My thoughts on “13 Reasons Why”.

The following was actually a Facebook status of mine, but I figured what the heck, copy paste that mofo, it works as a blog post as well. Since it’s my thoughts on a show about suicide I’ll add a possible Trigger Warning.  

So I finished 13 reasons why. (probably going to be spoilers but none really about the story itself, I’m mainly talking about the overall “message”.)
I get the premise of spreading the whole “let’s be nicer to each other.” However, I feel like it’s more emotional porn than anything else. As entertainment, it certainly fits that criteria, as in you watch sad movies to cry, comedies to laugh, and this show to basically feel all the damn feels. It is well made (for entertainment purposes, anyway), and it certainly throws you around violently in every direction as you watch the different stories. From the beginning it draws you in and I’d wager many people binge watched it, I did.
For me, personally, it hit way too close to home. It was very difficult to watch but difficult to pull away as well. I related to Hannah, the one who made the tapes that Clay listened to the entirety of the season. Each episode was a different side of a tape, cassette tape, or rather, each side was a reason for her suicide.
Anyway, I get why people like it so much, in the sense that it teaches a lesson, one that sadly, not everyone already knows even though they fucking *should*. That our actions will have consequences, that you never know what another person is dealing with, how we treat others really fucking matters.
Now, I don’t think it romanticizes suicide, at least I didn’t get that when watching it. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend the show to anyone who is suicidal. It’s very detailed, very graphic, and there is absolutely no sugar coating. But I guess to get any real attention these days is to shock the shit out of people. So that was accomplished, I’d say.
As for it seemingly being a revenge suicide, whether people got it or not, it certainly was depicted as that. Especially in the first few episodes. I didn’t like that.
Farther into the season, you get more of a sense of what she is going through, you see more to help you understand. As opposed to the first few eps that seemed to depict her as over reacting or misunderstanding things (Again, rage boiled, deep inside of me when I picked up on that).
The ways people behaved, their different reactions (usually the wrong reaction) did get on my nerves. But I understand that many people do stupid shit, that teenagers especially can be incredibly cruel and selfish little shits.
The last three or four episodes get even more serious, with viewer discretion warnings, due to depictions of rape or violence or suicide. So yea, when you get to those it’s a pretty rough fucking road, if it hasn’t been already, that is.
I’m not saying it’s a bad show, but I am saying it could be problematic for someone who might be living with depression or suicidal thoughts or tendencies. To get rather personal, I have depression and I have, rather recently, dealt with suicidal thoughts, and have only *just* really started to feel better. I wasn’t going to watch it, but my morbid curiosity got the best of me. Also being autistic, I tend to not handle emotion well on a good day. So I actually knew better but I wanted to see so that I could form an opinion.
Objectively, the show is entertaining. It’s an emotional ride for people who like to cry in front of their televisions. (spoiler alert: I’m not one of those people.) While I see how a lesson to be nice to people can be gained from it, I think it’s more for shock value. I also think this show is more for people who are not in Hannahs shoes, but rather for people who would be in the shoes of those she listed on the tapes. So yea, for that, it’s a good show.
But before someone goes on to tell me how much they think the show is great and all the good it does… do keep in mind that I was affected rather negatively by it. The show *can* be problematic for some. I’d appreciate it if people would acknowledge at least that much.

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My Response To “Autistics and Parents of Autistics – Aren’t We All On the Same Team?”

I’ve been scrambling for things to write about lately, as you well know, if you have been keeping up with me at all this past year or so. My creativity has been severely blocked by life and all its glorious difficulties.  So when I came across a certain post written by an “autism parent” or rather, a parent of an autistic kid, I felt I needed to respond because this post is a bit incorrect. While I guess I can understand why this person came to this conclusion, I think that is more so due to lack of listening to #ActuallyAutistic people, than it actually being how she perceives it.

So first off, if the author ever reads my response, I’d like to point out that I am an autistic adult but also a parent of two autistic kids. A single parent, if that even matters.  So with that out of the way, onto the post. (Edit: I can’t link the post, it has been deleted or made private, however I’m keeping this post up because these points need to be made.)

There are just a few points I’d like to make, rebuttals, if you will, on a few things. The overall feel of the article is a bit “doom and gloom”. It starts off with talking about Autism Awareness Month, which is fine, but then goes to say However, there is something rather sinister going on beneath the surface of all this awareness-raising. Which is referring to autistic adults speaking out in online groups against things like Autism $peaks and their light it up blue and puzzle piece and generally pushing for acceptance instead of awareness. But I will explain it more so as we go along. The next thing:

There is a divide within the ‘autism community’ (and I’ll come back to that term in a minute), particularly online, and I think it’s getting wider. There is very much a ‘them and us’ feeling between people like me, a parent of an autistic child, and those who are actually autistic themselves.

You’re just now realizing there is a divide? This divide has always been there. The difference now is that we are in your faces instead of locked in institutions or clumsily going through life without any help or support.  I’ve mentioned this divide in the past, last April, in fact. Many other autistic bloggers have mentioned this divide. And we have been trying to figure out the best way to try to bridge this gap between us, but we cannot do it alone. *Some* progress has been made, but I guess you wouldn’t know about it since you aren’t listening to us. Moving on.

Some of those who are #actuallyautistic (they even have their own hashtag) believe that people who are not autistic themselves should not speak for, or advocate for those who are, including their own children. They believe that the only voice that should be heard is that of autistics and they get quite arsey about it.

That part is blatantly wrong. Those of us who are #ActuallyAutistic, the hashtag is a testament to the neurodiversity movement gaining momentum which is fucking awesome, do not want to push parents completely out of the way. What we do want -and yes I realize I’m saying we like I speak for all of us, to be clear, I don’t presume to speak for each and every one of us, but we do have a general consensus on some things, this being one of them- is for autistic people to speak for themselves. Saying we want to be able to have a say in our own advocacy does not mean we are saying for the non autistic people who want to be allies to get out of the way. It’s quite the opposite. While we do feel that autistic people should be at the forefront on this, since it is about us, we also want to educate others in proper advocacy.

The trouble is, for many of our children, we have to be their voice, because they do not have one of their own – literally in many cases. Or, even if they are verbal, they may lack the capacity to voice their own opinions. I am ****’s voice right now, because she’s five and isn’t really able to advocate for herself just yet. However, I don’t write about how she’s feeling, or what she’s thinking as I can’t always know this; I write from my own perspective, that of a parent. As soon as she’s able to voice her own opinions I’ll help her to express these in whichever way she sees fit, be that on a blog, or a vlog, or even not at all if she doesn’t want to.

This I have to say we differ a bit when it comes to parenting. And this might be my literal autistic brain at work here, but I can’t possibly consider myself to be my kids voice. Not really. But I am inclined to believe that non autistic people interpret “being their kid’s voice” as a little different than what I am thinking of.  I will point out that I have never, nor have I ever seen another autistic person, told a parent they shouldn’t be their kids voice in the sense of fighting for services with docs, schools, and all the other mess of things we have to do to get the kids the help they need. Now correct me if I’m wrong in assuming that THAT is what you mean by being their voice. My literal brain is also not referring to being my kids voice as to making assumptions about what they are feeling or thinking, no not at all. What I call being someone else’s voice is disclosing the most personal things about them, vulnerable moments, that perhaps they’d be incredibly embarrassed about if they learned that was plastered all over the internet for strangers to read or see. That is the kind of voice I hope no parent ever strives to be.

Some of the autistics that lurk in the comments on facebook pages tend to be intelligent, articulate and, I’m sorry to say, quite nasty. 

Some of these autistics do not consider us parents to be a part of the ‘autism community’ unless we actually have autism (which, I’ve noticed, is generally assumed we don’t, but this is not always the case; there are quite a few autistic parents out there). I understand this, to a point. After all, I would not consider myself to be part of the black community as I am clearly not black, so why do I consider myself part of the autism community even though I am neurotypical?

