Doxxing, authorial behavior and consequences.

Content Warning: Bullying, Harassment, Successful Suicide Mention, Doxxing, Mention of Sex and Kink, Mention of Eating Disorder, Mention of Insomnia, Mention of Vomiting.

Recorded version, if you’d prefer to listen than to read is here.

Now that I’m a bit calmer, and the danger has been removed from the perpetrator’s website, I’ll write a bit about what’s had me in a tizzy for the past 18 hours or so.

Last night, a good friend sent me a DM (direct message) with a link to an author’s blog. Her contact page, specifically, that had a comment on it that outed my legal name and associated it with this pseudonym. The comment had been there for anyone to find since August of 2017. There were massive consequences to this, which I’ll detail later.

Now, I’ve always been scrupulously honest about using pseudos, and my reasons for why. When I made the switch from writing custom kink stories for private clients to writing for publication, a former friend who happened to be a sex worker, and knew I wrote kinky/sexy stories, advised me to use a pseudonym. That made sense to me and I didn’t have a problem with it.

I’ve never been particularly attached to my legal name (I’ve hated it *forever* I’m named after a soap opera star for gods sake and it was the MOST popular name the year I was born. I had 6 people with the exact same name in my class of 30 growing up. We had to go by our last names, like we were in the military, in elementary school.) So I chose a name I really liked and went with that (it’s also a bit of a joke, and a nod to my partner’s Welsh ancestry, very few people, mostly native Welsh speakers get the joke.)

Since coming out as trans, its also become my dead-name, I don’t even use it in real life unless I absolutely have to. The absolutely have to is legal paperwork, I just don’t use it. It has those negative connotations to it too. I can’t afford to change my name, because I’d have to change it in two countries. It’s prohibitively expensive and the process is also terrifying for me. So many gov’t offices, embassies, officials et cetera.

But seeing my legal name still hurts me. Seeing it on this author’s page, one I’d call an enemy, shocked and horrified me. Knowing it had been there for so long made me sick to my stomach. I know, it’s been there for years, why is this bothering me so much now? Right? It’s because of the consequences I mentioned earlier.

Having both my legal name and pseudo also associated with untrue, cruel rumours about me rather sucked.

A few years ago, a young woman was bullied during the lead up to PitchWars, which is a contest for authors to get a mentor and get their work in front of agents. I had nothing to do with the incident except that someone who did happened to respond to both me and the bullying victim. I was a follower of all three of the people involved. This was in my early years on Twitter, and I basically followed anyone who followed me, anyone who was a writer. I figured if you were a writer you were great people and I wanted to know you. It’s what a lot of us writers do when we first find the writing community on Twitter. I’m no longer so indiscriminate in whom I follow/become mutuals with. I can’t be. It’s too dangerous. That’s incredibly clear to me now. So clear.

Later, around the mess with ficfest, (another contest that collapsed under accusations of racism and bullying) I was accused again of having something to do with bullying the victim, who suicided later that same year. I was a ficfest mentor for all of 18 hours. A good friend of mine asked me to co-mentor with her and I jumped at the chance because I wanted to help other writers. 18 hours when I was caring for two vomiting children and coming down with the stomach bug myself because my husband was out of town. So not exactly strolling around on the internet, if you know what I mean. When I was well, I came back online to see that the organizer and some of the former ficfest mentors had bullied the person again.

I was still painted as being part of it, because I was a ficfest mentor. Because I’d wanted, naively, to help other writers and had jumped at the chance to mentor in a bigger contest.

I knew about the suicide within hours of her actions, her friend told me, but the news didn’t hit Twitter for months after and when it did it was a huge mess. Once again, because I’d reached out to the person via a private DM to offer support after the ficfest thing, I was implicated in bullying and in driving her to suicide.

Part of my life mission is to educate people on what bullying is and isn’t. I’ve done hours and hours of Master’s level coursework in education, I have a dual Masters in education and world history. I have all this information on what bullying is and how to prevent it. I was a history teacher in the states, prior to that I was a traveling sexuality educator. It was after I’d gotten out of crime scene investigation, before I became a parent and before we came to Canada. I’ve seen and prevented bullying and I’ve also been bullied most of my life. It’s not anything I would ever be part of.

My brother died from suicide, I would never in a million billion years have something to do with driving someone to make that choice. But it doesn’t stop the rumour mongers. One of the worst of whom is the YA author who had my name on her blog.

To have those two accusations constantly follow me around is particularly cruel. If they could’ve chosen things to label me with that would hurt me most it would be that.

