Ever since I was very little people have said that I make mountains out of molehills, as an adult one even told me that I made my own mountains, when I was little phrases such as these made no sense to me, but as I grew older I came to learn that it meant that in addition to problems that life had in store for me that I too added to my struggles. When things are unknown to me my mind goes to what I call the Bad Place. I catastrophize the worst outcomes there, never are the outcomes of a positive conclusion, the more time given between outcomes the worse things become in my mind. Over the years I have made friends only to have them vanish without a word or trace after years, they just stopped being in contact with me, I still have no idea why. This does not stop me from remembering them which in turn causes me to type off missives sent out to the four winds wishing them well and hoping that they will soon be in touch, sometimes I fill them in on my life, but mostly send them wishes of good will and hopes that they reply. Years go by, some even decades, and still I tear up when I think of them and then I write. Some people say, when will I learn, but this hope hiding beneath the tears is what sustains me, even if in my darkest hours in quiet night it is long forgotten.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Saturday, April 1, 2017
During this Autism Acceptance Month let us not forget to welcome the formally diagnosed, the self-diagnosed, those who are questioning, or those that we might guess to also be on the Spectrum through our own observations. Autistic-radar is a thing! Let us extend the hand of friendship as it were: (please remember that there are those who do not wish to be touched unexpectedly so treat this as a figurative statement), to the out-casts, the lonely people, etc. There is a vibrant support community of like-minded souls, whether you be out or still in closet as it were, on social media that is available for you to find and suggest that others seek out too.
I have heard for years that online friends were not true friends, only those you know in the flesh are, but I beg to differ for many Autistics we are more at home online than our non-Autistic counterparts due to the fact that there is no need to attempt to decipher body language, tone of voice, etc. in order to communicate, there written word reigns supreme. I have been chatting with people online since 1998 and have never looked back, I feel more at home there than anywhere else.
I have never been one to talk about girlie things like fashion, hair, nails, celebrity crushes, etc. I cannot understand such interest/cannot relate, I on the other hand crave chats about nature, animals, politics, movies, tv shows, and books, the latter few tend to be of the sci-fi fantasy genres respectively. Have always been more myself and more accepted talking with guys; they always are interested in such cool things. Groups I tend to frequent are majority male, for me this is preferable. I too have been an outcast sometimes even in groups that I have created, it is hard for me to get to know people/read people; unless things are blatant I miss things entirely. I have trouble entering conversations even in a group of people I am familiar with if I come upon them already conversing, I do not know how to enter in their conversation, I tend to hang around the periphery and then just disappear.
Many on the Autistic Spectrum struggle to read people and situations, subtleties are lost on us. This month above all others please try to welcome someone into your social group or gathering or online chat and be blatant about your desire for them to join you - someone who moves and acts like you do it will be appreciated. Make a new friend, share a smile, include someone new, everyone appreciates being part of something bigger than themselves.
In closing, please remember that Autism Acceptance is more than just you accepting your own Autism or that of your child, but more so as society as a whole accepting Autistic people stims and all on our terms, together we can make a better a more inclusive world for all.
Happy Autism Acceptance Month to one and all.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Many of us in the disability community take part in some sort of activism whether it be solely online or in-person or a combination of the two. I applaud all of our efforts. It really comes down to our level of comfort dealing with people en masse, a.k.a. the number of spoons we have available to us on any given day. Many of us have comorbidities that impact our choices for activism, but that does not mean that the choice we make to take part and express ourselves should be deemed any less important than others are. I for one feel more at home online and have been known to take part in many different protests via twitter and blog posts over the years. Online activists/protesters do not have to hear verbal shouts of derision or face any form of physical violence in-person, that is not to say that one does not encounter violence of another sort where people feel more free to show disdain and spout vile hateful ableist rhetoric online, whatever comes into their minds all the while cowardly hiding behind the safety of their computer screens. Cyber-bullying is just as invasive and in many cases even more so than in-person bullying because when one is home and alone one can still be targeted and harassed no matter the distance away the “attacker” is in the physical world. Such attacks cause just as much PTSD as their in-person physical ones, but in many cases the pain and harm they cause is even deeper. I do not like to invite such attacks so do not engage with individuals one on one online as others in my community to do on a regular basis, I could not take the self-hate and internalized ableism that would be a result of such attacks from awful people trolling the net for the sole purpose of creating havoc and leaving harm in their wake. Face it people many of these perpetrators spew their vitriol for their sheer entertainment and when we take the bait we are playing right into their hands.
