I’m sitting here cuddling my sick son. Wondering how badly the world is going to chew him up and spit him out because he’s autistic. Just like I am. It’ll be bad. I know that. The world is going to break him. I would let it break me, over and over and over again to spare him this pain. I’d let the world tear into me, over and over again if I could just spare my kids from feeling like this.
It’s why I’m talking about this right now, when I’d really, really rather not. When I’d just as soon leave the internet and stop tilting at the windmills of allistic society in a vain hope of educating people enough about autism that they don’t hurt my kids.
The world is going to take fat, wet bites out of both of my kids and leave them scarred. They’ll develop massive mental illness problems because of how they’re wired and because allistic society doesn’t bother to try to understand how autistics think, communicate and feel.
It’s been an absolutely terrible 24 hours for me. I lost my temper and wrote a blog post about marginalized readers, privileged writers and THINKING about what you write and why you’re writing it.
A couple of people I thought might eventually be people I could call friends attacked me for it.
They didn’t explain how it hurt them. They just… attacked me for it on twitter. I admit, I got defensive, but I don’t know a single person on the face of the planet who wouldn’t when you have three or four people who you thought might be okay people suddenly in your mentions claiming you’re a harmful person.
Without making it crystal clear exactly how they came to that conclusion.
I mean. They could’ve explained? Instead of clinging to hurt feelings and twisted meanings of my words? Instead of being sarcastic and just telling me not to read their books? Instead of being angry and hurtful when I said over, and over, and over again that ‘I do NOT understand’ and ‘How did I do that?’
They all knew I’m autistic. But they treated me exactly like they would another allistic.
Their expectations were exactly the ones they’d have expected from another allistic.
Their reactions did not take into account that I don’t perceive or understand things the same way they do. Which does not make me stupid by the way. I’m a tested and certified genius, for what it’s worth (which is absolutely nothing). It just means I’m wired differently.
They expected me to process the sarcasm they used as ‘you hurt me’. Instead of saying THESE WORDS YOU USED HERE HURT ME AND THIS IS WHY.
They expected screenshots of my words as receipts to give me some clue as to why they were hurt.
Does that actually work for allistics? It doesn’t for many autistics. It doesn’t for me.
They expected me not to react when four people were in my mentions accusing me of terrible things. Only autistics aren’t allowed to react to that you know. Quite a double standard there.
They expected me to be ABLE to process the information as fast as they could throw it at me. Which, like… I can’t.
Actually cannot. It takes me longer to process written information because I’m dyslexic. (A common comorbidity with autism.)
I’ve since been accused of using my neurodiversity as a shield for me being a dick.
Except I apologized, both publicly and privately to the person I hurt the most. If I could AT all wrap my head around how I hurt the one who hurt ME the most, I’d apologize there too.
But I don’t get it, no one wants to explain it and fuck me. Aren’t I allowed to be hurt and angry too?
No. Of course not. I’m autistic. I wrote the blog post that got twisted to hell and gone. I’m not allowed anything.
I have not received any apologies. I have received correction, for which I’m grateful. I am SO grateful for people when the call me on my bullshit. I’m human, I’m quite capable of making mistakes. I’m also capable of learning when I fuck up.
But I truly did NOT understand how my words could be twisted so. Still don’t, for what it’s worth.
You know. When you’re autistic, you’re not allowed any room to be autistic. It’s why we mask so much.
We process information differently. We communicate differently, but the second you prove you’re not allistic?
You’ll get attacked. Especially on social media. This has happened so many times to me. It’s so fucking exhausting.
I’m coining a hashtag. #GuiltyOfBeingAutisticOnSocialMedia
It’s so long it won’t catch on, but it’s so freaking common, and not just for me. SO, SO many autistics have been in my mentions the past 24 hours offering support, telling me their stories of similar experiences and also… telling me that the blog post did, in fact, say exactly what I meant it to say.
