Please be aware that this is fictional. The party is purely a metaphor for my experience on the spectrum. Although this runs parallel to my experience, autism is a spectrum, and some elements may be dramatized for the sake of a story. This is not a work of fiction about how bad my life is, just an idea I got from a real event in my life. Thank you!
The moment we set foot into the building, I knew this was a bad idea.
I should have known better than to have a party at a loud place like this.
But every other option was shot down.
Dolls? No, that's too childish. Chuck E. Cheese? Who wants to go there? That place you've been going since you gained consciousness? You've been there a million times!
If I had a dollar for every time my special interests were ignored or made fun of, I'd have enough money to host a party on a yacht.
I only had a couple of people attending, anyway. It's hard to find someone who wants to be friends with somebody who infodumps about Rainbow High dolls and stares at the ceiling. It's hard to find someone who wants to be friends with somebody who needs a fidget toy in their hand at all times and could explode into an overstimulated meltdown at any given moment.
In short: It's hard to find someone who wants to be friends with me.
Eventually, a party host led us to our room. The walls were a fake and eye-hurting lime green, with paint peeling off of the walls. The only thing separating me from a massive room filled with screaming children and irritated parents was a thin, glass wall.
I was so stressed that when the only two people who were able to come showed up, I didn't even recognize them. It was humiliating and embarrassing, to not even recognize the people who were there for me. From there, it was a lot of small talk. Cake and decorations in a small, echoey room.
That was around the time it started. At this point, I've come to sense it.
At a party.
Around other people.
Emotions began to close in on me and I started to cry.
I couldn't tell if I wanted to run to the bathroom or just disappear right then and there.
I wish I could go places without feeling like this.
I took a few minutes, then walked off into the public bathroom with a backpack.
Although unsanitary and definitely not sound of mind,
I locked the stall door and kneeled on the floor.
Opening my bag, I took out the items that everyone hated.
A few fidget toys, reminding me of when my teachers would say
Put those away... You don't need them... You're getting distracted...
A few trinkets, reminding me of when my family would say
You really need to stop buying little junk... use that money to save up for college...
A couple of dolls, reminding me of when my classmates would
Take pictures of me without permission... bully me... tell me I was too old to be bringing dolls to school...
A set of communication cards and my sunflower lanyard, reminding me of when everyone around me would say
Don't use that as an excuse.
You're so sensitive.
Take off your headphones.
Did you hear me?
You act like it's a good thing.
Truthfully, I wish I never heard these statements. I wish I never felt these feelings.
I wish I wasn't a victim of casual ableism.
But I feel as though it's never-ending.
I try to clear my mind from these using the items in my bag.
Something I think about a lot are the dolls.
Sure, it's immature. Childish. Age-inappropriate.
But it's so...
Dolls are much easier to connect to than people in many instances.
Dolls don't hide things.
Dolls don't make judgments.
If owning, collecting, and having dolls makes me childish,
then maybe I'd rather not mature.
The truth is,
I am who I am.
My interests will more than likely never be the same topic, intensity, or same level of "appropriate-ness" as everyone else.
sitting on the floor of a public bathroom.
I finally feel okay with this.
It all has a name now.
I am autistic.