We don’t lurk, we interact. Lurking sounds so… predatory.  Stahp with the doom and gloom, please.

Let me explain something. At this point there are two communities. There always have been. One, the “autism community” are the non autistic people, parents, caregivers, and I guess we can even throw the professionals who “work with” autistic people, even though some might put them in their own category of community, but that is beside the point. And two, the Autistic Community. The autistic community is only autistic people. The difference is so obvious here. A parent who is not autistic is not the same thing as someone who is autistic. We have completely different experiences. I say this as someone who is both.  (I will be exploring this further in another post, perhaps.)

The thing is, I live autism. My life revolves around autism, every single day, and, most likely, will for as long as I live. Everything I do, I consider the impact on ****, or ****’s impact on it – everywhere we go, everyone we see. I eat, sleep (ha!) and breathe autism. So, although I may not have the condition myself, autism is my life. If I can’t be a part of the ‘autism community’, where do I, and all the other parents, belong?

Yes and no.  While a parent or caregiver’s life might revolve around all the decisions to make and plan around and deal with and observe the autistic individual, the parent isn’t exactly living what it’s like to be autistic. I think perhaps a better way to phrase it would be “this autistic individual is my life” rather than autism- because autism is the autistic person’s life, in every conceivable way, not the caregiver or family members. A person is definitely affected by those around them, sure, but everyone has that. Everyone is affected by their family members and whatever conditions they might have, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone call themselves a “gay parent” unless they, themselves, are gay, or a “transgender parent” unless they themselves are transgender, or an “anxiety parent,” because their child has severe anxiety or whatever other many things a person’s child can be or go through. While yes, a parent is affected in many ways, good or bad is not the point, the parent still isn’t going through it like the child is. These are two completely different worlds for the simple fact that a neurotypical parent will never see it through autistic eyes. It’s perfectly fine for a parent to try to be an ally, in fact, I encourage it, but be aware that there are right and wrong ways to advocate/be an ally. Where do the parents belong? Well you belong right beside your kid, of course, being a proper ally.  At the moment, your community IS the “autism community” just be aware that there is a separate community full of autistic people that should be the one’s at the forefront of every autism conversation.

At the end of the day, are we not all trying to do the same thing? Surely we all want to raise awareness of and to promote understanding of autism so that all those who are autistic are accepted in society and life can be just that bit easier for them? So, I don’t understand why some autistics have such a problem with parents like me, who write about our children and our lives. I believe it’s important to share how a neurodiverse family interacts and manages daily life and the number of parents who have contacted me to thank me for being open and honest is testament to that.

To answer the questions, yes and yes. If that is indeed what you are after then yes we want the same things.

But I will say that I do have a problem with the way some “autism parents” write about their children’s lives.  Before anything else, I am autistic. I always was. I was a kid once and so when I see parents talking about their kid the first thing that comes to mind is how would I feel if my parents talked about me like that. I’m willing to bet that this is probably how others view it as well, at least, that they think about their own upbringing when reading anything they might perceive as negative when coming from parents. I don’t care if a parent wants to write a blog as long as they are respectful of their child. Now, I’ll admit, Ive never read your blog, I do not know you at all and I’m quite sure you are a loving parent. However, there are some bloggers that I have read that go into very gruesome details about their kids and even post pictures and videos of their child’s most intimate and vulnerable moments. Those are the kinds of blogs I despise, with a passion. Because again, I consider my own meltdowns and vulnerable moments and think about what if my parents did that shit to me? I’d be devastated.

I would imagine most of these autistics – the ones who are on a mission to gag us parents – had parents who supported them as children, who advocated for them, who were their voice until such a time that they could speak for themselves (or hide behind their keyboards, at least). So why do they feel that our children don’t deserve the same? Perhaps it’s because when they were children, the internet wasn’t a thing and people just didn’t share their lives so openly? But times change and this is the way it’s done now.

