Sadness and ableism

I don’t particularly want to go into extreme detail, but I’m sad today. Sad enough that even though I didn’t get to sleep until 2:30 A.M. I’m up again at 8.

I think I was born to teach, sometimes. So I’m taking my personal pain and using it as a teaching lesson about relationships. None of us are taught the skills necessary for forming, caring for, and communicating in relationships. I’ve had to learn it through therapy, because I definitely had nothing like a good role model to base anything on.

I strongly feel that Basic Communication 101 and Basic Relationship Navigation would be two very valuable additions to public school curriculums. How to not be a treacherous bull-pizzle would probably be cool, too.

Some people who called themselves my friends decided to start talking negatively behind my back.

Some folks don’t care about gossip. To me, it’s rank betrayal and pretty damned dishonorable. I don’t let many people get close to me because I’m so freaking head-shy about people doing this exact bullshit move.

If you’ve got a problem with someone, and you’re safe, obviously, you take the problem up with that person.

Running around flapping your pie hole, spreading bad information influenced heavily by personal bias is, to be frank, the act of a coward. Trying to break up friendships over your misunderstandings is a huge red-flag for a toxic, emotionally abusive person.

Some red flags to watch for in relationships.

When they set rules, often times after you “break” them.  If someone begins to set rules on where you can be, who you can hang out with, and how you’re supposed to act, changes the rules just for you, or treats you worse than everyone else, I suggest finding a way to safely escape because what they’re really doing is beginning to take away your free will.

Who you can hang out with: If someone is trying to strong arm you/your friends/anyone into not hanging with someone they feel is a friend, that’s an emotional abuse red flag. It’s shitty behavior too. No one has any right to try to dictate another person’s friendships. I can’t even begin to get into all the reasons this is toxic. Like, there’s whole dissertations written on the subject. It’s fine to express concern to a friend about someone else. It’s not okay to force the issue or bamboozle your friend because they like someone you don’t.

How you use social media: this one is tricky, it’s really freaking common for neurotypical and ablest people to insist neurodivergent and/or mentally ill people confine their speech, thoughts, reactions, selves… in a box that makes them (not the ND person) comfortable.

How you use social media: it can also manifest in a person insisting that others leave or join groups, delete things like facebook/insta/tiktok etc. Huge, huge red flags.

‍They try to isolate you from friends and family: Isolation is how an abuser thrives and they’re so subtle in how they begin to push you away from your loved ones.

  • If you ever get in an argument or fight with a friend or family member, an abuser will turn this into something bigger and try to convince you to remove that “toxic” person from your life
  • They’ll request you spend time with them rather than your other friends or family
  • Alienate you from coworkers by not allowing you to spend time outside of work with them

This is one of the scariest red flags of an abusive relationship because without your connections to the outside world, an abuser is free to treat you how they please because they’ve alienated you from everyone who could help.

Another thing abusers will do is blame you for their abusive behaviour, and tell you it was your fault.

Overly controlling behavior is a common red flag. People that try to control your movements, decisions, or beliefs are more concerned about what they want than what is best for you. 

Emotional, verbal, and mental abuse are often much harder to pick up on than physical, but all types cause trauma and can result in PTSD. No one has the right to use another as a scapegoat for their problems. Those should be dealt with constructively and fairly. Abuse is never an acceptable response to a problem.

An inability to resolve conflict: conflict-avoidant people often think they’re doing the right thing by avoiding conflict, but they aren’t. Without constructive conflict, no relationship can be healthy.

Gaslighting: this is when someone tries to convince you that your lived experience isn’t really what happened. That what they think is correct, and you’re just confused.

It’s an incredibly common abusive tactic. Victims of gaslighting often feel guilty, even if they’ve done nothing wrong. It’s a clear red flag in any relationship. You can provide proof, reasons, explanations as to why they’re wrong to a gaslighter, but they’ll still insist they’re right.

Avoidance mixed with silence is a classic passive-aggressive form of relationship toxicity, one that often gets progressively worse over time.

So what do you do about it? What is healthy, anyway? A healthy relationship involves acknowledging your needs first, and having a self-care plan in place. More importantly, you engage in that self-care.

Communication is so important. It’s at the center of every healthy relationship. And just for the ones in the back of the class? Talking with people other than the one you have a problem with (and a mediator, if needed/wanted) isn’t healthy communication. People can have no clue you have a problem with them. If you don’t communicate, they can’t even decide whether they want or can change their behavior.

