A year ago, I had the privilege of joining three other autistic women to film a segment for a Channel 4 documentary.
Because we live in a culture that doesn’t talk about death, I am innately curious. It’s the ultimate unspoken thing -final, unchangeable, ridiculous – that my brain wants to unpack and understand.
As women, we are taught that we must shoulder the emotional burden of being okay. As autistic women, the burden of okayness becomes even heavier. We are always okay. Except when we aren’t.
Seeing Norbert Neurotypical – with his banking job and his wife and his baby and his mortgage and his vegetable couscous lunch – just makes me feel like a fraud playing at being an adult .
These characters were my very own line-up of autistic headcanons. And I identified more with them than I did with the very few characters who were written as ‘autistic’ from the beginning.
Sometimes, when I wake up at night and my dogs are lying around me, I have to reach out and check they are still breathing.