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.

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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. 

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.

A Tale of Lost Beauty

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
oh nevermind;
you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself
and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked…

Read more: Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Take a look at this girl. Isn’t she pretty?  

mypic1-1

The girl had no clue. 

The truth is, this is a picture of me in my teens. At the time, I did not measure up to the skinny beauties of Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford. I was a curvy girl. At the time, it was either ultra-skinny, like Kate Moss, skinny with boobs, like Cindy Crawford, and fat. There were no Kardashians; there were no Ashley Grahams. There were no models to see that I was acceptable, and no way I could be pretty at the time.  

Now I look at the Kardashians, and at Ashley Graham, and I am jealous that I am not younger. I am jealous that I did not have the chance to be pretty just by being myself. 

I’m forty now. Who knows how much potential was wasted because I did not deem myself acceptable? My mother and I live together, and I have little chance of getting out. I have no children. Of course, that is probably my fault. I vowed to have no children because I did not want them to go through the bullying I went through. (I even broke up with a boyfriend due to bullying in younger years.) I guess the bullies won in my life. Maybe I am a cautionary tale. Maybe I am not supposed to have children.  

Maybe I had to actually see my beauty after it had faded to really appreciate it. Sad thing is, maybe if I knew I was pretty, I would have taken better care of myself.

Cartoon Women

Why do people need to act and believe their cartoons?  Cartoons are what happens when people believe their stereotypes. 

Here’s the problem with stereotypes: most people believe them, at least secretly.  

Here is an example: A later episode of What Not to Wear featured a woman who dressed so feminine, she acted like a cartoon. Now this is an extreme example, but it is very close to stereotypes regarding women. A giant beehive, tons of bubblegum makeup, strands of pearls, and super-high heels.  

Another example? Willie, a character in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A most annoying and ingratiating character, yes, but she seems little more than a bundle of stereotypes. I’m not laying the blame at Capshaw’s feet, though. She is among a class of people who can portray anyone. The character was written stereotypically, the damsel in distress. Well, the damsel in distress was largely out of fashion by the 1980s, thanks to the introduction of Princess Leia and other more participatory lead women. Most people dislike the character of Willie, and she is counted among the most annoying characters ever put to film. 

My point about bringing up the damsel in distress, and the character of What Not to Wear, are that these women are literally cartoons of femininity. The problem with cartoons is, most people believe them. They are detrimental to things like peace, love and understanding. I brought up feminine stereotypes because they are ones I am closest to, but here’s a good example of detriment: How many persons of color have been followed in a store because the people who work there think the person of color is an automatic thief? How about all the women who have been denied their autism diagnosis simply because they are women? There’s the “aggressive, savage” black person, the “hysterical” Hispanic, and the “math genius-ninja” Asian. Sure, there are a few people who fit the stereotype, but most of them do not. Let me break it down: Who is going to listen to someone “hysterical”? Who is going to stock up on guns to protect themselves from the “aggressive savage”? Most people are fighting the cartoon version of their kind daily.  

Why can’t people be real?

Where are the Girly Autistics, TV People?

I have a problem. There is a dearth of people with autism who like to wear makeup. Sure, some of us autistic people may dislike the look and feel of makeup on their faces, but not me. I love the way my makeup makes me look and feel. Also, once fashion, or more appropriately, style, was demystified for me, I figured out how to use it, too. I like makeup, I like fashion, and I have autism. So why am I nonexistent in the media?
I have a feeling that I am not supposed to be womanly and autistic at the same time. I feel like I am wrong and rebellious when I am in makeup and stylish clothes. That to be autistic, I have to abandon my genuine likes and my being myself in order for people to believe me. I feel weird and like an outsider for being both autistic and girly, or womanly. I also feel this is wrong. So, tell me, media, where are the girly autistics?

Battlestar Galactica and Idioms

CW: Swearing References 

There was a sketch on “Robot Chicken” some years ago depicting the various FCC dodges on the Battlestar Galactica remake. It was made pretty obvious that the characters were swearing their guts out with alternative swear words, but the punchline was the FCC censor’s reaction: “What the [BEEP] were they talking about?” Yeah, it’s funny. It also made me feel for the FCC censor. I’ll tell you why. 

It took me until late in middle school to understand most idioms. Idioms, for those who don’t know, are general sayings that mean something else. For an autistic, that can be confusing. It’s just about as confusing as the dialogue on the new Battlestar Galactica. But the teacher of my advanced English class decided to teach us about idioms – and the explanations of popular idioms at the time. I struggle with the idioms of the younger generations, but once somebody tells me what they’re talking about, I can understand, and even better, use it well. Take, for example, “riding dirty.” There’s a song which uses this idiom over and over, but never tells you what it means.  It means having drugs in the car. I don’t know if they use it anymore, but it’s an example. Yes, I’m showing my age, but at least I try to understand younger adults and what they’re saying. 

I’m not complaining about something random for no reason. I’m saying that an autistic person can get something as confusing as idioms, if you take the time to teach them.