Emotional regulation: Communication doesn’t work well when your emotions are in the way. There’s nothing wrong with having and expressing feelings. Feelings are always valid. What one does with those feelings can be healthy or toxic, but the existence of the emotions isn’t a bad thing. It’s just wise, for effective communication and conflict resolution, to wait until you can successfully regulate your emotions before discussion. If you’re talking negatively about someone you know, it’s probably because you’re letting your emotions control you vs dealing with them in an effective and healthy way.

Setting/violation of boundaries: We all need boundaries to protect ourselves and keep our relationships as sustainable as possible. You should clearly state your needs, boundaries, and deal-breakers with a loved one. If you haven’t done that, you’re not communicating well.

Trust: there can be no health to a relationship without trust. Once trust has been violated, it often needs to be earnt back.

And no one owes you an acceptance of your apology. Nobody is required to give you a chance to explain why you broke their trust, or even allow you back into their life.

In the personal realm, I could’ve done better at communicating my boundaries and deal-breakers. Such as, if you talk shit behind my or anyone else’s back, you’re a dishonorable fuck-weasel and I want nothing to do with you.

You don’t need to take my word for it. All the signs of emotional abuse and toxicity in relationships were found on these sites.

Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/202202/3-red-flags-relationship-turning-toxic

https://www.betterup.com/blog/red-flags-in-a-relationship

I’d never considered some of the people involved friends. I’d long since consigned them to ‘friendly acquaintance I don’t want to be closer to’. The word friend has special meaning to me and because of the amount of abuse I’ve lived through, you have to earn it.

But I didn’t expect them to act in such a dishonorable manner either.

I read psychology dissertations for fun, so it’s not hard to figure the soup and nuts of it. Person X has a personal beef with me stemmed in ableism. Person X decides that *I* am evil incarnate rather than accept they’ve got some pretty severe ableism issues and dealing with those. Person X has heavy, revolting levels of bias against neurodivergent and mentally ill people. So much so that they formed an echo chamber with another in a professional setting not at all appropriate to the conversation. Person X then shit-talks behind my back instead of constructively dealing with their dislike/bias. Person X then tries to convince my friends I’m awful and make them drop me. I didn’t even know they had a problem with me.

Despite their own neurodivergency, they’re still stuck in the part of their journey where they feel that if they just try hard enough, or amuse people enough, they’ll be accepted because their neurodivergency ‘isn’t that bad’. Neurodivergent people can be really ableist too.

Something I’m starting to suspect is that the more autistics and ADHDers mask, the more burn outs we’re likely to experience.

Every time I burn out, I come back less able to do things I could before. Masking is absolutely something I’m losing ability with.

It could also be a factor of age, exhaustion, lack of fvcks left. The point being that we don’t have a lot of research about the aging autistic/ADHDer because they’re always doing studies on how to get rid of us, vs studies that would actually help us.

My hypothesis that it gets harder to mask as we age and deal with the fall-out of being an autistic or ADHDer in this world may prove accurate for many of us. It’s definitely accurate for me.

But what does that mean? If I can’t mask as easily as I once did (for whatever reason) I’m going to slip into autistic speech patterns and excited emphatic language more often. I’m going to meltdown more in places I can’t control. None of that makes me an awful person. But it does make people insisting I control and hide my autistic/ADHD traits ableist.

I’ve rambled enough, so I’ll close with this; nobody is required to like someone else. Everyone has the right to leave an unfulfilling relationship. No one has the right to abuse you or your friends.

And using abusive tactics to justify your desire to leave a relationship is all kinds of messed up. So many people need so much therapy. 🥴

If my content has value to you, if I’ve taught you something or entertained you, please consider a tip or becoming a patron. I’m a disabled, mentally ill, neurodivergent creator and my work of words is my only income.

KoFi: http://ko-fi.com/A630KKM


Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KaijaRayne?fan_landing=true

Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/KaelanRhy

Amazon Wishlist: http://www.amazon.ca/registry/wishlist/3H8AY0GKOU0SE/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ws_x_1pnMyb8HRPSEM

Shootings and Mental Illness.

Content warning: May 2022 Texas School Shooting

I need to state something unequivocally. Mental illness does not cause mass shootings. Period. Paragraph. End of story.

