Our Autistic Lives : Greta and I

Greta Thunberg has been all over the news in recent weeks for her activism on the subjects of Global Warming/Climate Change. To become a global sensation and proud of her Autism at 16 deeply inspires me. I happen to love our planet and fear for its future given the amount of resources we drain from the Earth. 

Listening to Greta speak, I was compelled to draw comparisons between us. The 16 year old Greta Thunberg and the 16 year old Jude Morrow couldn’t be any more different. When I was 16, I couldn’t come to terms with the fact I was different. I viewed myself with contempt and if anyone tried to convince me at that time that my Autism was a “superpower”, I would have immediately mocked and resented them.

Greta isn’t like that. In recent weeks Greta has become somewhat of a hero for me. She has a pride in herself and who she is that I never had until my mid to late twenties. It saddens me that Greta has come under intense scrutiny for her environmental activism. Never mind her being an inspiration for Autistic people around the world, she has to become the focus of hatred because of campaigning passionately for what she believes in. In the same way I want to campaign for Autism being recognised as a gift rather than a burden to be pitied. 

When I wrote “Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad?” I held a deep regret at not embracing my differennce when I was younger.

I could have used my own gift to campaign for what I am campaigning for now, but I didn’t. I often asked myself why? The reason being is that society made me feel ostracized and cursed. I viewed myself as unworthy of having friendships, passions, love and hobbies and I didn’t have a hero like Greta when I was younger. Greta is classy and elegant to her detractors, something I can learn from now as an adult. 

Leaving Greta’s stance on the environment aside, she is an Autism hero. Something I aspire to be. Even if Greta was campaigning for the recognition of fairies at the bottom of the garden, she is still using her passion and positive traits to change society, and I love that.

Many would ask me what we can do to make the world more “Autism Friendly”. I always answer with the same point, be less ignorant! Greta is using her passion and drive to make the world a better place. Greta wants to leave the planet in a better condition than we found it and this has to be admired. For too long, people think that those with Autism are the problem or “disability” it isn’t. We are the enlightened ones! For those who criticise and belittle Greta for using her passion to change the world, I would advise you to take a long hard look at yourself.

Jude Morrow

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