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
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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.

Welcome to the mind of an Autistic

TL;DR: I’m sorry if my thread on marketing and entertainer professionalism hurt or insulted anyone. It was never my intent. I am not harassing anyone here’s the definition of harassment) and I’m utterly horrified that given my history someone could believe I’d BE CAPABLE of harassment. If you need this post without colored text you can download a document here with black text only.Welcome to the mind of an autistic text only

You can listen to me recite it here, because it is awfully long. Recording quality is terrible because it shows exactly how upset I am at what’s going on. But it’s here on soundcloud.

Keep reading for the rest: I hurt, emotionally, so badly right now, I’m shaking as I type, I’m nauseated and it’s really hard not to burst into tears again. Just in case y’all are thinking autistic’s can’t feel.

Some of you know me, maybe you don’t. Few of you know me well.

Part of that, I admit, is me. I don’t trust people because I’ve been hurt too much. (Hey, HI this experience didn’t help!!) I don’t understand the way the massive percentage of people think, and I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m never going to.

Y’all… before I get started, please stop asking me in DMs and emails who soft blocked and who subtweeted me. I’m not going to tell. I’m certain you can figure it out if you look but I have too much integrity to name names.

It’s been kindly pointed out to me by someone (thank you so much!) that my thread on author behavior and marketing could be taken as an insult. I freely admit I do NOT come close to understanding how that can be insulting, any marketing class or book is going to tell you the same thing. Phrased better, no doubt, but it’s the same point.

I’ve also been advised to just apologize and say nothing more, but I can’t do that. It would be so inauthentic of me to not explain what was going on in my head that aside from being off brand it would be totally untrue to myself. So here’s me. Bleeding my heart and experience out for y’all. If I shut up about one thing, I’ll shut up about everything.

As I trust the person who told me about the subtweets as much as I’m able to trust someone who is essentially a stranger, I’ll address things based on people being hurt and insulted.

Thread in question because I don’t delete things if I mess up. The only things I’ve ever deleted are posts with typos because they drive me batty.

I’ve been told people are saying I’m harassing others. I haven’t messaged anyone, I haven’t emailed anyone, I’ve not said a persons’ name… how am I harassing anyone?

Honest question there… HOW?

I’m horrified. Utterly, reprehensibly horrified. I would NEVER harass someone. It’s been done to me and I would never, ever, ever do that to another person. (It also isn’t harassment guys, to share an opinion on my own timeline, here’s the definition of harassment if you need it, go about halfway down to ONLINE.)

If my thread on professional responsibility and marketing insulted/harmed someone I am so sorry. It was never my intent. Nor, despite what several people seem determined to believe, was it directed at any one person. I’d been planning a thread LIKE that one for a while because I see a lot of people in the industry using techniques that are going to cost them in the long run.

Unfortunately, my timing absolutely sucks. In no way was my thread a direct comparison to one or more people. It WAS a commentary on the fact that you can’t do whatever you want as a public figure without consequences.

Someone else pointed out that the subtweets are saying that I’M saying you can’t block anyone, ever. (Thank you to that person, too.)

A. I didn’t say that.

B. I block people all the time. You ARE allowed to curate your space as you wish. SOFT-BLOCKING of followers is not blocking. It’s some weird thing that I don’t understand, especially because twitter drops followers and follows people for me all the time. (I’ve spoken to others who’ve had the same experience so it’s not just a ME thing.) I’ve found people in my mutuals folder that I would never, ever have followed. It’s been weird for me on twitter. It’s not sneaky or covert to soft-block someone because… you know… many of us notice who we’re following and who we don’t?

I follow around 600 people by the numbers, only roughly about 200 of those are people accounts, the rest are image retweet accounts, foreign news, and bots reminding me to do self care things like drink water.

A good 10 to 20 of those are famous authors who I fan-by over and I have no hope they’ll ever follow me back, I just want to know what they say. So losing at last count 8 mutuals out of 180-190 people I follow is a lot of people to lose in one day and yes, I’m very hurt. I don’t auto follow because I’ve been harassed, so for me to follow someone is on one level an act of trust and an offer of ‘maybe we could get to be friends someday if we work at it’. Especially if those people were from my early twitter days when I’d pretty much follow anyone interested in talking.

I’m in the business of building a career as an author and finding people who want to read words like I write. I (and most authors I know) use multiple tracking apps for who I’m following and who I’m not, so… um… we notice??

From my perception: I noticed that Twitter dropped someone I wanted to follow so I could boost their voice. I wasn’t expecting friendship or a follow back or anything from this person, I just wanted to boost their voice. That’s it. I respected something the person did once and I wanted to be boosting younger voices over others. I strongly feel that YA needs an influx of younger writers who actually WRITE FOR TEENS. I have a tweenager, I want diverse books written for xem. So I refollowed. Too many times before I figured out that they were soft blocking me.