To say anything else, to imply anything else, to draw any sort of connection between the two is ableist and massively harmful.

Mental Health is a constantly evolving, improving field. Like anything else, you can find things on the internet that will say it does cause them. I will direct you first to the date of the article. Anything pre-2018 will likely have a bad case of confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.

The Massacre at Columbine in 1999 was poorly reported and based on the panicked reports of children being attacked. It affected many people in North America. 

Unfortunately, that cemented some nasty (untrue) things in the public’s mind. Things like ‘outcasts get revenge’ and ‘bullied kids become mentally ill and snap’.

Neither is true. I’m not going to revisit the wheel, but likely, everything you ‘know’ about how mental illness is, of course, related to violence is at least in part, based on that attack. Here’s the debunk. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/04/19/bullies-black-trench-coats-columbine-shootings-most-dangerous-myths/

Older articles from usually reliable sources will likely be severely flawed, at best. It’s easy to blame Mental Illness and to demonize mentally ill people, so that is what society has done. It’s what medicine has done. We aren’t that far, historically, from women being institutionalized for ‘hysteria’ after all.

Luckily, mental health care is improving, and bias is fading at a glacial rate. Newer studies have proven that the motivations for mass shootings do not have high correlation to most forms of what we term ‘mental illness.’

This article is 50 pages, on the surface, if you just skim it, it appears to support the idea that there’s a huge correlation between mental illness and violence. However, if you actually read it, you’ll find it’s saying the opposite. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318286/

“surprisingly little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes. According to Appelbaum,25 less than 3% to 5% of US crimes involve people with mental illness, and the percentages of crimes that involve guns are lower than the national average for persons not diagnosed with mental illness. Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5% of the 120 000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness.26

In short, people diagnosed with mental illness are much less likely than an average person to commit any sort of violence.

Perhaps some definitions are in order. When we say something as imprecise as ‘mental illness’ we’re basically tossing the entire junk drawer of human brain issues into a basket, jumbling it around, then blaming it for everything under the sun.

You can read further about the types of disorders and conditions that fall into that basket in layman’s terms here. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness#1

I’ll detail a few that are usually the ones people have in mind when they blame mentally ill people for (insert whatever someone wants to blame us with).

Psychotic disorders: Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations — the experience of images or sounds that are not real, such as hearing voices — and delusions, which are false fixed beliefs that the ill person accepts as true, despite evidence to the contrary. Schizophrenia is an example of a psychotic disorder.

Personality disorders: People with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits that are distressing to the person and/or cause problems in work, school, or social relationships. In addition, the person’s patterns of thinking and behavior significantly differ from the expectations of society and are so rigid that they interfere with the person’s normal functioning. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder,and paranoid personality disorder.

The next part is hard for a lot of people. Unless you are a psychologically trained medical professional, you have no business, and no right to be armchair diagnosing anyone with a ‘mental illness’. Least of all a domestic terrorist. 

Why? Because you’re very likely to be wrong. And that increases negative bias. It hurts people. What most people believe and think about the vast amount of mental illness is wrong. It’s based on ‘facts’ like ‘what the press reported’ and ‘my crazy granny had that’ and ‘jimmy down the pub told me about’ and ‘I read/saw/heard it in fiction so, of course, it has to be true!’

Just stop. Please.

Misrepresentation of all forms of mental illness is rife, everywhere. What you believe and think about it is extremely likely to be massively, harmfully, flawed. And trust me, your beliefs, examined or unexamined, come through in so much of what you say and write.

I ramble. I know. Back to why I felt motivated to write this.

I was in a group chatting when the Texas shooting came up, and I was going to respond in group. I want to preface the rest with saying that I’m not angry or anything. I rarely actually get angry, it takes a lot.

I’m heartbroken.

Because I felt on the verge of meltdown, I decided to turn my thoughts into a blog post so it can be useful for others wishing to learn. And hopefully, no one will feel the need to either argue with me about my accurate information or accuse me of … whatever people who reject autistics from groups think we’re doing. (I don’t actually know what that is, if I did, I’d try to stop doing it.) 

In case you don’t know me, I’m Kai. I’m an autistic, ADHD, mentally ill, disabled creator and disability advocate. I’m also a damned good writer and a great editor. I’m a life partner, a parent, a loyal friend, a traumatized and healing person, an irreverent shit, and an over educated pain in the ass. My degrees are in research oriented fields. I know how to do proper research, and how to do it well.

