Knowing now…

It changed my perspective on the world. Reading that horrible book.

My reaction, the twitter threads, my review

Not only in the obvious way, in that I still feel like I waded through sewage to read it, and can’t quite get the stink off my soul.

But also in finding out how deeply caring the #actuallyautistic community is.

I sort of knew that, I mean, I’ve never met a more empathic group of people than autistics, (most of them, there’s bad apples everywhere, but by and large, autistics are wonderful people) but I’ve never been deeply involved in the community. Mostly because I only got my DX a couple of years ago.

I post on the #actuallyautistic hashtag when I remember to, but I’m ridiculously busy.

It feels like all of my time is taken up by being a mom of two, a spouse, a writer, an editor, a sensitivity reader, a reviewer, and a critique partner to several other authors as well as trying to be a good friend to the people I’m close to.

So the outpouring of appreciation and love from the autistic community and our allies has just amazed me.

I didn’t expect it.

I’m so grateful for it, because after reading that book? I really needed it.

Thank you, all of you, so much.

The faith I lost in a lot of NT people has been replaced by faith in all of us. Together, I really do think we can make our voices heard.

And for the sake of future generations of autistics, I think we have to.

I’ve been contacted privately by dozens of NTs who really do want to learn to do better.

So no. As tired as I am, I’m not shutting up and I’m not backing down.

It takes a lot to make me angry, long, long fuse, but I’m both angry and determined now.

My kids, all autistic kids, all autistics… we all deserve a better world than the one that lauds a book like To Siri with Love.

I have no idea how we’ll make that happen, but I think if we stand together, and we don’t let ourselves get too exhausted by it all, we can do it.

So, in all of this, do remember to take care of yourselves. I know the emotions are strong, they really, really, are, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Remember to rest, and care for yourselves.

Kae-

 

A reaction to reading TO SIRI WITH LOVE from an #actuallyautistic author.

You know. I started reading that horrific book as a bit of a whim, thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.

I’m the autistic mom of autistic kids, my husband is autistic, we value and appreciate our children and ourselves in pretty much every particular. Are there challenges? Absolutely. But they aren’t anything that neurotypicals don’t deal with, we just deal with them differently.

Usually by communication. We use text a lot with each other, because a lot of times it’s far easier to type or sign than it is to talk.

The point isn’t how we use adaptive technology to make our lives run smoothly, the point is that we communicate.

So I honestly, to the soul of me, didn’t understand how a mother could write and publish a book that would be anything except a joyful celebration of her child’s uniqueness.

I had hoped, foolishly, I guess, that the screenshots of the book I’d seen before reading it had somehow been… not so much taken out of context, but perhaps were just… I don’t even know, overblown maybe?

I didn’t understand how a mother could think those things about her brilliant child.

And never for a moment did I think, reading about Gus, that he’s anything less than brilliant.

He’s so smart I have a feeling he’s manipulating his mom because of how she so very clearly infantilizes him and shows overweening favoritism to his twin Henry, who is also autistic.

Though obviously, neither the author nor Henry know this. Henry shows all the markers of autism, he just presents differently.

We ALL present differently. Which is part of why autism is so hard for most people to recognize when they see it, and that absolutely includes so-called professionals (most of whom are neurotypical) in the field of diagnosis.

It’s a common reaction for autistics when we are abused by ABA practices (to learn to manipulate) especially if ABA therapies are impinged upon us by parents who believe the revolting bullshit that Auti$m $peaks tends to tout.

We learn to do everything in our power to protect ourselves, because we don’t have any choice.

This author… the things she does to both of her sons. It’s utterly appalling.

I can’t, even still, after reading that atrocity… I still can’t believe that a mother could write those things about her kids!

I can’t believe she’d share such personal things about her KNOWN autistic son, without his permission.

Without his knowledge.

Medical information, daydreams about having a ‘normal’ Gus… I just…

Reading that book broke something in me. It really did. It broke a faith I had that neurotypical society didn’t really hate me and the way I’m made.