Now… I DO mean exactly what I said in that post. There is NO ulterior motive, no hidden meaning. I wrote it when I was angry and I wasn’t as clear as I could have been in some ways. I edited it for clarity after the fact and all edits are labeled as such. It makes it rather a mess to read, but I don’t want to be accused of changing anything to cover my ass on top of everything else I’ve been accused of being the past 24 hours.
I don’t understand how allistics can’t understand that many autistics communicate using words we ACTUALLY mean. And nothing more.
Like… twisting an autistic person’s words is just flabbergasting. Most of us TRULY don’t mean more than what we say, with the EXACT words we used. We don’t mean the opposite, we don’t mean twisted and turned meanings, there is no undertone to our words. Because we’re not allistic.
Allistics don’t tend to communicate the same way, and I think that is the source of the problems I ran into? Maybe? There’s always this subtext to allistic communication that autistics both don’t catch and are for most of us, incapable of comprehending.
Yes. I needed to wait to post that until I wasn’t angry and could’ve proofed it for clarity. My opinions are strong, I’m blunt and I say things people really don’t want to hear.
Like some stories aren’t yours to tell. People really hate hearing that one, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Especially, OMG especially white writers. Truly, they HATE hearing that one. If you chose to write a story, did your research and due diligence, of course you can write what you want. Even if it isn’t your story to tell. There aren’t any publishing police, no one is going to arrest you for it.
It’s your responsibility if you hurt someone too.
But yes, I’ve learned that the least I can do is make sure I proof posts for clarity before I release them onto the world.
Someone I regard as a friend said they could see how the post could be twisted and it doesn’t mean what I think it means.
I know what I meant. I SAID what I meant.
Even if I can’t understand the twisting, I can understand that some people will take my words and turn them into what they want them to mean rather than what I actually meant.
Isn’t that where asking for clarification is supposed to come into play?
The basic building blocks of communication?
“Hey, did you MEAN what I THINK you meant?’ < Clear question of intent.
“Oh, gods no, I didn’t mean that! THIS is what I meant.’ < Explanation of actual intent
‘Oh, cool. Glad I asked, cause if you’d meant that it would’ve hurt me a lot. We good?’ < Acceptance that they needed to ask for clarification, explanation.
‘Yeah. We good, oh and man, I’m so sorry if I hurt you, it was totally unintentional.’ < ^^Acceptance and apology.
‘S’okay. I forgive you. You didn’t know.’ < Acceptance and apology.
You have now communicated. Level up! (I’m a gamer, I’m exhausted, in a fibromyalgia flare from emotional stress and massively hurt, down to my soul from this latest of blows from being autistic on social media.)
I think one of the ways the world is going to hurt my children the most is the ways in which it’s hurt me the most.
It takes my words, it twists them, it assumes meaning that isn’t there, then it penalizes me for what people THINK I said.
When I was trying so damned hard to be clear with my words too.
You know… there’s an old saw.
Assuming. When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.
They assumed, and turned us all into asses.
I assumed that people would read the actual words on the page, and turned us all into asses.
And you know? I already know this post will be used as yet more evidence that I’m using my autism as a shield from me being a dick.
I’m not trying to. I’m trying to explain how I think, what I perceived as it was going down, and why it happened. I’m trying to make sense of it all, so maybe I can keep it from happening again.
I’m trying to learn how to guide my kids so they don’t get hurt by the world as much as do.
I AM wired differently. If that’s using my brain as a shield it’ll be awfully messy. Brains go squish.
But it’s sort of like a sighted person screaming at a blind person to LOOK, SEE. The blind person cannot.
It’s like being furious at a deaf person because they can’t hear what you can.
It’s like screaming at a person who cannot walk to get up and run.
I don’t often consider my autistic brain to be a disability. I love my brain, it’s awesome. I love what I can do and learn and perceive with it.
Today though? I’m well aware that I AM at a disadvantage when trying to communicate to allistics.
And so are my kids.
Because society makes no accommodation at all for differences.
Which is ableistic as fuck.