Artists selections: October 24, 2022
Orla O Brien Ireland Painting

Artwork title : Freedom

This is my tribute to people who find out they are autistic later in life. There can be a lot of emotions to navigate when you find out you're autistic. There is a lot to say and a lot to figure out. We are happy, bewildered and fearful all at the same time. 

But there are two emotions that I was caught between when making this painting. One of them being anger. Or maybe grief is a better word. I grieve for the times I ridiculed myself when I was younger. Or let others laught at me when I was really being myself. I grieve for the times I told myself that I was lazy or stupid. I grieve for the life I could have lived if I had known I was autistic sooner. 

But for all of my grief, I also feel this overwhelming sense of joy. Of freedom. The freedom to be myself and embrace the parts of me I once hated. The freedom to realise that, no matter how much I tried to mould myself into someone I thought other people wanted me to be, I should have been embracing who I was instead. And while I cannot go back and realise I am autistic sooner, I can now go forward and give myself the love I should have given myself when I was young.