And a couple of days after reading it and posting my review, I’m still shaken by it. I’m recovering, but it’ll take a week or more to regain my emotional equilibrium.

The outpouring of love and support I’ve received from the autistic community and a large number of neurotypical people have restored my faith in most of humanity.

“Autism parents”, however? They’re on my shit-list for life.

You can read my full review here, with links to the live-tweet threads I did as I broke it down, chapter by chapter.

If you want to know about the experience of being autistic, the hashtags #actuallyautistic and #askanautistic are far better resources than pretty much anything else I can think of.

 

Musings on Coffee Shops

It’s Monday, which means blog share day through the ‘verse, and the only things I have to talk about are my weekend experience and the sensitivity read I just sent off back to the author.

Since I CAN’T talk about the sense read, (and omg, I want to SCREAM from the rooftops about how good the book is, seriously), I’ll talk about my weekend instead.

There’s a TON of writing advice out there, if you look for it. My best advice to everyone trying this thing for the first time is to find what works best for YOU. Then trust it.

So.

Writers.

Coffee shops.

Nano.

Write-ins.

They’re a thing, right?

Not for me they aren’t.

I figured I’d try. I did volunteer (perhaps unwisely, because I’m very much an ONLINE sort of person and not an IN-PERSON sort of person) to be Municipal Liason for nanowrimo for our local region.

I so far, have actually enjoyed the experience? But I don’t know if I’m doing a good enough job as far as the ‘get-together with people’ part.

Because it REALLY doesn’t work for me.

I had a feeling it wouldn’t, I mean, I’m old enough and I’ve been writing long enough (30 years now, and wow does that make me feel old) to know myself and how I write best.

So when others in our local area asked if I’d be fine with them planning write-ins, since I wasn’t quite measuring up there, I leapt at the chance to.

I even went, and yes, I kept an open mind.

Even though my heart felt like a jackrabbit sounding alarm in my chest as I made my way there.

And I wasn’t sure if I could make myself go inside.

I did it though. I went inside, and even though I couldn’t find a seat that let me have my back to the wall (which helps me in so many ways) I stayed for 2.5 hours.

I got 290 words of crap written.

The noise was too much, and I didn’t feel safe using my headphones with my back to the room. I ended up playing with my fidget spinner and chattering much more than writing. I was not a benefit to the writers around me, I don’t think.

It was very nice to briefly meet other writers, especially local ones. It was nice to meet my dear friend, and to see another friend I rarely get a chance to see in person because of life.

But I won’t be doing it again, the write-in thing. I do much better when I’m in an environment that allows for sensory control and calm pacing.

I know what works best for me to write, and that’s being in my cozy den of a nest, in my home, with my music blaring in my ears and my favorite snacks to hand.

I do have to admit that the salted caramel coffee at Coffee Culture Cafe in London Ontario was absolutely fantastic.

I might go back and get more, next time I’m downtown.

 

Asexual Identity and the Power of Fiction

Growing up, after I learned to read (I’m dyslexic, in a time when it wasn’t recognized or treated) I was always the kid with their nose stuck in a book.

Books were a way for me to live lives that weren’t as abused as mine was. They were places I could escape to when life, as it often proved, hurt too much.

That hasn’t really changed.

But when I think back to the youth I was, and what words I needed to be reading then… how much they would’ve helped me…

How having words to describe my ME, back then… would’ve saved me so much pain, it makes me wish, fleetingly, that I actually had the skill to write YA. (I don’t, we’re not really in much danger of that, writing for kids has to be the hardest type of writing there is.)

But that’s truly beside the point. Having words like asexual, demisexual, autochorisexual, aromantic, bisexual, pansexual… all of the queer words I needed then in the fiction I was able to access at the time. It would’ve been so world changing for me.

Never forget that kids (many young adults read up, I know I certainly did) learn from our fictional words and worlds. We need the words on the page and we need them by own voice authors so that we can get the full spectrum of aromanticism and asexual identity on the page for people to read.