That’s what *my* motivation was. That’s it.

I intentionally did not name the person who soft blocked me. It’s been pointed out that this is subtweeting. (Thank you, again. I thought subtweeting was only talking about an issue, I didn’t realize that not naming a person was also subtweeting?)

I didn’t name the person for other reasons involving privilege.

There is always a power imbalance in things like that. I didn’t want to cause harm, which is why I didn’t name names and why I will not.

I am allowed my opinion on my own feed. Everyone is.

I don’t have a problem with the concept of subtweeting. If you’re sharing an opinion or experience on your own timeline about your own feelings about an issue… that’s your right. If you’re being mean about it, that’s not cool, but it’s still your right. *I* don’t perceive my words as being mean, I don’t even understand how they could be perceived that way. They weren’t intended to be, but my honesty has totally gotten me in trouble in the past.

I can’t not be me. I can try to learn what makes people upset with me when I’m too honest, but the pure fact is that my mind doesn’t work the same way. It works differently, not lesser, never, just differently.

Not naming names, feels to me… like a way to protect people, but maybe that’s my autistic brain working against me.

I was also trying to protect that person from my followers because I’ve seen too many times what can happen when an author with even a little bit of social media power can do if they name names. I will not do what some people do and sick my followers on people.

One of the things the kind person in my DMs this morning pointed out is that they didn’t understand the Cartman gif. Maybe that’s my age speaking against me. Cartman on Southpark was ALWAYS getting into trouble for doing what he wanted without regard to other people and the ripples that can cause. The simplest of things Cartman did… they’d always rebound, but he wouldn’t care. Then he’d never apologize for it.

It’s rather iconic to the character, but maybe that’s where the feeling of insult came from?

I honestly don’t know or understand. I’ve read the thread over and over… I don’t understand and I doubt I CAN. Expecting me to is ableist. That’s not anything new though. If I could just write books and not have an author platform I’d consider it with how badly I’m hurting right now. But an author platform is necessary as a writer these days, there’s no getting around it. Honestly, most of the time I love twitter. It’s just been particularly hard for me lately.

I’m an AUTISTIC, mentally ill, disabled, mixed-race author. It’s going to cause some trauma for me. This is just another scar to bear from an ableist society.

Points of clarification, possibly repetitive, but I’m horribly shaken by the accusation of harassment.

