My anxiety has slowly been responding to the medication I’ve been taking since the fall, but I think the biggest help recently is consulting someone who has worked with autistics for decades and really understands us. Barb is not autistic, but she employs one of us in her office, and unlike so many professionals with whom I’ve had contact, she understands that we make good employees, lovers, and friends. Her colors waver in warm hues, always approaching quiet, supportive reflection. Last time I saw her, she asked my mom to consider what areas I had control over, and asked me to think about where I want to have more say. I thought I would faint with surprise, you see, because I don’t think anyone’s asked me that since my OCD got so bad. 

I want to have control over more parts of my life: who works for me, how I spend my time, what I eat, and making long-term plans for my future. 

I want to be a kick-ass autistic advocate and speak at more conferences and classes where I can make a difference in people’s understanding of autism so that they are more compassionate and empowering of people like me who are minimally-speaking. 

I am truly interested in learning more about disability rights and history, and would love to earn a degree in this. 

I wish to travel more and meet other autistics. 

I would love to go back to the coast and maybe even take a week’s vacation there this summer. 

I need to feel connected to nature and the outdoors in a deeper way, and would like to go camping. 

A lot of my anxiety is tied to feeling like I am a burden to my family, especially in controlling my rituals and impacting their time. Not many people have three hours to spare to watch me straighten and organize my way to bed every night, after all. I wish I could do all that on my own, but I have to be prodded constantly along by someone, or else I get caught in a loop. In other words, I guess I want to feel in control in how I respond to other people’s reactions to me and my OCD. I am really pretty eager to learn as much as I can about anxiety and its physiology so that I can better understand why it has this effect on me. Having an explanation to the way my brain works is like understanding how a diabetic can predict what circumstances can lead to a drop in blood sugar. I need this information as much as my parents do, if not more. I process information differently from neurotypicals, but still need access to it! 

Finally, I want control over how I communicate and how often. I want to transition to a keyboard where I can be independent and have an opportunity to be around young people without my mom around. I mean, how can I flirt with someone through her? I would love to have the chance to be on my own and communicate with a stranger if I like. 

It feels like a Christmas wish list of sorts, but it’s a list of how I want to be in the world some day. Most of all, I want more parents to ask their autistic kids, “What do you have control over, and how can I help you get more?” Having the insight to ask is the very basis of giving someone more control. 

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