Drinking the World’s Kool Aid

I have been making myself absolutely miserable because I have been thinking I need a man. As in, I need someone to take care of me. Don’t get me wrong, people are shocked that I have autism because I have been taking care of myself and my mother for almost ten years. It’s just that, having someone to take care of me is not a necessity, because I am being taken care of already-by many sources.

There is an intersectional stereotype that a person with a disability and a woman both need to be taken care of, because they cannot take care of themselves. For many with autism, this is true-but not with me. I held down a job for six years out of sheer spite that people think I could not. I have run a house, cooked, cleaned, straightened out financially, and helped care for my mother. Granted, I may not have a job nowadays, but I can get one if I needed to. (Hopefully, that is coming.) The point is, I have done this without a man for nearly a decade. I certainly don’t need one now. Even with a disability, and even as a woman, I am holding things together. I am even taking care of myself as well.

I also have a source of love and care I believe in. For those of you who do not know, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior as a child, and I still believe. I may not act it, but if I am to believe in an all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe, won’t He love me? And if He loves me, won’t He take care of me? If my beliefs are correct, I have no need to fear anything.

If I don’t need anyone to take care of me, what is it worth to make myself miserable because I am not attached at the hip with someone? Nothing.

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Autism Positivity 2015

Autism Positivity? That was a new one for me. Sometimes, I myself need to step back from the battles I fight and see what I have gained. Certainly, most people say I have gained nothing and lost everything because I am autistic. However, I can see some gains I have made. Here are a few:

1) Perspective: There is a beautiful world out there that other people cannot see. I wish I could explain it to you, but I experience things differently. This is a part of who I am. Also, when I reveal I am autistic, most people’s stereotypical viewpoints of autism are broken, and broken soundly as I continue to contribute to their experience. I like to break down walls wherever I go.

2) Compassion: I gain more and more of this as I see the world through the eyes of an outsider. These days, everyone can be an outsider, because of so much discrimination, but with autism, the world is especially unkind to me. I have trouble making friends, and keeping friends, so I will treasure anyone who stays around me. I treasure my mother for this very reason.

3) Knowledge: My special interests have helped me gain knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. Maybe because I am a girl I have had interests closer to neurotypical people, but I have always gained something from a Special Interest. Here are a few:

Rainbow Brite (but mostly Indigo): I have gained tolerance, love, and an appreciation of theater from this one.

Sailor Moon: This is where many of my stereotypes of female power have been broken.

Some Fairy Tales: I have learned to love books and research through this one.

4) Jerk Detection: I have learned who really loves me, and who is just there to exploit me, by how well they tolerate my stimming. For instance, my sisters, who robbed and exploited me for a money source, hated my stims. Those who really love me, however, can either tolerate them, or perhaps help me figure out why I am stimming.

So, being autistic, I can love myself in a way that is unique for me.

Benevolent Ableism

As a child, my mother would have me order what I wanted at McDonald’s or other places – no matter how long it took. Many people would get their panties in a bunch if they knew I had autism, like I was some moron who could not order her own food. I could order my own food, it just took me a little longer. A less inspired, less educated woman would have simply ordered for me, but my mother somehow knew I needed the practice of expressing my needs, wants and opinions. The world obviously did not end because I took longer to order the food. I hope other mothers of those with autism realize that those who are able to speak get them to practice using their words. (For those who use other means to communicate, give the child as many opportunities to practice.) I digress a little bit, but the handling of me taking more time to order could have been an example of benevolent ableism.

Benevolent ableism is simply the belief and practice system that looks like help, but is really a form of discrimination. A good example of this, autism-wise, is speaking for the autistic like they are not in the room when the autistic is asked a question – especially if the person is standing next to you! Temple Grandin (for those who do not know, an advocate for the autistic) often tells people who answer for the autistic to stop. “But the person does not want to speak!” you say. How is that true? They are not you! You are not their voice-they have a voice of their own. It is pulling out a chair for someone in a wheelchair who did not ask. It is taking over a person’s financial business when they are perfectly capable of running their own financial business. (I handle my own financial business better than anyone else who has handled mine, thank you.) This attitude that because I have a different way of looking and experiencing things makes me a complete moron unable to take care of myself, or even learn, is wrong. I run a full cleaning schedule and take care of my dog, as well as my mother. Even with her diminished ability to stand and walk for long periods, she is capable of taking care of herself as well. I cover for what she cannot do, but she is certainly not a complete invalid like people have been taught to believe.

I guess the whole point of this is, see us as we are: human beings. Our disabilities should not diminish our humanity in your eyes. I mean, you think you see a person, but are you only seeing, for example, the wheelchair? There is no reason to think a disability, visible or otherwise, is some monster out to get your life. It can be seen differently, you know.

Yellow and Pink Derby Day

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First, let me congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their new arrival, a little girl. At this time, we still do not know her name, but that will be coming. She is so sweet it hurts.

Today was the running of the Kentucky Derby, “The most exciting two minutes in sports.” In Kentucky, it is a big deal, where pre-parties can be planned for two weeks, as well as all day. There are also Derby parties everywhere. My mother and I went to one of these in Lexington. We betted on horses for prizes, ate and had a good time. I wore my Derby Hat, a pink one with a large crown and bow.

Only in Kentucky would a two-minute race inspire a full day of partying and fashion parades. That’s what they say…but that is not the whole story. The truth is, horse racing was once considered a rough, low-class sport, unfit for the delicate sensibilities of women and children. (Interesting concept. How delicate am I supposed to be, again?) Anyway, the grandson of Meriwether Lewis traveled to England, where the Epsom Derby had been run since 1780, where racing was a grand society affair. Mr. Lewis then traveled to Paris for more inspiration. This gave him the idea to talk with high society ladies about having a picnic at the newly constructed racing facilities, soon to become Churchill Downs. The ladies agreed, and they brought their large society hats and their fancy clothes to the racetrack, where they can still be seen today in its current form, the bigger the better.

About Yellow and Pink…They were the colors of the three horses who finished in the top three. Yellow was around a LOT at Churchill Downs this year, as was pink. I picked Dortmund and American Pharaoh to win, either one…and American Pharaoh won. I actually picked American Pharaoh since he was the experts’ favorite, and the favorites tend to do very well in the Derby. Here is how the Derby went: American Pharaoh had green and yellow as his colors. The second place winner, High Flyer, had a jockey with a pink silk riding him, and the third, Dortmund, had a pink blanket on him. So, it was a yellow and pink Derby Day. I had a lot of fun this year, and hope to have more fun in the future.

The Inner Circle

As you know, I am still reeling from my Great Aunt’s death…but it has left me with a strange, sinking feeling that I will never be the same. We now have no reason to go to Harrodsburg, since the family gives us very little information and treats us like strangers. I would love to be a part of this special inner circle they have, but there is no effort or desire to bring me in. How do I get myself in with these people-damn my mother’s name? That seems to be the only way I can get in with these people-especially since my uncle Allen and my mother have a strained relationship. He seems to rule their opinion of my mother, and therefore, of me. I wonder what strange thing happened between them that they got so bad about? It almost seems that they want to exclude us from the family on purpose. Hopefully, we can get those things resolved before they die, too. There is so much they keep from us, that we are just strangers, just outsiders.

I have always been an outsider looking in whenever I was in a group. My youth group at church, my Girl Scout troop, and even my theater friends in high school-so much, in fact, that I always keep wondering if there is some magic to being neurotypical, to being able to infiltrate these great and wonderful cliques. It must be so magical to be in the inner circle….

Have I ever been on the inside, even in my own family? It pains me to say no. My mother and I are all we got when it comes to friendship and reliability. How I wish I could enter the inner circle-somewhere.

Special Interests: Petronella by Jay Williams

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There’s a special place in my heart for certain stories. Petronella by Jay Williams is one of them. It is, simply put, one of those “feminist fairy tales” put out in 1973, which turns the tables on the “prince rescues princess” stories, and turns the tables on it again. I won’t say how, but sometimes you need a prince among men, rather than a titled one.

I discovered this story in my high school library. I wondered why it was there, knowing it was a fairy tale, but maybe there was a purpose to putting it there. It was in a thin, tall book, with some very cute pictures. It was drawn, I think, by Tomi Ungerer. I enjoyed the story and its twists. (If you did not know before, the case is, I like a good, twisted story.) I forgot about the story until recently, when I got curious as to how well it has been represented online.

I have looked all over the internet, and it seems that Petronella has barely scratched the surface of the internet power machine. All I seem to get is a few book covers and a few pictures, which are not pictures I recognize. One was illustrated quite recently, while the other seemed to have been illustrated quite unusually in the 1970s. I surmised the 1970s one was original. I was a little saddened to discover this story has precious little inspiration online. I also went to art sites, and found no representation. I am a little rusty in drawing, since I have been away from it for such a long time. I tried to draw the character Albion the Enchanter’s portrait, and it came out bland and horrible. Maybe I need to practice a little more.

I think Petronella would be a great fairy tale to get to the silver screen…if only I knew how. Maybe I could give a crack at writing a script for it? Of course, I might need help with dialogue, being autistic and all…

Sorry I am not currently giving any credence to “Harry Potter” or “Frozen”‘s sister princesses. (“Let it go, let it go…” Got that stuck in your head again? I can be so wicked.) I just think we need to see what stories we can get to the public before they disappear in the strange way that stories get lost in time.