Those of us who advocate are NOT on a mission to gag parents. Never have been. What we have been trying to do is get parents to listen to autistic people. I actually have written a post about this not that long ago, titled Autism Acceptance: Listen to Autistic people which covers a few of the things I am peeved about when it comes to not being listened to.  Your assumption that we all had parents who advocated for us, or supported us, is incorrect. Many of us are so passionate about Autism Acceptance because we never had that while growing up, not even from our families. That is also why we get so aggressive at times, because we CARE SO MUCH. The idea of any other autistic person going through what we had to go through really freaks us out, in fact, I’ve been terrified for many people I’ve never met just by reading some of the things their parents so easily spew on the interwebs, because of how familiar it is. So for the most part, in my case, it isn’t even about me or my kids, it’s about helping anyone who might find themselves in such difficult situations such as mine. My childhood was no picnic.

After stressing that her post isnt about all autistics she closes it with:

I feel really sad that this division exists, as surely we all want a world that is more accepting of autism and those who are on the spectrum? Does it matter that much how we go about it? I’ll write about it my way, you talk about it yours. We all have different experiences to share… after all – different not less.

We are sad about the division as well. And we are working to try to bridge that gap. In fact, we even have groups for allies to learn from autistic adults. It is a first step I think, but it seems to be making progress. So it’s not all about arguing with parents online, but sometimes we have to push a bit to get our voices out there. I’ve known plenty of parents who started out on the opposite end of my advocacy that are close online friends of mine now. So that gap or division can be bridged. It really can, but something has got to give on the side of the parents, we’ve been making strides to try to help you. And while we may not communicate it in the way you prefer, please don’t tone police us. To answer your question, does it matter how we go about it? Yes. It matters. It matters a whole hell of a lot to autistic people. Which makes me want to raise the question, why doesn’t it matter enough to you to find out why it matters so much to us?

So I will close with this. I most certainly do not want to silence parents of autistic kids. The parents should be our best allies. After all, you parents are there in the thick of it with your little ones, putting in a whole hell of a lot of work. All that I ask for is for your ear. Just listen to what we have to say. Our experiences might benefit you, in at least getting you to understand a bit better what it is like to be autistic. Maybe something we learned along the way can help you. But we can’t know that if you wont listen to us. The divide is because of things like “I’ll do it my way, you do it yours.” No, that is not good enough. We have to do this together, do we not? Put the autistic people at the front and listen to what we have to say, then in turn take what you learn and share it with the world, since you, the able bodied person, are sitting in a place of privilege after all, your voice, in today’s society, is more likely to be listened to. That is just how it is right now, but help us change that so that your kid has a better world to live in.

 

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Our Routinely-ish Morning Scrambly Thing.

I don’t usually like talking about the kids too much, I don’t want to invade their privacy like that. However, I’m at a loss as to what to write about for Autism Acceptance Month. So I was like, dude, write what you know.  And yknow, this came out. 

So, as we all know, it is rather important to have routine in an autistic household. It is, however going to vary from family to family as to what works. For us, we tend to find our routines in the midst of all the chaos that is our household. I’ve been pushed by social workers and the like to make tables and lists and routines up the wazoo, and yknow what, there is such a thing as too much routine. Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better about the fact that I’m kind of a stumbler through life, on a good day. But whatever, by stumbling I happened to have come across what works for us. So, points to Slytherin. (Yea, Im a nerd, Slytherin house, woot woot!) The following is our morning routine, or rather, what barely passes for one. And I’m perfectly okay with this, I’m not looking for advice, just trying to show what it’s like for us, all of us being autistic, and all that… 

First, the oldest of the offspring wakes at 6.30. Yea that’s right- he wakes himself. His alarm goes off a full hour before mine. He pokes his head into my room to tell me what time it is every thirty minutes.  He gets dressed as he watches either his favorite Youtubers or Rick and Morty.  Normally, I don’t get to sleep for that hour, though. My kiddo is barely a pre-teen and bombards me with “where is my ____?” questions usually for that hour as he finds his shit. Not only does he get dressed by himself while yelling at me the whole time, he also gets his bag ready (unless I remember to do it the night before) and he gets his snack and keeps an eye out for his ride to show. All while announcing what he is doing in between questions of where things are.  It works for us.  I have serious issues with sleeping (as some autistic people do) and waking.  While it is difficult for the pre-teen kiddo to fall asleep, which is something we are working on together, he has no issue waking up… yet.  The Destructo Beast (DB) usually sleeps through all of this right next to me.  A heavier sleeper than the rest of us, I can have a full blown conversation (we don’t have “inside voices”) with the kid for at least most of that hour before she stirs.   Eventually, she wakes and goes out to the living room and yells for yogurt, juice, and cartoons.

By the time DB gets up, I’ve peeled myself out of my bed. The kid (I have no clever nickname for him, and I’ve asked if he wants one, he said no.) is grabbing his bag and out the door yelling “my ride is here, bye!” by the time I’m getting the DB her juice. The time is somewhere between 7.40 and 8.00 by now, and the DB is supposed to be at school at 8. This school she goes to is basically a pre-school, so her being late isn’t that much of an issue. As long as she is there before 9 the teachers don’t give me too much shit about it. Honestly, I pay for her time there, I wonder why they give me any shit at all sometimes, considering they get paid regardless. But that is beside the point. On a good morning I get her there at around 8.15. On a shitty morning, when my fibro is already in flare, it takes a bit longer. I’m working on it, but I can’t really predict these things. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed the night before, the morning is an issue all on its own. Sometimes, it seems, if I barely get any sleep I manage to get her there closer to on time.  But, yknow, it varies. I cannot predict these things. Even if I have everything ready for them, clothes, bags etc., it still doesnt work out the way it *should* the next day. But I continue to digress. (Notice how the REAL issue here is my fibro, not Autism. Just wanted to point that out.)

Where was I? Oh right, the DB has her juice, yogurt, and cartoons. I scramble her clothes together (if I haven’t gotten them together the night before, which I usually don’t) and then proceed to attempt to dress her.  She has a tendency to- playfully- make it difficult to dress her sometimes. And she is so darn cute that I don’t ever really get angry about it. I might get slightly irritated but we manage. After she eats, drinks, and is dressed we head out the door. The walk to her school is short, maybe ten minutes, if that. Some mornings we drag that walk out, as she gets distracted by things, and I get distracted by things…

Mind you, all of this happens before my first coffee. And most of the time I head out with DB while still in my pajamas. Then I head back home and make a cappuccino, caramel flavored, of course, and sit at the computer checking my FB and whatever else.  This morning I took my time walking back, I found a few photo opportunities.  I’m feeling particularly gross today because I have been sick the past couple of weeks, and my stomach has been gymnasticating (that’s a word, right? No? Whatever, it works) it up like crazy and I’m exhausted, so going up three flights of stairs to get back into my apartment was more than a chore.  Anyway, after my fb and coffee I then dress and get ready for whatever crap I have to do that day. Perhaps that is a post for another time, idk.

I want to end this post by saying that I don’t disclose my mornings in any way to complain about how hard it is to raise autistic kids or whatever. I mean yea, we have our rough times, but we also have an understanding… well the kid and I have an understanding while doing our best to accommodate the DB until she is old enough to join this understanding of ours.  The kid and I work together on many things, while we are both autistic we have many differences and we clash rather often. For example: I cannot stand being touched, the kid likes hugs, we have to compromise and he understands why. That sort of thing. We worked out our mornings a long time ago, he prefers to do things himself pretty often and he knows that if he needs help he can tell me and I’ll push past my boundaries to do so, if at all possible.  So while we have our issues, I have to say that we don’t persevere despite our autism, we do things this way because we are all autistic and it works for us. I have actually tried doing it the way others have “advised”, and it does not work… It just doesn’t. That is the thing about an autistic household, especially when all of us are autistic, not just the kids, things are just different. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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My Turbulent Twenties

Friends come and go. I tend to lose more friends than I keep. And that is especially true for online friends.  I’d wager that more than half of my friends list on FB has me hidden from their timelines for many reasons. One reason would be that I’m an Atheist, that I criticized religion pretty often in the past, especially in my twenties. At the time I was living on the bible belt and catching loads of shit from so called “good Christians”.  Other reasons are probably that I am pro choice, I believe everyone should be treated equally (lots of debates when it comes to any marginalized group fighting for equal rights), and I cuss a lot. #SorryNotSorry.  Some friends I haven’t minded losing much, while others that I truly cared for left me rather upset with their “unfriending”.  Granted, for a time I was a very angry individual, and I took out my anger in the form of online ranting about religion and other controversial topics. I had nowhere else to place this anger. My twenties were turbulent, to say the least.

In my late teens I grappled with Christianity, trying to find any part of it that made sense to me, that fit me right. It never did. So by the time I was in my twenties I began a sort of spiritual journey, looking for anything that I might resonate with. My early twenties were full of drama. So much drama, in a tiny shit town where no one had anything better to do than stir up shit with others. A relationship that was rocky, at best, ended in my early twenties and it didnt end well. So naturally, as someone as hurt and angry as I was, I began my destructive behavior in real life while simultaneously trying to find meaning of it all online in different communities. I moved back and forth between that shit town in the good ol’ USofA and Iceland, lost in many ways.  I found solace in a specific online pagan community among some people that I felt a great deal for.  While I never really found any religion to fit me at the time, I did find that I was really good at retaining information, cataloging and regurgitating what I learned during online chat debates.  Back then I don’t think I was aware of how the religion part just didn’t sit well with me, not really, and my real passion was the debate.

In my mid to late twenties I realized that I’m an Atheist. I just didn’t believe in the existence of any god. No matter how hard I tried. At the time, on the bible belt, I was also angry and arguing with people about how ridiculous I found Christianity (in particular) to be.  I was very adamant in my opinion of said religious beliefs, unapologetic in my insults.  After some time I did come to terms with my own personal cesspool of shit that made me so angry, and I finally learned how to be tolerant of others religious beliefs, to an extent, at least. By then, however, I had lost a few online friends I really cared about, so my epiphany of tolerance came a bit late. I guess it’s true that even in that sense, I’m a bit of a late bloomer. Such as the rest of my life, basically.  But that is beside the point. My stance is now that while I still find religious beliefs, mainly monotheistic ones, to be utterly ridiculous, I do respect other people’s right to believe in these things. So, I’ve stopped commenting on the posts of those who hold said beliefs, but I do continue to post whatever the fuck I want on my own profile. These days I don’t post much about religion, maybe a joke here or there, but I feel my time is better spent on other topics.

What I consider more important than bickering about religion these days are things like current events, equal rights, and Autism Acceptance.  While I have lost friends from my religious ranting, I’ve lost more due to my political and equal rights posts. Many trumpsters have unfriended me, some of which are “family”.  But I’m fine with that. Anyone who says unfriending over politics is childish doesn’t understand that a person’s political stance is basically what they believe in, how they think about others, what they stand for.  So if my “family” supports a politician that is openly racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, and ableist then they obviously don’t give much of a shit about me, considering that many of said politicians stances would affect me negatively and the rest that wouldn’t affect me I care very deeply about because all people deserve to be treated like fucking people.

So while I was an angry and lost individual I managed to make it through my twenties, alive, despite my very destructive behavior in real life, and have emerged after much self reflection,  in my mid-thirties as one of those pesky snowflake social justice warriors. And that is something I am quite proud of.  Not to toot my own horn or anything, but… toot toot. I’ve come a long way.

So my early thirties were basically me coming to terms with my own diagnosis of Autism. I suffered a burnout at the beginning of last year or so and have found my way back, relatively unscathed. The fact that I’m writing this is a rather large improvement… considering that anxiety and depression left me without any real motivation to write at all. So here I am, working on myself, pumping out a blog post and arguing human decency on Facebook.  I start a program to work with social anxiety next week and I’m actually exercising regularly.  I will be doing my best to continue on this upward climb to bettering myself, my life, and in turn making life awesome for my kids. Perhaps I can get some real advocacy for Autism Acceptance done as well.

