Aut's Thoughts

Giving you inside perspectives on the autistic mind.

Who Tells Your Story?

autism autismblogs blog inside-aut insights nannyaut neurodiversity Nov 29, 2022
Long haired woman standing on a bridge, a open book in front of her with a story unfolding, books in the background hold all the stories others have told about them

The other day, I was watching Hamilton again (I love musicals) and the phrase ‘Who tells your story?’ hit me like a ten ton truck. Because, for most of my life, the answer has been ‘other people’. 


When I had to do my ‘About Me’ for this site, it felt distinctly uncomfortable. That chorus of voices from the past ‘No one wants to know what you think.’ That fear of being visible, because you are only safe from bullies if you fly under the radar. The feeling that I don’t belong, that I don’t deserve to take up space, that I am an unwelcome intrusion.


These are real voices from people I allowed to tell my story. These weren’t imagined incidents. I was explicitly told that I wasn’t welcome, I shouldn’t intrude, that it wasn’t my place to have an opinion, that I should be grateful to be allowed to stay quietly on the fringe, that I deserved to be bullied for being different.


However, they are voices from my past, it has been a good while since I have mixed in those toxic circles. I have since found a place in the world where I fit, where I am welcome. I have been told over and over that people WANT to hear from me, that what I have to say has value to them.


So why do those old voices still hold such power for me? Why am I STILL allowing them to tell my story? 


Because, for all those years, I allowed their story to become tightly intertwined with mine. Their version of me became my version of me - how I saw myself. 


So when others come along telling a better story, I don’t recognise it. It doesn’t fit with the story I have taken on for myself over the years. It doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t feel safe. When I wrote for Autistic Village, and the readership started to climb - I panicked - for a long while it felt too unsafe to write for myself.

And neither story is mine. Not the negative, not the positive. They are all other people’s versions of me, told from their outside perspective. Slivers of me, seen through their kaleidoscope.


And it is time I learn to tell my own story and become comfortable with that. To gently disentangle myself from the poisonous vines of negative stories, to look through the positives and see where they ring true for me. To recognise myself in all my light and shade.


I can’t stop other people telling my story. I can’t stop them putting whatever twist they want onto who I am. I can stop listening and worrying about those stories. I can start telling my own.


And this is true for autistics too. For far too long, other people have told our story. Have decided who and what autistics are based on THEIR personal observations and beliefs - not including autistics in the conversation at all. Have used, even tailored, their narratives to gain fame and fortune for themselves without ever considering the negative impact their stories were having on the very people they were claiming to help.


How the world sees us now is because of someone else’s story - not ours. It is time we, as autistics, reclaim the right to our own story.


Inside Aut is part of that reclamation. Our story, told our way.