I’m out about some of my mental illnesses. Some I’m not because I get enough harassment just being out about being queer, autistic/adhd, and mentally ill. I’m diagnosed with chronic severe depression, high anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, C-PTSD, and bats in the belfry.

I’ve spent most of my 45 years trying to, somehow, be less autistic, less ADHD. This is impossible because my brain wiring is so different from an allistics. All I’ve ever hoped for was acceptance. It’s a basic human need, social acceptance. To date, there are 3 people I’m not related to who know most of my messy self and still love me, regardless.

I mask instead, since I can’t change my wiring. (Masking, in this usage, means having a socially acceptable persona that we pretend to be to get along in life.) I started intentionally masking my autistic traits when I was 9. So I could have friends who didn’t decide to hate me because they don’t understand me. So I could just… exist.

Masking kills autistic people, did you know that? The average age an autistic person dies is 36 years of age.

The suicide watch for parents of autistic and ADHD kids starts at 9 years old.

What do I mean by that? Wise parents start watching their autistic and ADHD kids closely for severe mental illness and suicidal attempts at the age of 9. (Technically, 9 for boys & AMABS, 11 for girls & AFABS.)

Why do we have to do that? I’ll spare you the terrifying statistics on suicide in autistic, ADHD, mentally ill, and people with other forms of neurodivergence. Mostly because I don’t want to look at them again, myself. I have young kids. You’d better believe I watch them.

That’s the point of my work. That’s why, even when I don’t want to stir the shit or when I just don’t want to talk about it… I do anyway.

Bias against neurodivergent people kills us. Mental illness is a form of neurodivergence. Autism and ADHD are too. Bias claiming autistic or mentally ill people are violent is factually untrue and it is killing us.

36 years old. That’s when most of us die. I’m past my expiration date by 9 years and goddess… it feels it. Every day grinds me down further. And that’s why I do the advocacy work I do.

It’s far, far too late for me. The world has broken me into the tiny shards of a kintsugi project, and I don’t have gold to glue myself back together. But I have children. If my advocacy work can make the world see what it’s doing to people like me, if I can help people understand… maybe the world will be kinder to future generations of autistic, ADHD, mentally ill, and otherwise neurodivergent people. My kids included.

I’m still working on taking off the mask. I still mask far more than I intend to. And I still, always, get into trouble when I slip into autistic speech patterns.

Autistic folk often get… emphatic, I guess, when we talk about things that matter to us. People can feel overwhelmed when we get going either because we’re excited or we care about the topic. Because… well, it can be a lot, I guess. 

Most of us mask everywhere, which does end up killing us; as most forms of ableism tend to kill someone.

Since we mask, we only end up overwhelming people when we slip into what I call autistic mode. I caught myself before I managed to do it today in group.

I’m not always aware enough to catch myself before I slip. Especially, if I’m excited and enjoying a topic, and think people are also geeking out with me (instead of being overwhelmed). It’s really easy for my socially inept brain to not notice that people want me to shut up… on those occasions, I pay for it. (The fact I shouldn’t have to completely hide myself in order to have some semblance of a social life, because people don’t understand autism & adhd is a whole ‘nother blog post.)

I’m obviously not excited about the shooting in Texas, but the related topic I brought up is one that’s both intensely, personally painful and the focus of much of my advocacy work.

I was afraid that talking in group would result in another experience of ‘Kai slipped into autistic, had social doors slammed in xyr face, melted down, and had to leave the group.’

I’m rather tired of that happening, and I’m still deeply grieving the last group where a person or people made it obvious I wasn’t welcome because I can’t change that I’m autistic/ADHD.

When I’m upset, I can’t talk or respond to more than one person at once, if that. It’s a recipe for a meltdown. Hence, the manuscript/blog post.

I’m not looking for argument, debate, apologies or discussion. This isn’t an easy topic for me. I also wouldn’t be able to meet my gaze in the mirror if I didn’t say something. So.

I’ve been bullied and attacked and driven out of groups I really liked because people rarely stop to ask the intent behind an autistic’s words.

So… I just want to clarify; my only intent here is to educate. This is part of what I do in my advocacy work. It’s also incredibly painful for me, so as soon as I post this I’m getting off the net for a while. I don’t have the wherewithal to discuss this as if it’s not incredibly, personally painful, because it is.

