Sunday, October 27, 2019

just because (some of) my stimming is socially acceptable doesn't mean its not stimming

My diagnostic report claimed that I didn't stim at all.

People who know me know how hilariously inaccurate a statement this is. Stimming is my default state of being.

I handflap. I climb on things. I jump. I clap. I make noises. My hands move. My fingers move. When stopping and thinking while writing I'll just as often tried to have turned upside somehow.

I have never been able to exist without the input of pressure, of things wrapping around me. Blankets, compression, outside things. I extend this to wearing cloaks because I need the input of blankets.

I have stim toys, but I don't need them. I didn't have them before I was diagnosed. I fiddle with things. I fidget. From my medical alert bracelet to the pins on my tablet, through what walls exist around me, I understand the world through stimming with my hands. And am always doing so.

I have self-injurious stims. I control my overload, my dissociation, my ability to keep track of the world with stims of all sorts.

And people see this. And people know this about me.

And I am claimed to not stim by professionals. Not just the diagnostic report, by others I've seen. I'm claimed to not stim by others who go you aren't like my child.

Because they don't pay attention to those. They don't see what they don't pay attention to.

They do see the socially acceptable stims. And they say those aren't stims. And then I don't stim at all in their minds.

I do yarn-crafts. I nalbind. I crochet. Repetitive motions. Hands doing things. Feeling the yarn and how it moves. It makes things. It's also a stim. I make things with yarn because I need my hands moving. Because without my hands moving I don't know what is going on in the word. Because when I'm not I get so much more overwhelmed, so much more overloaded, so much more confused. I make things with yarn because it helps me make sense in the world, and in the end I have things with yarn. That's a bonus.

But that can't be a stim. It's something neurotypicals do. It's a craft. It's for fun.

My understanding is dependent on my motions. But my motions don't count if its anything someone else does.

Even when I've found its easier to just pick up my yarn and have it there than to get so overwhelmed I. just. stop.

I get less overwhelmed this way. I get less overloaded.

But its a socially acceptable stim, so you don't see it.

You don't see my typing, how I need to type, because I need my hands to keep moving. The ways that I multitask and type things completely unrelated in conversations because it makes me remember better, makes me understand better. That's just me not paying attention. That's me being a lazy millennial. Not so socially acceptable, but denied still.

You don't see that petting animals, that having them with me, isn't just emotional, that without the feel of the fur, without the beat of the heart, I can't regulate myself. That I am going to go to them first always, because I mean of course I will, but that something as simple as resting my hand on the side of a dog lying next to me will give me necessary sensory feedback. Not just I like dogs.

You don't see these things, because everyone does. Because its not stimming when everyone does. Because everyone stims. But you call it abnormal for me, because I'm autistic.

And also, you deny it for me, because you want to deny I'm autistic, because I'm not like those people. Because I'm an adult. Because I'm typing this. Because anything you can find to deny me is a thing to deny me.

And I'm autistic, and I have my stims and I love my stims. And I know they're there. And I also know I have stims that are seen as so completely normal that they are overlooked, from things I do with tools, like my yarn, to with just my body - pacing, so many ways of showing excitement (seriously how often do you see neurotypicals handflap when excited, its so often, its just pathologized for us), bodies move because they move, in ways they move.

I know I have my stims. Things you want to remove and things you don't, things you call autistic and things you don't, things you deny from me and things you don't. Admitting them makes it harder to "not like my child". Seeing me flap and climb and jump off of chairs in the middle of the college campus lounge while I was going to school there, makes it harder to say that I'm just someone going to college, not someone who doesn't move like that - because I'm both, because we can be both.

So its denied, its picking the moments I use socially acceptable stims and saying that's all.

The reality is you stim too.

And stimming is a wonderful thing.

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