|[image: The author, a white woman with light brown hair|
in two French braids, smiling and sitting in a field of lavender.]
I see the world in all its vibrance. I am uplifted at once by the sound of birds. The feeling of the sun on my skin makes me feel so warm. I'm sure I see more shades of green than other people. I notice those small details that others don't. My eyes are constantly searching.
Honesty comes so naturally to me, and I like that (most of the time). It makes me feel more genuine. It means my relationships are so much stronger and purer. It means that I'm not hiding things which build up inside of me. It means that I make other people laugh.
I like my autistic sense of humour. A lot of people think that autistic people can't be funny. But apparently, I am hilarious. I get to see the biggest smiles lighten up the faces of people I love and know that it's because of me. I like that feeling.
I love how I feel when I get excited about something. My whole body is consumed by joy. It moves in ways that other people's bodies don't move when they're excited. My brain is transfixed. I forget about everything else and I'm transported into my own world. It feels magical.
Small things in life make me so happy. It's a childlike excitement that I often feel embarrassed about. But think of a child overjoyed at seeing a penguin at the zoo. I am like them at the smallest thing. I think this makes me more grateful for things.
I feel things so intensely, and when that's a good emotion, it's the best thing in the world. I feel joy with every bone in my body. When someone else is happy, I feel it too. When I'm happy, I can do anything. I feel like I'm on top of the world.
I feel empathy so strongly that I feel like I'm experiencing the person's emotion myself. I know I'm a better person because of this. It hurts me, because if I let myself, I can physically feel their pain. But it makes me a better friend, a better daughter, a better person.
The word passion describes quite a lot of my life. It drives the direction of my life every day. My brain latches onto an idea, and that's it. I have to do whatever is on my heart, and I can't leave it half finished. I have to achieve whatever I set my mind to.
I can hyper-fixate on things that I'm interested in. I wrote a 100,000 word novel in five days. I guess this means I have good concentration, but it's only when I'm consumed by something. I do things properly too, none of this doing things half-heartedly.
I have such a strong sense of justice. I cannot remain silent when I think that something is unfair. I always do my best to fight for whatever I believe is right. I stick to my morals and hope that I can make the world a bit of a better place this way.
I know what it's like for other people to judge me. I know what it's like to feel left out. I think that because I know this, I don't judge other people. I always include people. I want to make sure people aren't sad if I can. I want to make people feel good about themselves.
Social expectations go right over my head. At times I agonise over them because I don't understand them and want to blend in. But at other times, I don't care what people think. I do things because I want to do them. I think my actions are more genuine that way.
So, while autism can make my life harder in many ways, I never want people to forget its vibrance and the joy that it brings to my life, and the lives of those who love me.