UNMASKED: Snippets & notes from a lifetime collection of journals  (pre-diagnosis).
Advocating for autistic acceptance.




August 7, 1994  


O, to know the vulnerable, confused bewildered me. The yearning, full-of-dreams child. I can be everything. The Woman of Many Faces.


Kalpita Pathak
Age 19


Our inner children deserve our love and protection. When they feel safe, they come out to play and remind us of who we are when all the noise quiets down and we don’t feel the pressure of the world trying to change us. Our inner children are our unfettered selves.


I want to start with the phrase The Woman of Many Faces. I am not a woman and never have been. But, we didn’t have terms like non binary and gender fluid back then. I used to refer to myself as whatever but when needing to choose between the binary, I’d pick woman. Today I would write The Human of Many Faces.


Now, on to the theme of masking and the inner child!


Everyone has an inner child. When I was diagnosed as autistic, I realized my inner child was my authentic autistic self. Forced to mask, forced to “be everything”, I hid away the Little Kalpita inside me and wore the many faces required of me to survive in the world.


Getting my diagnosis helped me open the door and let my inner child out. Remember, self-diagnosis is valid. Once I recognized my inner child was my autistic self, I began to explore and experience the world through her eyes. It was hard at first but every day it got a little easier. This doesn’t change how others treat me per se, but it does change how I treat myself.


I have vowed to forever protect the Little Kalpita inside me. I have created a safe space, decorated in blues and purples, with projector lights and lots of comfy blankets and pillows for me and my dogs. There, I can read, write, craft, dream, nap, meditate, whatever I need.


You, too, have an inner child. Have you let that child come out to play? If so, how?