You Don’t Know Me

So, autistic parent who thinks that just because I don’t act EXACTLY like your child, I’m not autistic enough? You don’t know me! Person who thinks I am a dismiss-worthy weirdo? You don’t know me!

You don’t know how intense, loud and colorful I experience the world. You don’t even know how your own child experiences the world. It could be more intense, or maybe it could be less intense. Or, and this is more likely, it may be a combination of both – more intense in some areas, or less intense in other areas.

 You don’t know how much I struggle to come up with the right word. You don’t know how I witness almost every conversation (or interview, in some cases) can go down in flames because I say the wrong word. You don’t know. You don’t know the nights I spent awake agonizing and finally coming up with the right words to say, long after the opportunity to say them is gone.

 You don’t know how I have no emotional memory. You don’t know the hours I spend in private because I am crying over my own pain, or the pain of someone else. You don’t know that I am currently wishing people would just evacuate the Big Island of Hawaii because it seems to be exploding to me.

 Are you psychic? Can you read my mind? Of course not. Maybe if you could, you would be more understanding and accepting of my differences.

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Your Family is Dysfunctional? Mine Too!

So, the tabloid TV people are ragging on Meghan Markle’s family for being somewhat dysfunctional. It only seems fair to point out that the various lines of the British Royal Family have been dysfunctional since 1066, and earlier if I could ever get the records. Even Prince Harry’s own immediate family has been dysfunctional. I won’t get into it. You can Google that yourself.

I would also like to point out that family dysfunction is actually quite common in this day and age. What is the right marriage? What is the right family? Just about everybody enters adulthood somewhat messed up. I won’t get into that either, but just remember that.

Oh, and one more thing: I opened your closet, you judgmental being, you, and a few skeletons fell out. You might want to clean that up.

April Wrap-Up: It’s A Little Better

So, another Autism Awareness Month has come and gone. Is everyone OK? I hope so. Although most of the autism Awareness emphasis was toward the beginning, people might want to reminisce toward the types of progress the autistic community has made. I’ve made lists of the Pros and Cons toward this progress. For the first time, there have been definite Pros.

 The Pros:

1. There has been a definite shift toward what autistic people want and need.

2. Autistic voices are finally gaining some sort of traction toward being heard.

3. There has been a rise in finding and diagnosing autism, particularly in communities of color.

4. More female portrayals of autism are coming around in the media.

5. At least in my local grocery store, there has been a shift toward acceptance and social inclusion.

 The Cons:

1. Autism Speaks still wants to “DESTROY AUTISM!!!” as if autism is some sort of social cancer. (It’s not; prejudice is, though.)

2. The portrayals of autism in the media are still generally white and male. This stereotype still rules and harms autistic people everywhere, even denying them diagnosis in females. I have yet to see an autistic woman who is like me on TV.

3. Sheldon Cooper, who does not have an official diagnosis, is the gatekeeper of autism in many neurotypical minds.

4. There has been only one major portrayal of autistic persons of color: Billy the Blue Power Ranger in the Power Rangers Movie of 2017.

5. Most people still think autistic adults are not autistic enough to speak for autistic children.

6. The Autism Community is still fragmented, with parents of the autistic on one side and autistic people on the other.

7. ANDREW WAKEFIELD, JENNY MCCARTHY AND THE VACCINE BLAMERS!

8. The Most Important: People still think autism is a tragedy. Some people even have to wait until adulthood to get diagnosed because their parents do not want their children to be autistic. (Nobody gets a choice in the matter!)

 While the Cons List is almost twice as long, the fact that there are actually Pros is a plus. I previously referenced April as The Trauma Month, if you remember reading that back in March. If we get over our differences, band together and fight the prejudice against us, someday the Pros list will be longer. That, my friends, I am looking forward to.

World Autism Day

It’s mostly been a quiet World Autism Day for me. (I’m not exactly sure my mother noticed it.) I put on my red sweats and relaxed around the house. If we were going out, I would have worn jeans and a red sweater (it was cold). Tomorrow, I’ll wear my red shirt and jeans. It will be warm. I will wear red as much as I possibly can this month.  

Now, there will be monuments lit up blue tonight in honor of Autism Speaks. I’ve learned to see them as they are – brainwashed by Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks uses blue to say that more boys than girls are on the spectrum. So, why ignore autistic girls altogether? Do they not want us to exist? But I digress. Their genetic database campaign is called MSSNG – “missing” something. It’s the same reason they use the puzzle piece. Autism Speaks supports Applied Behavior Analysis – basically withholding love, affection, and even basic needs like food, water and going to the bathroom until we stop being so autistic. Anyway, that hate group Autism Speaks has had enough of my blogspace already.  

I will wear red on World Autism Day. I will wear red as much as I can this month. I am an autistic adult, who is not being listened to because she is an autistic adult. I live at the intersection of autistic and woman, which means persecution from men and from neurotypicals.  

It has come to my attention that Savannah Guthrie wore red this morning, though she did not say why. I cannot assume it was for autism acceptance, but if it was, I would like to say Thank You again like I did on Twitter. Autism acceptance is necessary for the world. It helps with a myriad of problems which exacerbate autistic suffering. 

Kroger April Early Shock

Well, Kroger has decided to get their Autism Awareness out early this year. That was a shock. I know I was expecting it, but something inside me this year has decided to raise anxiety. I mean, stuttering has come out of me this year, too. I don’t like it. 

It’s not quite full-blown yet, but it’s starting up fast. Today I saw two women wearing the Kroger Autism Awareness Shirt – light blue with a “ribbon” made up of primary color puzzle pieces. They haven’t pulled out an infographic station yet, though. As I have said recently, you know how I feel about the puzzle piece. Anyway, the start has hit me hard this year.  

Maybe I ought to ask how those who wear the Autism Awareness Shirt are connected to it. If it means an autistic relative, maybe I can give a few tips on how to help. Who knows?  

I think I need to go self-care a bit right now.  

Autism Awareness – Specific Issues

You’ve seen the blue monuments, the store displays, the big rallies. It’s all about the suffering parents! Those poor paaaaarents, dealing with a demon autistic child! But nobody seems to see how it’s affecting the children, or worse, what happens when those children grow up as broken adults that need repair. Sure, most autism parents tend to make the autism suffering all about them. They tend not to look past the end of their noses. But let’s see how we can deal with them now.

  • On Autism “Awareness” Rallies: Don’t go. There is no need to go to a rally where your fear being booed and worse.
  • On Wearing Blue: I’d avoid it, at least for April 2. People might think you support the hateful actions of Autism Speaks. Most autistic people tend to go towards red, gold or taupe for Autism Acceptance. (Personally, I go red, simply because I have it.)
  • On Blue-Lit Monuments: Take those as reminders that we need to fight for Autism Acceptance.
  • On Store Displays: Take these with a grain of salt. Your experience is an expert one.
  • On Those Poor Paaaaarents, Part 1: Ask them this question: “Are you the one who is autistic? Or is it your child?” “Do you think a child has meltdowns on purpose?” “Do you think a person suffers on purpose?”
  • On Those Poor Paaaaarents, Part 2: Remember, they are made by despair-loving doctors who talk about what the child CAN’T do, as if the doctors know. If they are open to it, teach them the truth.
  • On Autism Speaks Dominance: Take it as a reminder that we still need to fight. Remember, they are anti-autistic scaremongers, no matter what they say.
  • On Not “Looking Autistic” or “Seeming Autistic”: Well, bring up the point that AUTISTIC ADULTS DO NOT ACT LIKE AUTISTIC CHILDREN. (Ahem, excuse my yelling.) It’s true. When you talk about delays, bring up the point that Later Does Not Mean Never.
  • On the basic stereotype that “They’ll Never Amount to Anything!!!!!” – Google Famous Autistic People. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Remember, autistic people can do anything.
  • On Inequality in Autism Access and Treatment: This is intersectionality in a nutshell. The theory is, suffering is compounded the more you deviate from the white male cisgender neurotypical “norm.”

This list of specific issues is by no means an exhaustive one. Please, comment on ones I need to address. I really want to help.

EDIT: Point included in comment about autistic age on 3/25/18.

Why I Can’t Be a Shiny Aspie

TRIGGER/CONTENT WARNING: Discussion/Use of functioning labels,  

 Well, if it isn’t another method of discrimination I’ve just learned about. The Shiny Aspie has come to minimize the perception of autistic suffering.  

Well, let’s see…what is a “Shiny Aspie” in the first place? Well, the Shiny Aspie is a supposedly high-functioning autistic person who throws shade at a person who strives to pass for neurotypical as much as possible, while passing judgement on “lower-functioning” autistic people. Basically, a Shiny Aspie feels they are fine, while wanting a cure for “lower-functioning” autistic people. A Shiny Aspie tries to separate themselves from their tribe to be better than their tribe.  

I used to be a Shiny Aspie, mostly because I was encouraged to appear neurotypical by every society I was ever in. Family, school, church youth group, theatre students…all either tried to Make Cambria Neurotypical Again, or ostracized and made fun of me for being different. The message was clear: “Be neurotypical or be kicked out!” “Be neurotypical or be mocked!” “Be neurotypical or die!” (Hey, the last one was the title of a previous post!) I had to, for survival, become a version of a Shiny Aspie, to strive for neurotypicality, and put down others like me. In other words, for lack of a better scenario, I was like a Jew being a Nazi, or a person of color in a Ku Klux Klan hood – a hypocrite.  

But here’s the problem – I was once a “lower-functioning” autistic person. The doctor told my mother to prepare for me to never get any “better” than I was at age three. I was obviously behind other kids at that point. (Tells you how much doctors know about bringing the hope!) I had to change one stim for another at several points in my life. I spoke stiffly until my thirties. The persecution I suffered throughout my school years was nearly nonstop. I only felt that I fit in during Grad Night, the last night I would ever see any of these people. I still don’t know why most of them are my Facebook friends. I’m still shocked they contacted me.  

Anyway, to think that I am “better” than any other autistic bothers me. We are being segmented and pitted against each other in petty squabbles in order to keep us down and out. The Shiny Aspie has drunk the poisonous Kool-Aid, not knowing they are being plotted against as well. I hope they wake up from their sleep soon.