Today I was asked what I wanted. I read a blog post written by a friend, and this is what she wrote: "I want to hear your wants," she said. "I want the inner ones. The ones that take bravery and a lack of self-consciousness to say." People don't ask things like that very often. I can't remember the last time someone asked me what I truly wanted.
There really are many things I could write about. I actually want a lot of things. My soul has some very deep, deep longings. But there's one main thing I want. And this one thing trumps all the other things, so I'm going to write about that. So listen to me. Because I'm about to tell you what I want.
I want an embracing.
In the dictionary, the first listed meaning of the world embrace is, "[to] hold someone closely in one's arms, especially as a sign of affection." The second meaning is the one I'm talking about. "An act of accepting or supporting something [or someone] willingly and enthusiastically."
I want to be embraced. I want to live outwardly as my whole self. I want to live in a world where I can feel safe when I'm being myself. Where being authentic doesn't make me a target. Where there's no ableism to fear. No judgments, no ignorance, no meanness. A safe world, where it's okay if I am sensory defensive, or sensory seeking, or if I want to carry a stuffed animal around with me everywhere because it makes me feel happy and calm. In a world where it's okay if I stim how I want to, where people don't say, "Hey, don't do that hand clapping thing. You look autistic." Where it's okay if I don't look at people's eyes, and where people don't expect me to try and laugh at the jokes that don't make sense to me.
I don't feel embraced. There are people out there trying to teach me to associate "Autistic" with "shame". Who tell me I shouldn't disclose and I should "pass" as neurotypical for as long as possible. Well meaning people tell me that if I disclose and if I act like my true self (i.e., if I don't work hard at passing), then I won't get a job and I won't get into graduate school.
I want people to be understanding and wise. I want people to be open minded and not to think "antisocial, incapable, weird, slow, awkward, not empathetic" when they hear the word "Autistic".
Messages all around me scream HIDE YOUR AUTISTIC SELF and NO ONE WILL LIKE YOU IF YOU SAY YOU'RE AUTISTIC. Or what sometimes feels worse: NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU. I want a shame free world. I want to be told that my neurology is lovely, and that I am beautiful not in spite of my Autism, but because of it.
I want an embracing. And really, isn't this what everyone wants? To be accepted, even down to their innermost being? Do we even know what this looks like?
To me, when I picture it, I picture something like a welcome home party. Where there's a big group of people, and they're all grinning broadly. Why are they smiling? They're smiling because you are coming. You're coming to see them. They are celebrating you and your existence. There's cake and streamers and balloons. People are cheering, and all around you, you're surrounded by this feeling of I. Am. Wanted.
I think that's what an embracing is. I think that's what it looks like and feels like when you, ALL of you, is deeply accepted. It's this knowledge that you are wanted. It's not that you're just being tolerated. It's that you're being celebrated. Embraced. Welcomed. Cherished.
That. That is what I want.