I’ve been trying to put a finger on what exactly is specifically bothering me about the #actuallyautistic crowd suddenly blowing up twitter this last year, and after several months of sifting through tons of extremely lengthy explanatory posts by a number of people chock full of self discovery and the joy of finally sharing their noggins, it’s dawning on me that they think they speak for other #actuallyautistic people in general.
One of the big brouhahas has been over whether we even need a spectrum label.
I am deeper on spectrum than the people in the posts I am reading. I never learned to mimic and hide my flaws because I never saw my flaws to begin with. I never even realized I don’t fit in, much less how or why. I simply just saw everyone else around me as stupid, and I learned to dumb down and interact as efficiently and as little as possible. I never learned the social graces and I never, EVER learned to mimic them.
I’m not invalidating all the females finally finding their voices, and I’m #actuallyquitehappy that they’re rising up.
My frustration reading their lengthy self discoveries and sometimes excruciatingly detailed shares about every thought they ever had is that they realized they were different.
People TOLD me I was different. I heard that word so many times.
Here is the ugly truth about women and autism that you don’t see in these other blogs- some of us are beaten into submission as children. (Some in history before us were institutionalized, and some even nowadays are sold all over the world as sex slaves.) Some of us grew up with abuse that makes doctors cringe when we start talking about it. Our parents didn’t know any better.
So all your super lengthy #actuallyautistic autopsies over every little event in your lives sounds like whining to me. Don’t get me wrong, I really am glad you found your voices. But I’ve been saying since 2008 that it’s time to start being HONEST about who we are and how we feel, so this is not new. I feel like I’m suddenly being drowned out in a sea of clone posts about “this is who we really are”. Um, not me, guys. Don’t include me in your ‘we’. (I have my own ‘we’.)
One of the reasons I’ve gone silent on twitter is because 1-that is actually my natural instinct, and 2- neurodiverse advocates are lately being the ones likely to tangle with me over other labels I have. If WE are going to stick up for neurodiversity, then don’t be stomping the ones you don’t like flat in public venue. I have more than an autism label, and y’all make me sick.
I grew up between two fairly strict religious cultures clashing in my household. I was punished almost unceasingly at some points in my life for so many things most people take for granted as normal behavior even in normal children. Still, my differences were caught very early on. Ever since kindergarten I’ve been labeled with “Does not play well with others”. My seat assignment was changed several times in both kindergarten and first grade. My first grade teacher begged my parents to get me to a psychiatrist. They didn’t. That’s how obvious I was, and I still. did. not. get. help.
The big deal with #actuallyautistic in girls nowadays is that these girls manage to blend in. I have never in my life blended in. Even when I think I’m blending in, I stand out like neon and everyone but me sees that.
So don’t sweep me up and lump me into that big ol’ #actuallyautistic category with all your own new definitions. Your experiences don’t define mine. Your conclusions don’t explain my life and my point of view. Your lengthy analyses don’t HELP me. Maybe they help other women with #actuallymilderautism, and that’s great. But I need the differentiations because I evidently have more problems and special needs considerations than some of you guys do. I feel invalidated and discounted every time an #actuallyautistic person proclaims just taking the spectrum out of the label.
YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME.