Maddi Crease is a poet and artist living and working in Southend. Whilst in residency with us, Maddi has begun researching and producing a short poetry film ‘Autistic Joy’ which will focus on the parts of being autistic that bring joy and positive experiences. Consulting with autistic peers and reflecting on her life as autistic woman, Maddi weaves together uplifting narratives to show that autistic is not a bad thing to be.
Delighted by individuality,
United in experience.
The world is so bright with us in it.
Autistic Joy is a concept that has become more dear to me as time has passed. I was diagnosed as autistic at 16 years old, under incredibly traumatising circumstances. Unsurprisingly, my relationship with autism was a complicated one for many years.
Beyond the internal battle of acceptance versus self-rejection, though, sits an understanding that becomes more certain with the passing of time: I am a joyful autistic woman, strong-willed and powerful in my truth.
Beyond the makeup of my brain, genetics and personality, I am a passionate artist and poet. I have been a prolific writer since childhood – as far back as I can remember, I have been a story-weaver, incredibly expressive with the written word, and later also spoken word.
These creative interests have taken me on a path that has likely saved me many times. I am a fine art degree student, BBC commissioned poet, and have been exhibited and published several times.
I am also currently Metal’s artist in residence.
Autistic Joy, the project that makes up my residency, is a creative concept that seeks to express and celebrate the joyful aspects of autistic life.
When thinking about autism, so many focus on the challenges that we as autistic people experience. Often, too, our voices are lost.
Autistic Joy does not seek to argue with this narrative. Yes, there are many difficult things about being autistic, which I and so many experience daily. However, there is also joy.
In my residency and in this wider project, I am balancing the discussion. I am here to say that, just like everyone else, autistic people can experience so much joy, so much light.
To do this, I am writing a poem which will take multiple formats – written word, audio, and video documentation – to celebrate the joyful parts of our life.
I am actively consulting with autistic peers, as I believe we are stronger as a collective. I hope to represent as much of the joyful autistic experience as I can.
Within my residency, I have hosted one of these focus groups with peers, and on the back of this have begun writing. It is a beautiful thing to feel the words flow and materialise from mind to page, rejuvenating my own wellbeing in the process.
I am also seeking further funding to complete the project with the support of Metal and local charity SAFE (Supporting Aspergers Families in Essex).
You can see my work on Facebook (Maddi Crease Poet), Instagram (@maddicreasepoet) and online (maddicreasepoet.com). If you also want to learn more about the project and follow along with its progress, you can reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org