(Autistic) Girl

brenna martin


 


Girl enters the house. Girl, and all the ideas of what she could (and should) be, enters the house. Girl with a big red-and-green bow glued to her head (she had been born with hair, but it had fallen off after she was born) enters the house. The youngest of two and a half, the newest baby in an extended family with way too many babies good god why are there so many babies all the time enters the house. Girl, constantly on the move, enters the house. Girl, tired and desperate to just lay down and not have to move again, enters the house. Girl enters the house without a word. Girl enters the house saying a million words. On a regular weekday, girl gets bored waiting for her older brother to get home from school. Girl goes upstairs to her parents’ room to look for the school bus out the window. Girl begins to pace from boredom. Girl begins to pace from curiosity. Girl beings to pace, pace, pace, pace, pace, pace, pace, pace, pace, pace, pace — Girl re-enters the house from a place in her head she never knew existed after her mother startles her out of her pacing. Girl says hi to her mother four times in an hour while her mother organizes things. Girl reorganizes her things the way she likes them better when her mother isn’t looking. Girl enters the house, attempts to play with her brother, but her brother says that making a Lego pet store is boring and that they should all be evil ninja assassins instead. Girl argues that evil ninja assassins can run pet stores too if they want. Girl enters the house and stares in awe at her much-older half-sister on a rare visit. Girl spends the day shyly watching her half-sister from afar. Girl enters the house having taken the same book – Mr. Big Fat Round and Happy — out of the school library for the tenth time. Girl enters the house and her aunt sits her down to explain why her brother hasn’t felt good lately. Girl enters the house, still not used to seeing her mother having to prick her brother’s finger and then give him a scary-looking shot every time they eat. Girl born into a family of poor health and incurable illnesses — a mother with Lupus, father with neuropathy, brother with type 1 diabetes, aunt with type 2 diabetes, Pop-Pop with who knows what because the man refused every doctor, the list goes on and on and on…enters the house. Girl enters the house telling her mother which boy she likes this week because she heard a teacher say that girls always have to have a boy they like. Girl enters the house sometime during second grade and everything changes. She gets glasses. A new friend. A haircut. Clinical depression. Girl enters the house and shows her mother her report card, with notes like "pleasure to have in class" but also "please contact school counselor". Girl enters the house, age nine, having been called "weirdo" and "freak" at school again. Girl leaves the house with her mother, completely unaware of what is about to happen. Girl gets the most important diagnosis of her life. Asperger’s Syndrome — autism. Autism, as in the reason the girl was scared of people. Autism, as in why the girl hated certain noises and smells and textures. Autism, as in she wasn’t a weirdo or a freak. Autistic girl enters the house and paces for an hour out of happiness. Autistic girl enters the house with cramps so bad she had to be sent home from school. Autistic girl enters her house and takes off her first bra as fast as she can because it hurts and itches and feels bad, bad, bad, bad. Autistic girl changes elementary schools. Autistic girl ghosts through the last two years of grade school, brain fogged over by the new meds the psychiatrist has her on, and enters the house numb. Autistic girl realizes in middle school gym class, where everyone is wearing the same ugly orange and black uniforms, that she thinks about the other girls just as much as she thinks about the boys, and enters the house having an identity crisis. Autistic girl enters the house and learns her parents are getting divorced. Autistic girl doesn’t understand, feels angry, worries it’s her fault, until autistic girl re-enters the house and finds out her (ex) father is still going to be living in the house because he’s actually a jerk and it’s all very complicated. Autistic girl realizes later that he was never much of a dad anyway and that her nontraditional house was kind of messed up, with divorced parents who still live together in a house neither of them technically own. The autistic girl’s grandfather, the original owner of the house, had left it to her aunt who also lived in the house when he passed. Explaining it was always complicated, and fights in the house were common. Autistic girl enters the house, headphones on, desperate to ignore all the noise and chaos around her. Autistic girl enters the house and learns that her half-sister got married a month ago and didn’t tell anyone from the side of the family they shared — she didn’t want them in her life anymore. Autistic girl feels sadness while everyone else feels anger, because she understands why. Autistic girl sees and hears from half-sister a few more times after that, but eventually she never sees her again. She hopes her half-sister is happier wherever she is than she was with them. Autistic girl has identity crisis again in high school after learning nonbinary people exist and realizing that when it came to a significant other, she didn’t care what gender they were as long as she liked them and they liked her. Autistic girl enters the house with quiet excitement having learned the word "pansexual" from the internet. Autistic girl enters the house reading reader-insert fanfiction on her phone, bookmarking her favorites that in a year’s time she’ll think are garbage and be embarrassed about enjoying (not because she stopped reading fanfiction, but because she got higher standards). Autistic girl gets a Generalized Anxiety diagnosis and a brief OCD diagnosis, OCD diagnosis later gets swapped for trichotillomania and dermatillomania, and finally panic disorder is added to the anxiety. Autistic girl enters the house having finally found a medicine that works. Autistic girl enters the house, feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders – the pressure of school, the expectation of going to college, the honest truth of her family being so broke they can barely afford to keep their own home, let alone get her a higher education. Autistic girl nearly breaks herself trying to get straight A grades, actually breaking down the first time a teacher gives her an F for being sick too much and missing too much class. Autistic girl enters the house cynical and jaded and believing that everything good in the world is far removed from her. Autistic girl enters the house and decides to take a day to revisit the things she likes — she draws her original characters, writes something other than an essay, sings, plays video games, and reads something that she chooses instead of something assigned. With time, autistic girl finds new interests, makes new friends, and enters the house feeling better than she has in a long time. Autistic girl enters the house after her first anime convention drained yet still buzzing with the energy of being surrounded by people and things that made her happy. Autistic girl enters the house in her junior year of high school and marks the date of her appointed SAT exam on the family calendar in the kitchen, next to the wall where her growth has been marked since her third birthday. Autistic girl enters the house with a backpack full of study guides and SAT practice books. Autistic girl buckles down and goes back to the dark place in her mind again, the jaded and cynical place that believes the world is made to make people suffer — she has to get these grades for this scholarship and that test score for those grants, and if she doesn’t get enough she won’t be going to college at all. Autistic girl enters the house after the exam that seals her academic fate, her family much more positive than her and already looking at which colleges she could go to while she frets and frets and frets and paces, paces, stims, stims, spontaneously crying at the mere thought of not doing good enough. Autisticgirl gets her score back — "slightly above average". Her anxiety soars to new levels, certain that it wasn’t good enough, that no college would want an autistic girl who only got a slightly above average score on a for-profit, standardized national exam that only uses three school subjects. Autistic girl enters the house after touring her first and only choice college, picked because her IEP case manager knew someone from their disability department and she would be able to commute. Autistic girl enters the house and finds out her Granma, the last of her grandparents, passed away, and is filled with regret that she didn’t get to visit her one last time. She and her mother cry together for a long time and get ice cream together. Autistic girl enters the house to an acceptance phone call because a blizzard delayed the letter’s delivery date back a week. Autistic girl relaxes and makes her senior year of high school the calmest school year she can remember. Autistic girl enters the house after her college orientation, terrified and excited at the same time. Autistic girl enters an English class her sophomore year of college and is given an assignment. Autistic girl goes to the campus library after the class ends and opens Microsoft Word. Autistic girl begins to write: "Girl enters the house…"


 

Brenna Martin is a sophomore English major.