A Bit on Ali Stroker

Well, Ali Stroker won a Tony Award for her work in an Oklahoma! Revival. I am glad she won! That girl can sing and act! I am glad you can finally have limitations and have a representative.  

“Representation matters,” is a line Craig Melvin tends to use about the whole thing. He’s right. There is even video proving this online. In the video, a little boy, himself using a wheelchair, said, “That’s me!” He even got to meet her on the Today Show. I am so glad this is happening.  

There are a few small minuses to address. One of them is the line, “She’s an inspiration!” Basically, this says, “She is strong for living with such a tragedy.” You know what it says to me, a disabled woman? It says you underestimate human persistence.  That’s not cool.  Also, there is this nagging question: did she win because of her talent and work, or did she win because she was in a wheelchair? Hopefully, she won because of her talent and work. I would like to think that, especially since this question tends to nag me every single time someone less privileged in this society wins. (Did America Ferrera win her Emmy because she was talented, or because she was Ugly Betty? Did Ashley Graham win the Sports Illustrated cover because she was beautiful, or because it was lip service to body positivity? Did John Legend EGOT because of his work, or because of his race?) See how it works? I hope it’s because of their talents and work, in all cases I mentioned.

Anyway, I am so excited! Ali Stroker won!

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Is This Burnout?

I don’t know what’s happening to me lately. I’ve been having writer’s block much more often, and for longer periods of time. I mean, how many times can you write about the same topics – measles outbreaks blamed on your existence, autism hate and discrimination, etc. – over and over? I mean, I wish I could have access to Game of Thrones and complain about the ending episodes like everybody else on the internet, but I can’t afford HBO right now. My cable bill is up to $200 without it already. Besides, do you want me to sound like a neurotypical describing autism and getting it wrong, like they usually do? Anyway, I did watch the series finale of The Big Bang Theory, even with the pseudo-autistic Sheldon. It was alright. Somebody finally explained to the pseudo-autistic what a jerk he has been to them. You can be autistic and still be kind, you know. Maybe I can complain about pop culture a bit, but even that seems like a strain to me.  

Perhaps it is a lack of inspiration? 

Perhaps this is burnout.  

Ugh, I feel like Gudetama right now.  

Kondo-ing before Kondo-ing was Cool

Well, somebody on a TV show is having trouble giving up a bookcase. They had it since they were a kid. That’s what they said. I guess it bugs me that people feel a need to hold on to things beyond their use or purpose. I mean, beyond a true illness (and I count mental illness as true illness), I don’t see the purpose of holding on to stuff beyond their use.  

Sure, nobles and the British Royal Family has tons and tons of stuff to furnish their houses, but usually, that stuff’s purposes have not expired. You can keep furniture around as long as you like it. I’m not trashing people with lots of stuff. I just don’t find it too useful for me.  

A few years back, my mother and I decided to go ahead and sort through our household things. Blankets, clothes, kitchenware, you name it. We threw out things we did not use, and kept enough stuff to keep going afterwards. I guess we are not as attached to our stuff as other people are. To us, it has to fit in our vision of what the house or life is. Basically, it has to bring us joy.  

That’s where Marie Kondo comes in. She is always asking, “Does it bring you joy?” For example, our silverware we use to eat, so yeah, that stuff does bring us joy – joy in health. Maybe I’m rambling, but for me, a thing has to have a place – a use – to stay in my life.  

I’m looking at our stuff and it may be time to go through it again. We need to conserve space in our apartment.  

What to Avoid when Looking for a Place of Worship

Content: Religious Talk, talk of cruelty and miracle cures, suicide, ableism

Now, I know that many of us autistic people are atheist. This is not for them, unless there is a place where atheists gather. I don’t know if there is.  For those of religious affiliation, sadly, the places of worship are filled with pitfalls of “autism awareness” and hatred. Miracle cures, ABA, prayer, the belief of autism meaning brokenness…this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to avoid concerning autism and worship.

If you sense a skew towards Christianity, please consider the fact that I am writing from personal experience. As we approach Easter, I am reminded that we need a ways to go in the church.