People who. like me, needed it when they were younger, and maybe even people like me at 39, who’d never heard of the term ace or asexual or demisexual… we need these words on the page and we need publishing to give us books WITH these words.

A while ago, I wrote this letter to my younger self. If I could send it back through the years, so many choices I made back then would’ve been made differently.


Dearest Kae,

You won’t believe this, but I’m sending you this letter from the future. I need to tell you some very important things. Things I wish I’d known when I was you.

Right now, you are surrounded by people who are doing terrible things, trying to convince you to do things you will regret even when you reach as old as forty.

I know, you’re sixteen, you probably think forty is ancient. It’s a long time to carry a regret, I can tell you that much.

There is a word for why you’ve never understood wanting to have sex and relationships like everyone around you is so very convinced you should.

Three, actually.

Demisexuality means that you must have an emotional attachment to someone before you can enjoy sex or a relationship with them. You may not even feel physical desire without emotional connection. You don’t feel that with him, you know you don’t. You will regret letting him pressure you into things you don’t want to do.

Gray aromanticism and autochorisexuality are the words describing how romance doesn’t make sense to you outside of books. That too, is something you’ll regret pressing on with until it happens naturally.

All three are forms of asexuality, and being asexual is not a curse. Above all, you need to know you aren’t broken.

And it’s truly okay for you to say no until you meet someone who you do feel romantically inclined for. It happens when you’re twenty. Sex will be all the more worth waiting for, if you do.

I promise.

It’s not the same for people like you are, like me, as it is for many people, and I wouldn’t suggest this to someone who actually wanted to have sex. For someone who wanted to, I’d suggest they get education and protection and enjoy themselves. But you and I both know that you don’t really want to go there.

I know, from the advantage of age, how much you’ll regret it, and that it isn’t worth it.

Unfortunately, the books you read don’t have the experience or the words for you to learn. I wish, with all my heart, that you did. It’s 2017 now, and I’m writing from a time period when we’re finally seeing these words and these experiences on the page.

Giving in to the kind of pressure you’re under, it will not make you happy. I know that, because I am you.

What will make you happier is concentrating on your studies so that you can have your pick of Universities to go to. Whole new worlds open up to you in University. You’ll be shocked at how many friends you end up making. At the wonderful doors that open to you.

I needed to share my hard-won words with you. I wish I’d known them when I was your age. I would’ve made many different decisions.

Chosen other paths.

Words are important.

There is so much more. Remember, never stop writing, no matter what. Oh! Before I forget, you’re pansexual and pagan, too. From my vantage point, you’ve written several beautiful books, have a beloved husband of 19 years and two wonderful kids.

Told you I had some things to tell you.

Kaelan

 

 

Self Harm

People don’t like to talk about self-harm. It scares them, it makes them uncomfortable.

Even though so many people do it.

You probably do.

The thing is about self-harm, there’s ways and there’s ways. There’re the active ways one can self harm, like cutting oneself, taking drugs and drinking too much, too often. Driving too fast, taking physical risks in the name of feeling alive and so many other ways I could never list them all. Being demisexual, I’ve punished myself by having sex with people I didn’t want to because I SHOULD want to. (Yes, I know… shush, I have a point to make here.)

Then there’re the passive ways of harming oneself. Things like failing to take one’s medicine on time, staying up to ridiculous hours at night when you don’t HAVE to because of pain or insomnia, not resting when you need it. Continuing to work and push and harm yourself further so that you don’t feel ‘lazy’ and ‘unworthy’. Not exercising (if you CAN exercise, I can’t, and I miss it). So, so many ways.

Lately, I seem to have developed, (since roughly last year at this time maybe? Or maybe when my brother killed himself? I don’t know, exactly when I developed it) but I don’t eat when I’m upset.

