Welcome to the mind of an Autistic

TL;DR: I’m sorry if my thread on marketing and entertainer professionalism hurt or insulted anyone. It was never my intent. I am not harassing anyone here’s the definition of harassment) and I’m utterly horrified that given my history someone could believe I’d BE CAPABLE of harassment. If you need this post without colored text you can download a document here with black text only.Welcome to the mind of an autistic text only

You can listen to me recite it here, because it is awfully long. Recording quality is terrible because it shows exactly how upset I am at what’s going on. But it’s here on soundcloud.

Keep reading for the rest: I hurt, emotionally, so badly right now, I’m shaking as I type, I’m nauseated and it’s really hard not to burst into tears again. Just in case y’all are thinking autistic’s can’t feel.

Some of you know me, maybe you don’t. Few of you know me well.

Part of that, I admit, is me. I don’t trust people because I’ve been hurt too much. (Hey, HI this experience didn’t help!!) I don’t understand the way the massive percentage of people think, and I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m never going to.

Y’all… before I get started, please stop asking me in DMs and emails who soft blocked and who subtweeted me. I’m not going to tell. I’m certain you can figure it out if you look but I have too much integrity to name names.

It’s been kindly pointed out to me by someone (thank you so much!) that my thread on author behavior and marketing could be taken as an insult. I freely admit I do NOT come close to understanding how that can be insulting, any marketing class or book is going to tell you the same thing. Phrased better, no doubt, but it’s the same point.

I’ve also been advised to just apologize and say nothing more, but I can’t do that. It would be so inauthentic of me to not explain what was going on in my head that aside from being off brand it would be totally untrue to myself. So here’s me. Bleeding my heart and experience out for y’all. If I shut up about one thing, I’ll shut up about everything.

As I trust the person who told me about the subtweets as much as I’m able to trust someone who is essentially a stranger, I’ll address things based on people being hurt and insulted.

Thread in question because I don’t delete things if I mess up. The only things I’ve ever deleted are posts with typos because they drive me batty.

I’ve been told people are saying I’m harassing others. I haven’t messaged anyone, I haven’t emailed anyone, I’ve not said a persons’ name… how am I harassing anyone?

Honest question there… HOW?

I’m horrified. Utterly, reprehensibly horrified. I would NEVER harass someone. It’s been done to me and I would never, ever, ever do that to another person. (It also isn’t harassment guys, to share an opinion on my own timeline, here’s the definition of harassment if you need it, go about halfway down to ONLINE.)

If my thread on professional responsibility and marketing insulted/harmed someone I am so sorry. It was never my intent. Nor, despite what several people seem determined to believe, was it directed at any one person. I’d been planning a thread LIKE that one for a while because I see a lot of people in the industry using techniques that are going to cost them in the long run.

Unfortunately, my timing absolutely sucks. In no way was my thread a direct comparison to one or more people. It WAS a commentary on the fact that you can’t do whatever you want as a public figure without consequences.

Someone else pointed out that the subtweets are saying that I’M saying you can’t block anyone, ever. (Thank you to that person, too.)

A. I didn’t say that.

B. I block people all the time. You ARE allowed to curate your space as you wish. SOFT-BLOCKING of followers is not blocking. It’s some weird thing that I don’t understand, especially because twitter drops followers and follows people for me all the time. (I’ve spoken to others who’ve had the same experience so it’s not just a ME thing.) I’ve found people in my mutuals folder that I would never, ever have followed. It’s been weird for me on twitter. It’s not sneaky or covert to soft-block someone because… you know… many of us notice who we’re following and who we don’t?

I follow around 600 people by the numbers, only roughly about 200 of those are people accounts, the rest are image retweet accounts, foreign news, and bots reminding me to do self care things like drink water.

A good 10 to 20 of those are famous authors who I fan-by over and I have no hope they’ll ever follow me back, I just want to know what they say. So losing at last count 8 mutuals out of 180-190 people I follow is a lot of people to lose in one day and yes, I’m very hurt. I don’t auto follow because I’ve been harassed, so for me to follow someone is on one level an act of trust and an offer of ‘maybe we could get to be friends someday if we work at it’. Especially if those people were from my early twitter days when I’d pretty much follow anyone interested in talking.

I’m in the business of building a career as an author and finding people who want to read words like I write. I (and most authors I know) use multiple tracking apps for who I’m following and who I’m not, so… um… we notice??

From my perception: I noticed that Twitter dropped someone I wanted to follow so I could boost their voice. I wasn’t expecting friendship or a follow back or anything from this person, I just wanted to boost their voice. That’s it. I respected something the person did once and I wanted to be boosting younger voices over others. I strongly feel that YA needs an influx of younger writers who actually WRITE FOR TEENS. I have a tweenager, I want diverse books written for xem. So I refollowed. Too many times before I figured out that they were soft blocking me.

That’s what *my* motivation was. That’s it.

I intentionally did not name the person who soft blocked me. It’s been pointed out that this is subtweeting. (Thank you, again. I thought subtweeting was only talking about an issue, I didn’t realize that not naming a person was also subtweeting?)

I didn’t name the person for other reasons involving privilege.

There is always a power imbalance in things like that. I didn’t want to cause harm, which is why I didn’t name names and why I will not.

I am allowed my opinion on my own feed. Everyone is.

I don’t have a problem with the concept of subtweeting. If you’re sharing an opinion or experience on your own timeline about your own feelings about an issue… that’s your right. If you’re being mean about it, that’s not cool, but it’s still your right. *I* don’t perceive my words as being mean, I don’t even understand how they could be perceived that way. They weren’t intended to be, but my honesty has totally gotten me in trouble in the past.

I can’t not be me. I can try to learn what makes people upset with me when I’m too honest, but the pure fact is that my mind doesn’t work the same way. It works differently, not lesser, never, just differently.

Not naming names, feels to me… like a way to protect people, but maybe that’s my autistic brain working against me.

I was also trying to protect that person from my followers because I’ve seen too many times what can happen when an author with even a little bit of social media power can do if they name names. I will not do what some people do and sick my followers on people.

One of the things the kind person in my DMs this morning pointed out is that they didn’t understand the Cartman gif. Maybe that’s my age speaking against me. Cartman on Southpark was ALWAYS getting into trouble for doing what he wanted without regard to other people and the ripples that can cause. The simplest of things Cartman did… they’d always rebound, but he wouldn’t care. Then he’d never apologize for it.

It’s rather iconic to the character, but maybe that’s where the feeling of insult came from?

I honestly don’t know or understand. I’ve read the thread over and over… I don’t understand and I doubt I CAN. Expecting me to is ableist. That’s not anything new though. If I could just write books and not have an author platform I’d consider it with how badly I’m hurting right now. But an author platform is necessary as a writer these days, there’s no getting around it. Honestly, most of the time I love twitter. It’s just been particularly hard for me lately.

I’m an AUTISTIC, mentally ill, disabled, mixed-race author. It’s going to cause some trauma for me. This is just another scar to bear from an ableist society.

Points of clarification, possibly repetitive, but I’m horribly shaken by the accusation of harassment.

