Glamour magazine recently held a competition to write a column; obviously, I wasn’t going to win, but entered anyway. But I thought I would share my entry here:
It sounds really simple, doesn’t it? I was probablely told that “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” by a Grandparent, or I maybe found it in a book. This, a lesson taught when very young, was something that would go on to define my life. At eighteen, I guess that I’m probably younger than most Glamour readers, but this wisdom ought to be shared with you all.
Let me explain, with a bit of background context: in January 2015, two months from my sixteenth birthday, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. A form of high functioning Autism, symptoms of this include an inhabitation of communication-in not possesing the right skills, lacking the ability to make friends, little to no ability to filter noises, being literal, having a speciall/obsessional interest, lack of empathy. For me, it was obvious in the special interests, as well as not being able to make friends easily.
Sounds pretty awful, right?
This lead me to a few problems: being misunderstood by students, people thinking that I was unemotional, being described as ‘obsessed’ with various ‘oddities’-Jacqueline Kennedy being one of them. (Because I adore her dress and that she was literary!) Meanwhile, what was forgotten by the majority of people is that I am human too. Time to take this simple lesson on board! That way, the barrier in communication I could maybe, just maybe, get around.
Back in 2012, I began my blog, mademoisellewomen.com ; this was a case of asking, or maybe not getting, as I needed parental permission at the time. Since then, I have used this space of the internet to document my Aspergers daily in a creative way-with poetry, opinion pieces, and the occasional lifestyle piece thrown in.
But it didn’t stop there; anyone that knows me will know that I am mad for Queen. (Because who doesn’t enjoy the soaring voice of Freddie Mercury?) It took me a few years to find out about the official Queen tribute band, the Queen Extravaganza. With an email, I interviewed the lead singer, Marc Martel, and got to meet them at one of their shows in 2015. That was the night that I became fixated on the idea of being a Journalist, therefore writing for a career.
Again with an email, I have interviewed people such as Jo Elvin (the Editor of this very magazine!); Lissie (American folk-rock singer, with hits like ‘Shameless’, ‘When I’m Alone’) ; Jodi Picoult (Author of My Sister’s Keeper), Dawn o’porter (legendary Glamour Columnist, Lesley Ann Jones (Brilliant Rock Journalist; I respect this woman immensely), and Helen Callaghan (Author of the bestseller ‘Dear Amy’.) . I got to go to Broadwick street to meet the Features director of Company Magazine, I’m an online Columnist for my local Newspaper, and at a meet and greet, I pitched an interview to Anastacia; (We all remember the song ‘I’m Outta Love’, don’t we?) This woman is my hero, and there was me, tiny, dressed as the scruffy student, nervous, voice high pitched and jumpy. She said yes, complete with an autograph on my tiny poster for my bedroom.
And this was all because I asked, and was upfront about what I wished to do.
Being Autistic is not a problem, and it shouldn’t be for anyone; personally, it has defined my life in fairly positive terms. All it took for me was that one piece of wisdom; if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Be ballsy in this world; you’ll never know what will come of it otherwise.
Do’s and don’ts:
Do: buy a Filofax, the height of fashionable stationery; Read ‘Radical Self Love’ by Gala Darling; listen to the podcast Call Your Girlfriend.
Don’t: send automated DM’s on Twitter. They can be annoying ; wear white underwear with black leggings; Tweet GOT spoilers. Not cool.