Can We Autistic People Get a Little Empathy?

Feeling weird and not watching a movie tonight

James Finn
James Finn - The Blog

--

Amazon Prime’s movie offerings for me tonight

Hey, Amazon Prime, no hard feelings, and I hope you understand. I know you don’t owe me anything, but I sure would appreciate a little empathy. Can you give me a second to explain?

I don’t watch a lot of movies. I’m autistic and movies are hard.

Part of my autism is an extreme sensitivity to visual stimulation. On a bad day when colors are too bright and things I see move too fast, all I want to do is retreat into a dark room and put a cool cloth over my eyes. I don’t say that to elicit sympathy. Hell, I rarely admit it. We all have our challenges, and mine are no more special than anyone else’s.

You’d probably never guess I’m autistic, and that’s a mixed blessing.

Hell, I almost never think about being autistic. I’ve had too many years to get used to it. Other than having trouble understanding people’s between-the-lines messages and getting motion sick over intense images, I rarely think about autism. I’ve been autistic all my life and I have little idea what it might feel like not to be.

Autism is me, after all, and I’m cool with that.

Sometimes I’m not sure how cool people are…

--

--

James Finn
James Finn - The Blog

James Finn is an LGBTQ columnist, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.