Subtitle 1: “Dorothy, because the color gold is too bright for PSA commercials on TV.”, answered the Wizard of Oz
Subtitle 2: I’ve been on an autistic vacation for the past six months, I’ll explain…
Fortunately the dreaded month of April for most autistics is half over, and we can go back to being just autistic and not feeling compelled to explain ourselves to those that have suddenly become “aware” of autism.
What really annoys me about the annual “awareness” campaign is that it loves to draw attention to those autistics that cannot fend for themselves, often referring to those that have severe comorbid conditions such as Intellectual Disability..
Consequently non-autistics who have a very cursory understanding of autism get the impression that “all” autistics fit in that category when statistics show that it is actually a small percentage. In fact there are a plethora of non-verbal autistics who are brilliant contributing members to society and yet they are considered severely autistic and disabled, it doesn’t make sense to me.
The flip-side to this conundrum are the radical opinionated autistics that love to shove their opinions in everyone’s face whether accurate or not, and paint anyone including autistics as “ableists” if they don’t agree with them. I ran across an autistic blogger today that fits that profile when they blasted Dr. Temple Grandin for saying that “autistics should get their butts out of the house and get a job.” What’s wrong with that message? Nothing in my opinion. Sometimes we need a push to better our lives or explore avenues that we haven’t in the past that might lead us to new discoveries about ourselves as well as bettering our lives. I think that’s what the point was by Dr. Grandin.
If we listen to some of the other pearls of wisdom that Dr. Temple Grandin repeats constantly, one is to help that autistic person find what they are good at and build on it. That message is normally directed at caregivers but it applies to us autistics who have the capacity to process that message. Sometimes a little bit of self introspection to discover our assets and refrain from thinking about our deficits can go a long way to finding our place in society where we feel whole and not “weird” which is a basic human need.
And this brings me back to Autistic April and my six month autistic vacation.
Over the past six months. I took a very deep breath, stopped dwelling on being autistic and different, and focussed on my other passions besides writing. I came to realize that for the past several years my obsession with learning about autism and interacting with fellow autistics on Facebook impeded my time to focus on day to day living in real time and making progress with other personal goals that are important to me.
During this process I noticed a curious thing that happened. Some of my quirky autistic habits that can annoy me seemed to diminish like making sure various objects in my house are lined up correctly as well as a few others. That caused me to ponder whether being so in tune with my autistic deficits was actually preventing me from overcoming some of them. I’m always going to be autistic and I’m glad about that, and most of my autistic traits are not repairable, but if I can make just a little progress so that some of them don’t interfere with my life on an hourly basis then for me that’s a good thing.
And then comes April…
Every year when this month rolls around I tend to revert to feeling different and “weird” again. Maybe that’s just my problem but that’s what it does to me. I normally view my circumstances as if “the glass is half full and not half empty,” focusing on the good parts of my life and not the negative.
That basic philosophy along with laughter has gotten me through a lot of adversity in my life. Therefore, when a sledge hammer comes down like a brightly blue lit White House or Empire State Building that pops up in my news feed, I forget to invoke either one of those personal helpers and I’m back to being an old autistic fart with lots of baggage.
So thank you blue puzzle piece, Autism Walk invites, and blue lit buildings everywhere for reminding me that I’m autistic and “weird,” and that I along with countless others need help via donated dollars to one US organization to save the day by throwing us a Pity Party that we didn’t ask for.
By the way, I won’t be attending…