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18-Year-Old Living With Asperger’s: How ‘Princessing’ Changed My Life

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how princessing changed my life

I’ve always been a little bit different.

What does different mean exactly? I mean, everyone’s a little bit kooky in their own special way aren’t they? Let me try and elaborate: For my seventeenth birthday party, when other girls my age are asking for makeup, the latest apple product, and jewelery, all I wanted more than anything was a dress identical to the dress princess Anna wears from the Disney movie Frozen. Now, at this stage, I had never heard of cosplaying. I didn’t know that there were actually adults that dressed as book characters for fun. I wanted this dress more than anything, and, although my mum was fairly confused as to why, she agreed – and that became my birthday present.

Here’s the thing, when I like something, I really, really like that thing. I had an obsession with the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and had to watch it twice a day for a month. I wish I was exaggerating – it’s now cut back to once a week! When I first saw Frozen, I fell in love with it (as every child under ten in the entire universe did), and the extravagant, loud and exciting Princess Anna struck me. Finally a Disney Princess that was awkward, loud, silly, and just a little bit kooky. Can you see why I liked her so much?

princess anna

When the day came that the dress arrived, I quite literally screamed with excitement, and when I put it on, I wholeheartedly refused to take it off. That night, I ate with it on for dinner, I wore it while I was feeding my ponies and while I was taking the washing in, with great convincing, mum managed to get me to take it off to go to sleep. But this cycle continued on into the next day, and the next, and the next...

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Mum ended up putting some of these photos she’d managed to snap onto Facebook, and word got out.

The disability centre I volunteer at twice a week saw these photos, and asked if I could dress up for their big annual fundraising fair. An entire day of wearing my new favourite dress and pretending to be a Disney Princess? How was there any doubt?!
Though something struck me on the day of the fair – I hated going out! How on earth was I meant to walk up to children I’ve never met before, talk to people I’ve never met before, and perform in front of people I’ve never met before?

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I've always been scared of new things. I've always been scared of going out, of going to new places, trying new food, meeting new people. But that day, I found something out... Being able to be this character helped me to open up.

I wasn’t ‘Chloe-dressed-as-a-princess’ I was that princess. I had children screaming with excitement (I can’t deal with loud noises), I had parents pushing their children in for photos (small spaces and big crowds don’t mix well with me), and you know what? I couldn’t care less because I knew Princess Anna wouldn’t have minded, and so, I didn’t. After that day, I had several phone calls asking if I could do children’s parties, and I got more requests for events. I set up a Facebook page, and things went from there!

jasmine

Because of these princesses, I'm strong, confident, can sing in front of everyone, dance freely, and can talk to anyone. I can even initiate the conversation. When I'm in character, I'm so focused on being that person, that I forget about my own insecurities. image3

I become so focused on the little girl or boy that I’m with, and making them believe with all their heart that I’m ‘a real life princess’ that I begin to feel like one. Doing this has slowly begun to seep into my day to day life. Not just in the way I find myself standing, or how I often answer ‘Oh, goodness!’ or ‘How lovely!’ but doing this has taught me to be confident in myself, and my confident, exciting and happy traits reveal themselves a little more after each party or event I do as these characters. I can even answer the phone to my mum now, even if it does start with an ‘Oh, my!’

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 I'm slowly gaining a reputation in my area for what I do (the kids adore it), and although I started with one costume that was intended for my eyes only, I now have an entire business with seven princesses and more in counting!

ariel_chloe_!

3 Comments

  1. Len
    Len01-03-2016

    My son has autism and for a long time i tried to communicate and have conversations with him. Now i have finally realized he is happy who he is and our time together is much better.
    You are truly inspirational xx

  2. Lawrence
    Lawrence01-04-2016

    So glad you found yourself living inside of other characters.

  3. Jan Johnston-Tyler
    Jan Johnston-Tyler01-07-2016

    Dear Chloie,

    You are remarkable… thank you for sharing this. We work with lots of teens and young adults on the spectrum, and many are into cosplay…We even went to Fanime with a group of our clients. Several of our neurotypical leaders are totally into it, too…We had a blast.You are brave, you are lovely…thank you for being you!

    Jan

    @neurotribes @neurodiversity @evolibri

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