I was officially diagnosed with autism today at the age of 35.I feel kind of empty. I am not upset that I am autistic, but I am devastated I spent so many years not understanding who I am at such a core level.

I feel sadness for the little girl that could not soothe herself. I am sad that her parents were not given resources to understand her better. I am sad that they feel guilt. She always felt their love.

I am sad for her inner turmoil from math problems ending in certain numbers that made her squirm and would occupy her every thought for the rest of the day.

I am sad others didn’t share the overwhelming elation when she found palatable patterns. She felt like others must be experiencing similar perspectives and it is shocking to understand that they probably didn’t notice or care.

I feel for the girl reading, crocheting and doing endless backhand-springs (She made it to 22) because the other kids often didn’t play with her at recess.

I am sad for the girl that wore her clothes inside out and realized it later in the day at least 12 times in school, 4 times as a teacher including meet-the-teacher at a new school, and numerous times as a stay-at-home mom despite the devastating mortification each time.

I am sad for the girl that was bullied in school for breaking the curve and talking too much.

I am sad at the guilt and resentment she has carried all these years for her inability to quell her loquacious nature and her interruptions of others. I am sad that she felt so much regret for how she made others feel in these fleeting moments, and that she felt her character was flawed.

I am sad that others would make fun of her for being overly literal and missing sarcasm throughout her whole life.

I am sad for all the headaches and racing heart from smells, lights and loud sounds. I am sad that nobody really understood the real extent of the overstimulation she endures constantly.

I feel sad that she trusted people so fully because she (still) doesn’t understand why anyone would deceive her or anyone for that matter.

I am sad that she felt like a failure every time she had a meltdown in her marriage or as a mom. I am sad that she lost control over things nobody else noticed or cared about.

Mostly I am sad that she thought she wasn’t worthy or that there was something wrong with her. I am sad that she felt like a terrible person for not living up to insanely high standards in a world that was not designed for her.
* * *
I am sad because I am not wrong or less than, I think differently. I think beautifully.

I am incredibly honest, and I don’t lie because I don’t want to. I have the energy of a puppy at times, but with it comes an enthusiasm for life that is both unrivaled and infectious.

I may not always look at people’s eyes, but I can see the beauty within them. I genuinely look for the good in everyone and want to make others feel good about themselves.

I have an insatiable desire to learn anything and everything in excruciating detail and cannot wait to share knowledge with the world.
Because of this, despite being 35 and suffering from multiple, painful health conditions, I still believe my life is just beginning and that my options are as vast and limitless as the stars in the sky.

I may struggle to interact socially (or at least inwardly, under the mask), but I am very loving with my close circle. I give my whole heart to those I love. I am happy that some people truly love me for all of it.

My brain is beautiful. I am autistic.