I in turn use general political, etc. hashtags and take part in #cripthevote or just speak my mind in my own personal twitter and also sign online petitions. Those who do not engage others in-person but find it makes it easier to express yourselves online do not think that this diminishes the value of your activism; we too are fighting to make the world a better place for disabled people. I applaud Autistics who do engage one on one ,on a regular basis, you are brave beyond any measure I can express because time and time again you go to battle with these trolls, lick your virtual wounds and there you are again back in the fray fighting another day. Many of those who do go toe to toe with such hateful trolls find strength in the community and the fact that we do support their efforts knowing full well our own limitations and lack of spoons to do it ourselves, but as they say someone has too. I applaud the TRUE Autistic warriors taking on non-Autistic trolls online who only like to bait and taunt us for their own enjoyment and care nothing of learning the truth about what life is like for #ActuallyAutistic people. I thank you for your fighting. Stand strong against adversity, with every demon vanquished another arrives in your path, let them not get you down, keep fighting, but also remember to look out for number 1 as they say, safe-care and knowing ones limits is paramount. Also do not forget to ask for help and advice when you need it, others may be able to shoulder some of the burden when you are out of spoons. Don’t let anyone diminish your efforts with hate-speech. Fight the good fight.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
ATTENTION! URGENT ACTION NEEDED!
In the last day or so, a discovery was shared on social media that a company in Colorado was issued the trademarked phrase: "invisible disabilities", the disability community is up in arms about it. Invisible disabilities are a part of our identities and not something that should be branded as a consumer good.
I urge you to contact your congressman and senators. I just telephoned my mine to bring the following issue to their attention: the phrase "invisible disabilities" has been trademark by Invisible Disabilities Association - US Trademark Registration No. 4315808, in April 2013.
Please contact your congressman and senators at: U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121.
Friday, April 8, 2016
As you should already know, just a few short years ago I made a valuable contribution to Autistic History on the local level here in Virginia. While I was on the board of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia I convinced a majority NT (neurotypical) board to shift April from being called Autism Awareness Month to being called Autism Acceptance Month.
Just after joining the board in 2011 I started talking to my fellow members about the importance of Autism Acceptance, many on the board were parents of Autistic children, both young and old. I reminded them that what they wanted for their children was to be accepted not shunned, stims and all. I added that society was already aware of Autism that what we now needed was to move toward Autism Acceptance. I stressed that we as a board needed to help to forge a positive future for Autistics of all ages and to do so we must move away from awareness. I kept talking about Autism Acceptance throughout that year and in November of 2011 my continued urging bore fruit, that majority NT board with its sole Autistic member (yours truly) voted unanimously to rename April in Northern Virginia - Autism Acceptance Month. We celebrated our first Autism Acceptance Month in April of 2012.
Autism Acceptance is not just something one does during the month of April it is instead something that one must do every day. Autism Acceptance is an action, it takes effort and understanding, and it is achievable, not insurmountable. There are Autistics in your community whether you know it or not, they too need to be accepted as part of that community just like everyone else. My hope is that one day an Autistic person stimming at a table in a coffee shop or covering their ears due to an uncomfortably loud unexpected sound will be common place and not seen as strange. We are all one community and need to work together to make it a better one. Autism Acceptance is an important part of that, not just for the Autistic children growing up today, but also for the Autistic adults who are already here both diagnosed and undiagnosed. We need Acceptance. Every Autistic contribution should be valued and none discounted, whether they be large are small all are important and valued.
What I have done other Autistics have yet to do; it is a great feat and needs to be remembered as part of our shared Autistic History. I am very proud of my accomplishment and wish others to know it.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Able to talk face to face with scripts and certain topics anticipated. Usual conversations make for happy companions that bloom and blossom like flowers reaching for the sun. One on one I am content.
Confusion arises when new topics are introduced; too many voices chiming in at once, outside noises also fighting to be heard. No filter everything crashes in. No time to consider words or thoughts, lost in the onslaught, meltdown cresting.
Happier in silence only my fingers speaking on the keyboard, time is given to formulate thoughts and ideas appear on the screen before they are sent out into the world. Happier on my own terms in an environment that I control.
Autistics speaking everyday online, in-person, on AAC, but always on our terms.