Annoyed

In the past few days, a few things have happened that I find annoying. Most of these things are stuff that almost everyone is guilty of doing at some point. Others are things that are more specific to my personal pet peeves. Either way, here they are….

Children are not an excuse to use the handicapped restroom stall. That’s why most places have family restrooms. Take the time to find them.

Changing your baby’s diaper at the restaurant table is just gross. No further explanation.

Encouraging your child to approach me and ask to pet my service dog, who has a big patch that says do not pet clearly visible, is rude. And stupid.

Not all disabilities are visible. Nor do they need to be. Mind your own business.

Autistic does not mean stupid.

Autistic does not mean I don’t care.

Autistic does not mean I lack feelings or emotions.

Taking credit for someone else’s work is plagiarism.

Stepping on other people so you can be seen as #1 is childish, rude and uncalled for.

Assuming you know “all about” something because you read about it on the Internet makes you look silly.

Claiming you are something you are not makes you look silly.

Talking about something you have very little knowledge about is annoying, especially when the person you are talking to knows much more about the topic.

You can never have too much bacon.

It is better to ask questions than to ass-u-me.

Respect for diversity goes a long way.

We don’t have to agree. We do need to respect each other.

Every person has something to contribute. Never underestimate another person.

Remember, the “m” in masses is sometimes silent.

I prefer rainbows over blue lights any day of the week. Ask me why.

I am not “broken.” I do not need to be fixed or cured.

Blindly throwing money at things solves nothing. Do your research.

Ask. Respectfully. You’ll be amazed at what you learn.

You didn’t get to where you are in life without help from others.

There is no shame in ask for or needing help.

georgebernardshaw109542

 

 

 

Um, congrats?

Life is not fair. We should all know that by now. There is no way it can be given our different perspectives. What seems fair to me may seem patently unfair to you. Without going into the whole socio-economic debate, life is just not fair.

But how do we determine “not fair” versus “discrimination” in today’s world?

I’m physically disabled. Is it “not fair” that non-disabled people use the stall intended for disabled people? I’d say yes. I would happily pass every single thing wrong with me to an individual who wants that stall. I don’t considering children to be a disability. Use the family restroom please. I also don’t consider luggage or packages to be disabilities. They don’t get their own seat on public transportation or qualify someone as needing the extra space in a stall.

I’m Autistic. So are two of my children. Is it “not fair” or “discrimination” that we face daily as we navigate a world that some feel we don’t belong in? Both, from my perspective. The “not fair” part consists of stares, disparaging remarks, being left out and flat-out bullying. It would be great if these things magically went away. However, because we’re all different and we perceive things differently, they never will.

The “discrimination” part comes into play when non-Autistic people insist on denying Autistics a voice in the discussions about Autism. When parents pour bleach into their children’s bodies to “cure” them of Autism. When our communities fail to work with us to develop supports so we can be active participants. When our co-workers treat us differently because we wear the same style clothes all the time (itchy tags!) or have responses that aren’t what is expected. This is discrimination. This is determining that because of a different way of looking at the world, we are less than deserving.

I am not less than deserving. I am not “taking” anything away from anyone else just by thinking differently or needing some extra space in a stall. I am not in need of fixing, although I’m happy to try to learn more tools to cope with a world that is overwhelmingly intolerant of differences. I will keep trying to help people understand that different is good. If we were all the same, the world would be a very boring place.

Congratulations to those who feel the word is fair and just. That must feel pretty darn good. For the rest of us, we will continue to speak up. Louder and even louder so our voices can be heard over the din of those who would silence us.

 

Shame

I’d bet many of you know how shame feels. Probably from both the receiving and giving sides. Sometimes it’s unintentional, like when you say a blooper. Sometimes it’s purposeful, such as when you scold a child. Either way, shame hurts.

I have some quirky habits that make it possible for me to experience shame on an almost daily basis. My speech is an easy target. Sometimes I use vocabulary that doesn’t fit the conversation. Other times my speech is affected by a medical condition. Regardless, at least one person per day makes a comment that shames me.

April is Autism Acceptance month. You may be wondering what shame and Autism have in common. Quite a bit, actually.  If you buy into the rhetoric of a certain organization, Autistics need to be cured. How can I not feel shame when people are publicly promoting the idea that I’m defective because of my differences? How do family members feel when onlookers critique their loved ones? Shame.

Shame can lead to desperation. Feelings of worthlessness surface. Feelings of failure. Feelings of inadequacy. People are driven to find ways to help each other. It’s hardwired into most of us. The people who bring you “light it up blue” are the same ones who capitalize on these feelings to raise money that is used to move society a step closer to eugenics.

Autistic children grow up to become Autistic adults. A child who hears they are a burden remembers. A child exposed to hurtful speech remembers. A child who is told they are worthless remembers. The feelings of shame grow deeper as we age.

Acceptance is the key. Accept the differences. Accept the whole individual. Put an end to shaming others for being different. It starts with you.

Forever Young

And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you’re far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you’d have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you’ll always stay
Forever Young, Forever Young~ Rod Stewart, Forever Young

Eldest has a birthday today. It was kind of surreal last week as I was at the hospital where she was born. The place has become so big I didn’t recognize anything. Time is funny like that. You forget details even though you remember the event.

coleenbaby2

I remember Eldest as a baby. The time she ate too many carrots and sweet potatoes. She turned orange and I thought it was jaundice. Frilly outfits. Her first “dance” in the living room. The curly hair. Oh, the curly hair.

coleencurly4

For a time, Eldest showed no fear….

coleen5

But she remained refined….

coleen3

I’m so very proud of her. In a few short weeks, she will embark upon the next stage of her life. I’m struggling with the words to say how grateful I am that she still calls me to talk about her day. I’ll receive a text asking a question or telling me what’s going on. I see a social media post that makes me smile.

coleen16

And when you finally fly away
I’ll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I’m right behind you, win or lose
Forever Young, Forever Young~ Rod Stewart, Forever Young

Rainbow

I will not light it up blue.

I do not support Autism Speaks in any of its forms. I do support Color the World, since each one of us is unique and individual as the colors we see. I also tacitly support Light it up Gold and Light it up Red. Light it up Gold is for the hearts of gold many autistics display. Light it up Red is directly countering light it up blue as red is perceived as the primary opposite of blue.

 

This was written by my daughter. Please take the time to read and educate yourself before you buy into propaganda. You can find the original at

https://www.facebook.com/notes/thoughts-from-a-female-aspie/views-of-the-page-admin-on-autism-speaks/288620804633865

This is a basic list of things to look into with Autism Speaks:

Per DSM-V, I am autistic (even though I disagree with DSM-V). I do not support this organization at all. I do support educating individuals who believe that I should be cured, and about organizations that they choose to support.

 

Other links to look at (some repeats):