Ok, so I know I’m in my 30s, but I still love some of the songs from the series Kidsongs. No, I don’t listen to them all the time or have them on my phone (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course!), but sometimes one pops in my head and it makes me happy, very nostalgic. I am still very childlike in many ways, common for people with autism, so that explains some of it.
I like to engage in adult things for sure, but sometimes I honestly just wish it was ok to be an adult and still publicly talk about kids stuff you like. Then again, I am talking about it here, so I guess it is public knowledge now!
Why I am I mentioning this? Well, because I had a particular song in my head today called “I Like Trucks” from the show Kidsongs (click here for the song, but warning: it may get stuck in your head too!). And it occurred to me that I have started wearing baseball-type hats again, something I used to do all the time but had stopped in the last few years to subconsciously try and be more accepted by certain people who it turns out weren’t good people to have in my life.
Now that I am in a better situation, I have started wearing them again. As long as I can remember, I liked hats. My parents even recall that as a young child, I used to wear them all the time and were a souvenir I frequently bought on trips.
So, that got me thinking: why do I like hats so much? Well, of course, I like how they look on me, which is primarily the reason I thought I wore them all the time.
But then, it occurred to me that it goes beyond that. They actually help me with a challenge of autism: overstimulation.
As a person with autism, everything stimulates my brain, making it hard to focus on what I should be. This includes lights, whether manmade or sunlight (side note: the buzzing of fluorescent lights is the worst!). So, what does a hat do, whether you’re autistic or not?
It blocks light!! That means that now I have one less source of stimulation to filter out – overhead light, or even things on the ceiling, like a fan or the light fixtures themselves.
Also, the tactile stimulation on my head is very calming, the pressure from the hat itself seems to soothe me. I don’t know why, but it does. I love having something on my head, whether baseball hat or winter hat or even some Mickey Mouse ears! Yes, I’m a huge Disney fan, but more on that another time. So, sometimes stimulation is a good thing, like in the case of a hat. Oh, the world of autism. It’s something I don’t fully understand, and I live it every day!
So, if you see me in photos wearing a hat all the time, even if it’s cloudy or I’m inside, now you know why. In the past, it wasn’t considered socially acceptable to wear baseball hats all the time, certainly not inside and less so if you present as female.
Now, fortunately, society is changing and becoming more accepting of people dressing how they want, as long as what they wear isn’t hurting anyone, meaning showing inappropriate messages, like racist, sexist, etc. Even celebrities are embracing it, like I just saw a post by Jenna Fischer from “The Office” tv show talking about her love of hats.
I do know there are times where hats aren’t appropriate, like at a fancy restaurant or event, and I recognize that. On the rare occasions when I find myself in such a setting, I do other things to help me filter out the noise and focus. Again, that will be a post for another day.
For now, as my edited version of the song goes, I like hats, I always will. Big brim or not, I like them still. I like hats, I always will. I like hats.
If you have autism, what’s your feeling on hats? What else do you do to help block out light stimulation? I love learning new tricks to help me handle the world better, so let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!