  1. I did not understand I was being soft blocked. That subtle thing may work for some people, it didn’t work for me.
    1. Which is why I loathe the action of soft-blocking from public figures. (Yes, as an author, agent, editor, or writer, on social media, you ARE a public figure. If that’s insulting, I don’t know what to tell you except that you aren’t ready. People are going to follow you on social media as an author, that’s rather the point of using it for an author platform. You getting fussed about who is following you? Yeah, I don’t get it.)
    2. It’s an accessibility issue for people like me. It took three times (at least) before I clued in that I was being soft blocked. I honestly didn’t understand. If it’s insulting to point out that soft-blocking is ableist, I also don’t know what to tell you. It is. I didn’t get it because of the way my brain works. Twitter is weird and it has (repeatedly) followed and unfollowed people for me in the past. (Others I know have said similar things, so it’s not a ME thing.) I figured it was that. *I* have never done anything to that person (or any other). I wanted, foolishly I guess, to boost their voice. IF I had known they didn’t want me following them I wouldn’t have. It didn’t occur to me that a writer wouldn’t want people to read their words… it absolutely blows my mind that anyone wanting to sell their books and make a career as a writer would engage in soft blocking, but hey… you don’t want readers (ones like me who review a lot too?) that’s on you. The person in question has my email address, we’ve corresponded once there, it’s also publicly available, they could’ve told me to stop refollowing them and I would have. THAT is why soft-blocking is ableist. Not everyone is going to have the ability to understand something like that. I certainly don’t.
    3. WHEN I figured it out, man… I felt so stupid. I loathe feeling stupid because it’s always about something social. Autism isn’t about mental acuity, I’m incredibly intelligent and hold multiple advanced degrees. Autism is about social inability. It’s where I always run into problems because I’m not wired to understand how socialization works. I said (on my own timeline) it hurt me badly to be soft blocked because it made me feel stupid, but it’s their right to do what they want. Which it is.
    4. It’s also their right, as it is all of ours, to accept responsibility for their actions. Their soft blocking me hurt me. Blowing it all out of proportion and the reaction of my mutuals hurt me worse. WAY worse.
    5. I accept, even if I do not understand, that my thread on marketing and the inadvisability (from a business and ableism sense) of soft blocking as a public figure possibly hurt or insulted people. I’m sorry.
  2. Your actions DO reflect upon you.
    1. The people who unfollowed me, long time mutuals that I didn’t count as friends because it’s the internet, it’s twitter and the word friend actually means something to me. I definitely did count those 8 (or more after I publish this post) as close acquaintances or business associates… I’ve blocked them because I don’t want to see their AVIs. I don’t want to see their names, I don’t want to see their words in my feeds. The only thing I want to see from them is an apology for how they chose to unfollow me. One especially really hurt and surprised me because they’re very outspoken on ableist issues and how it’s wrong to exclude or penalize people based on the way they’re made. To have them unfollow me over an ableist misunderstanding is just richly ironic.
    2. That’s an action of self care because they each and every one hurt me BADLY by not asking me for clarification of my words. My DMs are closed to mutuals only, they each had the ability to ask for clarification from me. Only three people (yet) have. The subtweeting me all day didn’t hurt because hey, they’re allowed their opinions. I honestly didn’t notice most of them. I saw one subtweet yesterday then ignored it. What hurts most is that they didn’t ask for clarification and that they could even come close to believing that I COULD harass someone… so they’re blocked. They’ll likely remain that way, as will anyone else who UFs me without talking to me about it. My mental health is far too fragile for this.
    3. It’s also a business decision. It may cost me in a business manner. But I don’t want to be associated in a business sense with people who can do that. Who negate the very responsibility they have for the people they write for by their actions. There’s a reason some voices are afraid to speak up. Subtweeting the hell out of (then unfollowing after more than a YEAR) a disabled, autistic, mentally ill person who stated their feelings were hurt by an ableist act? (No, it doesn’t matter who the person committing the ableist act IS. It’s still an ableist act. There were many ways a situation where you committed an ableist act could be handled. Ignoring it is one.) Yeah. That’s not a good look, guys. To incite a large group of people to rabidly subtweet me? Do you have any idea how many teens are disabled, autistic, or mentally ill? They Are The Ones You’re Writing For!! 
    4. In business, especially, you clarify terms, you talk to people all the time, you don’t cut people off without notice because of something you perceived they did.

Before I end, let me reiterate that my point remains the same even if I could have worded my thread a bit better. (I’m not in a great mental or physical health place right now, it showed.)

You as an AUTHOR are a BRAND and a PUBLIC FIGURE. You are trying to build an author platform to people who will hopefully buy your books. If they don’t buy your books, they might review your books, or possibly boost your words or tell someone ELSE how they might like your book. You can have a personal account all you want, but your author account is a public place. It has to be. Block and curate for your own safety but soft-blocking is not a good idea from a professional standpoint on an author account. It just isn’t. It’s also ableist as fuck, but hey.

You as an AUTHOR are a BRAND and a PUBLIC FIGURE. You cannot escape that. You can choose what you share and what you don’t, but you really are in for a tough road if you try to have a ‘personal’ facade as well as a ‘professional’ one on the same account.

Many of us have personal accounts too, I do.

The absolute best marketing tool any of us have for our books is people talking about them and recommending them. It’s also authenticity, which is why I’m addressing this on my blog. I can’t not be authentic, I’ve never not been me, I’m never not going to be me.

Everything you do, especially if you’re marginalized, is under scrutiny. It’s not fair or right but it is fact. People are going to judge you by your actions your words. Look at what kind of judgment is getting slung at me right now for proof of that. For pointing out basic marketing information and business protocol.

I am sorry if my words or actions hurt anyone. I doubt anyone will do me the solid of apologizing to me.

You know… I feel like I was their token autistic. LOOK HOW OPEN MINDED I AM, I’M FRIENDS WITH AN AUTISTIC.

If that’s insulting? It’s meant to be if it’s true (hint as to whether it’s true is how much that statement bothers you), and that’s the only thing that I mean as an insult. If you can’t be bothered to ask for clarification from someone you’ve associated with for months to years? I don’t even know why it hurts me that you’re gone and blocked now. It shouldn’t. I wish it didn’t.

For what it’s worth, I’m personally very sorry for any harm my sharing of my pain at another’s actions and my ham-handed attempt at explaining why it’s unprofessional inadvertently caused. It was not my intent to hurt or harm. Only to educate because I know a lot about sales and marketing.

I’ll be doing a clean out of my facebook friends on the personal list, curating my author space there as well as on instagram and other social media.

This kind of stuff sucks peeps. In no uncertain terms. It’s bad business, emotionally and physically bad too. I’ve apologized, sincerely. Are you big enough to do the same?

As I’ve said, my email address is public. Kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com

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