About a year ago, or maybe a little more, I wrote an ill-timed thread on Twitter about author behavior. The thread legitimately had nothing to do with anyone in particular, but because I’d mentioned that someone had soft-blocked me just before writing it, it was associated with being an attack on that person.

Now, I will never understand how allistic people think. To *me* I was talking about authors in general, not anyone in specific, there were no names mentioned, just ‘authors’ but thanks to the same person who hosted my name on her blog for so long, (and others) I was painted as attacking a young woman of colour. This person (the one who had my name on her blog) has a long history of attacking and dragging neurodivergent and/or mentally ill people. She never, ever apologizes for it. Nor, does it seem, does she ever suffer professional consequences for it.

Attacking a young person in general, or anyone of colour is also something I would *never* do. (Aside from it being cruel and bullying and contrary to my very firm sense of honor, I have better things to do with my time, like write books, play games or stare vacantly out of the window at fog, maybe scrub the bathroom floor with a toothbrush or my tongue.)

I was subtweeted for days, called all sorts of unpleasant things and I received a lot of harassing emails about it. 10 former mutuals (two people who follow one another on social media) didn’t bother to ask me what I’d meant with my thread, they just listened to this other author and blocked me and subtweeted me, and basically made my life a living hell for over a week. Queer people I’d held virtual hands with the night Frump was elected as we all watched in horror. None of them even asked me what I’d meant with my thread, whether it was directed at someone or not, they just assumed and listened to this horrible author. People who weren’t exactly friends, (I use that word sparingly and with care) but were more than casual acquaintances.

Once I finally figured out what people thought I’d said (I mean… jesus, would it have killed someone to reach out to an autistic person and say, hey, these allistic people think you said X, maybe if you didn’t mean that you might want to clear that up?) I both privately and publicly apologized for my thread.

I still, for the life of me, don’t understand how those awful people could think my words on general authorial behavior could be associated with a young woman who hadn’t ever written a book. I mean… she hadn’t written a book? HOW COULD SHE BE AN AUTHOR THAT I WROTE A THREAD ABOUT? The illogic of it all was staggering. But that’s allistic people for you, they make no damned logical sense at all. Sorry allistics, many of you are wonderful, and I mean that, I wish you made sense to me. You just don’t.

I’m mixed-race, mentally ill, queer, autistic, and physically disabled. I’m a published author of queer romance with ownvoices characters and I also don’t lay down about abuse. I have strong opinions that I voice frequently, and I tear apart warrior autism parent’s self-aggrandizing books. I’m not bad to look at and I have a real, recent photo of myself as an AVI. I get (and I expect to get) a lot of harassment of various types including sexual harassment. I get a lot of death threats, some quite inventive.

So that’s why I use a pseudo, it’s got nothing to do with trying to hide who I am. In this industry, my legal name is an open secret anyway because it’s on any query I’ve ever sent. I stopped counting at 500 queries, so you know, a lot of people know my legal name. But most people, most industry professionals, have the decency and honor to keep it to themselves. As is done in any industry where pseudonyms are used.

To out that, to doxx me like that, to host that comment for YEARS on her blog. It’s personally reprehensible to me. Horrific even.

Someone mentioned the possibility that she didn’t know it was there. Anything is possible I suppose, but I highly freaking doubt it.

  1. It was on her contact page, and it’s fully updated to include her agent’s information. I have a fantastic memory when pain isn’t inhibiting recall. My autistic memory is telling me she didn’t get the agent until *after* August 2017. Meaning she had to have seen and approved of that comment. It was the only one on the page! Also, it had been there for years, years! The belief factor of her not knowing it was there kinda fades the longer it’s there.
  2. It was on the contact page, not buried in some random blog post. I glance over my contact/landing page frequently, once every few months, to make sure my professional contact information is up to date, most authors do.
  3. It’s a wordpress site, we all get notifications when we receive comments on our pages. It’s part of the wordpress setup and you have to physically opt out of that option. Most of us don’t bother because we actually want to hear from people about our work. We’re authors, we like to hear what people think.

This author, letting this comment stay there on her page for so long, is directly responsible for the months of harassment I received. Even if the harassment didn’t come from her directly (and I have no proof one way or the other, whether it was her or not). The harassment that eventually made me close my direct messages on Twitter to mutuals only. The harassment that made me take all contact forms (which allow messages from anonymous IP addresses) from my website. (Basically if someone fills in a contact form on a website and sends it in, it looks like it comes from the website, not a personal IP address.) So that the harassers would have to send anything to me from trackable IP addresses so the police could catch them. I had to involve the police with the level of harassment I was receiving. 8 months of death threats, threats of exposing my name, threats of exposing my partner’s and childrens’ names. Where they go to school, my home address…

All because this author had my name/pseudo right there for anyone to find. When I think about it even now it makes me cry. WHY? Why would she do that to me? Why would anyone do that to anyone?

