Tumblr—I Need Your Help
Hello friends and Tumblrians,
My name’s Kaila. I’m sixteen. I have autism, depression, and severe anxiety.
Since 2007, I’ve realized some things about myself.
-I’m beautiful at any size
-I cherish every moment
-I have art potential
-I adore sea life
-I feel amazing in the water
These things I have held onto throughout my life. I started watching a show called h2o then, too, and I was speechless. I knew it had to be fake (ten-year-olds question EVERYTHING…or was it just me?) but I was impressed by the flawlessness of the production. My favorite character was Rikki, a girl with a fiery temper. I sought to be like her, but I was already halfway there. Before any medication, I’d had meltdowns that were very severe. I was punished severely in return.
I got an American Girl doll that year, in 2007. I did a lot of things that changed my life. I still collect those dolls. I have four. Not bad for five years, huh? (I got her for Christmas that year)
I’m in Women’s clothing due to my size and taste. I wear size 11W shoes. Basically, I’m a bit bigger than most adult women, with the fact that I’m 5’9”.
We lived by the beach when I was born. My hometown even has a beach named after it. We were poor and living in a motel, so because the motel pool was always filthy, we went to the beach.
I remember wearing a little green frock with a starfish on it, sitting in the sand with my mother. The waves crashing before us left me wonderstruck.
Fast forward twelve years. My father has died from cirrhosis, and we are now living with my stepfather. We live in a huge house with four of us sisters left, a fiancé, three children, and my beautiful mother. The fifth sister has moved out.
We go to the Outer Banks every year, three years running now. I’m actually wearing a sweatshirt and tee from there as I write this. We’ve had a personal pool every year, and while I never cared for swimming above the water (I was too afraid), this year, I gained back my guts and swam. I dove underwater, plummeting to the bottom of the pool. It was bliss. I have never felt more at peace. I was HOME. And every day I think about it. I felt no pain in my ankles, no anxiety; my heart palpitations (which are constant) were completely gone. Nothing but blue.
I want to have a mermaid tail. The problem is that my mother thinks I am being too childish. That I am trying to become a mermaid. She won’t fund a tail, so I either have to make one (I’m a fairly talented seamstress) or buy one with my own money.
That colored picture? Drawn tonight. Pastels and colored pencil for the skin tone. It shows ME—extra weight, goggles because I wear contacts, and my short, wavy hair. And the side of me that no one really sees—the tail. Because I really AM a mermaid, no spells needed (and I did try, back in my early days!).
So please—PLEASE—like or reblog this if you support me. I want to show my mom all the notes, all of the people who want to take me as I am, not as I appear to be.
I honestly, genuinely have no idea why on earth there would be a problem with you wanting to sew a mermaid tail for yourself, or buy one. There are plenty of abled people who do that, and there’s no reason there should be stigma on you wanting to have one just because you’re autistic and have anxiety/depression. Then again…being severely punished for meltdowns is not particular helpful or good, either.
When I was 12, my mom tried punishing me for meltdowns, which were, you know, actually panic attacks as well as meltdowns. Punishing someone for suffering doesn’t help anyone. She responded by taking away my collection of books, of which I had hundreds at the time, because all i ever wanted to do was read. I was screaming, refused to even leave the house, and wouldn’t/couldn’t go to school.
I have autism, anxiety, and depression. I’m also now in my 30s, and I’m still me. I still have meltdowns sometimes, and I still love to read. I love fairy tales and fantasy. I work at a college, in the Disability Services Office, and you know what? I bring stim toys just like this one to work with me.
And that’s OKAY.
I advise a lot of young people on the spectrum who are transitioning to college life. A lot of them are like you, and like me, with severe anxiety and depression as well as being on the autism spectrum. And just about all of them have a special interest-a show, art, animals, music, computers, you name it.
And you know, I’m not any less autistic. I’m not any less ME. Sometimes I bring a blanket to work and hide under it. I bring earplugs and other tools that help make my day easier and more enjoyable for me, and that’s FINE. My coworkers do the same things (like playing video games on breaks or downtime), and many of them aren’t autistic. It doesn’t make me “weird” or childish just because I AM autistic.
I really like Adventure Time, and I wear clothes with AT characters on them to work. It doesn’t make me childish. It makes me AWESOME.
If having a mermaid tail or making mermaid clothes makes you feel empowered, makes you feel okay with taking up space, I think you should do it, and I think you should be supported. If you like to draw mermaids and draw yourself with a mermaid tail, and make one and wear a mermaid tail, then do it! It’s fun, and it makes you happy! You’re a person, and you’re valuable, and what you want matters!
I really fail to see how this is “weird”. Lots of teens (and adults!!!) like to do cosplay, historical reenactments, join drama clubs and community theaters, go to Renaissance Festivals, do Live Action Roleplay (LARP), go to comic conventions in costume, and dress up for Halloween.
The only difference is that a lot of people on the autism spectrum just don’t feel the same urge to be surrounded by other people doing the same thing in order to feel “justified” in playing dress up.
You’re happy just doing it for yourself, and it’s really the same reason anyone does it-it’s just seen as less “weird” because they’re in the middle of a group of people doing the same thing. Also, you probably talk really honestly about your feelings on the matter, and maybe your level of disclosure makes your mother uncomfortable. A lot of people *FEEL* that way, they just don’t SAY so because it’s not considered socially acceptable.
Being a teenager and wanting to draw mermaids and sew or buy fun clothes is about the most common thing I can imagine. Trying to pretend like it’s a symptom of some kind of medical condition isn’t helping anyone.
I guess what I’m hoping that maybe your mom can understand is that the way she SEES what you do, and the reality of what you ARE doing, are probably different.
Sorry to go on for so long, but I guess I can really identify with what you’re going through, and I hope you DO get to sew your mermaid tail!!!!!!
P.S. This book is one I had as a kid, and you can BET that I really took it to heart, as did plenty of young people who wished they had wings!!!!
AND HECK YES I BOUGHT SOME COSTUME WINGS AND WORE THEM!!!!!!
And so do a lot of other people: