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MusicallyAutistic

LGBTQ+ Orlando Mass Shooting and Intersectionality

AWN LGBTQ logo

Image from: Autism Women’s Network

“Privilege is something you’re not really born with. There is more than one definition….. and if you are believing the old-fashioned term, you really do have the wrong definition of privilege.” -Anonymous

When I opened my phone up the morning of June 12, 2016, my heart stopped. Not literally, but I felt a pinch of pain rip through my chest, as if someone had stabbed me. I had opened up Facebook to find a ton of posts that early, early morning and read what was around 12am, the Pulse Night Club, in Orlando FL, had been attacked by an american citizen. I knew about Pulse, because we have a Pulse Nightclub right here in Baltimore. I instantly found myself flooding with tears. The hardest part? I had to go to church that morning. And I am so blessed to have a church that accepts my bisexuality. If your church does not accept people like me (ones that are bi, lesbian, gay, queer, etc.), then it’s a sign that your church needs a new minister, and that there are people within the church who are spreading the wrong message of God. God loves all of us, even the ones who are LGBTQ+, even though ones who are of a different race other than white, and even the ones who are disabled, and the ones who are just plain different. God loves everyone. So when I see these messages being spread around, all I see is a sin. And this sin is not of those who are different than the white, male, cis-gender, christian, able-bodied, and straight individual. This sin is of those who judge others for who they are.

My bisexuality is not a choice. Neither is my autism. Nor is it for me to be white. Yes, I am privileged, as I have mentioned several times on this website. Black/asian/latino/native american/and other races are not as equal as I am. I want them to have as much privilege as I do. LGBTQ non-white autistic women struggle more than I do, and those are the facts. 

To say though that LGBTQ+ people are not hated upon is a really ignorant statement. That probably sounded harsh, but can you recognize the shame in being white and privileged? I know I can. I am not anymore, because I’ve accepted the fact that other races have it much harder than we do. None of us as human beings should ever have to be ashamed for who we are, yet we as white individuals don’t deal with racism. We are being racist ourselves, and it’s not our faults. Yet I won’t deny the small group of whites who are literally being racist on purpose, and unfortunately it’s hard for people to not label our whole race as racist. We are unintentionally being racist, and you do have history to blame for that. You can do something about it though, and decide to ignore the internal racism. It can be unlearned, I promise. If you can see what I see, then you are not part of the problem. If you are worried that you don’t live a privileged lifestyle, you are indeed incorrect. Why? We were raised to be, and yet I know I have to tell myself everyday that I am blessed to be white. All of the minority groups are hated upon. And if you cannot see the things I see, then you are indeed part of the problem. But this article is not just about racism, it’s also about the LGBTQ community too. If you are white, like me, but also are part of a minority group, you get to see a world that the cis-gender, male, straight, white and able-bodied individual would not see, and that is hatred. Yet you are white, so you don’t deal with as much hatred as someone who is of a different race. My concern is that I’ve seen some other races who bash people like me, an ally towards non-white folks, saying we don’t deal with hatred at all. And that is the problem. See I deal with ableism everyday. I deal with biphobia all of the time. My own family hates me for it (not all of my family, thank goodness). What you can do is mention to us that we are not as privileged while acknowledging the hate. So please don’t attack me for supporting ya’ll and please do admit that even though we don’t deal with as much hatred, we still deal with hate. I wanted to address this before moving into the Orlando Mass shooting and Pride month. This cluster of viewpoints deals with a term us minorites like to call INTERSECTIONALITY. If you want to know more about the beautiful political ideology, then check out this link and also check out what Lydia Brown has to say! Lydia Brown is a fantastic autistic disability civil rights activist.

in·ter·sec·tion·al·i·ty
ˌintərsekSHəˈnalədē/
noun
  1.  the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
    (thanks to Google for that lovely definition)

Moving on…… June is LGBTQ+ pride month. This month is a particular time out of the year where we are supposed to be accepted, recognized, and appreciated for who we are. What’s ironic? This mass shooting happened right in the middle of LGBTQ+ pride month. Some white folks have asked why there have not been straight pride parades. Do you, reader, recognize that the reason we have these pride parades is because of the Stonewall Riots? We’re not literally celebrating being different. We’re not better than you. But we are and should always be equal. Those pride parades are really not that fun to go to. We are all walking in a parade, battling the ongoing hatred. What happens during a pride parade? Well the one that I go to in July will be my first one, but several of my friends have gone, and from what I’ve seen online in videos, videos taken by my friends that were not edited, they are very complicated. We have people on the sidewalks cheering us on which is great…. but then we also have people that hate us. We have individuals that will literally go out of their way to tell us that we cannot be who we are. They spew out that we are faggots, freaks, queer, and that we deserve to go to hell. They spew out more, but I am too upset to think through all of it. We are threatened, we are hurt, and we deal with a bunch of christians and non-christians that label and hate us as such. Here is a quote that I made for pride parades:

“A pride parade is your typcial modern day protest in support of the LGBTQ+ community, but in parade form.” -Lindsay (MusicalAutistic)

For those allies, we need your help. We need you to speak with us, not for us. We need you to tell those that hate us to stop the hatred, bigotry, and fear. We want to be accepted by society just like everyone else. If you want to get involved, then get involved! Don’t just send posts on Facebook. Don’t just spread the word. Donate money, help non-profits, educate, and help us out. There is a lot of fear and stigma associated with the words LGBTQ+, and we need your activism allies. Moving back into the mass shooting.

As for the mass shooting itself, this was a hate crime, and not a terrorist attack. Please stop attacking Muslims. They are just as human as we are, and yet they’re the most stereotyped religion out there right now within the United States. We all should know this. To say that it was not an attack directly on the LGBTQ+ community is a form of biphobia, homophobia, and transphobia. We also have the controversey around gun control. I personally believe that we should not have to get rid of guns entirely. Not all guns, anyhow. But we as a people have shown time and time again that we cannot handle the weapons responsibly, so why the need to have one? If I ever had one, it would only ever be for self-defense purposes. But I am also a pacifist, and believe that killing someone is not the answer. So I would never even buy one, unless it was an absolute necessity and I felt that my life would be in danger 24/7. But this is the United States folks! I mean sure, we sometimes have people that kill, but we have laws for these very reasons. I am Ghandi, haha! Guns are not necessary, and hurt more than protect. Maybe if we were to still have guns, then one simple handgun should do. But since when do people need to purchase M-16 Assault rifles with 700 caliber??? Really? You need a big gun like that to survive? I laugh. I laugh at the fact that it is that easy to go purchase a gun, especially a gun like that. I laugh that this country has a small amount of people that believe that killing is the way to go, and then that leads into the assumption that every person within the ethnic minority/race is like that, WHICH IS NOT TRUE. The religion itself does not cause the violence, but certain individuals within the faith do, and yet those folks cause the stereotype to exist. Like I said, religion does not cause violence, nor hate. But some people within those faiths do cause violence. I am screaming internally at how many people literally don’t understand this. Also, I noticed that mainstream media (MM) says it’s the deadliest mass shooting in the United States that we’ve had. Boy, I am so surprised by this. No I am not surprised, folks, that mainstream media tends to lie a lot. But why? Native americans have had the largest mass shootings within U.S. history. Also, there are SEVERAL other historical events that have killed more than 50 people. 50 is not the deadliest massacre. This was a hate crime done by someone who was very homophobic/transphobic/biphobic. One more thing- I’ve noticed some people have based some of the previous shootings we’ve had and compared it to this one, blaming mental illness. Please stop stigmatizing mental illness! It’s hurtful, and unless you’ve experienced mental illness yourself, then you have no idea what it is. You can accept it, however, so please stop stereotyping misconstrued facts. This shooting was shameful, and please stop the hatred! It will only get worse if it continues.

What is the deal with Inspiration Porn?

inspiration porn

Image from: Luna Luna Magazine

Inspiration Porn is a term that the disabled community has included in the English language. But what is it? No, it’s not actual porn itself (that would be weird, right?) It’s when a NT (neurotypical) or able-bodied person uses a disabled individual as a source of inspiration and motivation to better themselves. You’re probably going to be offended when I tell you that the disabled community does not like it at all. Am I right? In fact, we despise it and hate it, because it is a constant reminder that we are less than you. That we are not seen as equal, nor human. Because apparently, in a society like this, if you are not white, male, christian, cis-gender, straight, able-bodied, and conservative, then you are instantly seen as less. But what would I know? Except for the fact that you are able-bodied, and that you are privileged. So to tell me that I am wrong over this matter would be hurtful, because of the lack of empathy. But why? We are not literally taking you for granted. If we were, than you would be used and hated on too. We just are sick and tired of being the ones who are looked upon everyday, and treated less than who we are. We can’t change who we are, and we don’t ask you to change who you are, so then why do it to us? As a disability rights activist/advocate, feminist, autistic and bisexual activist/advocate, I’ve dealt with so many people telling me that I am selfish for bringing this topic up. I am without a doubt privileged in terms of the color of my skin. But to tell me that I am not allowed to be who I am in a society, is so hypocritical. Here are some examples of inspiration porn. When an autistic boy is asked to prom, he is asked to prom in a not so “normal” way, as if we are such a big deal. Even though we know what you are saying to us, and even though we cannot speak back orally does not mean we like it. In fact I would just laugh at someone for doing that to me. Or if someone with down syndrome is asked to prom as well. Or if a autistic boy is playing piano and then praised for it. I mean, everyone loves to be appreciated sometimes, and when that recognition is taken into hand, then it is. But when you do it over and over again, it is very tediously annoying/ Why? Because you treat the disabled like dogs; as unequal. I mean, would you go up to someone who wasn’t disabled and do that? No, so then why would you do it to us?

I want to now get into what we like in terms of help. We love our supports. We would not have supports if we did not love them, so please open your mind up. What we love is when we ask for help, but you only provide it when we need it; that is not inspiration porn. Examples like helping a physically disabled person into a building, or helping an autistic child with their vocabulary is nice. Especially when we ask for the help. But the issue? Everyone always assumes we need help all of the time. You might think I sound ungrateful, or that I am being selfish. But to help you put yourself in my shoes, here is a wonderful viewpoint from us that a lot of people would never see. Also, you should never get into the habit of telling your child how to speak all the time, because it is a lack of respect when you do so. When you offer help 24/7, here is the issue:

  1. Giving help all of the time is literally preventing us from having the confidence/motivation to do stuff on our own.
  2. There is a lack of respect, because it is very degrading and dehumanizing to treat me like a dog, and not like a human being.
  3. If we have a intellectual/developmental disability, then we “are not that smart” or that we “take too long to pick up on things.” So I have a question for you: do I tell you that you’re stupid or that you take too long to pick up on things? No, so then why do it to us?
  4. If we have an intellectual/developmental disability, our disability is not a physical disability, and so we are not as taken seriously when we ask for help.
  5. A lot of you tend to get irritated when we ask for help, because you only offer help when you want to do it, but when we ask for it, it’s “such a burden and such a horrible thing.” And you over extend the offer for help, so you do it all the time. But we don’t need help every single second of every day, so then why complain when we refuse it?
  6. Helping us is a privilege, not just a given right. The more you can show respect for us, the more it is a right, and not a privilege. Until society can provide empathy/respect, it is a privilege and a right, but more so a privilege.
  7. We control ourselves. You don’t control me. I own myself. I do what I want, and not what you think I want. We get control over our minds and bodies, and are allowed to criticize you when we don’t need the help. Not listening to us is disrespectful.
  8. Any disagreement towards what I just mentioned is all ableism.
  9. We are not any more special than you, so please stop drooling over us.
  10. The other aspect of this is the hatred towards anyone who is disabled.
  11. A lot of people want to help in their own way, but get defensive when we provide criticism towards them, and criticism is not a bad thing. If it is to deliberately be rude, that is one thing. But to educate? That is different.
  12. A lot of people tell autistics how to communicate. Unless we literally say words like, “Can you help me with this?” Or show some way of nonverbal communication, we don’t actually need the help at all.
  13. This is furthering my agitation, so I will stop there. Anymore to add for the disabled community? Feel free to comment.

It probably sounds harsh (this blog), but I am not sorry to have written it. I am not ashamed because we are not showing a lack of respect when we ask you to not use us as inspiration porn. We just deserve to be treated equally. A lot of parents of autistic children will assume that if their kid is doing what they want them to do, then the autistic child wants to do it. This is clearly a lack of communication and understanding. However, verbal communication is not the only way to communicate. Stop using us as your “inspiration porn”, and please treat us equally.

Mental Illness and Death- You are not the burden

mental illness

So a while back, I read an article/blog posted by xoJane. This woman titled her blog post: “My Former Friend’s Death was a Blessing.” And I had to re-read the title, because I thought I had misread the title. But apparently I did not. Now, usually I talk about my biggest diagnosis– Autism, on this blog,  but today I decided to cover neurodiversity instead. This article was not only filled with stigma, but it also talked up suicide, as if suicide is such a great thing to go through. I was diagnosed with depression in high school, and even when I was younger. Depression is horrible, because it can eat away at your soul. It causes an individual a great deal of pain. I am not here to discuss whether or not a person with depression suffers or not. I’m not here to talk about the controversy regarding whether or not suicide should be a choice for the person. Assisted suicide is a very controversial statement, and so is suicide in general. I strongly believe it is that person’s choice, but I also believe that a lot of people forget that anyone who goes through suicide often battles between wanting to live and wanting to die. No, instead I am here to discuss why this article/blog post is such a concern. Everyone deals with mental illness differently. Some people are able to handle it better than others. I know for anyone on the autism spectrum, it can be very hard to deal with depression because our disability is not just an intellectual disability- but also a developmental one too. Why should we as a society have to be ashamed for being suicidal? Suicide is not a joke, nor is it fun to talk about. However, we must bring up the topic of suicidality to stop the stigmatizing and shaming of anyone who is suicidal. I’ve seen so many people blame it all on the person who wants to kill themselves, telling them to “suck it up,” and to “be grateful for what you have.” But that does more harm than good, so why say it? It actually hurts the individual to hear those words and gets everyone involved nowhere. This brings me to the next aspect of where I want this blog post to go: I tried to kill myself when I was 10 years old. She did what? Yes, I tried to kill myself when I was at the age of 10. I won’t go into the gruesome details of it, because I am alive and have moved on from it. However, I know what it’s like to go through thoughts and attempts of suicide. So when I read this blog post, I instantly got angry. I was irritated by her assumptions of what it was like for her friend. Was this girl even a friend to her friend? Not from what I can see, especially if she was glad that her friend died. When an individual wants to kill themselves, and even goes past the thoughts of suicide into actual attempts, we still want your help. Suicide is not fun for anyone. It’s not fun for those that are experiencing it, nor is it fun for the people who care about the individual. Most of us in life are able to learn how to manage our mental illness, so I don’t want to make this blog post entirely negative. I am not going to tell anyone how to live their life if they are feeling suicidal, and instead ask them if there is anything I can do, or if they need to be comforted in anyway shape or form. Telling a suicidal person to move on from the suicide just because you cannot deal with it is absolutely wrong.

I’ve noticed that people who judge others, can only see things from their eyes, so I am not going to judge this girl, xoJane. Instead, I want to know the reasoning behind this post. I could just make the assumption that she probably got tired of dealing with the negativity from her friend, and was getting impatient and irritated. However, I don’t know the reasoning behind xoJane’s blog post. We all want to help people in life. I also could say that when someone is suicidal, they usually only think of themselves when they are, regardless of how far deep the individual is into the suicidal thoughts (there are a few exceptions). So my question now, is, why did xoJane need to make the assumption that her friend was being selfish? It’s perfectly reasonable. She thought her friend was being selfish. However, to be perfectly clear, xoJane was also being selfish, so is her friend being selfish? No, absolutely not. Not ever. The common misconception is that the person who is suicidal is the one to blame. In this case, xoJane decided to ignore her friend’s feelings and did not help her friend. Instead, she just assumed that she deserved to die, because she was being selfish. It’s perfectly human to make mistakes, but did this girl’s death deserve this sort of backlash from her friend? I wish I could have been there myself to support her friend. It’s hard to not judge xoJane for her decision. I want to say that I cannot fully support xoJane’s reasoning, because I have yet to see an apology. I also have yet to see her reasoning and her explanation. Mental illness has always been stigmatized. Not everyone stigmatizes mental illness, but this girl, xoJane, has been the most notable so far to stigmatize mental illness. Suicidality is not a joke, and neither is blaming the girl who committed suicide. It is never the victim’s fault, and in this case the girl who was xoJane’s friend was the victim of a lack of understanding.

The exceptions are also considered. When it’s not the victim’s fault, or someone else’s are taken into account. Unless xoJane felt bad for her friend, and tried to help her friend out, that would be an exception. Or if the possibility that xoJane was unaware of the suicide and it was too late, but actually felt sorry for her friend, then xoJane would not really be to blame here. All I remember from this blog was just so much hatred towards anyone who is suicidal, and there was no excuse for the behavior. I’m trying to think of comparisons to this, but it is challenging. Blaming the suicidal individual is like blaming someone for going through child abuse, or for being autistic (because we all know that society hates anyone who is autistic). Blaming someone for being suicidal is ignorant, regardless of how the person feels. I hope xoJane was able to see how horrible of a friend she was to her friend, and forgive herself, and try to improve herself because this choice of xoJane’s was so selfish, and who knows if she even tried to admit her mistake afterwards.

I hope someday that our society can move past the negativity and the stigma regarding mental illness. And I hope that xoJane gets some help, because clearly her friend did not deserve this.

Autism Acceptance Month and Why I Dread April

Autism Acceptance Month image above came from: Autism Women’s Network

It’s THAT time of the year again. Ugh, I dread April every single year. Oh and if you, reader, are not autistic, then I am glad you are reading this particular blog. Why? Well….

April is that month. What does she mean? Well I mean it’s the month that every autistic hates because we always have to convince the world that, we too, are human beings. Why must I convince the world that we are not savages, that we are not freaks, and that we are different? Because we are autistic. But why should that matter?

April is the worst month of the year. It’s the one time of the year when we are all criticized, tormented and ridiculed for who we are. And yeah, we normally are tormented, criticized and ridiculed for who we are, but April packs a lot of hate on us for 30 days. As if the human race solely thrives on one social rule book…. I am not going into detail with that though. We are criticized for the way we adapt in the world, tormented through ABA and other dreadful forms of specialized autism therapies that tell us that we have to change our behavior to fit other’s needs, and ridiculed when we speak out about our disorder. Yeah, I just said it is my disorder. It is something that I live with. But why? Why must we adapt to societal norms and other expectations? Well, does my stimming and loud conversation make you uncomfortable? If you said yes, you are one of those soul-eating haters. You just reacted in an ableist way to my own disorder.

We are not ever going to try to purposefully change our behavior to please others. Neurotypical people have what we autistics (and anyone else who struggles with social justice) call privilege. Most are lucky that they get to adapt in a world where they are not told that they have to be someone else all of the time.

Another reason I hate April is because of AutismSpeaks; that overbearing, defacing, dreaded, hurtful company that names us and labels us as burdens. We will never be burdens.  If you are autistic yourself, please ignore the haters, and remember that you are an awesome individual with so much potential. But what is so wrong about AutismSpeaks? Random facts:

  • AutismSpeaks provides only 3-4% of their money to families with autism.
  • The puzzle piece induces the notion that we need to be fixed because we’re part of the puzzle to find a cure.
  • The company does not truly care about anyone on the spectrum.
  • The board of the company only has one autistic individual on the board, but the individual on the board wants to be cured.
  • Where does the rest of the money go? To funding for a cure and research. 98% of us on the spectrum don’t actually want a cure.
  • Hillary Clinton supports this company.
  • Light It Up Blue (the event) is a form of gas lighting and is considered abusive. People on the spectrum have been killed at these events.
  • They tell us that we’re burdens that need to be fixed and that our disorder is a disease.
  • They tell parents that we’re mistakes that should be fixed, and are sympathizers with parents who believe that we’re burdens to live with and who cannot cope with us.
  • AutismSpeaks uses hate speeches and other forms of gas lighting to tell us that we’re not allowed to be who we are.
  • You can find more about AutismSpeaks here.

