What we're fighting

What we're fighting
It's when you think there is no problem that one appears

Sunday, March 24, 2013

David's Autistic Rant

Trigger warning: Ablest language, Child abuse, murder, strong language


There aren't many things about the world I find myself in that don't piss me off. Yes there is beauty in this world but more and more often that ends up being only found in the places where there are no people. We as a species are woefully ignorant of our greatest strength and instead of embracing it we ignore it, push it to the side, leave it in the dust. We make up names and insults for those who try to use it, people born different, with different brain chemistry or body types than the norm tend to be defined as "broken", "damaged" or a "burden" with little to no regard for their feelings on the matter.

Disabled people have been shoved to the back for most if not all of history, with otherwise decent people giving their consent whether silently or vocally. When someone cannot walk, when they are born with disabilities are often regarded as being deformed, and unworthy of life. Most of history has seen cultures and individuals kill or neglect unto death, children whose only crime is being born with non functional arms, or legs, or eyes, or ears, or any one of a thousand other differences. The problem is the perception that goes with these.

No one should have the right or ability to murder someone because they are different. and while you would think "well this isn't Sparta, where you can just chuck your deformed kid into a pit if you don't like them, we have laws!" Laws mean only as much as the people who enforce them want them to mean. While people are convicted of murder all the time, it happens all too often that it is considered mitigating circumstances when the victim is disabled. Others only see the disabled as a problem, a burden, a reason to get upset or lose control, so who could blame them when they finally strangle/drown/burn/bury their kids because of how hard it must be for the poor parents to raise a kid with any kind of disability?

 To be honest with you I was a serious handful as a child, and until I was nearly thirteen i didn't understand enough about the world around me to behave to any sort of degree. It could have easily been me who at four years old was drowned by my mom. Allow me to be as clear as I can: I have no sympathy for anyone who murders their child. Put yourself in the mothers shoes and you think about how hard your life is. But when you put yourself in the child's shoes you realize that what problems the mother 'suffers' from are not that kids fault and killing him is the last on an extremely long list of shit you could do, right after killing yourself for thinking about harming a child.

Believe it or not people who tell me I have no idea what being a parent is like have less than no sympathy from me; the target of more ablest ideas and speech than most people should have to stand. Though I have what most would consider an "invisible" disability. It is obvious to anyone who speaks to me for more than a few seconds that I am not neurotypical or NT, that is someone with the most common type of neurology. Indeed attempts to analyse my behavior and motivation throughout my life have proven to be largely unsuccessful. At the age of twenty three I have had fifteen different jobs, most of which lasted less than three months and in multiple cases less than a week. Not because of any failing of mine to actually DO that job, but because people find me intolerable, incompetent, or other wise unintelligible.

The fact of the matter is I learned human behavior the same way I learned maths and science; methodically. I have never had this strange "common sense" I hear so much about. I imitate people's facial expressions, their jokes, and their movements. To make myself seem human. Because when I don't everyone sees me as angry or irritable or upset. My simple statement seem like I am snapping. I do not understand the typical human interaction so I made up my own. I want people to like me but the only way I know to make that happen is by putting on a mask. That mask is not me, and while I have been getting better at lying I can see myself wear away more and more every year just trying to get by.

This is not the simple stress of having too much to do, I have always been able to meet deadlines and organize work in the most efficient way possible. But to fit in has always been a problem. I remain a virgin to this day because I am unable to communicate my feelings in what is generally considered an "appropriate manner" but while most people shun any kind of contact with me I have met a few people who look pat my initial awkwardness and allow me into their life.

There is a concept called the "uncanny valley" where something/someone is just a little too human, without actually being human. Like a lifelike humanoid robot. It makes people feel uncomfortable, this is caused by the same mechanism in the brain which creates discrimination of all kinds, the us versus them mentality, you think "that thing is not one of us, it must be killed so that it cannot steal our resources." in the most primitive part of your brain, a remnant of the days when there were not enough resources available for everyone.

Newsflash: there are enough resources on the planet for everyone now. Yet this idea persists. People of different races consider themselves superior to others and often wish death on them. By the same token and often because of the same mechanism people like myself are regarded as less than by society. it becomes so serious that Do Not Resuscitate orders are issued without consent, heart transplant recipients are denied because of autism, and are fair game for cops to kill with no repercussions. PS to the people responsible for the things I just mentioned: I hope you burn in the special level of hell with the child molesters.

Situations like the ones above have left myself and others like me afraid to seek help in case we end up branded as "fair game" because of our diagnosis. Indeed because I'm such a big guy people often see me as a challenge and attempt to fight me, not realizing they may as well be fighting a five year old girl scout. My size means shit when I can get beaten tot he ground by middle school students, an event which happened a couple of years back because of some perceived slight on their part, had they addressed the matter I would have gladly apologized, but apparently passing someone on a sidewalk is grounds for an ass kicking. Thanks kids I'll file that away.

I often find my healthy body to be, rather than a benifit, a weakness. No one thinks anything could possibly be wrong with a large white man. So when I display abnormal behavior the assumption is it is intentional, people believe I am "bullshitting them" or "trying to start shit" when in fact I am just trying my best to fit into a society which doesn't make any sense at all. Hire someone for a job? How about actually having them do that ONE job. Fifteen jobs in five years (all but two within the first three years) and I still have yet to have a job where my only duty was the one I actually applied for. The stress of needing to remember how to go from doing one thing to another quickly can often require me to need to stop moving while I think about what I am doing, which results in yelling from a boss, which increases the stress I'm not entirely sure what happens after that but after some going back and forth I end up losing my job. If i am not well prepared for something, birthday party, trip to Disneyland, boss showing up at work on days he isn't suppose to be there, it is stressful regardless how pleasant it might appear to someone else.

This is daily in my life. However I wouldn't want to be 'cured' or 'fixed' because I don't see myself as broken. I don't want my autism cured anymore than Lydia Brown would want their 'asianness' cured or would want their 'womanness' cured. Allow me to be very clear about this: I am not broken. I am exactly how I should be. All my problems stem not from myself but from the interaction between myself and a world which does not understand me. I do not blame people who mean well but are still insulting in their ignorance, however attempts to rectify their ignorance would be more appreciated than  a day of silence for autistic people.

I can only speak from my own experience, just like most people. However I have only the one disability, though I have many differences. There are other people out there with far more disabling conditions which do affect their lives in addition to the people around them whose ignorance  constant source of struggle.