Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it’s right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.~ W. Clement Stone
I am apparently a bully in the Autism community. I guess I didn’t understand that I’m not supposed to take “sides” or “support” anything but the name “Autism.” The idea of Autism as a disability is “safe.” Only upbeat and positive posts are “safe.” Isn’t that how the community got into this mess?
I posted a few weeks ago about “Vaguebooking” where people only talk about the very best parts of life. (https://oystersandlife.com/2014/09/08/vaguebooking/) They don’t post about struggles, challenges or anything that **could** make them appear to be different. It’s like reading fairy tales all day long.
To be fair, not all the people on my friends list do this. But of the 30 or so people connected to the Autism community, only a handful post about anything but unicorns and rainbows. It’s okay if that’s what you want to post. Just don’t be angry with me for putting a damper on what you post.
Guess what? By only posting about unicorns and rainbows, people think you’ve got it all under control. That you, or your child, never struggle. That every therapy you’ve tried has been miraculous. That every diet adjustment made is a cure. It skews what people think about Autism. If you don’t live with Autism and all you read about are unicorns and rainbows, that must be what Autism is all about.
And then, tragedy hits. Again. The unicorn did a variation on what horses do. It got mad. It got ornery. But, it’s still a unicorn. Some people with unicorns can understand how someone tried to hurt their unicorn. They feel the unicorn is to blame for, well, acting like a unicorn. Others, in fact the vast majority, feel that hurting a unicorn is bad. Very, very bad. Don’t they know how precious and valuable unicorns are?
The reality is, unicorns poop. They mash the grass with their hoofs. They have to be fed special diets. They require grooming. And time, lots and lots of time. It’s hard work keeping a unicorn safe and happy. But we do. Many, many of us get up every day knowing how hard things are and yet, we keep our unicorns safe and warm and healthy and happy.
It never crossed my mind to kill my unicorns. Yes, they look different from horses. Yes, they act different from horses. But they’re my special unicorns. My gift of magic to cherish and take care of forever. Taking care of them is harder than taking care of a herd of horses. But the beauty I see when they’re around makes it all worth it.
So call me a bully. Label me wrong. Yell out Instigator! Because it’s true. I support self-advocacy. I support stricter legislation for caregivers who harm their disabled charges. I support boycotting an organization that tells people that Autism is a crisis. That Autism is a violent, daily struggle. That Autism must be cured.
I don’t want horses. Unicorns are awesome! If you were to take away their magic, unicorns would be just horses. You’ll work just as hard tending a horse as you will tending a unicorn. A horse means you’re just like everyone else. If that’s your goal, go for it. Try every diet, cure and therapy in hopes of taking away the magic. I choose to love and nurture my unicorns.
Because without a little magic, the world looks a lot dingier.