Coming Out: a Year of Autism

With the coming of Autism awareness month, it has been a year since I came out as a woman with Autism as a label. It was not a moment planned, it just.. was right. I have known for about two years, maybe three? For me, one of the side effects of my Autism and my PTSD combined is a sort of floating time. It slows, it speeds, it fades, it flares. My sense of time is not very accurate.

I was giving a speech to a small group, and the speaker who spoke before me mentioned something about Autism, and how it was a shame no one with Autism could speak for themselves. This was done before we went on. I rolled up in my scooter and gave a speech about disability. I added the words, “I am Autistic.” I had never admitted it to myself before. The room fell utterly silent, the few whispers froze. All eyes were on me. Faces reflecting what I interpreted as disbelief, some shock, some fear, and one knowing smile. I continued, after a few moments to let this speak in.

My speech altered in that moment, I added more of how my Autism is an attribute. Afterwards that first speaker left without a word to me, they never made eye contact with me again, or really spoke much. It was awkward for them. I suspect shame but I do not care. I didn’t want to hear how my brain is diseased. That was what lead to me meeting up with the wonderful people at Here Be Dragons. (Rawr!) I do post there periodically. I had just begun to read Womanist Musings, and I began to learn that I was not alone in the fight for Nuerodiversity that a burst of temper threw me into.

I won’t forget how I felt like a cartoon, my knees if i had been standing would be at an awkward angle, the light far too bright… The glaring world suddenly foreign, an alien landscape of unknown. For me, being diagnosed with Autism had been merely another label. It had been just another “thing” that built me into a physically fragile, creative and supposedly charming woman. It was just another thing people may hate me for.

Boy do they ever. Jenny McCarthy wants to mind wipe me like some sort of not so supervillain. Autism Speaks wants to cut my tongue out because I disagree with them. I am also proof that they are wrong about the vaccine thing too. All their supposed cures are wrong and full of failings. I never was vaccinated as a child. I showed signs of Autism from birth. I had measels and Rubella. I am left to wonder how much of my health ramifications could be misdiagnosed side effects of these things.

In this last year I spent so much of this time fighting. When I wrote this post I wanted to show a picture of me on my new wheels, my hair back to it’s red, my body back to it’s health. This post is one of the things I tantalized myself with. Where would I be in a year if I lived? Through this blog, which is actually over a year old, I found friends, support, and life. This goes beyond Autism, though my Autism has come to dominate some of what I write about, as I have begun to see that the other advocates for other isms can handle what is going on but Autism needs more help in being fended for.

A year ago my brother was murdered, my then husband had imprisoned me, I was lying and hiding it in terror. A year ago I was starving. A year ago, I thought that my blog may hold my last words. This blog was not originally meant to be so personal either. Through the last year part of my need to survive left me shedding a good deal of anonymity. Renee of Womanist Musings and Kowalski of Here there be dragons both had the largest impact too.

Renee helped me to learn that I can speak out again. I had stopped out of my terror, and she helped me to get that back. I have no issue telling someone they are being racist, ableist, and can stop their derailing most of the time. Renee is a great educator and a great friend.

Kowalski helped me to accept some of my vulnerability. I know I can email either of them if I need to just talk. If there is a moment where nothing else can get me to keep going. Kowalski taught me that it is important to not let my voice be silenced, because with some of my labels it may be permanent. Kowalski also taught me something else. To love me. How? The writings of Kowalski are often a mirror to what I need to face to heal.

I have survived great violence against my identity and person. My right to take up space was violated. I was raped, starved, threatened, and almost murdered. I was worn beyond the brass tacks of my soul. You my readers and friends (there is overlap there) gave me the ability to fix my wheels the first time they broke. Now you get to read about my forcing a new wheelchair out of the insurance. You gave me the freedom and means to LIVE.

I have begun to cry when I write this, and most of it is joy, yet there is mourning. I look at my broken scooter and I think of all the things I did with that freedom, and I think of how closely I came so many times to death. This ignores the fact that I am still fighting suicide. I will win. My scooter even helped William find his new home. He is happy now, I called his new owner and William, who scared me badly towards the end is seen as the best behaved and most angelic feline in the entire world.

I would write even if no one read it. I have blog posts that are hidden away on my hard drive that no one will see, at least at this point. To everyone who has written me using the contact form that sits somewhere on the blog saying I helped you… you helped me too.

As I sit here knowing I cannot ever return to some of my most beloved activities, and in some ways certain types of activism even after I get my mobility back, I mourn and move on. I create new hobbies, new goals, and new dreams. It is no longer life ending to admit that for my own life I must not do the very things that I thought made me who I am. It is no longer the end of my world.

Thank you. I could name more names, but even so there are some names that should remain private. Some people whose names I do not even know who helped me. I hope that the next year my writing continues to help people, including myself. I plan to write more and more. I am still working on getting up to “it” enough to write for the Womanist Musings blog. I may even try art again, new ways new methods. I even plan to find a photographer and set up a photoshoot for who I am, so that the pictures of who I was no longer are the only ones that exist.

Some stats for the last year:

The main page of this blog has had 3,765 individual page views not counting my own

The most clicked on post from around the net is Amazonfail

This is followed by Vanity

My About page is also one of the most popular pages nearly matching the home page stats.

The busiest day for my blog with 591 views came in on Monday, April 13th, 2009

April also was my top month for visits with 3000! However my average monthly page views EXCLUDING April is 1500.

Some search terms used to find me, most popular to least:

The Oblongs

Beth Oblong

Textual Fury

Tracey Ullman

Short Girl Cartoon

Tumor

Kateryna Fury

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

“Autism Speaks”

Rules for service dogs

tumor artoon

Albuquerque NM Ehlers-Danlos Groups

Trigger Warning

Carl Joseph (This refers to Carl Joseph Rove, a young man who died as a result of hate)

Murder Kit

Autistic

Autistic “Abusive House”

Tracey Ullman Blackface

Hidradenitis Supprativa

Golfernoggins

“Disability” romance novels

signs of textual abuse

Suicide

how to kill yourself

tired in pain

whatever happened to baby jane

anger cliches

There are way more, I just found these the most interesting or ooooh there’s mah name!

So for the last year and then some… thank you.

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2 Comments

  1. I can relate to how you were ostracized as a result of disclosing your autism. That happened to me as well. Not only did people who used to be my friends totally avoid me after I came out about my being autistic, there were instances where they threw food and called me a retard. It hurt so much. As for the other stuff, I can only cry for you and offer my support.

  2. Not everyone turned away. A lot of people were fascinated that I could speak and in competitions for public speaking tend to win when supposedly it’s impossible. *Polishes her trophies with their sadness and sweat.*

    I know you are still in puberty/not legal adulthood yet and I want to tell you this: Barring really scary murderous people over all adulthood is WAY better. You will be able to choose your friends and where you choose to go. That alone is quite freeing. Smile for me, for I am free. Smile for the future for you will be free with me.


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