Attending LGBT carnival when you get over stimulated by sensory data





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Once when I was in Riva Del Garde, Italy, I made myself climb the Torre Apponale, a 13th Century Clock Tower that offers amazing views over the Lake fort and town. I knew it would be breath taking up there. I also knew making myself go up high (it’s 34 metres high but it feels higher) and facing vertigo would also do something to my breathing, my digestion, and my ability to form sentences while quivering in my boots. I wasn’t completely comfortable getting up the 165 steps, or trying to manoeuvre myself at the tower top. I calmly moved around to make way for crouching photographers, when inside I wanted to scream “will you stand still until we get helicopter-lifted back down please,” as I tried desperately not think thoughts about how any moment I might accidentally walk off the edge. I was glad I got up there though, and for about 2 hours after when I was back on terra firma, I did nothing but drink tea and watch the calmness of the lake. I slept well that evening.

You may be familiar with the fact that I don’t like crowds either. No? Shocker! It’s true, the LGBT scene rarely speaks to me because it’s a physical manifestation of extroversion and makes me feel about as fun as the winner of the dull thing award 2019, presented in a museum of dried turds. So why as an autistic woman, with high levels of introversion and given to sensory overwhelm would I attend Birmingham Pride Carnival in 2019?

I’m writing a fiction book about an autistic woman going through bereavement, and the themes of the book touch on the journey to self care, self love, and thus emanating love while becoming more neuro bilingual. But it’s also intended to show one type of autistic experience from the inside out to bring awareness to how autistic people fitting “the female profile” try to fit in but sometimes get it wrong.

So with that in mind, here’s why I am going to Pride Carnival:

1. Exploring the LGBT community more if you’re unfamiliar with it

As a member of the LGBT community, I don’t frickin’ know much about the LGBT community, so maybe this is an opportunity to absorb the vibe and be with others who are more in the know about the community. Autistic people feel things so deeply because we’re profoundly sensitive, but putting ourselves in other’s shoes isn’t always easy. It’s not that we don’t care, on the contrary we care deeply, but we just don’t see what you’re getting at and would love for you to just tell us. Autistic people make great observers, but don’t always get right what they observe, or get it right and irritate people by bluntly pointing it out. It’s good to understand what people like about their community when it’s unfamiliar to you because that can help you find a way to see it through their eyes and sit in their skin. This is a great skill to practice if you want to be neuro-bilingual because while being direct is great, practising active listening without passing comment, and offering calm suggestion if appropriate can help to create bonds with people if that’s what you’re looking to do.

2. It’s LGBT activism inviting you to love yourself and others more

Perhaps the most important reason is it’s LGBT activism, as the theme of carnival is love out loud, signalling our right to love others and ourselves too. This is the single most important reason I’m going. 

3. Develop self knowledge about your emotional bank

On the theme of self love, I can see how long I can be energised by the event before I feel under energised, which is data for my emotional bank and can help with future self care strategies.

4. Practice self love, communication, and boundaries in the field

Once I’ve had enough it’s a great space to practice communication & boundaries by saying this has been lovely but I’m tired actually, so I’m going to leave now.

5. How to best express the sensitive experience to non sensitives?

Lastly, if I can, I want to get research: as I’m writing a fiction book, it would be helpful to understand what makes extroverts lose energy. That info will really help to comparatively describe what it’s like being sensitive to sensory stimulation in terms extroverted, non-sensitive people can appreciate and empathise with.

See you at Pride…

I need major self love to attend this event in the first place, because it’s likely to drain my batteries very quickly. This event is really going to test me to see how far I’ve come in looking after myself, but I also have a great opportunity to inform my book in a way that can help me bridge the gap of sensory experience between sensitives and non-sensitives, while doing the LGBT activism I always wanted to take part in. Look out for the next post about developing self care strategies in over stimulatory environments!


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Lyndsey Pearce


Lyndsey Pearce

Lyndsey Pearce is a UK based writer. She lives with four male gerbils, but only knows the name of the albino because the other three are identical brown. She eases her guilt over this by singing the outro of “Humiliation” by The National to them all, badly. “


Quiet misfits mulls over introversion, energy management, autism in females, highly sensitive people, managing loss, LGBT women, creativity, and being yourself.  


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