This is the diametric opposite to what I’d do when I was younger, when I’d go through a huge box of donuts, stuffing myself with them even though I didn’t really WANT a donut. In some sort of misguided attempt to feel better.

In the past five days I’ve eaten two half sandwiches, three granola bars, two bites of macaroni and cheese and three tiny sauteed mushrooms.

Yes. I know. It’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable, and I don’t know why I’m doing it to myself.

I AM trying to eat. But the act of eating is extremely hard right now. Maybe subconsciously I feel like I don’t deserve food if people can think such ill things of me?

I don’t honestly know.

Frankly, I’m not really great at remembering to eat in the first place, but I usually DO eventually eat what I’ve made. Often after reheating it twice because I’m doing something more important.

Lately though, I’ll make the food, it’ll get cold (or warm) and I’ll eventually force myself to eat a bite or two, then I’ll feel like my body is gonna upchuck it all and I’ll give it up.

It’s probably great for weightloss, which, yes, I could still stand to lose more weight, simply because I don’t like the way I FEEL when I’m this heavy, but this is in no way, shape, or form a healthy way to go about doing it.

I’m sharing this part of a very personal struggle for me not to cast blame or anything, I don’t hold grudges against innocent people.

I’m sharing it so that anyone else who is going through a similar struggle might know… you’re not alone. If we can keep talking, maybe it’ll make the stigma of being mentally ill less ostracizing.

Less… damaging.

And maybe we can start healing as a human society. Lord and Lady know we need to.

 

 

Autistic Burnout

CW Self-harm, trauma reference, sexual abuse reference

Autistic burnout is where I find myself right now. It’s a lot like a nervous breakdown, and maybe a bit like clinical depression, but not quite like either. It’s got me right to the edge of a full-on psychotic break with regards to my PTSD and anxiety. I’m a recovered cutter, and yeah… I had to go back on anti-depression meds recently to cope with the desire to self-harm. I got my kit out on Friday. I didn’t use it, I have to give myself credit for that, but I haven’t even looked at it in over ten years.

The fact is, though, that I WANTED to use it. So for me to say, “I’m not in a good place right now” I REALLY MEAN THAT.

I’ve been through a psychotic break before, as well as a nervous breakdown. I have a very long history of trauma, sexual abuse, self-harm, and assorted mental health trail mix. I know the signs, I also know what I have to do.

I’ve had to remove the twitter app from everything but my computer. I can’t remove my presence there completely, and if I did, I’d miss people that I HAVE come to think of as closer to being friends than not.

I’ve already lost my joy and desire to be there. To even be on the internet at all. (and I LOVE the internet, or I used to) I’m having to make myself get on. Currently, I have an alarm set to go off for when I need to get on and try to interact.

Considering it’s 99% of my social interaction? How I get my sales, clients for editing/sensitive reading etc, communication with my editor who is working on my pre-pubbed book BLOODBOUND and my own editors as well as work? It’s how I communicate with my CPs and do my research for books? It’s even how I pay my bills. Yeah.

But right now? If I don’t make an effort to get on… in case you’re wondering, I’d probably never come back.

I will recover, I hope. I’m taking care of myself, but I’ll be scarce while I build myself back up. Much as I hate the symbology of the puzzle piece for autism (because of who uses it) it’s a lot like putting the puzzle pieces of ME back together.

In no uncertain terms, I’m shattered. I have to rebuild myself. Again. I often wonder when I’ll have lost enough of my pieces that I won’t make a whole picture anymore.

I know several autistics who won’t go near the internet because they’ve run into similar problems. Being misunderstood, running themselves into burnout…

I don’t want to be one of them.

In reality… and what helps me do the rebuilding, it’s clinging to the things in my life that are REAL. I’m holding my kids longer, just so I can feel that they’re real. I’m taking more time with my food, when I have any appetite at all. (I think I’ve eaten breakfast today? Which is the first thing of any solidity I’ve eaten all weekend, so it’s an improvement?) That’s a part of how autism affects me. The very idea of making myself eat, because of the textures in my mouth, the feel of the food in my belly, it all makes me nauseous. So that too, is something I’m making myself do, when honestly, all I want to do is make myself bleed so the pain has someplace else to be. (If I didn’t do it this past friday, I probably won’t. I’m not as low as I was then… I put the kit away, so I think I’m okayish.)

I’m making myself try to go to bed at a semi-reasonable hour. Tactile sensations are helping a lot, if they’re ones I choose.

I have to step back and away from just about everything for a while. Until I can be sure again what is real and what isn’t. Cause right now, nothing feels that way. I feel like everything I know, or thought I knew is just dust in the wind. (Yes, I listen to Kansas, shush, I’m old.)

The fact that a lot of my problems tie back to a horrifying event that I had nothing to do with… yet still got blamed for, and am, to this day getting blamed for (the harassment I suffered a few months back was also part of that, though I didn’t say so at the time) is playing a very large part in my reaction.

One of the things a lot of autistics really have a problem with is injustice. But we’re usually accused, easily, because 80 some odd percent of the population doesn’t understand us and most don’t bother to try. (If you know 50 adults, you know two passing autistics, and it takes a toll to pass.) In the past year, I’ve been accused, hounded, harassed (seriously, you should see my harassment folder in my email inbox… if it were paper it’d be as high as my head) threatened, and my family has been too. There’ve been death threats, threats to out my legal name, my husbands and my kids. There’ve been accusations of so much I’d never, EVER, consider doing. Just… so much peeps.

I didn’t honestly know what the final straw would be. I was hoping never to find out. I thought… because I’d been wise enough to go get meds, and that they seemed to be evening me out… that maybe I was on the mend.

Not so much.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing the official letter of delay for my authors at Multifarious Press. I have to, because of my inability to cope with anything right now, put the anthologies on hold until 2018.

If the contracts are already signed, I’ll be giving the authors a chance to break contract to sell their stories elsewhere. It’s not my intent to be terrible to people.

I’ll put up further notices when I know for sure what we at Multifarious have decided to do going forward. I’m not making any final decisions right now, but frankly? I don’t think I have the heart for it anymore. I’ll make any decisions after I’m more stable, but… you need heart to deal with something like a press, and I just don’t think I have it in me anymore. Who knows… maybe I’ll surprise myself. I keep thinking of all those (truly amazing) stories by marginalized authors I have in my query inbox. I hope it’s enough. I truly hope that time and the brilliance in my To Be Read folder will be enough to restore my heart.

Sitting here wrapped in my fuzzy blankets, earphones on to help ground me to what is REAL (that’s a large part of how I recover myself when shutdown) I’m not making any firm decisions about anything, not even dinner. Which I suppose I should go eat.

It’s not fair, nor is it right to the people I’ve promised publication to. It’s not fair or right to me, my family, anyone who has come to count on me, but I absolutely cannot push myself further right now without risk of utter collapse that might see me institutionalized.

For the fulls *I* have requested for the press. (Unless I learn differently, Cit and Kieru are still open for queries, Jamie and I are closed) I’ll work on getting them finished and an answer back to the authors while I’m closed to queries. These stories are so good guys, and I want to see them in the world. Don’t wait on me, just let me know if the situation changes and someone else wants them, please, so I can work on someone else’s.

I’m going to be concentrating on my writing a lot, I have an opportunity to sell a novella to my editor, so I’m going to do that. Maybe sharing my writing lines in the hashtag games will be enough of an internet presence for now. At least until I’m less fragile.

Writing has saved my mind and my life more times than I can count. It’ll help.

You know, I started the press to help marginalized people. I just have to figure out if closing it, or keeping it open will do the least amount of harm. To the marginalized people I opened it for… and to me.

Maybe I’m just too broken to be any good to anyone except my family and my stories. Life sure does seem to delight in throwing me into the deep end and failing to throw me a life-line.

I just need time to remember how to swim, before I drown.

 

 

 

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