Dear Martine

You're autistic, which means you're unique.

It's why you're obsessed with knowledge and already know so much about the (often unusual) things that matter to you.

School will be challenging, but it will significantly influence your life. You will develop a love for learning after you leave. You are going to help people by becoming a writer and a teacher.

Your autism is why you love singing and acting - you are trying on different characters and personalities. It will take you a while to find your own, but you will get there.

You won't have many friends, but those you have will be incredibly special (especially your partner). They will understand you and bring you unexpected joy.

Things are going to be hard, though.

Life will exhaust you, particularly in situations that overwhelm your senses. You will struggle with panic attacks your whole life (later, you will discover these are autistic meltdowns).

Social situations will stress and confuse you. Try not to rely on alcohol when you are older to make socialising easier. It will help initially but cause much more anxiety in the long run.

You'll find out people are terrible communicators - they always say things they don't mean and use fluffy language - it's annoying; I can't lie.

Finally, you'll spend over 40 years trying to perform in a way that society expects you to (it's no wonder you are tired). It's called masking. You don't need to do it anymore. People will like you, for you.

Love, Martine

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