I don't even want to think about how long it's been since I've posted here.
And I didn't want to think about how long it had been since I'd been involved with Autistics Speaking Day, or any sort of activism, when I talked to Corina again. I mean, it was no secret that I had stopped doing pretty much everything that I used to do. I had helped popularize ASDay, but now I had started avoiding it every year, as it arrived and on the actual date and as it passed. Too much depression and anxiety. Too much self-loathing. Too much doubt. Too much panic that welled up inside me anytime I tried to do anything that made me feel like maybe I was a person. Too many voices telling me, "You'll never be good enough."
But that wasn't who I wanted to be anymore. On new medication, I was doing a lot better, and starting to enjoy life again. I had been spending time through the past few months fixing all of the problems that I used to spend hours worrying about, and it was making life better for me. And I was not going to be afraid of Autistics Speaking Day forever when it could be fixed, and I could have what I wanted and I was capable of doing the job. So ignoring the tangled pit of fear and doubt in my stomach, I sent Corina an IM.
A few minutes later I knew a few more things than I did before. One was that Corina is a very understanding person and a good friend and I love her for it. Secondly no one was mad at me for being too sick to help during that time, even though I blamed myself for it, and I'm struggling still not to blame myself for it. Thirdly, and most importantly, I could help with posting the ASDay submissions to the blog, which was music to my ears.
I don't know how to explain how hungry I've been for something like this. I was so desperate to succeed at something, and it felt like an enormous pressure. Putting the first blog post together took Xanax and lots of nicotine. "It shouldn't be so hard," I told my husband, who was holding the pill bottle for me as I gulped down Coca-Cola. "I know exactly what I'm supposed to do and how to do it. It shouldn't be so hard."
I was afraid that imposter syndrome that drowned me the other years would shut me down again. But as I worked an amazing thing happened. I gained confidence and kept pushing out posts faster, because I knew that I knew what I was doing. I started to believe in myself again. It was a good feeling. And I knew I was back. At the end of the day I felt exhausted but accomplished. We had nearly 30 posts.
This isn't the best post I've ever done, or even a traditional ASDay post, but it's about what happened to me on ASDay and why I've been absent all this time. I'm happy with posting it as it is. Happy Autistics Speaking Day, people!