Why does she hate me so very much that she would allow this? It’s her blog, it’s her responsibility. Legally and morally.

What have I *ever* done except try to stand up for people like me, to point out the unfairness of the way marginalized people are treated? What have I ever done that would make this author think this is even remotely okay?

I mean, I know a lot of authors’ pseudonyms and real names, I worked in publishing for several years before going freelance. It would never, ever occur to me to out someone. It would never occur to me to allow a comment outing someone on my blog. I just don’t understand why this person is so awful. I don’t, I never have.

I don’t understand why they won’t suffer professional consequences either, but as I’ve learned, I will never understand allistic people.

During the time when I was getting *at least* a harassing email every week, (often I’d get three or more) I wondered who the person was who was being free with my legal name.  Or people, it’s possible other people have something like this out there. Obviously, someone was, because the harassing emails all had my legal information. Many had my partner’s, his place of work. One even had our phone number and license plate number in it.

Do you have any idea of how terrifying that is? I’m a trans, mixed-race female presenting person. A person very similar to me was attacked just last week in the states. I have a family with minor children in it to protect. These are the consequences that this person will probably never face because of what she’s done.

And this author carelessly, or perhaps maliciously, (I’ll never know because I won’t speak to her, in fact have had her blocked since the thread/subtweeting issue) left my name where anyone could find it.

That kind of thing, those unfounded accusations and my legal name being paired together with my pseudo could’ve cost me jobs if I’d gone to search for them. It could’ve really fucked up my immigration status.

How is any of that even remotely okay?

People aren’t, and have never been, shy about telling people like me, in detail, what kinds of horrible things they will do to us and our families to ‘pay us back’ for being queer, or outspoken, or *insert whatever reason for hatred people can come up with*.

They’re not shy about actually doing those things either.

At 4am this morning, I wrote to this author’s agent, begging her to make the author take the comment down. I didn’t know what else to do except publicly out and shame the author (which is a form of cyberbullying, so I didn’t want to do that). I guess the agent must have moved swiftly, because, despite my not receiving a response, the comment has been taken down. I’m certain the author claimed innocence. A lot of allistic people do when they get called on bad behavior. We’ve all seen that. But you know, also, I’ll point you to the fact it was there for almost 2 years. Every day it was there the believability factor of innocence fades. It just does, it’s only logical.

Despite the removal, I still feel so threatened by what that author did. And I’m questioning how many of my mutuals, even people I’m close to, knew it was there and didn’t tell me?

Not being able to trust easily is so hard.

I’m still afraid, I’m still wickedly upset and crying at the drop of a hat (and I really don’t cry easy, I’ve been through too much, too much trauma, but this has just shaken me so damned much.)

To leave that kind of thing up on her contact page for so long is utterly unconscionable. But she’ll get away with it. Just like she’s gotten away with subtweeting and harassing me. Of causing me so much pain in the past. Like she’s gotten away with attacking and dragging other neurodiverse people over and over again. I’ve seen her do that multiple times.

For someone who is a so-called professional in an industry like publishing, gods, especially of books for young adults! (I tell you, I have a young adult. I would not want my young adult reading a book by someone with morals like that. I just wouldn’t, I wouldn’t allow that book into the house. I wouldn’t.) To not only allow the doxxing of a fellow author on their blog but to also leave it where anyone could find it for such a very long time… it’s personally reprehensible to me. Especially when I’m a marginalized author, it’s so dangerous. I’m terrified, angry and sickened by this author’s actions.

Although the post has been removed, it doesn’t change the damage and pain she’s caused to me. The 8 months of harassment I received, me having to contact the police, the danger my family has been in. The danger *I’ve* been in. I had someone threaten to kill my cats!! Yeah. It doesn’t change it.

Because of people like that author, and others, the rumour mongers, I will always have the stink of false rumours and cruel innuendos clinging to me. That is so unfair, I don’t deserve that.

I had a wicked panic attack last night, then I got so, so angry. I still controlled myself. I didn’t publicly out who this author is. I can and will continue to tell people who ask me privately. That is not bullying, and since she had my legal name and pseudo on her blog for almost two years, two motherfucking years!, I have no problem at all telling people who it is if they ask me privately. Email me if you want to know, or if you’re one of the few who have access to my direct messages on social media, you can ask me that way. I won’t become the bully and say it in public, though. Not unless I have to out of self-defense. What you all do with that information is up to you. I don’t advocate for following/unfollowing or blocking this person. (Because that would be bullying.)

