In my younger days, I was a maniac. “Party” to me meant a trip to El Paso, Texas and a night in a club with blaring punk music. I wore earplugs, screamed at the stage, and smoked cloves cigarettes afterward with a friend who was likely on the spectrum too.

I attended few “normal” parties because they bored me. I wanted to talk about Solzhenitsyn, Gogol, or nuclear Armageddon.

Distancing myself from peers through outrageous dress (think Siouxsie Sioux meets Nina Hagen), I followed this philosophy:

how-nature-says-do-not-touch
I went out to entertain myself, not to interact or to tic off a some social box. My family’s attitude had a good deal to do with this. Mom let me dress however I pleased. I didn’t intend to make a social statement through my dress, but I did want to attract fellow outcasts. My family understood and let me express myself. I wore my despair, disdain, and otherness in slashes of red lipstick and black paint. When I met my husband, I toned myself down, perhaps because I felt safe and accepted.

Inside I still feel different, but I have digested my place in the world. I’m not angry, lonely, or craving excitement. It has to do with finding purpose. Someplace to direct that screaming energy. Someplace outside myself, so I don’t adorn my body but support a cause. I am an activist in my heart.

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