The most recent shooting, today in Texas, is another horrific event and I’m beyond nauseated.

The very first thing many people do when another of these awful occurances happens is look around for a reason. It’s average human behavior. Because of decades of misrepresentation in media of mental illness and autism, (including by writers, which is why accuracy in any kind of representation is so important) the very first culprit people often think of is ‘it had to be someone mentally ill’ or ‘the shooter was obviously autistic or had autistic traits’.

This is almost universally untrue, because both populations are, by far, more likely to be the victim of violent crime than the perpetrator. There are plenty of studies out there about it. If you really want to read them.

Psychologically, it’s natural for humans to want there to be a reason. It’s even natural that we want the reason to be something that makes the perpetrator ‘not like me’. Few people want to believe themselves capable of buying a weapon, walking the halls of an elementary school, and then… I can’t even make myself type it. It’s so beyond horrifying.

That desire, that need, for us to believe we couldn’t do something like that, that ‘good people like me’ (tribalism) couldn’t do that… It makes mentally ill & autistic people easy targets. In the next few days, watch the news, you’ll likely see it.

The reason really does boil down to evil. The definition of evil is ‘profoundly immoral and wicked’.

There have been plenty of papers written on who a domestic terrorist is likely to be. (A cis white male without a history of mental illness or autistic traits between the ages of 16 to 30 is most likely. A cis white male without a history of mental illness or autistic traits between the ages of 45 and 60 is the second. Third is a cis male without a history of mental illness or autistic traits.) Yes, there are studies confirming this.

There are several things that play into this. Toxic masculinity is one. Radicalization is another. White nationalism, forced birthing, the list goes on and on. We want the answer and the culprit to be easy.

Unfortunately, it isn’t. That desire for an easy excuse harms people like me. It. Kills. Kids.

And it is not okay.

If anyone wants to read studies on this, the information is out there.

Mental illness has very little, if anything, to do with radicalization. To say it does is discrimination, and it’s ableist. There’s no proof. None. There’s a lot of information out there about how radicalization happens, too.

Calling for better mental health care when another terrorist shooter attacks may be well meant. We definitely need it, and I’m 100% for better mental health care everywhere. It would help so many people and massively improve society. I’ve always said everyone can use therapy.

And the connotations of shooter = we need better mental health care is painfully obvious.

Mentally ill people are not the ones doing this. While we absolutely need better mental health care, the people guilty of these atrocities aren’t the kinds who would use it.

Radicalized people often think they’re doing the right thing. Many of these acts have been racially motivated. And if the reasons are traced back, it often equals the ‘not enough white babies’ BS. Other motivations have been domestic violence and religious intolerance. None of these are mental illnesses.

It’s easy to say better mental health care would help. It would help a lot of things! Shooters would be in the vast minority. There’s plenty of studies that’ve been done on this topic, too.

The one thing I’d ask people to remember is this. Stop and think before you say anything.

Is your information on what you feel the fix is accurate? Is it fair? Does it unnecessarily demonize innocent people who don’t need more pain while they just try to survive? While we try to survive in a world that hates our very existence at worst, and barely tolerates it at best?

Every time another terrorist strikes. Every time. Someone trots out the ‘autistics did it’ or the ‘mentally ill people did it’ and that gets incredibly old, very painful, and exhausting faster than most average people can imagine.

It’s already a minefield, trying to just exist as either an autistic or mentally ill person in this world.

There isn’t a day that goes by that someone like me isn’t harmed by misperceptions or casual off-hand comments or someone harming us in another way.

Do you really need to add to it by either overtly or by connotation accusing autistic or mentally ill people of something so heinous it makes this mentally ill, autistic, ADHD person utterly nauseated? It will sicken most people like me. Autistics particularly usually have a hard wired need to help others.

So it’s particularly cruel to accuse an innocent population of people hard wired to help… with choosing to harm.

The solution to domestic terrorism isn’t in blaming it on people more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. Studies overwhelmingly support the statistics that autistic, ADHD, mentally ill, and other forms of neurodivergent people are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.

But that’s not what people believe. And it’s certainly not what they say. It will take a multi-faceted approach to solve the problem. Because the problem is so multi-faceted.

Step one has to be acknowledging where the problem actually is.

