My life as a woman on the autism spectrum

October 9, 2018

This guest post is by Tamsin Parker. She is 23-years-old, and is half-American, half-English. She graduated from Arts University Bournemouth in the summer of 2016, and is trying to make it as an artist and animator. You can view her art and some of her animations here.

I consider myself to be very well adjusted, though it was not easy getting there.

As a child, I had no sense of social etiquette. I was crass without meaning to be. I said exactly what I was on my mind and it hurt people's feelings. I'm very glad I mostly grew out of that. I'm still opinionated and can be a bit rude sometimes, however. But that is just my autism, and I can't help it.

I had an active imagination, though, which helped my growth as an artist. And I was stubborn which led me to become more and more self-assured, even if it did mean that I still caused trouble a lot of the time.

I was bullied a lot in Primary School for my autism. All the girls in my classroom isolated me in Year Five and the teacher was no help at all. Secondary School was a bit better, even though at first I was picked on for my short temper.

However, since then, despite having autistic friends from Weekend Arts College, I was mistrustful of a lot of people my age. It didn't mean I was a bad person, though. It was that I was a loner and a staunch non-conformist, which meant I don't connect with people easily on their interests.

On a positive note, I became tougher after my third ever week away at an adventure camp. Then again, I've always been athletic and I sometimes take to new sports like tennis, badminton and snorkeling.

I do have sensitivity: I still hate certain sounds, smells, words and touches, and that still stays with me no matter how much I try to cope with it.

You know how autistic girls are generally known to mimic other people or mask their behavior? I kind of don't do that. I copy the way people talk sometimes which is a form of flattery and it helps me to learn new languages. I am also a brilliant actress, which means I have no problem using myself as live action reference for my animation. 

I am extremely expressive, though I try to communicate my passion through my art if I feel like people don't understand what I feel or aren't experiencing the same thing as me.

And sometimes they don't understand, no matter how hard I try. My mother doesn't even see how I recognized my own personality traits reflected in a bandido from a European Western. All they know is, I am getting to be a better artist with every new lesson I learn, which I do appreciate a lot.

Anyway, I, Tamsin Parker, am indeed autistic, and despite the occasional pitfalls I will become a successful animator one day.


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