Why Autistic Adults Hate Blue Buckets

It started here in Kentucky early. Once the Halloween merchandise came out, there they were, in an aisle display: blue buckets. I was not impressed. I’m a member of the pillowcase club, first of all. Second, they are apparently associated with identifying autistic children and adolescents (who still trick or treat). Why do we need a small blue bucket on Halloween anyway?

Number one: a pillowcase is better, in that it holds more candy. I will say it before, and say it again. You have to work hard to beat something that can hold a lot of candy and be used beyond Halloween (on your pillows). It was only this October that I finally saw something that may be able to beat that practicality: a reusable grocery bag. Maybe it can beat the pillowcase simply due to handles. I don’t know.

Number two: Blue pumpkins can easily be associated with Autism Speaks. (I will say the name to reduce its fear and influence.) Now, this may be hard to comprehend, but we autistic people do NOT wish to be just like you. Autism is what we know. Besides, Autism Speaks wants to get rid of autistic people by “curing.” Most of us see curing autism in the same vein most people see something like, I don’t know, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. We see a lot of prejudice against us drummed up by that organization, in the name of so-called charity. Sure, they change the language, but they also promote anti-vaccine culture.

Number three: Do we really need to single out people on Halloween? Think about it: Most children and many adults are dressed as something out of their ordinary. Do we need to make the children feel alienated on all days of the year? To an autistic person, the blue puzzle piece and the blue bucket has a purpose similar to the yellow stars the Nazis made Jews wear in their day. Also, if a child is scared to go somewhere for any reason, there is no need to force them to go to the door of some house. You would not do that to a neurotypical child, would you?

The bottom line is: We know we are different. Stop using blue things to throw it in our faces.

No, My Autism is NOT a Superpower or a Tragedy, It’s Neutral

Controversial, no? That I can see my condition as neutral? I guess I’m really different from other people. Let me explore the ways both values can be right and wrong, and show you how I reject both of them.  

Autism as a Superpower: This is not a viewpoint shared among many autistic people, though many non-autistic people think we do. Why people think we hold this is a mystery to us. Are we that arrogant to you? We certainly are not to ourselves. There are many things many of us cannot do without support, such as go grocery shopping. Perhaps the reason they think we hold this so-called belief is – maybe those dumb T-shirts saying “Autism is my Superpower.” I do not know of an autistic adult that actually owns a T-shirt with that message. The difficulties given to us by autism make us humble. Basically, it is arrogant to think that you are better than another person, simply because you are different from them. This pattern of thinking goes down a slippery slope to prejudice and scapegoating.  

Autism as a Tragedy: This is the other extreme viewpoint we try to ignore. This is ableism in a nutshell. Basically, a disabled person is tragic, and the only way they can make the world a better place is to remove themselves from it. In movies such as “Me Before You,” suicide for the disabled person is seen as good! How disgusting is that? It infuriates me. Just because we operate on a different level is not a reason to advocate for suicide! We are denying autistic people the basic right to live! Another slippery slope appears: If we kill off all the people who are different from us, whoever wins that war would be the last person on earth. I’m not going there. One person can only do so much. 

Why do people assign value to neutral events? Is this another symptom of the Power and Control addiction?  

I have decided to reject both viewpoints, because they are gravely erroneous. They both lead to the same conclusion: prejudice, scapegoating, and eventually, death to the autistic. I want to live. I want to be able to access the rights that only White Men!!! can currently: the rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I want my life to matter.  

Selma Blair: More Gracious than Me

I’m noticing something on Twitter concerning Selma Blair and her fabulous Vanity Fair Oscar Party appearance. Many people tend to use certain words describing her and her MS revelation: Courageous. Brave. Tragic. Inspiring. All words which are highlights of ableism.  

She seems to be handling it better than I would.  

Unfortunately, I am often a ball of outrage and anger, especially when it comes to ableism. That’s all I’m saying about me.  

Let’s get back to Ms. Blair, shall we? I heard her say to another (cameras caught this), “It took a lot to get here.” So, she has limited spoons and probably used them all up in those days? Well, I appreciate her efforts, especially when she came out looking like she did. Personally, I think the whole ensemble, including the cane, made her look regal.  

And I would like to applaud her for her interview with Robin Roberts. It is rare that people give an interview when they have trouble speaking. It is a possible effect of the MS. (I learned a little of the symptoms some years ago when Montel WIlliams revealed his own diagnosis.) Her vulnerability showed her strength. It’s hard for me not to describe this in an ableist manner, for that’s what I’ve absorbed from society. What I mean is, when you have a disability, you live with the disability, and it’s a part of you. You will most likely be fine with it, as I have learned among us fellow disabled.  

Most people cannot find an example of living with a disability or condition, of a world that will not adapt to you, but I have. I remember, back in California, a small section of Santa Ana where everything is in Spanish. (Spanish speakers are here. Get over it.) I have had trouble learning Spanish, so spending time there was strange and uncomfortable, but it opened my mind. It made me realize that for many people, middle America is a strange and uncomfortable place. For the autistic, for those with chronic conditions, for those with skeletal dysplasia (dwarfism for the uninitiated), for those who speak a different language, for persons of color…even for women. Maybe even for you, middle America is a strange and uncomfortable place.  

