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




August 11, 1994,

Last day of classes tomorrow. Already! I feel sad today. Time (God, here comes my usual blatherings) slips by me and sometimes I think it simply hides in the shadows of my life, in the memories of yesterday, the hopes for tomorrow. I don’t understand!


I have found a wonderful balance between living for today versus living for tomorrow. I often can’t help but feel pensive, nostalgic for the past.


Last year has been preying on my mind lately. But the way I look at my life is so different. As if I am watching a movie about someone else. I reflect on all my yesterdays – but I am not the same girl (Piaget and his stages …)


Kalpita Pathak
Age 19


Does anyone else have a memory that is like a movie you’ve seen rather than an experience you’ve experienced?




The saying goes When you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person and that is definitely true. We may share similar traits but we also bring our own unique experiences into how we process the world around us.


Still, I have met many autistic people whose memory and sense of time differ from those who are allistic. This doesn’t mean we all experience memory and time in the same way but enough of us do that I theorize we actually do process memory and time differently, just as we have a tendency to be literal and direct.


Memory and time are based in emotions and senses for me rather than facts and events. I can recall incidences by how I felt when they occurred. Not only that, I can re-feel how I felt.


This gives me a sense of melancholia, nostalgia, and sentimentality when I indulge in reminiscence. Generally speaking, I am mindful and in the present – the past and the future don’t haunt me. I think, as an autistic person in a world that rejects us as valid, I would not be able to survive that type of haunting.


The ableism in this entry is two-fold:


  1. The way I refer to my own musings (blatherings) – which could be seen as humorously self-deprecating – is based on people’s treatment of me. Babbling, airheaded, silly little girl. In fact, my dark humor, while hilarious, is likely a way to compensate for the cruelties of the world. Something I’m sure many of you can relate to!
  2. Piaget’s Stages of Development propose four stages of cognitive development. These stages allow for people who are developmentally and/or intellectually disabled, positing they may stay in particular stages longer than “normal” or may never advance to a further stage.



This may, at first glance, seem inclusive, but it is not. Creating a hierarchy of one stage leading to the next infantilizes those who remain in an earlier stage. 


Going back to how autistic people can experience memory or time differently than allistic people: if that different experience puts us at an “earlier Piaget stage”, society is given permission to see us as “less than”.


But if our experiences are seen as whole and valid, instead of part of a hierarchy (steps leading to the top), our autistic paths can be seen as parallel to allistic paths – not less than; just different.


Just like us: we are not deficient; we are just spectacularly, diversely different. ❤️❤️❤️