I created this piece after these words was said to me when I explained I was autistic. I felt I was eventually forced to explain this due to the fact a lady was sat in my seat at an event – which I had arranged with the event organisers to help with my condition so I could attend. The seat also had my name infront of it yet, this lady was refusing to move at first? 

Having to explain my condition was not something I wanted to get into (and also not easy) but I did so in the hope the lady may have had some compassion. This was not the case and as she moved from my chair she said ‘we can all be Divas’ can’t we!!’

The rudeness this lady showed to me was just a strong reminder of the continuous battle in society against the ignorance towards the understanding of neurodiverse conditions.

As a society there is a lot of talk about being open about mental health or talking about your conditions if you struggle. Unfortunately this can be the harsh response that some people have towards hidden disabilities/conditions in reality.

This had a huge impact on my night. Having to mask plays a big part in how I deal with my condition – so this only made a difficult night even harder. The awkwardness this created after she had moved (and still had to sit on my table) was very unsettling.

Adding insult to injury, I spoke with the lady later in the night to try to smooth things over and I explained I understood she might not of known about the prior planning of the seating – which I did explain the first time. She still didn’t agree and clearly just focussed on that she had to move seats! She explained she thought I was rude to ask her to move – however I was polite as I didn’t want to cause a scene which people around also witnessed. 
I told the lady that I try to raise awareness of my condition for this very situation but was only met with a blank face.
Asking how she could say what she said, she replied  ‘well it was a diva move wasn’t it?’ and walked away rudely.

This persons friends later apologised for her actions and said ‘she’s not normally like this’ and she’s a nice lady? Sadly this wasn’t shown by her actions. I don’t like to define someone’s character by one incident, but I did try to rectify the issue in the sense of some level of understanding but was met with just as much ignorance

I hope that it was because this lady was maybe intoxicated, and in reflection, the day after she realised how ignorant she was. This still doesn’t excuse the impact and affect it had on me on the night.

As usual I have tried to explain through my art all the feelings and emotions which it has triggered in me.

We can all be Divas’ is a phrase that I won’t forget in a hurry and only goes to show what some small minded people think when they cannot visually see a condition or disability – as if dealing with it isn’t hard enough!? I hope people eventually learn that when others try to explain and be open about their personal conditions/feelings in the hope of a compassionate response and understanding, not to respond in such an ignorant fashion.

This only makes me want to fight on harder and smarter in raising awareness of neurodivergent conditions as it proves there is still a long way to go.