Be Proactive, Not Reactive And the Apocalypse

So unless you live on Mars or under some sort of rock and you have no access to a television at all, you have heard about the Sandy Hook tragedy. I honestly believe that there is some asshole in the media who does nothing but wait for horrible things to happen so that he can jump up and say, “Ha! That guy’s autistic because he’s weird/different/introverted/unable to communicate with others…etc.” I hate this guy. I can’t tell you how much loathing I have for this idiot. I get so tired of the media promoting the idea that antisocial=autism=potential for violence. Seriously? Although there are several people on my list and I shuffle that list around fairly frequently, I have yet to kill anyone this week. This month. This year. This decade. The last 43 years. Yes, you are welcome for this.

I have seen lots of good advocacy roll across my FB page. I have seen lots of good ideas about sticking up for ourselves and how we can help to make people not afraid of people on the spectrum. I have been thinking about this a lot. How do we advocate for ourselves as people on the spectrum in light of this unwanted challenge from the media? How do we continue to advocate for ourselves and make it meaningful to others?

It’s important for me to note that I speak as one autistic person in a sea of people neurotypical and autistic alike. I speak on my own opinions and experience not only as an autistic person, but as the mother of an autistic person as well. I am also the mother of a child with a mental illness. I am completely irate over the news reports that the boy and others that have committed these crimes are Asperger’s. Especially coupled in the phrase “suffering from Asperger’s. I want to get something very clear. I don’t suffer from Asperger’s. I do suffer from the stupidity of others who do not understand Asperger’s. I suffer from people making stupid assumptions based on my diagnosis without getting to know me. I really become offended when people think they know something about me or how I feel after finding out my diagnosis.

I always try to think about ways to advocate for people on the spectrum. I try to present myself in a way that makes people comfortable with me as a human being and then as a person on the spectrum. It takes all sorts of people to make the world function and we have to be cognizant of this. I reaad a great blurb written by a mother of a mentally ill child. And a follow up written by a mental health professional. These are important pieces in this debate. We have to look at these sides of the puzzle to determine how to relate to the rest of the puzzle. I especially liked when the mental health professional gave suggestions for possibly avoiding these sorts of incidences in the future. One suggestion was for high school students to make the popular kids stop picking on the weird and different kids. Even in my own live, it would have made a huge difference to have more self confidence and a hell of a lot less self loathing. Kids who don’t fit into the norm are hard, but they need to be encouraged, by someone. I would love to know who this person was for Tim Burton or Amanda Palmer. Who did this for Andy Warhol, Stan Lee, or countless other creative people who have succeeded?

I have lots of support in my life now for all of my endeavors, but I lacked the self confidence to pursue these things earlier in my life. It made me a target. My own doubt over my differences made me a target. My own inability to interpret social signals and norms made me a target. I would have given a lot for a mentor or at least just someone else out there saying that it would be okay and I would get through it and become a fantastic person. When you are different, it’s very important to know that one day, it will all be worthwhile.

I have spent a lot of time in the last few months soul searching and trying to figure out what my next step is. The last 3 months have sped by and I only have 2 months left on this temporary assignment. I have no idea what I’m going to do next. I do know that I am absolutely dreading going back to the process of finding a new job. If my luck actually carriies through, maybe the unemployed guy will find a job and let me take some time off to write. I do have 3 novels that need a little polishing and maybe I can get them out the door and into the land of being published. I have also been thinking very hard about writing my own story. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. It feels very painful still, but with Wee Geek now doing well and starting to get along on his own, I feel like I have somme strength to get through it. There are lots of things that need to be said. There are even more things that I think that I might be able to resolve within myself about the entire thing.

I am reminded of that old Depeche Mode song, “Walking in my shoes”.
“I would tell you about the things they put me through
The pain I’ve been subjected to….
Now, I’m not looking for absolution,
Forgiveness for the things I do.
But before you come to any conclusions,
Try wwalking in my shoes…
You’ll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I’ve kept
If you try walking in my shoes.
Morality would frown upon
Decency look down upon
The scapegoat fate’s made of me,
But I promise now, my judge and jurors,
My intentions couldn’t have been purer.
My case is easy to see.
I’m not looking for a clearer conscience,
Peace of mind after what I’ve been through.
And before we talk of any repetance,
Try walking in my shoes…”

I love this song. It’s my ringback tone because I feel like it really epitomizes what I’ve been through in the last few years. I also hate critics who think they mighht have done it differently or better.

A few notes on the Apocalypse that is impending. While I’m trying to plan a future, I’m planning for the death of humanity in general. I know, who makes up this stuff? We speculate on the giant boom that will occur exactly at midnight, we plan to go to an end of the world party….what will really happen? I’m sure it will be like so many other times in the past when the ulimate end has been predicted. In the meantime, I’ve traded cars with Wee Geek to figure out what the problem with his car is. It’s an old car. It was top of the line for its time. It has this great digital readout that greets me whenever I get in and start it. The other day it said “Greetings. Good morning. Saturday December 24th.” I laughed when I realised that Wee Geek’s car has become a Tardis. It also has survived the Apocalypse in the future. Or it’s really late for something. Sigh. No clues there.

So, dear readers, I hope that you survive the Apocalypse. I have a Tardis that’s already survived. So good luck to you.