The Art of Autism is accepting letters and videos to your younger self (at any age). This is a letter by one of my favorite artists April Dawn Griffin to her 11-year old self. This is the second Art of Autism blog inspired by the youtube #Dear Me campaign.
By April Dawn Griffin
Your turning into a teenager and those boys that are beating you up are going to start asking you out in a couple years. You will feel weird and say no because they hit you before so you will date guys from other towns.
You will get the tooth they broke fixed in a few years when your done fighting. Your parents can not afford to keep fixing it because it costs $500.00 every time the repair is knocked out again. You had it repaired 5 times before they had to stop. You will understand it’s expensive when you pay to fix it yourself. Until then your going to get teased about your broken tooth. It does not matter. You will learn some people see past it and will still love you.
Nobody knows that you are an artist but someday your work is going to be in shows all over the world.
Your going to make a lot of mistakes and it will be what teaches you about life.
You will be diagnosed with something but I’m not going to tell you what it is becuase it is very important that you go make those mistakes.
Your going to be diagnosed later in life. If I tell you with what you will research about it and you might not take the hard path.
The hard path is going to be very hard but it will make you very strong.
You want to fit in right now. You want to join every team in high school. You will be the first one cut from every team. It’s ok becuase you will become an Air Cadet instead and that will train your body and make you less clumsy.
You will be an athletic 40 year old and you will run very long distances.
You’re not going to fit in. Not ever.
You will live on the edge of society and you will paint and garden and read a lot of books. You will discover you enjoy the quiet but not until you live loud first.
You will be rich and you will be poor. You will discover that just enough is enough and it’s your comfort zone.
The little businesses you start now will be a lifetime habit. You will grow up creating your own jobs.
Your going to be called a computer addict, but you will keep coding. You will win awards for your work and then get bored of it but before you do the code is going to help get you on your feet. Hit the computer hard becuase you will need to make money from home.
You will try many occupations but always go back to your art. Save time. Just be an artist. Art, code, and reading are called addictions – you will be told you do too much of all three but they are going to save your life so keep playing the Atari. You will build video games for a while in your future and they will look a lot cooler then video games do now.
Your going to talk to the Drs but not until your a mother. In a couple months you will tell the social worker the drs talk to you through that your done with all their tests and your not doing any more behavior modification. You will tell her your done talking to her too. They will let you go because they have seen how stubborn you are. Your going to modify your own behavior on your own terms. The doctors won’t let you go if they diagnose you. You will slip through every crack in the system but it will teach you where the cracks are.
You will spend your life trying to fix the cracks so nobody else becomes a crack slipper. You won’t get paid and you will consider it the most important thing you ever tried to do.
Your not going to fit in and you will find you don’t care. You will discover you don’t need a group to stand up and you never did. You will say what you want and exactly what your thinking. You will be free.
P.S. Don’t cut your hair off anymore and stop straightening it. It will behave when you stop trying to tame it.
April Dawn Griffin, Nipawin, Saskatchewan.
If you want to send The Art of Autism a Dear Me letter email theartofautism @ gmail.com. We are taking submissions from autistic people and parents for this campaign.
Beautiful letter April. I absolutely love the way you empathize with the younger April about the loss of tooth and go on to explain from the parent’s point of view how the expense is an equally important factor.
How encouraging it is to read about the diagnosis and the hardships that don’t deter you but rather help you find your own true Mattle.
All the power and adventure to you now and always.
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