Autism humanness…

Enough of “Autism Awareness” already. Awareness only gets us ostracized. We need understanding, full acceptance. We need for the neurotypical public to just accept us as part of the human diversity, not as a separate oddity. I don’t want to be seen as autistic, or different, or difficult. I just want to be seen as Jean, just as every Mary or Peter or Paul. We are all different. I am different, and beautiful, just because I’m me. Not because someone chose to put a label on me.

Alright. Rant not over yet. Even the people who call me friend treat me differently. They possibly don’t even realize they do, but they do. Yet they don’t treat me differently in ways that recognize my needs, or my true “diversity” differences, as one would someone from another religion or culture. They treat me differently as an oddity, as someone who is human, but not quite. Yet somehow also not worth that effort to understand the ways I am in fact fully human, only differently so, only not like them. So as a result they keep me at arm’s length, and think – or hope – or perhaps not care – that I will not notice. But I do. With all the effort I have made in a lifetime to accommodate others, to be accepting of their “non-autistic” yet also very real shortcomings, it only hurts, repeatedly, consistently, always, to not be treated with the same respect and consideration that others are given. Ok. Maybe rant over now. But I love you all. I’m just going to go cry now.

Love is the only universal truth

There are so many memes, quotes, and “self-help” books. Some are full of assurances that what they share is the absolute truth, and there is nothing else one can do to be successful aside from what that particular recommendation is. Absolutes… but, in reality, there are very few absolutes in this universe, and I am pretty much certain that even fewer of them are contained in any of these writings. I try to find the truth in everything I think, do, say, and write, but even with the best of intentions, truth is not always as we see it. The point to this is that what we read on Facebook, Twitter, anywhere online, or in even the leading bestsellers are only human attempts at recognizing what that individual, or those individuals believe to be the truth… Though some would lead you to believe that if you are not following their version of the truth that there is something wrong with you, or that you will not reach your goals – but their truth may not be your truth, or the truth as they see it may not work in your particular life. With hopes for love as a foundation, and caring, compassion and kindness making up the things that you do, beyond that, find your own truths. Do not let the words of another sway you, and especially do not let them discourage you, intimidate you or harm you in any way.

Just for being…

It’s a challenge

Wearing a label

That includes you in a group

Of people who are often marginalized

And judged.

And knowing that the label

Is not entirely unfair, though it is…

Different. How you feel,

How you act, who you are.

A lifetime of convincing yourself

That different can be good.

And that you are.

But being uncertain of how many others

Actually believe that too.

Wondering, in any given moment

Was that response because I’m autistic?

Or was it just them,

Would they have been that way with anyone?

But knowing that it probably was

At least tinged by your label.

Just wishing for those people

Who would show you, that labels

Didn’t really matter to them,

And that you were good

Just for being you.

This is about capabilities…

So, I bought a smart plug to allow us (mostly me) to use Alexa to turn the Christmas Tree in our bedroom on and off without having to walk to it and unplug it. I wanted that so I could put the tree on at night when I was going to sleep and then not have to walk over to it and turn it off after already having crawled into bed and gotten warm and comfortable. I set it up, and it is working nicely and I smile at knowing I can enjoy the beauty of my little tree without hurting myself to plug it in. However, I did hurt my knee while setting it up, and am now limping. That is not the point of this. The tree uses a Skill in Alexa, and had to be set up in its own IOS app, as well as in the Alexa app. My husband would never have been able to do that. It was not hard for me, but he is not technically savvy. But he would easily have been able to walk over, plug the plug into the wall, plug the tree into it, and press the button to activate it without hurting himself.
Each of us has capabilities that another might not have. I happen to be pretty darn good technically. Yet making friends and keeping them has been a lifelong challenge for me. When you get up in the morning and put your shoes on and tie them, you do not expect anyone to cheer for you. Yet when your young child or grandchild does the same thing, you will praise them and smile for them and celebrate their accomplishment.
So I understand how to program an Alexa – or a computer, or a database, but I don’t understand how to build relationships with people. When I place importance in those relationships, I am not just wanting another friend, or wishing people would like me – I am as that small child – wanting to tie my shoe for the first time, wanting to succeed at something that has been hard for me – impossible for me, for a lifetime. Yet people do not understand that. They don’t see a 63 year old learning a skill that they learned at four or five as being an accomplishment. They do not understand why it is of so much importance to me. It has nothing to do – or maybe everything to do, but not how you would think – with loving myself. It has to do with wanting to overcome a challenge that has been a challenge I have worked to overcome for 63 years. I want friends, yes. But I don’t want friends only for the sake of having friends. I want to tie my shoes myself, finally…

