The Heart of an Autistic
8" x 8" Acrylic on Canvas
(Click above for full video tutorial.)
I'm only going to try to explain things from my perspective because I am not technically educated on autism and what it means scientifically. BUT I am autistic, so I feel like I at least get to have some say in explanations of how we autistics function in this world.
Growing up I struggled in just about every way imaginable. My sensory experiences didn't match up with what I was taught about life and I was taught by pretty much everyone to ignore these personal experiences, and go with the flow. I was told certain people were safe, but they weren't. I was taught to ignore that little voice inside that I now call the gut instinct, and ended up in some really bad situations during my teen years.
I don't know if it's the nature of autism in females, or that I was just really susceptible to the power of suggestion, but never once did I ever question whether something was good for me or not. I just did what was expected of me.
Sitting here at 41 and looking back on my life, I honestly feel like I'm one of the lucky ones to have survived my young adult life. Many undiagnosed autistic females end up dead by the age of 27. It's a thing.
I often thank God I have such supportive parents who were so willing to take me in and give me the space to sort out my mess of a life. It took me a LOOOOOOOOOONG time and a lot of hard work, and being uncomfortable, but was able to finally get my feet back on the ground with a solid foundation.
Even so, It wasn't even a year ago yet I discovered I'm autistic. At first I thought I might just be a little bit autistic, you know, not like the Rain Man stereotypes. The more I'm learning about what autism actually is, I realize I have a lot of very strong traits of autism. I'm just really good at hiding them from everyone. For some reason autistic women inherently know how to hide who they really are. It's such a strange phenomena. I've often thought I may never be able to reveal my true self, and what does that really mean?
This is why I am trying to focus on God. Not the god that only shows up on Sunday mornings in church buildings across America, but the God of the universe, plants, rocks, oceans and animals. If I just reveal who God made me to be, I don't have to worry about what I think, or what anyone else thinks for that matter. Because God of the universe has my back. God knows what's best for me and I can rest my head at night knowing She will take care of what lies ahead as long as I try to live as authentically as I can.
That brings me to this piece.
I have a gift of seeing the human spirit, and it's beautiful. I don't ever talk about it because it sounds kind of woo woo, and people look at me weird, but I think deep down we all have this ability within us.
I became friends with a fellow autistic recently. Immediately I received her energetic information from the words she used, tone of her voice, body movements, and how she came across to me in general. The information received moves from the top of my stomach, and in a fire works sort of way that sends a colorful explosion through my heart space and my head. I had this person take the enneagram test because it really helps me understand who someone is and what their motivations are. Not surprisingly this person was all heart space. Her top three numbers were 4,3,2 with a strong 8 to balance her heart.
The shape of this mandala is loosely taken from the heart chakra with the green radiating from the center (the heart). The dark pink colors refer to her compassion she feels for others and how it flows from her heart energy. And of course the gold accents because autism is golden.
I think these types of visions are synesthesia. If you haven't heard of this, it's quite fascinating and common in autistic individuals. Every sound has color to me. Every movement, thought, taste, smell, it all has color and movement. I literally cannot tolerate watching movies or tv, or listen to most music because it's too overwhelming. I can become blinded by these experiences and can sometimes lead to dissociation. That causes a whole other set of problems for me.
But it's fun pulling these out of my soul and putting them on a canvas.
I hope to show more of what I think autism looks like in others.