Monday, October 3, 2011

Some things shift. Some don't.

This is coming from my personal experience writing for TPGA's dialogue series. This is extraordinarily, probably obnoxiously, me-centering rather than autistic community centering. It's not taking posts about the dialogues on other blogs into account even a little. Those other reflections may come later. They may not.

The post I wrote for TPGA is easily the most emotionally taxing thing I have ever written. There are a lot of uncomfortable associations with what I wrote about, and with the stories I decided to not tell yet as well.

I wrote that post with the full expectation that I'd be yelled at, accused of being unempathetic, have my words or meaning misinterpreted and misrepresented, told that I was "lucky" for whyever (because I could get into a Y? I don't know). That's my default assumption when I write, especially when I write for a mostly allistic audience, and even more especially when I am sharing uncomfortable truths. That's frequently what happens-I get yelled at a lot.

Mostly, my self-protective cynicism wasn't necessary, at least not in regards to my post and reactions to it. This is kind of overwhelming really-I'm not totally sure how to handle people being so nice to me. Don't stop or anything; it's a wonderful kind of unsettling to have people say they've got my back. I just don't really know how to deal with it.

A number of lovely people are encouraging a bit of a shift in my cynicism & knee-jerk wariness of autism community people who aren't autistic community people. It's a small shift for now, but what has to be a few hundred people didn't yell at me. I wrote something uncomfortable and difficult and no one yelled at me. This shouldn't be a big thing, but it is. A touch of the tarnish on humanity's reputation with me was wiped away, just a little.

But don't think for a second this means that I am going to change what I write about or how I write it. I know that I say a lot of difficult, uncomfortable things. I know the frustration from being an autistic in an allistic land and the frustration from living some truly hellish times shows. It's still going to. People are going to find things uncomfortable, but you know what?

It needs saying. Discomfort leads to growth. And barring specific triggers (which I do try to put warnings for), you can probably handle it. Many autistic people have dealt with similar things and said similar things to what I have experienced and what I have said. They know it is the way of things, for better or (usually) worse. Allistic people? You need to-yes, need to-know not just the "heartwarming" or "inspiring" or the nonthreateningly insightful or the sanitized autibiography stuff. You need to know the awful, uncomfortable things too. Those things need to be acknowledged to be abolished.

You acknowledged the ugly side of my truths, allistic allies and potential allies. You acknowledged that they're both ugly and truth. I make you uncomfortable not to be mean, but to create a more beautiful truth in the future.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad people were nice in the reactions of your post, that was a perfect post and I can't imagine how it must feel writing about that.

I really love your writing with all the uncomfortable truth, I like it better than reading about the so called inspiring stuff (that many times makes me feel worthless), I think your writing is inspiring in the real sense of the word, in a totally diferent and more real way that can make people think, it's not the overcoming autism inspiring story that sometimes I can't stand and that's good.
I don't really now how to finish this comment, I lost my train of thought somewhere, hope you get what I was trying to say here.

Anonymous said...

"You need to know the awful, uncomfortable things too. Those things need to be acknowledged to be abolished."

Yes. This. I've written a couple of times about some of my own definitely-not-heartwarming experiences for just that reason. There are still some I haven't written about because I don't want to just "spill" everything, but it is SO important that those of us who have experienced awful and uncomfortable things SAY something about it. If nobody know that these things happen, they will just continue to happen and everybody will remain blissfully ignorant, and that is just not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your entire blog, slowly, but surely. I can see that you get a bad rap for telling it like it is and not wrapping everything up in pretty little packages. It takes bravery and kindness to do what you do--because you obviously don't do it for yourself. I read a post where you expressed that you didn't want your entire identity to be as an advocate. I wanted to say that the kind of bravery and kindness that you bring to your advocacy work, also stand alone as characteristics of being a really good person.
Because you obviously don't hear it as much as you deserve to--I wanted to tell you that I really like you. You are funny and smart and when you are angry about something, it is not inappropriate (from what I've read).
Sending you much deserved love and light <3