Many of you may know Izzy. She is a talented and gorgeous young woman who we are so lucky to call a Shona ambassador. Well, she shared something with us recently and wrote this piece. She also wanted to share it with all of you. So, take it away Izzy…
I was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) this summer. I am eighteen now. Eighteen years of feeling out of place. Eighteen years of wondering why I was different, why I felt so much, why I was, as many said, weird. Being diagnosed was a shock, and still is. Yet, it explained so much. I am not defined by my labels, as I have written and said so many times before, but having some idea of why I am like I am was a relief, a weight off my shoulders, and a clear understanding of what lies ahead for me.
I have always adored the arts. I love writing, reading, music, painting, and drawing. That is the way my brain is wired, you could say. I fixate on a painting until it is done, I scribble in notebooks about the world around me, and I prefer living in my daydream land more than the real world. My ASD, as I have discovered, has helped me become the creative I am. One characteristic of ASD Is hyper-sensitivity. This means that I feel. When I say feel, I mean I truly, deeply feel. Every little smile I receive on the street, every back-handed comment or sly joke; I feel it in my soul. I am sensitive and have always hated that about myself. Now, I see that my sensitivity is a blessing. In this world, it is a strength to have a soft heart. My creativity and art stem from that. I can write how I feel in detail, in a million different ways. I can paint with non-sensical swirls that my head is shouting and make it make sense. I am so in tune with every single one of my feelings that I need and crave to release them in an artistic form.
This is my passion. This is my disability. This is what makes me different, out of place and weird. This is what makes me, me.
Being diagnosed with ASD will always be a turning point in my life. Never before have I understood myself so well. Never before did I know exactly what my mind and body carved, and why. I need to be artistic and sensitive; that is how I was created. Writing and creating to me is like breathing. To me, being artistic and autistic go hand-in-hand, and I have never felt so proud to know who I am.
If this article has affected you, you can find some support on the AsIAm website. They are Ireland’s National Autism Charity. They are working to create a society in which every autistic person is empowered to reach their own personal potential and fully participate in society.
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