  1. Avoid places peddling “miracle cures.” – The church known as Genesis II still peddles that MMS stuff – basically drinking bleach for the unknowing. (Isn’t drinking bleach a form of suicide?) Do I really need to state that facing death is a risk of drinking bleach or shoving it up a child’s rear end?
  2. Avoid places who believe autism is a moral failing. – There is an ancient belief that any known health problems is a punishment from the Almighty. This is often a fallacy promoted by what is known as the Prosperity Gospel. “If you believed, your child would not be autistic.” Well, that is definitely not a tenet of Christianity, which is my belief system. Jesus did state in the Bible that “In this world, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I am focusing on the first statement for now, because I believe it to be true. No amount of belief is going to change the fact that you will have trouble.
  3. Avoid the anti-vaccine place of worship. – This goes without saying. If you can prevent the spread of anything with a shot, go right ahead. It is God’s way.
  4. Avoid the Hypocrite. – In the church, we call them Pharisees. Simply put, they look good in the pew, but there is little evidence of following their faith outside their place of worship. Pharisees were even called “whitewashed tombs,” meaning they look good on the outside, but inside they are full of death. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid them in any church.
  5. Avoid the Graceless. – There is a parable in Christianity in which a man was forgiven a large debt, though did not forgive another man a debt against him. In short, the larger forgiveness was canceled. Do I even need to explain the pain of holding a grudge?
  6. Avoid those who will not accept you. – This is what I dislike about the Church of Scientology. In the case of John Travolta is literally took a judge asking him under oath for him to admit his son Jett was autistic. And by then, Jett had died. What kind of church is so cruel that it rejects autism’s existence? You may need to educate on Autism Acceptance to the place of worship, but if they accept the teaching of Autism Acceptance, stay. Do I even need to explain the pain of rejecting people with real problems? The church is a hospital for sinners, not an elite club for saints.

In short, a church that only accepts the perfect and those without problems is empty. If they will not accept you, shake the dust off your feet and go find another one.

“Mom, Can You Schedule a Colonoscopy for Me?” Snowplow Parenting and the Autistic

Now, let me give you some background: A person who needs a colonoscopy scheduled is usually around 50 years old. By that time, it’s a good bet their parent needs care themselves, if not already dead. That is often the problem with autistic people: their parents worry a lot about who will care for their child when they die. I’ve got a radical idea: why not prepare the autistic child to be capable of caring for themselves?  

Now, I know what you are saying: there are autistic people who still need 24-hour care. Perhaps you could teach and schedule somebody to trust with your child in that case…but I’m not talking about that case. I’m talking about an autistic person who can be taught to care for themselves. If you teach them to access community supports out there, and be their own advocate in a hateful and prejudiced world, you might not have to be the usual Snowplow Parent.  

I referenced Snowplow Parenting earlier, because it is common in parents of autistic children. Snowplow parenting is the parenting style that does everything for the child, moving all obstacles to success out of the way, like a snowplow. The trouble with that is, the child emerges into adult age unable to deal with obstacles themselves, needing the parent to care for them throughout their life, even when the parent needs care themselves. Now, many autistic adults have had to learn to “adult” as adults. That, my friends, is much harder to do than learning how to take care of yourself in childhood. You’ve heard the saying, “It is easier to raise a strong child than repair a broken adult,” right? It’s a saying for a reason.  

Captain Marvel: Chicken Soup for my 90s Feminist Soul

Now, I know autism and/or vaccine news has been bleak lately, with anti-vaxxers and disease outbreaks, plus Autism Awareness Month coming up… I felt so much like a monster, I needed to get away from it for a while. So, I went to the movies.  

For those who do not know, I am 41 (until July 17). This puts me squarely in Generation X. So, any movies with music from the 90s has got to have good grunge in it. And boy, did Captain Marvel deliver. Good, female-led 90s music was aplenty. From Garbage’s “Only Happy When It Rains” to “Just a Girl” by No Doubt, we rock it alongside Nirvana.  

That, however, is not the only reason I will cheer for Miss Fire Hands. She’s ridiculously powerful, and alter herself to fit the facts. (That’s all I will say; no one likes a spoiler.) Plus, she is the adoptive mother to Goose. (Did you think I’d leave Goose out of it? You don’t know me very well.)  

Goose is revealed to be a Flerken, a highly dangerous creature that resembles an orange tabby housecat. I won’t get too much into what a Flerken is; it’s hard to explain. (SPOILER ALERT: tentacles are involved.) Sure, she’s cute, but she’s also powerful. I think it’s funny that Goose is played by orange tabby cats most of the time; most orange tabbies are male. Also, for some more information about Flerkens, look up Chewie in the Marvel Wikipedia, as well; that is the character’s original name.  

I’ve also noticed there were a lot of haters for Captain Marvel; I suspect they adhere to toxic masculinity. That’s all I will say about that. In a world where Wonder Woman only got a movie two years ago, and Black Panther got his last year, that is to be expected. I’ll just throw their hate into a specialized cylindrical file called a trash can. 

In a world where autistics and women are told they are monsters, it is refreshing to see that hope and help can come from the most unexpected places.  

Why Fight the Label?

Well, a few things came up. The first was this picture. 

Here are a few others you might be familiar with:  

Freak, Nerd and Rape Victim 

Yes, even Rape Victim. Every autistic woman I know has been raped at one time or another, even myself. My own experience is in the gray area, because I only consented to avoid saying I was raped. But on to the point: Your child will get a LABEL anyway. Make sure it’s a label that actually gets help.  

Another was the latest episode of Mom. It’s February 21, 2019. The title character on Mom (Bonnie Plunkett) learned she had ADD. And she’s in her sixties. And she’s fighting being sober from various drugs (and alcohol; I lump it in among the others). She had said her life was harder without the diagnosis. I must say, my life was hard, but living without a label, a diagnosis, is harder. And why do you want that for your child?