Open letter to googlemouth666
I was actually really sorry to find your blog de-activated a couple mornings ago. I don’t know if you’ve fled Tumblr, or simply changed your username to escape further embarrassment.
Huh, so you also have Asperger’s. Damn, I missed that one. It happens, but I shouldn’t have assumed. Sorry. But you sounded so much like someone who didn’t have one single clue what it’s actually like.
I wasn’t surprised by your answer to my question: Who in your life is or was making you believe that you deserve to be treated so badly because of the limits of your condition?
I was surprised by the straightforwardness of your answer, and that you already knew it so well: Just about everyone in your life, up until a little while ago.
See, I was wondering, if you are also autistic, then you DO know what all of the underlying challenges are. You DO know what kind of work it is to deal with. So how could you sound so much like you don’t have a clue?
Because no one around you does. Because you’ve been alienated from your own self-knowledge and self-acceptance. Because that crap is all you’ve ever heard from the people who should have been supporting you, so it’s all you know how to say, because they said it until you believed it, even of yourself.
You don’t need help learning to express what you mean; you need to figure out what it is that you really believe, and not what everyone around you has always told you about yourself. Because they lied to you, very badly.
You deserve better. You deserve for someone to understand how much work it is. You deserve for someone to at least try to understand you for who you really are, not abuse you for falling short of their standards of rightness, which really means normality.
Here are some things that no one probably ever told you. Try to get your head around this:
It is not a sin to be autistic.
You are not doing anything wrong by being autistic. You are not hurting anyone by being autistic.
It is not a sin to be visibly, obviously autistic. If someone is hurt or offended by it, that’s their problem, not yours.
Being autistic is not synonymous with having bad manners. I know several autistic people with the loveliest manners I’ve ever seen, who are the most unfailingly kind and polite people on the face of this earth, and they still have massively obvious social differences and disabilities.
They are not doing anything wrong. They are not being lazy or rude because they’re unable to hide the fact that their brains make them work differently.
The kind of illusionism that some of us master so that most people in casual social situations would never know we’re autistic is a skill—and I won’t deny it’s a useful one—it is not a moral virtue. It’s a choice, and it has costs. People who choose not to do it are not being lazy, rude, or using their autism as an excuse. They’re making a choice about how to spend their energy.
Appearing normal is not a moral virtue.
Again, I don’t know you and I could be wrong about all of this—I dislike it when people with an agenda presume to know something about my individual history when they don’t, so I try not to do it other people—but I have a feeling I’m not.
Were you being lazy and rude when everyone said you were? I doubt it.
Self-acceptance is not only more fun and better for you; it’s actually better for everyone around you.
Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t work to push your boundaries. It doesn’t mean that you don’t try to learn social/conversational skills and practical adaptations. It doesn’t mean giving up on trying to connect. It doesn’t mean being a jerk to people for pleasure and using Asperger’s as an excuse to do it. It doesn’t mean not taking reasonable measures not to hurt or offend other people.
It does occasionally mean telling people who are trying to threaten you into being something you’re not, or demanding an unachievable level of performance from you, to go suck it.
It means having compassion for yourself, and for people less able than you. It means not hurting yourself trying to be something that you cannot be.
You can be a good neighbor, a good community member, a good friend, without destroying who you actually are. You can’t be any of those things without being true to yourself.
I wish you’d come back to Tumblr and get to know the community. Your autistic internet neighbors are mostly good people. I believe so are you.