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I’d like to say that my boyfriend’s words upset me, but it’s more complicated than that: I was both hurt by his disbelief, and strangely thrilled.

“Adorably awkward,” I thought, beginning to embrace this new, if inaccurate, diagnosis, given by a boy who wanted me to be normal as much as I did.

The language of the body, that which makes up an estimated 60% of communication, was almost closed to me.

So instead I fell back on words — the safety of which I could understand, as their clarity left nothing to puzzle over or decipher.

There’s a feeling of coming out, of revealing something.

And then to have that person turn round and say you aren’t autistic — well, that’s difficult, too.

Also, he must tolerate my asking if he is angry when he is not.For a couple of months, I was sent to a special residential school for kids with behavioural problems, which was terrifying for all sorts of reasons I won’t go into here, and completely wrong for me.This story perhaps illustrates how far I had come since the age of thirteen, and why it was easy to lie to myself at University — to say that I wasn’t really autistic anymore, or that by learning about social graces I had somehow “got over it” or “got past it.” I was a nineteen-year-old with long blonde hair, doing a degree in English Literature and living away from my parents in University flats.We still argue, and sometimes he does get mad at me.But when he says, “How did you not know I was feeling that? Hope Whitmore is an Edinburgh based writer in her twenties.

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