It’s not with people like me.

If you got this far, thanks for reading.

If you have the wherewithal, I’m a disabled creative and my family lives in extreme poverty. My work of words is my only income.

If I made you think, even for a moment, please consider a tip.

KoFi: http://ko-fi.com/A630KKM
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KaijaRayne
Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/KaelanRhy
Amazon Wishlist: http://www.amazon.ca/registry/wishlist/3H8AY0GKOU0SE/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ws_x_1pnMyb8HRPSEM

Me: Autistic.

I’m sitting here cuddling my sick son. Wondering how badly the world is going to chew him up and spit him out because he’s autistic. Just like I am. It’ll be bad. I know that. The world is going to break him. I would let it break me, over and over and over again to spare him this pain. I’d let the world tear into me, over and over again if I could just spare my kids from feeling like this.

Even once.

It’s why I’m talking about this right now, when I’d really, really rather not. When I’d just as soon leave the internet and stop tilting at the windmills of allistic society in a vain hope of educating people enough about autism that they don’t hurt my kids.

The world is going to take fat, wet bites out of both of my kids and leave them scarred. They’ll develop massive mental illness problems because of how they’re wired and because allistic society doesn’t bother to try to understand how autistics think, communicate and feel.

It’s been an absolutely terrible 24 hours for me. I lost my temper and wrote a blog post about marginalized readers, privileged writers and THINKING about what you write and why you’re writing it.

A couple of people I thought might eventually be people I could call friends attacked me for it.

They didn’t explain how it hurt them. They just… attacked me for it on twitter. I admit, I got defensive, but I don’t know a single person on the face of the planet who wouldn’t when you have three or four people who you thought might be okay people suddenly in your mentions claiming you’re a harmful person.

Without making it crystal clear exactly how they came to that conclusion.

I mean. They could’ve explained? Instead of clinging to hurt feelings and twisted meanings of my words? Instead of being sarcastic and just telling me not to read their books? Instead of being angry and hurtful when I said over, and over, and over again that ‘I do NOT understand’ and ‘How did I do that?’

They all knew I’m autistic. But they treated me exactly like they would another allistic.

Their expectations were exactly the ones they’d have expected from another allistic.

Their reactions did not take into account that I don’t perceive or understand things the same way they do. Which does not make me stupid by the way. I’m a tested and certified genius, for what it’s worth (which is absolutely nothing). It just means I’m wired differently.

They expected me to process the sarcasm they used as ‘you hurt me’. Instead of saying THESE WORDS YOU USED HERE HURT ME AND THIS IS WHY.

They expected screenshots of my words as receipts to give me some clue as to why they were hurt.

Does that actually work for allistics? It doesn’t for many autistics. It doesn’t for me.

They expected me not to react when four people were in my mentions accusing me of terrible things. Only autistics aren’t allowed to react to that you know. Quite a double standard there.

They expected me to be ABLE to process the information as fast as they could throw it at me. Which, like… I can’t.

Actually cannot. It takes me longer to process written information because I’m dyslexic. (A common comorbidity with autism.)

I’ve since been accused of using my neurodiversity as a shield for me being a dick.

Except I apologized, both publicly and privately to the person I hurt the most. If I could AT all wrap my head around how I hurt the one who hurt ME the most, I’d apologize there too.

But I don’t get it, no one wants to explain it and fuck me. Aren’t I allowed to be hurt and angry too?

No. Of course not. I’m autistic. I wrote the blog post that got twisted to hell and gone. I’m not allowed anything.

I have not received any apologies. I have received correction, for which I’m grateful. I am SO grateful for people when the call me on my bullshit. I’m human, I’m quite capable of making mistakes. I’m also capable of learning when I fuck up.

But I truly did NOT understand how my words could be twisted so. Still don’t, for what it’s worth.

You know. When you’re autistic, you’re not allowed any room to be autistic. It’s why we mask so much.

We process information differently. We communicate differently, but the second you prove you’re not allistic?

You’ll get attacked. Especially on social media. This has happened so many times to me. It’s so fucking exhausting.

I’m coining a hashtag. #GuiltyOfBeingAutisticOnSocialMedia

It’s so long it won’t catch on, but it’s so freaking common, and not just for me. SO, SO many autistics have been in my mentions the past 24 hours offering support, telling me their stories of similar experiences and also… telling me that the blog post did, in fact, say exactly what I meant it to say.

