Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spiders Are Scary, Autism is Not

[NOTE: Sometimes, Allie Brosh drawings encapsulate my emotional states better than any words in the English language. They are used profusely throughout this post.]

I spent a good deal of today feeling like this:

[Fig. A: 90% of my existence]

I feel like this on a fairly regular basis, because as an Autistic, I have to regulate and monitor my environment as best I can, because unwanted stimuli can emotionally incapacitate me for days. Literally, days.

[Fig. B: DAYS.]

Even so, I wouldn't change my neuro individuality. I'm kind of adorable, and way more funny than most people. So it's kind of upsetting when the topic of Autism is broached when I'm out to dinner with family members, and one of them remarks about how "scary" it is that they're estimating one in eight children is being diagnosed with some form of ASD.
First of all, that is YOUR fault for your continued insistence on procreating with us.
Y'all replicating our genes 'n shit.
Second, diagnosis is more prevalent because of increased awareness and education.
People are actually understanding that it's a thing, slowly but surely.
Third--"Scary?" Really?

Here is scary:

[Fig. C: Scary]

And you know? I originally Googled "scary spiders," but I was actually SO SCARED by the images yielded by that search, that I had to use this.

Other than spiders, do you know what's really scary?
The fact that someone that's known me and loved me since birth thinks I'm scary.
And I understand she's not literally afraid of me, she just doesn't understand Autism as a spectrum.
She's met a more severely affected Autistic, and made a snap judgement based on one interaction that he "cannot connect" because he didn't make eye contact and "looked right through" a person he just met.
It's scary that she can't see all the good a person with ASD possesses, because she can't see beyond what she perceives as disability.
Scariest, in my option, is that I feel unable to communicate this to her, because we don't speak the same language.
When strangers are ableist or uncommunicative or just don't get it, it's difficult, even disheartening.
But when it's someone who you love, and who loves you, it messes with your sense of identity.

[Fig. D: Existentialism]

When someone you love doesn't understand or can't acknowledge a part of you, it really messes with you emotionally, mentally, even physically--especially if, like most females on the spectrum, you have an autoimmune disorder or fibromyalgia.

It's scary, because if loved ones don't acknowledge who you are, how do you find your place in the world? I suppose you find your way eventually, and I'm sure I'll find mine one of these days (complete with epiphany and overture and montages, probably). But right now, it's incredibly lonely. And scary.

[Fig. E: Rly Tho]