As for the month in general, April is a tough time for us. Anyone on the spectrum can find it exhausting to have to conform to social norms and other expectations. And once we’ve had enough of it, we have a meltdown or as some call it, a burnout. For this month, I hope that all are accepting and go easy us. Please do remember that we are people too, and that we deserve to be seen as equals. Don’t ask us to be normal and to change, but embrace our different behaviors. Plus, remember that society has made April’s Autism Awareness Month a dreaded event, and that you may advocate for us. In doing so, only if you advocate for us without being degrading, asking any autistic individual to change their behaviors, recognizing that we are human beings, and that we should be accepted for what and who we are.

This is my first blog, and feel free to comment below! -Lindsay

Privilege and Ableism

Someone asked me a little back why I think that I am not privileged. This person was entirely convinced that because of the color of my skin, that I was indeed privileged. It really left me annoyed because I sat there, dealing with the dreaded, raging ableism that I have to deal with consistently everyday.

I mean, sure, I am white. Like why would I deny the fact that I am white? Of course there is white privilege, and I am not going to deny that the United States is filled with racism right now. I support my friends who are not the same skin color as I am because I do not care what skin color a person is; everyone deserves to be treated equally. There is a difference, though, between acceptance and equality. I accept that any race deserves a chance at life; there is no such thing as reverse racism for anyone who is white. I recognize that because I am white, that I have lived in a privileged lifestyle. Because of the color of my skin, I am fortunate. But am I actually privileged?

My disorder- autism- is one of the top five most stereotyped disorders out there. Thanks to psychologists and neuroscientists, they have skewed us and labeled us. They have spoken for us, as if they know exactly what we go through and exactly what we deal with. We are consistently told throughout our lives that in order to be successful, we have to adapt to a normal lifestyle. Those on the spectrum (including myself) are expected to live in a society that uses gas lighting and also degrade us due to our different behaviors because they make NT’s uncomfortable. According to a lot of NT’s (not all, but most), our autistic behaviors are offensive, burdening, alarming, painful, and annoying. Some people out there will even say that the autism is not even a disorder, and that we’re just putting on an act to get attention. We have a hard time as autistic adults, trying to get jobs because people don’t want to hire us due to the stereotypical fear that we cannot do our jobs or that we are truly unsuccessful in life.

We also deal with plenty of labels. The ones who are seen as successful have been pressured into a normal lifestyle and were told that they would be unsuccessful if they did act as someone other than themselves. They grew up with contradictory parents, telling them that they accept them for who they are, but also want them to be normal. My parents did this to me. Some (like myself) grew up not knowing about the disorder until later due to the parents wanting to protect their children due to the fear of being judged and ridiculed. The issue with this? We are who we are; depriving us from something just because you hate it does not help. Some grew up going to special needs schools because they refused to change, were labeled as severe, and then were (and still are) constantly put down. Why? Because according to most NT’s, they cannot communicate at all effectively. The problem with this? You fucked up their self-esteem. No wonder they don’t like you and don’t want to verbally communicate to you.

People will also assume that because some of us don’t verbally communicate as much as others, that we’re then deficit and therefore a burden and a pain to deal with. Well guess what guys? NT’s rely on verbal communication way too often. It is a lot easier to deal with nonverbal communication than verbal communication for autistic individuals. Most (not all) NT’s damage our self-esteem by doing so.

The problem with all of this? Pressure to conform. Most people will ask us to be what we are not all the time because it makes them uncomfortable. Can you handle my loud conversation? What about my burnouts (meltdowns)? What about my panic attacks? What about the lack of communication? Stimming in general? Did you know that NT’s stim too? Yet you all don’t rely on it as much as we do, but when you guys stim, it is socially acceptable? What hypocrites. For us, it is not? This is who we are, and when you give us Autism Awareness Month and expect people to donate to our disorder (cause according to NT’s like you guys, autism is such disease and a burden), introduce the notion that we need to be fixed because we make you uncomfortable, push the need for a cure (as if our opinions about our disorder don’t matter), and suggest that you know what we go through and feel bad for us, it is ableist. Moreover, you all treat us like we’re special snowflakes that need help and imply that we’re weak. ALSO, you guys tell us that just because we are who we are that we cannot work and get a job that we suffer (even though 98% of us don’t suffer and love being who we are), and you all assume that “higher functioning individuals” are lucky because we don’t live with as much severity (severe is not a thing) (stop associating autism as a severe to mild disorder, because we are not suffering). Most NT’s fail at understanding that because of the lack of knowledge about our disorder has ended up being a majority thanks to stereotypes and assumptions. We’re apparently “not allowed” to speak about the disorder (you know, the ones who actually live with autism and know what it’s like). To be blunt, most NT’s support AutismSpeaks and tell us how to live our lives for us without letting us figure things out for ourselves (I mean we want the help, but only when we ask for it. You all assume we need it all the time). You guys tell us that because we need to be fixed, that we should not exist in this world because this world apparently is not ready for Autistics and yet you all blame us for that. All of this is ableism.

I know what the word awareness means. It means you all are aware that autism is a problem, even though it isn’t. NT’s have made 98% of us very angry and hurt (including myself). We’ve had to deal with a lot of pain and suffering because of people, and not because of the disorder. We have to deal with people who hate us for who we are because according to society, we don’t matter and we are in the way of a successful world. We don’t deserve to exist. According to NT’s, if we are told to act a different way, and don’t comply, then we must be terrible people that need to be fixed. What delusions and craziness! I have been told by many people who have cared about me growing up to be myself, and to not let anyone tell me to be someone who I am not. Unfortunately, not everyone I know has had this mindset, and the people that have are not of a large quantity. So, I ask you this: If I don’t tell you how to live your life, and how to behave, then why do you have to insist on telling me on how to behave? What is the sole purpose? I must sound childish right now to you, reader, but is this really a childish reaction, if I am dealing with people who expect me to be someone who I am not all of the time? Now of course, there is always the argument that we all need to improve as human beings- be nicer to people, follow morals, etc. Those behaviors are for everyone, including us. But to imply that something makes you uncomfortable, does not mean that you have the right to judge us. Now I am not asking you yourself to change who you are. Why would I do that? That would simply be redundant. All I ask for is an open mind. An empathetic mind. If you would like to at least make things easier, just ask why the behavior is necessary, and we will tell you. All you have to do is just ask. And the best part? Even if you don’t understand the reasoning behind the behavior, all you need to know is that it is beneficial to us. We rely on it as a part of our neurology. And that, reader, is all you need to do when you are uncomfortable to ease the tension. But please do not get frustrated at us, for we only want to be ourselves. Try to put yourself in our shoes, empathetically.

Autism from a Personal Perspective

Image is from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.

NOTICE- This blog is still being edited, so I apologize for the unfinished product. If anyone wants to give me feedback, feel free to do so!!!!! I promise it will be done soon. 🙂

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Okay, hey guys. So before I continue with this blog, this is a perspective of Autism itself from my own viewpoint. I am not going to harp on anyone who is autistic who disagrees with what I have to say, because we all deal with the disorder differently and experience things differently. If you, reader, are not autistic, please keep in mind that I live with the disorder. You do not live with autism, and therefore can only provide empathy. If anyone has any questions about autism, please don’t hesitate to ask! I am an advocate as well as an individual on the autism spectrum.