Thanks for reading, and remember to NOT light it up blue this coming month of April but wear red instead or light it up gold for Autism Acceptance.

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Autism Acceptance: Listen to Autistic People.

Lately I have been getting rather irritated by certain things in the “Autism” community. I put quotations around the word Autism because I am not referring to actually autistic people, I am referring to those who claim to speak for us.  The doctors and researchers and groups and therapists and other so called professionals that claim to work with autistic people. The idea that they work with us is actually quite laughable, because to me it seems they are working against us in so many ways. And then there are the “autism parents” who are not autistic but use the condition -that is not their own- as their identity somehow while simultaneously yelling at us to stop calling ourselves autistic because we are not our diagnosis.  They push person first language and say we are people and yet treat us like we are less than by speaking over us and ignoring/dismissing us when we do try to speak. They push person first language regardless of the fact that the majority of autistic people prefer identity first. And lest we forget, they also use the dismissal tactic of “there are more important things going on than language”.  I love that one. It’s like they don’t know us at all and yet claim to be experts.  The sheer hypocrisy of it all is absolutely mind blowing. But let’s move on from the infuriating language argument, that is still going on today -as we fucking speak- and move onto my next irritability.

Studies that claim to have found this miraculous piece of information about autistic people when if they had actually listened to us in the first place they would already know it. For example: An article in The Guardian titled A Potential Breakthrough In Care Of Children With Autism basically states that if you are understanding of the child and meet them on their level then behaviors improve. Fucking duh.  This is something  autistic adults have been saying all along. I’m willing to bet that if more of us were actually acknowledged then autism research and services would be more efficient than it is today. This is why we prefer organizations that include us like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network instead of groups that are constantly in search for a cure and refer to us as suffering from autism (cough autism speaks cough).

But, autistic people are such a mystery, yknow a puzzle to be solved, you might say. Well, one way to gain understanding of autistic people, this includes your child, is to ask autistic adults about their experiences.  Before you respond with something along the lines of “adults able to communicate can’t possibly understand MY child because they are too ‘high functioning’,” or any variation thereof,  do try to keep in mind a few simple facts.  One thing, you cannot compare autistic adults to autistic children in ways of skills or ability.  Another thing, you can’t possibly know a person’s struggles through text on the internet. And another, we were once autistic kids, like yours, with more than likely very similar struggles. But the difference between us is rather simple: we grew up.  Over the years we gained skills and experiences, we learned things, we got older and eventually found ways to communicate.  A very important piece of information is that many of us are also parents of autistic kids. That last one seems to be hard for people to comprehend. Very often when an autistic adult will try to communicate their different opinion on a matter then people respond with “well we are parents and we….” making the very wrong assumption that the individual couldn’t possibly be a parent because they are autistic. That, my friends, is called ableism. Always presume competence.

You guys, there is a ton of info out there written by autistic people from all over the spectrum. The best way to learn about a condition is to listen to those who live with it. Because we are looking through the eyes of an autistic person, who better to explain what it’s like? Seriously. Autism acceptance month is nearly upon us and I will be contributing by writing about certain things here in my blog. I have a few in the works already and am always open to topic suggestions. Some will be from the perspective of an autistic parent and others will just be information that is real and worthy of sharing. I do hope you stick around to read them.

We are not a mystery, we are not a puzzle to be solved, we are right here and ready for you to listen.  All you have to do is ask. 

Thanks for reading.

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Searching For Motivation

 

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I sit here and stare at this screen and nothing. So I’m going to write about this nothing. Since I have nothing to write about.

It seems that my physical pain and exhaustion is accompanied by an equal amount of non creativity, non writing, non fucking whatever… and it’s actually starting to piss me off. Is this the next step, then? Because before I just stared and then shrugged and then stopped trying.  My awareness of this lack of interest in things is difficult to describe really. I feel nothing for the things that used to make me feel. My attention is more focused on the here and now, and the here and now is dull. It lacks luster. The only thing I focus on these days is what I feel physically. It’s almost like I can only do one at a time, feel physical or emotional, but not at the same time. But I know that isn’t the case, because I can quite easily be angry while my back hurts. So I know I have emotions. I know I feel them. But the creative feel, the feel or passion for things.. creating. That is so far away from me.

