Nice girls don’t flap.
There’s this lie that by supressing stimming and other autistic tells, we stop being autistic. That learning to play the role of a neurotypical person is the same as being ‘cured’.
Stimming can be stopped, sometimes, for a while, just like you can put your finger over the end of the hose and stop the flow of water. But just like the hose will eventually explode off the tap and shoot water everywhere, the constant vigilance and concentration it takes to suppress a stim builds up like pressure until it explodes in a full-scale meltdown or breakdown.
Stimming’s a release valve. When I’m overloaded with sensory bombardment, stress, or emotions I don’t know what to do with or how to process, stimming helps. A warm shower, a cup of tea, a nice rock, and I’m ready to face to face the world again. It’s also a means of self-expression. My ‘happy’ flap is different from my ‘thinking’ flap is different from my ‘distressed’ or ‘overwhelmed’ flap.
But stimming doesn’t look ‘normal’, so there’s a lot of pressure to not do it. Even though it does us no harm we’re encouraged to suppress it so we can pass.
I’ve seen a lot of references to people being told to stop stimming and be “nice” - to sit ‘nicely’, or be ‘nice and quiet’. The obvious extension is that stimming isn’t ‘nice’, and that we who stim aren’t ‘nice’ unless we stop.
Nice is insipid. Nice is bland. Nice is homogenised and allergy-free. Nice is pureed for ease of consumption. Nice is the pale pastel print of a basket of flowers in a hotel room. Nice is inoffensive, but it offends nobody because it means nothing to anybody.
We tell people to “be nice” when what we mean is “be invisible”. Stop doing that thing, stop having that opinion, stop disagreeing with me, stop having needs, stop existing in a way that’s different from how I exist because it’s making me uncomfortable. Be nice.
Disabled activists are frequently told to be “nice”. You’re so hostile, they’re* told when they make an educated rebuttal of someone’s ableist argument. You’re so agressive, they’re told when they voice an opinion in discussions to do with their own lives. You’re so demanding, they’re told when they ask to be treated like equal human beings. Why don’t you be nice?
Don’t be nice.
Be amazing. Be outspoken. Be brilliant. Be passionate about your thing, whatever thing thing is. Be a wonderful mixture of starstuff and spirit, an irreplaceable tangle of DNA millions of years in the brewing, available now for this life only.
Be what you are.Source: lettersfromaspergia.com
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