Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lindsey Nebeker and Autism Acceptance Month

We're featuring "Slice of Life" conversations with Autistics of all ages -- kids through adults -- throughout April's Autism Acceptance Month

Our goal is to help TPGA readers understand that autistic people are people who have interesting, complicated lives and who are as diverse and varied as any other population united by a label.

We are the people in each other's neighborhoods, and the more we know about each other -- the more visible autistic people and children are -- the more common autism acceptance will be. That is our hope.


Today we're talking with musician Lindsey Nebeker, who often writes about  sexuality, and who makes Twitter a better place as @AutismIsARose.

What is your name?

Lindsey Nebeker. My close friends call me Z.

Do you have a website?

Naked Brain Ink - www.nakedbrainink.com

What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?

Authentically human.

Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?

I'm not sure if one would consider these to be "superpowers," but it's safe to say my strength can be found in my musical ability. Music serves as my "voice," and the piano serves as my interpreter. Every performance on stage, my soul transforms into a creature of raw emotion and an inexplicable energy takes over my being. The instruments that I play translates what I am trying to communicate far more accurately than I ever could through spoken word or written language. It's a very effective way of connecting with other people.

What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?
  • Spending quality time with my 1909 Steinway.
  • Producing tracks in the makeshift recording studio in my home office.
  • Exploring cities.
  • Having a set of routines in place.
  • Inclusion.
  • Acceptance.
  • Solitude.
What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?
  • High expectations.
  • Personal criticism.
  • Judgement.
  • Loneliness (different from solitude).
  • Failing a performance, project, or goal.
  • Being yelled at.
  • Confrontations.
  • Eating in public.
  • Fear of getting into trouble.
  • Being stared.
  • Unwanted attention.
Are there specific topics you find particularly compelling?
  • Japanese culture and Eastern philosophy.
  • Sexuality, sexual rights and gender equality (especially in relation to disability).
  • Sexual abuse and sexual assault issues experienced by people with disabilities.
  • Eating disorder awareness (I'm a survivor of anorexia).
What are your preferred ways to be social?

At this point in my life, I don't mind being social under the following conditions:

Being surrounded by familiar, positive people

AND/OR

Being surrounded by people who share essential interests

+

I have cleared out several days in between every major social event (i.e. speaking engagement, music performance) where I can completely isolate myself and "re-charge" my social energy.

What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?

Traits I prize in a friend:
  • Non-judgemental
  • Accommodating
  • Appreciative
  • Shows genuine interest
  • Honest
  • Unconditionally supportive
  • Calm
  • Positive attitude
  • Openly communicative
Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?

I feel very fortunate to have accomplished so much in my life. However, I continue to feel pressured to conform to the social standards of society, and I constantly struggle with my self esteem. I often wish I wasn't so hard on myself -- to accept that I make mistakes and that I don't have to be perfect. This has lot to do with growing up with a disability and my desire to fit in, feel loved and feel accepted. Even as an adult, it's a continuous struggle.

What's the next big goal you have for yourself?

To complete writing, recording and releasing my debut album.

What does bliss feel like to you? 


Combine the above photo with the support from my loved ones and my recent 14,500-ft skydive. That's how I currently define bliss.