I just wish that people would try and see the whole person, and not just fixate on the cane. It’s kind of like focusing on one little hand or arm when there is a whole person to look at. That is what creates the stigma surrounding disabilities. That is what makes the disabled feel unseen and marginalized.  

So, I’m pretty sure Selma Blair is resting now, as much as a mother can. I think she deserves it. Take care of yourself, Ms. Blair. You’ve done a lot for your causes recently.

Queen of the Antivaxxers on Your TV – What Do You Do?


Now, I must admit something: I did go and watch The Masked Singer. Yes, the one with Jenny McCarthy as a judge. No, I do not think she’s the brightest crayon in the box. She did not even get the unmasked person right. I only wanted to see what the Twitter-fueled craziness was about. Honestly, it did involve me a little, but it did not seem too engaging. Honestly, I only enjoyed the Monster and the Peacock. Ask me privately if you want to continue further. I’m at cambriaj1977@hotmail.com if you’re interested. 

But this brings up a key issue for us autistic people in general: people will disagree with us, even in the face of cold hard facts. It’s kind of like flat earthers’ stubbornness into seeing whether the earth is flat or round, even though they accept the fact that Mars is round, because they see it with their own eyes. They will always have an answer for whatever facts you can have. For instance, the sun, according to them, is about the same size as the moon. Also, Antarctica is a wall that surrounds the earth. Why am I sputtering this nonsense? To remind you that ignorance is a choice, and some people will put their fingers in their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA LA….” to avoid being wrong and found out. 

This is very sad to say, but sometimes, you, the autistic in the know, must smile and grit your teeth, knowing that there are people who think things different from you. That does not make them right and you wrong. When the facts are revealed, they will get their just desserts.

Weighted Blankets at Target: Is it Cultural Appropriation???

I recently came across an argument – people getting weighted blankets to help them with sleep was a form of cultural appropriation. I was wondering: is this true?

I’ve never really considered this argument. But you can make a case for both sides.

First, that weighted blankets at Target is disability cultural appropriation. I can see the argument simply because disability aids and fidget toys, such as fidget spinners, became a fad. (Remember those? I still have mine.) They only became popular when abled people took them up. You could make the case for weighted blankets undergoing the same abled person pickup. It literally took the abled people taking up weighted blanket for them to even show up at Target – and they still do not come in queen size for my bed! What a shame that it takes the abled people to pick something up to become available for people who cannot make the something. That’s the textbook definition of ableism.

The argument against abled people taking up weighted blankets as cultural appropriation is another side. Basically, that something once used for autism, anxiety, and other disabling conditions is now used by abled people might just be natural because abled people see the aid can help them, too.

I see nothing beyond the above for these arguments, but I am disturbed by that fact that disabled people are not allowed to take control of their narrative the way other marginalized cultures do. We still need to pitch our disability aids to abled people to be able to even get them. Fidget spinners, fidget toys and weighted blankets are prime examples of this. Most abled people cannot see past the ends of their noses when it comes to us.

The sad thing is, my mother does not even know about the weighted blanket, so I do not have one.

New Year’s Eve at Home: A Perfect Scenario

Well, the Christmas decorations are put away, the patio door is unblocked again, the TV is back in its regular spot, and the front lawn (if you can call a small patch of grass that) is bare again. We’re back to normal, and I survived the cleanup. Strange how fast it all comes down.  

Now, on to New Year’s Eve. Honestly, I never knew how well I had it celebrating at home alone. No crowds of people, no loud and obnoxious bar patrons, and if I want a drink, I can get one myself. Also, no dressing up, no worries about how it looks on Instagram, and I can stay home with my dog, Bear. Bear will give me a kiss at midnight, so no worries. And if I don’t feel like staying up that late, I don’t have to – but it’s pretty normal for me.  

Shout out to my fellow New Year’s Eve homebodies! 

Christmas Prep Part 3: Take Care of Yourself

Some people say I preach to the choir. I say even the choir needs some guidance every once in a while. But truthfully, I am often preaching to myself. The issue at hand? The hectic schedules of Christmas many of us come across. Think about it. In Christian tradition, December is one of the busiest months of the year, if not the very busiest.  

You have parties, caroling, lights, sounds from nowhere, smells, cooking, church services, church potlucks, card send outs, family get-togethers…think about it. It is quite easy to get swept up in the hubbub – and forget to take care of yourself. The meds are a small thing, yet they help keep you stable and able to somewhat enjoy the season. Anyway, self-care is even more essential than ever in this time. I hate to bring it up, but there’s a reason airplane people tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. How can you help someone if you can’t breathe? Take care of yourself. If you need a break, take a break.  

If you don’t celebrate Christmas in this hectic manner, feel free to apply this advice to the month(s) you are busiest. It’s all good advice, applicable to busy times.