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World Autism Acceptance Week

What does showing our true colours look like to an Autistic individual? This is a question often on my lips. There is almost a learned response in most environments, certainly that I know very well how to portray. But sometimes, it takes so much energy to hold certain cards back off the table so to speak, and sides of our personality are exposed and it can have a hugely adverse effect on the person.

I have been in situations before where I am afraid to let people see the whole authentic Sam. This is because, as I referred to at the beginning, I want people to maintain a positive outlook on me as an individual, and don’t want to exert behaviour patterns or thoughts that would divert away from that.

The colour I would describe myself as is blue. A lot of people do not perhaps see blue in the most positive light. This could be due to specific days such as “Blue Monday” which I don’t personally think too much about, because it doesn’t have to be that specific day of the week that could make you feel the sort of emotions associated with “Blue Monday.” And of course, if someone is feeling “blue”, this means in the true definition of mental health terms, someone is not feeling happy. But I find a completely different way of defining what it means to be “blue”. And how my Autism overlaps with other elements of neurodiversity, why not throw a bit of green in there for good measure.

That would create the colour of cyan, if you were to mix them together. But blue is definitely the more dominant side of me. I would therefore describe myself as an accurate individual, someone who plans things carefully, someone who expects a lot of himself and someone who has an analytical mindset. The mixture of green would include the fact that I love familiarity, and I feel like I am a stable individual. Or as much as I can possibly be, even when going through a challenge. I try not to let myself get phased or overwhelmed, as it could take a long time for me to get back to any essence of normality. Feeling grounded is very important to me. The sort of analogy I could use which would be the complete opposite of me feeling grounded, would be when I went on a fairground ride called City Hopper. Never again… never again! It was such a turbulent ride. And when it went in reverse and all the hissing of the machine in order to operate it, it was incredibly overwhelming. This is the feeling after taking a risk, which left me feeling way too stimulated. It was possibly the first ever time I could describe how being too overstimulated would feel.

What you could say, is that I am the colour of the sea. Very blue, a bit of green, on the edge of turquoise, really. Water puts out fires, which is what I always set out to do metaphorically speaking (I hope I never have to put an actual fire out). Water is what also causes floods. I never deliberately set out to cause a flood, but if I am being totally honest, as a child, I would describe the number of messages I sometimes sent to my peers as a “flood.” This would only be to confirm whether or not someone would want to be in my company, as very often I would be told “yes” and then left disappointed.

But as I referred to the green side of me, this relates to the earth element which allows me to feel grounded and protected, just like a plant connected to its roots. Plants also bloom and become stronger over time. I really feel this and am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to do a presentation to everyone at Enrych about neurodiversity. Finally, it wouldn’t be Autism Acceptance Week without sharing some memories involving my special interests. So here is a photo of myself, at a Nottingham Panthers ice hockey game, with the best mascot in the Elite League… Paws.

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