If *you* want to unfollow/block, do it, and I’ll support you.

If *you* don’t want to unfollow/block, do that, and I’ll support you.

I make it a policy to not attempt to influence peoples interpersonal connections, it’s far too close to abusive behavior (controlling who someone is friends with is a huge abusive red flag) and I’ve had that done to me by abusive boyfriends and family members. I’ll never knowingly do that to someone else. I may warn someone, I might open the door to say here is this information if you want it, but telling them who to be friends with/not be friends with is just not something I do.

But, I understand the need to protect yourself, and the need to know you aren’t friends/associates/following someone who is capable of doing such a horrific thing as this. So yes, I’ll absolutely privately tell anyone who wants to know. What you do with that info though, you get to decide. I can’t and won’t advise you on that.

My eating disorder reared up again last night, and I’ve been doing so well! I still haven’t eaten (I’m working on it, I really am, I’m working on it).

I had a horrible night of insomnia, and honestly, I doubt I’ll ever get an apology. She’s never apologized for anything she’s done to me before, she’s most likely is not going to suffer anything for what she’s done, professionally or personally, so why the hell would she apologize to someone she obviously doesn’t consider human?

I knew, from previous encounters with her, how horrible she could be, but I never in a million years expected her to stoop so low as to allow a doxxing of me on her blog. Never.

So that’s what’s been behind all the vague angst I’ve had for the past 18 hours. I’m going to go on full hiatus from Twitter for the weekend, maybe even a week. Maybe just stay off online for a bit. I’m removing the app from my phone and tablet for a while.

It’s got nothing to do with any of my followers, you all have been wonderful, but I just need a break. I need to lock the door to my house and keep the world out for a few days. To just be around my family, people I know would never hurt me, either by doing awful things or not telling me about someone doing awful things and thereby endangering me and my family. Enabling the level of harassment I was under.

Because some people I’m close to must have known that was there. It’s illogical that they didn’t with this person being a mutual, a friend even, with many of mine. Being close friends even, with many of you… we have many of the same business associates, this industry is tiny. We know many of the same people.

That fucks me up so badly.

That they didn’t bother to tell me. That’s… rather an ouchy thing to realize. That people I’m legitimately close to would allow all that harassment of me and my family to continue to take place. Knowing the likely source of where the harassers got my name.

Ouch. So I kinda have to cope with that too.

 

 

 

 

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Me: Autistic.

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.

Even once.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Atypical

I’m apparently a masochist. (Why, yes, I actually did know that.) Because I just tried to watch the Netflix show Atypical.

I’m autistic, so are my kids.

My choosing to watch that show may possibly have been one of the most painful things I’ve ever inflicted upon myself (and considering I’m a recovered cutter, that’s rather saying a LOT.)

Breaking down the thought process that led me to that… I was annoyed that a show I liked (Musketeers shhhh, it was trash, but it was fun trash w/hot people in cool clothes and it didn’t irritate me too badly) had wrapped at three seasons.

AND I heard today that Atypical got renewed.

AND I saw some ppl in a facebook group I’m part of lauding what a wonderful show it was and how glad they were that it was renewed.

AND I’m sick with something flu-like and I can’t sleep.

AND I’m rather massively and perpetually annoyed at Netflix for constantly canceling diverse shows I adore. (Musketeers was a BBC and/or creator decision, not Netflix, SENSE8, Marco Polo and The Get Down was Netflix and I’m still sore about that.)

I still pay for the service for two reasons, 1) My kids like the cartoons and it’s better than letting them watch youtube vids when I need 30 seconds of peace. 2) I’m waiting on the Sense8 series finale.

Frankly? After that? If Netflix doesn’t clean up their game I’m out. It feels like they’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick, then when they find something that people love (like any of the above mentioned shows) they pull it for whatever reasons they have. I’m betting on cis-allo-het-white supremacy by the people who run the joint, but hey. I’m annoyed at Netflix.

The first episode of Atypical (all I managed to get through) lasted 40 minutes. I did a thread on it for my twitter peeps.

It felt like a lot longer, and I think it took me three hours to get through with the number of comments I had about it. I will NOT be going back. I have no idea how any autist managed to get through it, though I’m pretty sure several have.

I’m left with the feeling that if that’s what most neurotypical peeps think of us? There’s no way on the goddesses green earth that you’ll ever understand us.

Because you don’t even try.

A mutual on twitter who is also autistic reached out and shared their threads, in case you’d like to see someone else’s opinion. Share with authors permission.

April is MUCH stronger than I am. I don’t even want to watch it for the coded autistic sister.

A general opinion thread on the show

 

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