Student Juliet Maxwell burst onto the internet with her first viral tweet today. “Wonderful news!” she wrote. “It’s not autism, I just have to lose twenty pounds!”
Maxwell has lived in fear that her traits were indicative of something more sinister for most of her life. “I always suspected something was wrong,” she said. “I’m so deep into religion and philosophy, I can tell you everything about the Protestant Reformation or every Hindu deity in the Veda. Like, who cares, right?”
“Oh, and I hated it when I’d come home from a full day and my roommate was all, ‘C’mon, Brad invited us to casino night!’ Um, a million multicolored lights and machines blipping and beeping every 2.5 seconds? No thank you! I hated common foods, like meat or applesauce. What if I was — autistic? What if I started using routines? Expecting people to understand if I wanted to be alone?”
Still, Maxwell shoved aside her fears and her sensory discomfort with the antiseptic odor of her practitioner’s office to go to her appointment. After a cursory “hmmm,” her doctor patted her hand and gave his diagnosis.
“He said I don’t have autism,” Maxwell said with tears in her eyes. “‘Women can’t get autism,’ he said. ‘It’s a scientific fact. Besides, you don’t look autistic.’” She sniffled into a Kleenex. “He said my symptoms are from poor self-concept because I’m overweight.” Maxwell notes she’s in the normal range according to her doctor’s BMI chart, but her doctor assures her the important thing is to express health in a way the community around her finds acceptable.
Maxwell will begin a 1200-calorie-per-day diet soon. She’ll also wear a rubber band around her wrist and snap it if she feels herself engaging too much in her interests, as a helpful aversive.