My name is Keara Farnan and I’m 23 years old. I live with high-functioning autism and was diagnosed at age 7. I’m currently working on my second book called, Spectra. I have been working on it for a year now and am very close to finishing it. I decided to write it because I wanted to share my stories and experiences as an autistic young woman with others in society who may encounter similar struggles. Growing up as an autistic individual was nothing, but chaos. Although, I excelled in writing and found comfort in the stories I created to share my struggles and knowledge on autism. It’s very challenging to look someone directly in the eyes and tell them that I’m autistic when other people don’t know how to respond. Spectra breaks down into separate stories, which are between 6-11 pages long. Each tells a different story about an obstacle I’ve faced throughout my life and how I’ve managed to overcome it. I talk a lot about dating and why it’s hard to blend into a society full of neurotypical people who are not exactly understanding and sympathetic towards autistic individuals. All of the stories included in my book are non-fiction and relate to my journey as an autistic woman.

Through reading my memoir, I hope that my readers will be able to understand some of the challenges I face as an autistic individual. Writing for me is my voice and how I best express myself. I’m not that great at verbalizing how I feel. I started writing around the time I got diagnosed with autism and since then, I’ve been writing non-stop. When I’m writing, I don’t think about anything else other than what I’m writing about. It’s as if all my worries are pushed to the side. And I’m able to fully commit myself to working on a particular piece. I’m not quite sure what I would do if I were not a writer. I believe that writing really suits my personality. I’m normally more of an introverted, closed in person, so writing has helped me find confidence in myself, which I didn’t know existed.

Something I’ve been more open about in this book is my issues with body image and how hard it is to accept the way I look. I’ve always felt a need to be stick thin and look like a supermodel, but I’m not even close to that. Body shaming comments made by individuals who do not know or understand me have permanently scarred me. These remarks have caused me to feel self-conscious in the presence of those more attractive than myself. I’m always comparing my looks to another woman’s and wondering why I can’t be as good-looking as she is. It’s challenging for me to speak openly about these concerns because it’s something, which is very personal to me. My body image issues aren’t something that just occurred out of the blue. I developed them due to harsh criticism from my peers and unfair judgement. And I believe that’s why most girls end up with eating disorders or body dysmorphia.

Unfortunately, I’m always going to expect more from neurotypical people than what they are willing to provide. Most of my non-autistic friends try their best to understand autism. Yet, I feel most people in society perceive me as inferior to him or herself. I may dress the part and look like a “normal” girl on the outside. But, within I’m autistic and I carry the pain and suffering inside. It’s very evident to other people that I’m damaged and lack confidence due to my low self-esteem. However, writing this memoir has helped me understand my disability instead of hiding from it. It’s not easy being the autistic woman who no one wants to be friends with or date. I don’t think that my co-workers, friends, or family quite grasp that. I do try to share my stories with them. Although, it doesn’t seem as if they want to comprehend autism.

I’m different from other autistic women you will come across in society because I have goals and ambitions, which I’m working towards through writing this book. It takes a great deal of courage to write candidly about my life as an autistic woman, so I do hope that readers appreciate my honesty. I’m always going to be autistic and reach for dreams that are too far-fetched. But, somehow I believe that writing this book is accomplishable and that other individuals will greatly benefit from reading my stories. This book means a lot to me and I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to share it with the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read this introduction. I hope you enjoy my new book, Spectra.