I am one woman.
Who am I? I could be your coworker…your next door neighbor…your best friend…your classmate…your teacher…your student…your secretary…your boss. I could be your mother…your daughter…your sister…your lover…your wife.
I could be the shadow passing you quietly by, the stranger on the subway, or the woman on the cover of the book you are reading. I could be the painter, sculptor, or illustrator of the art you are looking at. I could be the writer or poet of the words you are reading. I could be the composer of the music to which you are listening. I could have been the designer of the clothes you are wearing. I could be the photographer who is capturing your life as you celebrate your triumphs or connect your life to the person that you love. I could have written the play that you are watching. Or I could be the dancer who is speaking to you with her hands, her hips, her feet.
I could be the programmer of the software you are using or the astronomer telling you where to find Venus in the sky tonight. I could be the woman flying the plane on which you are traveling. I could be the optometrist examining your eyes or the doctor listening to your heartbeat. I might be the nurse taking your blood pressure, or the veterinarian vaccinating your cat. I could be the therapist listening to you pour out your troubles and helping you work to overcome them. Or I could be the lawyer defending you in court, or the judge rendering your decision or passing your sentence.
I could be the maintenance worker who changes the light bulb in your office. The librarian who helps you find and check out your books. The landscaper who mows your lawn and trims your hedges. The chef who creates and cooks your food tonight. The cashier checking out your order at the grocery store.
I might be Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Filipino, or multiracial. I might be Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, or Hindu. I might hold a Master’s or Doctorate degree, or I might have not even finished high school. I might be young, middle-aged, or elderly. I might be straight, queer, or transgendered. I could be a fashionista or a woman built for comfort. I could be a civilian or in the military. I could be a career woman, a homemaker, or a mix of both.
But I am one woman. One woman with Autism.
Right now, I want to let you know that I am here. I might be affected with Asperger Syndrome, classic autism, or perhaps another form of autism that you’re not familiar with. I might want your acceptance, or I might not. I may try to talk to you, and maybe you notice my awkwardness in conversation. Or you might not – I could have been trying for years to fit in and appear “normal”. You might notice that I don’t look you in the eye that often, or that I don’t wear heels, or that I can’t stand florescent lighting. You might notice that I am logical, blunt in speech, or perhaps even eloquent when given the opportunity. I may not even speak at all, except perhaps by written words. I might smile, or laugh – sometimes on cue, sometimes at the wrong time, or maybe even not at all. I might love you, or like you, or simply give you a passing glance out of the corner of an eye.
But I am one woman. One woman with autism.
And I am here.
I think that the above is probably my best statement of what I would want to tell the world about me, about us. Please feel free to share and pass it around to the people who know and love.