Now… I DO mean exactly what I said in that post. There is NO ulterior motive, no hidden meaning. I wrote it when I was angry and I wasn’t as clear as I could have been in some ways. I edited it for clarity after the fact and all edits are labeled as such. It makes it rather a mess to read, but I don’t want to be accused of changing anything to cover my ass on top of everything else I’ve been accused of being the past 24 hours.

I don’t understand how allistics can’t understand that many autistics communicate using words we ACTUALLY mean. And nothing more.

Like… twisting an autistic person’s words is just flabbergasting. Most of us TRULY don’t mean more than what we say, with the EXACT words we used. We don’t mean the opposite, we don’t mean twisted and turned meanings, there is no undertone to our words. Because we’re not allistic.

Allistics don’t tend to communicate the same way, and I think that is the source of the problems I ran into? Maybe? There’s always this subtext to allistic communication that autistics both don’t catch and are for most of us, incapable of comprehending.

Yes. I needed to wait to post that until I wasn’t angry and could’ve proofed it for clarity. My opinions are strong, I’m blunt and I say things people really don’t want to hear.

Like some stories aren’t yours to tell. People really hate hearing that one, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Especially, OMG especially white writers. Truly, they HATE hearing that one. If you chose to write a story, did your research and due diligence, of course you can write what you want. Even if it isn’t your story to tell. There aren’t any publishing police, no one is going to arrest you for it.

It’s your responsibility if you hurt someone too.

But yes, I’ve learned that the least I can do is make sure I proof posts for clarity before I release them onto the world.

Someone I regard as a friend said they could see how the post could be twisted and it doesn’t mean what I think it means.

I know what I meant. I SAID what I meant.

Even if I can’t understand the twisting, I can understand that some people will take my words and turn them into what they want them to mean rather than what I actually meant.

Isn’t that where asking for clarification is supposed to come into play?

The basic building blocks of communication?

“Hey, did you MEAN what I THINK you meant?’ < Clear question of intent.

“Oh, gods no, I didn’t mean that! THIS is what I meant.’ < Explanation of actual intent

‘Oh, cool. Glad I asked, cause if you’d meant that it would’ve hurt me a lot. We good?’ < Acceptance that they needed to ask for clarification, explanation.

‘Yeah. We good, oh and man, I’m so sorry if I hurt you, it was totally unintentional.’ < ^^Acceptance and apology.

‘S’okay. I forgive you. You didn’t know.’ < Acceptance and apology.

You have now communicated. Level up! (I’m a gamer, I’m exhausted, in a fibromyalgia flare from emotional stress and massively hurt, down to my soul from this latest of blows from being autistic on social media.)

I think one of the ways the world is going to hurt my children the most is the ways in which it’s hurt me the most.

It takes my words, it twists them, it assumes meaning that isn’t there, then it penalizes me for what people THINK I said.

When I was trying so damned hard to be clear with my words too.

You know… there’s an old saw.

Assuming. When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.

They assumed, and turned us all into asses.

I assumed that people would read the actual words on the page, and turned us all into asses.

And you know? I already know this post will be used as yet more evidence that I’m using my autism as a shield from me being a dick.

I’m not trying to. I’m trying to explain how I think, what I perceived as it was going down, and why it happened. I’m trying to make sense of it all, so maybe I can keep it from happening again.

I’m trying to learn how to guide my kids so they don’t get hurt by the world as much as do.

I AM wired differently. If that’s using my brain as a shield it’ll be awfully messy. Brains go squish.

But it’s sort of like a sighted person screaming at a blind person to LOOK, SEE. The blind person cannot.

It’s like being furious at a deaf person because they can’t hear what you can.

It’s like screaming at a person who cannot walk to get up and run.

I don’t often consider my autistic brain to be a disability. I love my brain, it’s awesome. I love what I can do and learn and perceive with it.

Today though? I’m well aware that I AM at a disadvantage when trying to communicate to allistics.

And so are my kids.

Because society makes no accommodation at all for differences.

Which is ableistic as fuck.

 

 

 

Consent, #Metoo, Kink, Domination/submission, and owning our needs.

Content Warning: Sex, Sexual Abuse, Kink

I’m kinky, but y’all knew that if you’ve been following me for any time at all.

