Meet Casey Remrov Vormer
Though these are challenging times for our community and so many others, we continue to share authentic stories of autistic Canadians and their families. We hope these will offer a look into the many diverse perspectives in our community and provide inspiring and uplifting stories when we need it most.
Meet Casey Remrov Vormer, an award-winning autistic pencil artist, autism advocate and Youtuber from Montreal.
I’m an artist specializing in realistic pencil drawings of mainly animals. Due to my autism I see the whole world in tiny little details. My drawings tend to be this way too, very precise and detailed. Besides being an artist, I devote my time on raising awareness and understanding about autism. I give presentations on a regular basis and make weekly videos on YouTube in which I share my experiences as an autistic artist.
In 2019 I quit my job to become a self-employed artist and autism advocate. The pandemic Covid-19 didn’t have much effect on my work, since I was already working from home. It did affect me in other aspects of my life. I always enjoy being outside when taking a break from my work. Since the pandemic started it’s recommended to stay inside as much as possible and being outside is not even enjoyable anymore. It makes me anxious and it makes me feel trapped. I’m a person who always pushes himself with work, and it’s difficult to not have fun things to look forward to.
I find this Covid-19 situation traumatizing as well. A huge part of my life growing up in the Netherlands, I was extremely isolated and lonely. I didn’t have any friends and was bullied or shunned everywhere I went. I felt I was existing instead of living. After immigrating to Montreal, I felt I finally started living and doing something important with my life. Now with social distancing and being ‘trapped’ inside most of the time, it reminds me too much of my isolated existence in the Netherlands.
Something that I also find more difficult now is grocery shopping. Getting groceries has always been a challenge, since it can be very chaotic in a grocery store. It’s difficult with all that sensory input to focus on the things you need to get. Now, with Covid-19, there are even more things to focus on – keeping distance from other people, following the arrows on the floor, making sure not to take too much time in the store, making sure not to touch too many things -- and all of this wile being overwhelmed by the smell of sanitizer, a scratchy mask on your face, and sanitizer or ill-fitting gloves on your hands. I find it extremely difficult to still focus on what I need to get due to all of this. People have advised me to order groceries online, but that causes me even more anxiety. It feels like I’m losing control of what I’m going to get for my money. The fear of something being missing for what I paid for or getting something different is just not worth it. Besides that, I’m very bad at planning ahead, and I prefer to just look around in the store at what they have.
I know there are also good parts about this whole Covid-19 situation. The air gets cleaner everywhere and there’s less pollution. As people’s lives are put a bit on hold they get to think about the environment and their own lives as well. People finally get the time to do things they’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. People can spend more time with their families.
Even though I find it a very challenging time, I know that there are people in much worse situations. I still count my blessings every single day. I hope there will be a vaccine soon, and that until then people don’t rush getting their lives back the way it was before Covid-19. It’s crucial best to all stay responsible to avoid more people getting sick again.
I wish everybody the very best, and we will get through this together.
Casey Remrov Vormer
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