Autism is a blessing in disguise. What do I mean? Well, once I found out back in high school what autism was and is, everything became clearer to me. Labels are overrated, but it gave me a perspective on my life when I discovered my own autism. Each individual deals with things differently on the spectrum. I will not mention what I struggle with personally with autism itself, but all of us deal with different forms of communication, sensory issues, ableism, and other mental disorders that are associated with autism. I am autistic, but also deal with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD, ADD, depression and symptoms of trauma and PTSD (I am not diagnosed with PTSD however). I was told growing up that I had to change my behavior to adapt in to society that expects verbal communication, interaction, and other norms that everyone else does follow. If I did not, I was told I would be unsuccessful and judged. All of us on the spectrum are pressured into and expected to follow the “social rule book”. Some of us don’t want to, and are lucky to be accepted and raised by supportive parents. Others are unlucky like I am, and were told to hide our behaviors due to fear of judgement and people feeling uncomfortable. It really really hurts me that someone could be uncomfortable around me. Unfortunately because some of us don’t hide our behaviors, we are then placed into special needs schools so that we can thrive in our own nurtured environment. But a lot of people see special needs schools as a bad thing, and then when we become adults, no one wants to hire us in the workplace because we are stereotyped as unsuccessful and often seen as a burden because we “cannot communicate to others effectively”. A lot of special needs schools should not exist, because we should just be able to thrive in a normal environment with people allowing us to have meltdowns, loud conversation, and other behaviors that involve stimming. We heavily rely on stimming because not only do we need it to live because of our brains, but also because society wants us to follow normal behavior patterns all of the time. This then causes burnout (otherwise known as a meltdown). But this is not a perfect world, and not everyone is comfortable with us. Neurotypicals can also experience a burnout due to being very overtired, whether they are children or adults. We just experience them more often because we are expected to adapt to a society that has different behavioral expectations.

What makes me laugh is the expectations themselves. I’ll start with the burnouts. Burnouts are a pain. Why? We lose control of ourselves. It’s literally not fun for us to have a burnout. We don’t have them on purpose either to piss you all off. Why are we having one? Well there is a biological explanation, and it is that we are experiencing over-stimulation in the brain. We cannot make decisions for ourselves while experiencing burnout, so we shut people out. We literally go into sensory overload. I mean a neurotypical (NT) might experience one at least once or twice in their lifetime. Maybe more…. but for us we experience them all the time, unfortunately due to stress and pressure of following social norms. And because we have sensory issues, too. We are uncomfortable being around others, and we also don’t like to verbally communicate to others. We rely on nonverbal communication and other things to help us thrive. The other issue with us not trying to piss you all off is the expectation for us to not have one, or to try to prevent one. It is totally possible to prevent burnout, but we need the support and the aid to do so. We need someone who won’t judge, who won’t think we’re mad at them, who won’t give us a hard time, and who won’t make us feel bad for having one. The burnout does not last forever, and can be managed by us alone.

Next is the communication. When a person talks to me, I can respond verbally or non-verbally. And if they want me to repeat myself, re-explain myself, or go above and beyond, well that actually can be pretty tiring. Autism is not just a mental disorder- it’s also a disability. It is a developmental and intellectual disability. We are not able-bodied. Autism is a social communication disability that prevents us from communicating orally as well as most people. The neurology in our brains say it all. I have what psychologists refer to as auditory processing disorder as well. It is a sensory disorder; one of many. When I have trouble hearing information being passed on to me, sometimes I respond in a way that people don’t expect. And that can be frustrating. I understand it’s frustrating because you are used to people communicating well or normally” well all of the time. However, you are privileged in that aspect. So to demand it out of us to communicate better is very selfish. It is a privilege to you all; one that we don’t ever get to experience. I know I’m fine with not experiencing that. Why? Because I love who I am. We struggle intellectually and developmentally, but don’t ever suffer. I don’t pick up on things as quickly as others some of the time, and that is not my fault- that is just the way I was born. People take us for granted to make themselves feel better, but that always ends up hurting us.

Now, I think I will delve into panic attacks. We probably would not have as many anxiety issues if we lived in a society that accepted us. But nope, that has not been the case at all. Panic attacks can be quite scary. I think they would be manageable if people were able to accept us. This is a behavior that cannot be prevented. It would be if people or events did not cause them, but things happen for a reason.

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