I’ve always BEEN kinky. I’ve also been the victim of sexual assault and rape.

And no, before you even think it, I’m not kinky because of my abuse. Kink has healed me from the effects of abuse, not the opposite.

Kink let me reclaim my sexuality in a way I’m not sure I ever would have been able to without it.

We’re in a time of social upheaval, when so many people are talking about what sexual abuse really is and how it contrasts to rape. I feel something needs to be added to this conversation.

We’re talking about how men (actually, anyone who wants to date, because f/f relationships and any relationship with an enby needs to pay attention to this conversation too) now have an opportunity to choose to be a different kind of person (if they aren’t already) than they were socialized to be.

We need to talk about kink and how it affects this conversation.

If you haven’t read this article, please make the time to do so. It’s fantastic.

The only thing that made me blink a bit in that article was a reference that made it seem bad if you are the kind of man who wants to dominate a woman.

Now, I don’t get the feeling Ms. Oluo was trying to say that kink is bad, she’s talking about something entirely different, but it did leave me a slight squirmy feeling in my gut.

So.

What about it? What if you ARE the kind of man (or woman or non-binary person) who wants to dominate someone else in the kinky sexual sense?

What if you are the kind of person regardless of gender who wants to be dominated? Or, lolz, to put it bluntly, what if it really gets you hot to submit to someone?

There isn’t anything wrong with that.

It’s okay. Really.

It is absolutely okay, if (and only if) you have the proper agreements with your partner if you submit to them, or if you dominate them.

That’s the beauty of kink, and of consent because I have very rarely met a committed kinkster who isn’t extremely respectful of consent. We usually tend to be very good at communication too, we have to be.

There is an aspect to this ongoing conversation that a lot of people may not be aware of.

I think it may be part of why many women are pushing back against the concept of what sexual assault is and isn’t. A smaller part, for sure, but it’s telling.

Women and femme presenting peeps aren’t, in any generation of any recent time, encouraged to embrace their needs.

Some people need to submit. Some people need to dominate. These are needs and largely unmet if they aren’t filled by being in a kinky relationship, or maybe the person who needs these things doesn’t even know that kink exists.

The one thing I’ll always be thankful to 50 shades for is that it brought kink out of the shadows. It’s a terribly written, abusive, harmful example of kink, but it did bring the idea of kink into the public conscious.

Hell, in my generation, (I’m currently 41, it’s 2018) we weren’t socialized to accept that we HAD sexual needs at all.

We were socialized to ‘please a man’, regardless of our own desires. We were socialized to so many things that many of us wouldn’t have chosen to do if we’d even known we had a choice.

So many of us didn’t just didn’t know, because we weren’t taught. The fault there lies with society, for certain, with patriarchy, often times with religion as well.

So it makes sense to me that a lot of women may not understand that they actually want to submit. That it’s a legitimate need and that there are safe, consensual ways that those needs can be met.

The reverse is true, as well.

These are just my rambly thoughts on the subject really, I’ve done no research to back up what is a gut instinct for me. Obviously this is a very wide-reaching, deep social problem that covers all shades of gray, and this is just one aspect of it.

In every conversation like this one, there are the polar opposites of GOOD and BAD, RIGHT and WRONG, but in between those opposites are all the shades of gray.

We need to talk about those too, or we’re not talking about the whole subject.

We need to be aware of why people are pushing back against social change, or we’ll slide right back down the slippery slope we’re all trying so desperately to claw our way up.

Everyone needs to own their needs and their responsibility to themselves and, extending that, society.

Everyone needs to get to the point where they are willing to clearly communicate what their needs are, and what they are absolutely NOT willing or able to do.

We ALL need to get to the point where NO is as acceptable (without consequences) as YES PLEASE will be.

We need to get to where we ask for verbal consent, where we make it sexy as fuck to ask (cause it really, really is) and where it’s AS sexy for people to say, ‘hey, can I try dominating you/submitting to you sometime?’

It’s going to take work. Work in ourselves to find out what we each of us needs. It’s going to take work to OWN those needs, to take responsibility for them, our selves, our bodies, and learn how to communicate about all of those things.

It’s going to take a lot of work for people to shrug off the generations of patriarchal socialization that is causing so many problems.

And I think, the very first step of that, is to be talking about it all.

We’ve made a start. I dearly hope for the sake of my children at least, that we can keep the conversation going.