Perhaps it’s like when you need to change the channel, but the remote is on the other side of the room. You cannot reach it so you stand up and walk over to it. But in this case the mere thought of standing up seems like so much work that sitting there and just watching something you dislike seems like the better choice. So sitting there watching something that you are not interested in, you zone out, or go along with it but not really that happily. The story is okay, it moves, but it’s not your thing. Why are you still watching this? Get up and get the remote, change the channel.  I think I might be stuck on a channel I never watch, with shows I never cared for, nothing grabs my attention. I remember feeling at least a sense of wonder about things, happiness even. But these days it’s not coming. And that’s not to say I’m mopey or sad or anything. I could even go so far as to say that I’m content sometimes. But I think that when I am content that is when my creativity fades. I think I have to at least feel a bit of suffering to be able to write like I used to. To be perfectly honest, I’d prefer to feel something bad instead of nothing at all. Is this what depression is like? Well it sucks. While it isn’t exactly fun to feel like one is screaming on the inside, at the very least it is passion, which is something I am severely lacking these days.

So I wrote:

Void. Abyss. Or some other dramatic word. Something that means empty… hollow… absent. Here but not here. There but not there. Moments pass in such ways that are fast and slow at the same time… dragging on and yet once gone I wonder where they went.. how long did that take? Really? It felt like less, even though during it felt like forever. Staring into space, no thoughts. Numbing quiet.

I guess that describes it.  So I think I need to go ahead and stand up to get that remote. Starting by just writing anything, free writing or rambling, using words I haven’t used in a long time. Even though when I look at this computer screen I go blank, even though I just want to shut it off and not bother with it. I will keep writing. I don’t care how bad it is, as long as I’m writing. This would be the standing up part, and with each post another step towards that remote.  I can do this.

 

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Feeling Alone 

I’ve been rather busy as of late but I just added the WordPress app to my new iPhone 7 and thought I’d try it out with an update post. I may do more of these in the future.

Just recently I nearly deleted this entire blog. It may have been an existential crisis or perhaps a need for a change; to control something I can while so many other things are out of my control.  But instead I trashed all of my old posts save a few I thought were still relevant.  Mostly everything I do or think is autism related and I’ve been so engrossed in it that all of my other interests feel like mere shades of a past I can barely remember.  I know that sounds gloomy but if there is a better way to explain this it eludes me.

Last week I went to a couple of appointments and filled out questionnaires and they told me I have anxiety and depression.  So the process of getting the help I need has begun and I am wary of having to explain it to another stranger when I’d rather just sit by myself away from any prying eyes. That is probably due to social anxiety.  These things come as no surprise to me, of course, but there is something in having that validation which leads to a time of reflection and mixed feelings and then the realization that had the help been sought after sooner my life could be dramatically different.

If enough time passes by with no real changes in the positive I tend to find myself questioning my very existence. I am in the process of trying to better my life, after all, but to do so while a war is raging inside of me makes it seem to be a process moving at a snails pace.  I feel like I am two extremes battling relentlessly.  There is the part of me that wants to do all these things and is impatient and wants to go go go… then there is the part of me that just doesn’t want to do any of it. Not out of fear or stress but out of a strong disinterest for just about everything.

I recall feeling, or even unfeeling, this way before at different times in my life. Just like this. The duality and the constant inner battle and basically seeming calm on the outside.  The dismissals by others when attempting to explain any of it.  The alone feeling… not necessarily that I want or even need someone because I do enjoy my solitude…  but knowing that I’m alone in this can make it … well it sucks, plain and simple.  It’s probably better to be alone rather than to not be alone and still feel alone.  That is what it seems like when those around me do not understand.  But as an autistic this is not a new thing for me.  I have always been alone. Always. Even when I wasn’t.

Crap this post is more negative than I had planned. But I guess at least it’s honest.

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