Why I blog about being autistic

Bloggers have the ability to change the world. We connect and unite together in packs, protective of each other. In Austin, the unexpected happened: we ran into an anti-gay company, who didn’t want to work with Charlise because on her blog, Crunchy Family, she discusses her surrogacy to/for two fathers, how she attended the PRIDE Parade in Dallas, and other LGBT-related things.

So, just in case someone happens upon this blog who is anti-autism acceptance and pro-autism awareness, I figured I’d create this post explaining why I blog about my life as an autistic, even though it’s one of the most scary and dangerous things I could do as an autistic. See, I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, wherein drivers be crazy: if you somehow piss one off, they may come and break your window with a bat, then try to hit you with the bat. You wouldn’t believe how many people hate autistics so much they want us dead:

Non-autistic (allistic) people defend those killing autistic and/or disabled people, saying, “[The autistic person] couldn’t communicate their wishes, so it was probably best, anyway,” or, “Why would they want to live? They can’t do anything.”

It’s a scary place out there.

Blogs and bloggers have helped me not feel so alone

I’ve been blogging since I was about twelve years old.

I may not be the next Amy Sequenzia or Lydia Brown as far as autistic blogging goes, and that’s okay.

I’m an old-fashioned blogger, so I try to interact with everyone who comes to my blog in some way or another. I try to connect—not network—with bloggers I’ve never heard of and get on a first name basis, in that we chat and all that jazz. I attempt to comment everyone back in a timely manner. I do all of these things, because to me, they are the heart of blogging. I can’t comment on no one’s blog and expect comments on my blog; that’d be unrealistic.

Emails aren’t my strong point, but I still try to reply to those who find my blog most helpful—usually because of a post about my abusive childhood, PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Tourette Syndrome, allergies, autistic life, and/or the estrangement of my mother and I. The people I have knowingly helped remind me of the ones who are silent, who I’ve probably helped as well, which helps remind me this is all worth it.

Bloggers can change the world. We start conversations. We’re not second-class media. It’s 2016; more people trust bloggers than they do other outlets…I’m assuming this is because we create personal relationships with people? (Well, most of us do.)

The world knows about autism—so “awareness” is redundant. It needs acceptance.

Everyone knows about autism. They’ve heard all about it—in the stigmatized way, of course.

They don’t accept it. After all this awareness, the majority of society sees autism as this horrendous thing that disrupts families. You know what actually disrupts families? Ignorance.

Those of us who work up enough confidence to speak up and fight for our rights are labeled as “high-functioning” and accused of ignoring the nonverbal autistics. The reason I fight for autistic rights is because of those nonverbal autistics, whose parents are so ignorant they cannot see past verbal communication and neurotypical body language.

Communication is SO MUCH MORE than what you learned in school; it goes beyond body language and verbalization.

I don’t care what tone you use when you speak; I can absorb information better when it’s written or typed—I excelled in writing. You know what the majority of the lessons in the “Writing” section of English are about? Finding your voice. How you write is you; the diction and literary devices and everything you have in your writing result in your voice—your tone.

The Deaf community does just fine communicating with each other via sign language/nonverbal communication, so the claim of inability to communicate with someone because they are nonverbal is irrelevant and selfish to me.

I’m not entirely verbal, either.

I freeze. Sometimes, I just can’t talk. Other times, I can’t stop talking.

I’m slowly working on learning American Sign Language just in case I ever need to communicate and can’t find the words to verbally speak…and also because sensory overload can sometimes prevent me from hearing well; I already hear poorly in my right ear due to an incident as a child. I don’t want hearing aids; I don’t want people to try and fix me for their own selfish reasons and definition of normality.

I just want to be me. In order for that to happen, I need to contribute to the conversation. I need to be the person I desperately needed when I was younger.

The only autism experts are those actually living it.

Allistic people can research and research, in addition to making assumptions about this and/or that. They can speak like they know all about autism, but…they don’t. They have no idea what life as an autistic person is like, how things feel, how we truly see the world—they know nothing about autism at the end of the day. Yet, they are put on pedestals for doing x or y.

“High-functioning” and “low-functioning” terms are ableist terms. They shouldn’t be used. I mean…am I high-functioning because I have a blog, am a writer, and can make my own spaghetti—or am I low-functioning because I have meltdowns, can’t work at a “normal” job, and can’t always properly articulate what I’m trying to say?

I blog about the autistic part of me because I want to change the conversation. I also can’t separate it. I am autistic; it’s in my neurology.

If you have an issue with this, perhaps you’re on the wrong side of the Internet.

Sorry, but comments are closed on this post.

Comments on this post

Jenn’s gravatar

I love reading your blog because it’s a privilege to be given insight into one autistic adult’s mindset/thoughts/introspection in terms of autism and how it impacts his/her life.

So, thank you for sharing, and I hope you will continue to do so.

Liz’s gravatar

Awh, thanks! I really appreciate your use of the word “privilege”, because it’s rare for me to find allistic people who don’t assume their have a right to know something about a person. It’s actually something I struggle with a lot, because allistic people expect me to be open, and I’m just…not. Like, even when I’m sick, I’ll try to pretend I’m fine/not let it show, only to eventually upset someone because I didn’t tell them I was sick. It’s difficult.

If there is ever something in particular you’d like to know about, do feel free to ask. I can try to answer it/articulate it properly. I’m working on a post of things people shouldn’t say to autistics, but it’s taking a little while, because these are things people have said to me, and it takes some time writing out all of them (I’m at over 10 right now). I’ve been considering sharing a post about how I was actually dumped because I’m autistic, but…it’s hard to write—really hard—because I’ve never been rejected like before, and I was never prepared to be rejected like that before. (I honestly wish someone had told me mean people existed when I was growing up, because…it was just a really difficult thing to comprehend; I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be the “normal” person they wanted, because my family sugarcoated everything.)

I will definitely continue to share, I just sometimes don’t know what people might want to read. Not everyone find the day-to-day life of an autistic person interesting, and…pinpointing the exact things I want to discuss is hard sometimes, so I’m always open to suggestions. 🙂

Thanks for your kind words. <3

Michelle’s gravatar

It is all ableist terms, but they too, categorized me as “high functioning” due to my bipolar disorder being in a sort of remission due to my meds and therapy, but, it’s further from the truth, honestly. I just want to be okay, but that’s harder to define, but I enjoy reading about your experiences, because I go through a lot of them myself or at least I understand what you mean by them all. Keep talking about your experiences.

Georgie’s gravatar

I agree with what Jenn said. I have learned a lot from you and one of my other autistic friends. Not just about autism, but about myself and how I am viewed by others, how I present myself. It has made a difference to how I communicate with people. You have made me become a more compassionate and understanding person, and I appreciate what you have shared with me about your experiences and the way you see things. Allistics can be so flawed and cruel, yet they can learn so much from autistic people.

[…] to not get a high fever so I can avoid this.) I hear this series “Elementary” has an openly autistic character being shipped with an allistic character. Obviously, I have to check this out. (This show […]

Mimi’s gravatar

I love how strong you are for sharing your experience. I just came across your blog, but I am sure to be reading more seeing that I could truly learn a great deal from you. Your experience will serve as an inspiration for other autistic people, as well as non-autistic ones who should learn that you are all lovely kinds of people and shouldn’t be treated like that. <3