talk about, I have a strange and wonderful and terrible and contentious relationship with this time of year. 

On the one hand – the one encrusted with buying funny presents for people and wearing snuggly nerdy Christmas jumpers and never ending excuses to marathon Christmas songs on my commute – I have an incredibly healthy, joy-filled relationship with Christmas. 

On the other hand – the one dripping in office Christmas parties and flashing lights at every corner and the seasonal obligation to spend countless hours with large numbers of family members in a not-so-large room – I have a toxic, ‘maybe we should take a break’ type relationship with Christmas. 

I’m incredibly lucky in the respect that, since my diagnosis, my family have had a rule that ‘she may disappear to her room for half an hour and no one asks any questions.’ It’s a quiet acknowledgement that sometimes I need a little time to regather my spoons so that I can continue to enjoy Christmas (and, as an extension, the rest of my family can enjoy Christmas without the weight of a spoonless me dragging them down). 

Fortunately, we had a relatively quiet Christmas this year – we had no outside family coming in on the day, so it was just those of us who live in the house (including the dogs). As much as I love my extended family, it’s a real relief to have a less populated house on Christmas Day. I end up exerting far less in terms of emotional and social energy, my mum is able to take a more chilled approach to cooking the dinner, and I feel more able to spend Christmas as myself rather than the masked fake-neurotypical I can become as the house fills with people. 

So, it was quiet. It was gentle. And we managed to have exactly zero arguments (even avoiding the odd snappy or harsh word that we would normally have on any given day). 

In terms of presents (which I have to talk about, because it’s Christmas, and I like getting socks and underwear that I don’t have to pay for), it seems that my family (and friends) made the decision to use my blog as the ultimate guide to me and what I might like for Christmas – not something that I’m complaining about, because I ended up having the ultimate autistic present haul. 

I received: 

  • Three fidget spinners (one rainbow fidget spinner shaped like a golden snitch – just to get in the geeky queerness alongside then autistic goodness!)
  • One fidget pen (from my best friend, who is the reason I have my diagnosis) – and isn’t that the best thing you have ever heard of (and absolutely not putting me further down the route to being the most quirky but teensy-bit-annoying work colleague in the office). 
  • One giant magnetic whiteboard (so I can make obnoxiously large reminders to myself and also pin papers I probably shouldn’t lose without stabbing myself to pieces with actual pins). 

    To put it simply, I have enough stim toys to last me for at least a week (never underestimate how vigorously I can use my stim toys), I’m going to be unbelievably productive and focused with my epic super-aspie pen, and I’ll hopefully now be more on top of my life and less likely to get into conflict with my loved ones.

    I love productive Christmases! 

    I also love Star Wars socks and Disney pyjamas, because no one said i had to be 100% grown up and responsible 100% of the time. 

    This has been an incredibly brief and mildly pointless summary of my Christmas (or Christm-Aspie, if you’re incredibly witty like me). I have a lot of things that have been bubbling around in my mind-cauldron over these last few weeks, which I hope to start writing about after the distracting shininess and ‘oh god leave me alone’ noisiness of the season begins to peter out. 

    I hope you all had a great Christmas .

    And if you struggled through it, know that you’ve pretty much made it to the end and you deserve to be proud of yourself for that. 

    Author: QueerlyAutistic
    Erin Ekins is a queer autistic writer, speaker and attempter of activism. She has an interest in all areas of autistic social justice, but has a particular passion for improving understanding and acceptance of the intersection of autism and queerness. She runs the blog and is the author of the upcoming book 'Queerly Autistic: The Ultimate Guide for LGBTQIA+ Teens on the Spectrum'. By day, she works in campaigning and influencing at a disability related charity, but, by night, she is inhabits a busy space between angry internet person and overly-excited fangirl.

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