  1. I did not understand I was being soft blocked. That subtle thing may work for some people, it didn’t work for me.
    1. Which is why I loathe the action of soft-blocking from public figures. (Yes, as an author, agent, editor, or writer, on social media, you ARE a public figure. If that’s insulting, I don’t know what to tell you except that you aren’t ready. People are going to follow you on social media as an author, that’s rather the point of using it for an author platform. You getting fussed about who is following you? Yeah, I don’t get it.)
    2. It’s an accessibility issue for people like me. It took three times (at least) before I clued in that I was being soft blocked. I honestly didn’t understand. If it’s insulting to point out that soft-blocking is ableist, I also don’t know what to tell you. It is. I didn’t get it because of the way my brain works. Twitter is weird and it has (repeatedly) followed and unfollowed people for me in the past. (Others I know have said similar things, so it’s not a ME thing.) I figured it was that. *I* have never done anything to that person (or any other). I wanted, foolishly I guess, to boost their voice. IF I had known they didn’t want me following them I wouldn’t have. It didn’t occur to me that a writer wouldn’t want people to read their words… it absolutely blows my mind that anyone wanting to sell their books and make a career as a writer would engage in soft blocking, but hey… you don’t want readers (ones like me who review a lot too?) that’s on you. The person in question has my email address, we’ve corresponded once there, it’s also publicly available, they could’ve told me to stop refollowing them and I would have. THAT is why soft-blocking is ableist. Not everyone is going to have the ability to understand something like that. I certainly don’t.
    3. WHEN I figured it out, man… I felt so stupid. I loathe feeling stupid because it’s always about something social. Autism isn’t about mental acuity, I’m incredibly intelligent and hold multiple advanced degrees. Autism is about social inability. It’s where I always run into problems because I’m not wired to understand how socialization works. I said (on my own timeline) it hurt me badly to be soft blocked because it made me feel stupid, but it’s their right to do what they want. Which it is.
    4. It’s also their right, as it is all of ours, to accept responsibility for their actions. Their soft blocking me hurt me. Blowing it all out of proportion and the reaction of my mutuals hurt me worse. WAY worse.
    5. I accept, even if I do not understand, that my thread on marketing and the inadvisability (from a business and ableism sense) of soft blocking as a public figure possibly hurt or insulted people. I’m sorry.
  2. Your actions DO reflect upon you.
    1. The people who unfollowed me, long time mutuals that I didn’t count as friends because it’s the internet, it’s twitter and the word friend actually means something to me. I definitely did count those 8 (or more after I publish this post) as close acquaintances or business associates… I’ve blocked them because I don’t want to see their AVIs. I don’t want to see their names, I don’t want to see their words in my feeds. The only thing I want to see from them is an apology for how they chose to unfollow me. One especially really hurt and surprised me because they’re very outspoken on ableist issues and how it’s wrong to exclude or penalize people based on the way they’re made. To have them unfollow me over an ableist misunderstanding is just richly ironic.
    2. That’s an action of self care because they each and every one hurt me BADLY by not asking me for clarification of my words. My DMs are closed to mutuals only, they each had the ability to ask for clarification from me. Only three people (yet) have. The subtweeting me all day didn’t hurt because hey, they’re allowed their opinions. I honestly didn’t notice most of them. I saw one subtweet yesterday then ignored it. What hurts most is that they didn’t ask for clarification and that they could even come close to believing that I COULD harass someone… so they’re blocked. They’ll likely remain that way, as will anyone else who UFs me without talking to me about it. My mental health is far too fragile for this.
    3. It’s also a business decision. It may cost me in a business manner. But I don’t want to be associated in a business sense with people who can do that. Who negate the very responsibility they have for the people they write for by their actions. There’s a reason some voices are afraid to speak up. Subtweeting the hell out of (then unfollowing after more than a YEAR) a disabled, autistic, mentally ill person who stated their feelings were hurt by an ableist act? (No, it doesn’t matter who the person committing the ableist act IS. It’s still an ableist act. There were many ways a situation where you committed an ableist act could be handled. Ignoring it is one.) Yeah. That’s not a good look, guys. To incite a large group of people to rabidly subtweet me? Do you have any idea how many teens are disabled, autistic, or mentally ill? They Are The Ones You’re Writing For!! 
    4. In business, especially, you clarify terms, you talk to people all the time, you don’t cut people off without notice because of something you perceived they did.

Before I end, let me reiterate that my point remains the same even if I could have worded my thread a bit better. (I’m not in a great mental or physical health place right now, it showed.)

You as an AUTHOR are a BRAND and a PUBLIC FIGURE. You are trying to build an author platform to people who will hopefully buy your books. If they don’t buy your books, they might review your books, or possibly boost your words or tell someone ELSE how they might like your book. You can have a personal account all you want, but your author account is a public place. It has to be. Block and curate for your own safety but soft-blocking is not a good idea from a professional standpoint on an author account. It just isn’t. It’s also ableist as fuck, but hey.

You as an AUTHOR are a BRAND and a PUBLIC FIGURE. You cannot escape that. You can choose what you share and what you don’t, but you really are in for a tough road if you try to have a ‘personal’ facade as well as a ‘professional’ one on the same account.

Many of us have personal accounts too, I do.

The absolute best marketing tool any of us have for our books is people talking about them and recommending them. It’s also authenticity, which is why I’m addressing this on my blog. I can’t not be authentic, I’ve never not been me, I’m never not going to be me.

Everything you do, especially if you’re marginalized, is under scrutiny. It’s not fair or right but it is fact. People are going to judge you by your actions your words. Look at what kind of judgment is getting slung at me right now for proof of that. For pointing out basic marketing information and business protocol.

I am sorry if my words or actions hurt anyone. I doubt anyone will do me the solid of apologizing to me.

You know… I feel like I was their token autistic. LOOK HOW OPEN MINDED I AM, I’M FRIENDS WITH AN AUTISTIC.

If that’s insulting? It’s meant to be if it’s true (hint as to whether it’s true is how much that statement bothers you), and that’s the only thing that I mean as an insult. If you can’t be bothered to ask for clarification from someone you’ve associated with for months to years? I don’t even know why it hurts me that you’re gone and blocked now. It shouldn’t. I wish it didn’t.

For what it’s worth, I’m personally very sorry for any harm my sharing of my pain at another’s actions and my ham-handed attempt at explaining why it’s unprofessional inadvertently caused. It was not my intent to hurt or harm. Only to educate because I know a lot about sales and marketing.

I’ll be doing a clean out of my facebook friends on the personal list, curating my author space there as well as on instagram and other social media.

This kind of stuff sucks peeps. In no uncertain terms. It’s bad business, emotionally and physically bad too. I’ve apologized, sincerely. Are you big enough to do the same?

As I’ve said, my email address is public. Kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com