Love over anything that is not love…

I am autistic. I am different, and sadly many people see my differences as difficulties. However I am not difficult by my own choice. At any point in my life, with any person in my life, I would have given anything to be seen as easy, only as someone enjoyable. But, I simply did/do not know how… So many people in my life have held that against me. So many have turned away from me, shunned me, or even bullied me because I did not know how to be the person they believed I should be, nor even that person who I would have wished to be, if I had but understood what those differences were. For so many many years, I believed that made the person who I in fact am unacceptable. How sad is that. How sad is it that a perfectly nice person, with a kind heart and loving intent is made to feel less than acceptable just for lack of understanding of cultural norms. This is what is wrong with a society that excludes people simply because they do not fit a societally determined mold. Part of my mission is to work to change that. There is so much in this world that is not based on love. As I read through my Facebook feed, and read those comments, that my husband keeps telling me I shouldn’t read, they make me cry, because I see so much divisiveness, and open hostility. Sadly, for someone who has been the object of so much hatred so many times in my life, I have no understanding of it, or why anyone would choose hatred over love. Even selfishly, it just doesn’t feel good to hate. Love is so much more pleasant. So for one’s own sake, I wish each person would learn to find love in every situation.
A few years ago, I was accused of being a stalker. I had to look up the definition and it just made me cry. I can be – and perhaps was being – somewhat obsessive, but only in a loving way. But a stalker is far from loving. A stalker is a person full of hate, and there is no hate in my body anywhere. If someone turns me away, as many have, including those part of that accusation, I will cry a lot. I will wish with every bit of my heart that they understood otherwise, but there is no desire in me for karma, or to be any part of wishing hurt on anyone. Why would I? The only desire in me (as in most all autistics) is for understanding, that those people who are different could hope that people would look at them with kind eyes, with a gentle loving heart, and look for those things in kind. I am admittedly odd, but finally I realized that I am ahead of many – of those who would hurt me, in that I understand love. And in that, I rejoice.

Autism, Schmautism…

Autism, shmautism, people will say.
You’re the same as me in every old way.
This autism bit is naught but an excuse.
To just be who you want and use this as a ruse.
I don’t see you’re autistic despite what you claim.
To just deceive people must be your aim.
Although why claim that you’re broken when you’re perfectly fine.
Claiming you’re autistic is only a line.
But, while we’re at it, why are you so bizarre?
You do things so confusing, quite far from normal, you are.
You’re intense and you’re pushy, and you say things so obtuse.
You’re over the top, with emotions profuse.
Why do you have to be different, why not follow the norm.
Someone must change you, these odd ways to reform.
Whatever you are, they need to give it a name.
Oh! Well, perhaps you are autistic, just as you claim!

Autism Acceptance

I have spent five plus years now on Facebook, trying, hoping, wishing, not just for friendship, but for understanding of just what autism is, and yes, honestly how it affects me. During this time I have shared literally hundreds of articles, memes, and personal antidotes from myself and others as to how autism is difficult, and how it – for lack of a better word – begs understanding. I am NOT the same as you. I am, but I’m not. I do not think like you, I do not hear like you, I do not feel like you, I do not taste like you, I do not process information the same way you do. To put the same paradigms around me that you employ in your own world is not just not realistic, it is often just plain cruel. For all of my 63 year life, I have FOUGHT, every day to understand you. I have worked harder than hard to try to fit among you, and be (excuse me) accepted by you. (Are you aware that there is an entire movement called “Autism Acceptance”?) Yet, I have been scolded and ridiculed even by those who use the term friend to describe me. Even those who say they love me. Yet, the beginning of love is understanding. Love would predicate a desire to understand and care for another – the way they wish to be cared for. During the last five years, I have asked more than one person if I was “doing okay” with them, only to be assured that I was, only to know and understand that their behavior said I was not. Only to explain to them that I care, and would change the things I did if necessary, and to again be assured I was fine— yet know that not to be true by their lack of acceptance of me. Acceptance. Publicly sharing my problems. Things I have been admonished for. Yet how am I to live in a world of people who do not try to understand if I just pretend that their understanding is not needed. It is not just me. You can read the writing of the Neurodivergent Woman, or Agony Autie, or many many other autistics who share the same issues as I have, some writings of which I have tried to share… Yet they at least are fortunate enough to have a supportive family, and a circle of friends, something my life and my upbringing has not afforded me – leaving me with nothing but a wish to share love, and no life experiences or guidance having given me the tools to do so.
It has become more than just frustrating. It has become more than just painful. It has emptied me to the point that I am just not even certain I want to go on trying to find a place within a society that has determined not to make that easy… or arguably even possible. Life is not easy for anyone. But add to that “not easy” chronic pain (which I have), and more crippling even than that, add the need to work continuously to understand people who do not try to be understood, and to try to be understood by people who do not try to understand. I am tired. I am exhausted. I have tried to reach out, I have tried to explain, I have tried to share that it is tiring. Yet I feel so much that the “Neurotypical people” (as other autistics also share) resent being asked to understand us, when they have no qualms about asking us to fight harder than hard to understand their world.
Society is built around feelings. We can live alone, and keep those feelings to ourselves, but when we live in a society, it is not only a given that our feelings might be affected by those around us, but it is in fact the basis of what a society is. It is a mutual existence, where one does not live in isolation, but together to reflect each other, understand and support each other, build each other up, help each other, love each other. Without that, what is the point? Many people speak of oneness… yet how can you say you understand yourself, if you are part of a One you do not seek to understand? I am as much part of that “One”. All autistics, just as much as those of any color, race, gender, or any other grouping are part of that One. To leave any out – makes it in fact not “one”.
The people who have hurt me (incredibly) over the past few years are still just as much part of my heart as ever. There are no apologies asked, there is no forgiving needed. Just a wish that we can in fact be more “one”. That we can seek the understanding that makes us that, that articulates the love that I have heard others say they have for me, and that I know I have.