As I write this, it is April 1, the beginning of so-called “Autism Awareness Month”. There’s a lot that can be said about that… and has been said, many times over, by other autistic advocates (see links at the bottom!), and at this point I feel that I would be better off directing you to their writings than reinventing that particular wheel. But my short version of it is: this month, its origins, its whole premise, are fraught, and it can be a challenging time for autistic adults, especially those of us who have taken up some form of self-advocacy.
Autistic adults (speaking for myself and for some others whose perspectives I’ve read), particularly those of us who are able to and choose to self-advocate, are regularly misunderstood, told we “don’t look autistic”, compared to the autistic children of neurotypical parents, and generally dismissed when we speak up about our experiences. This can make having a whole month ostensibly dedicated to us (but actually often weaponized against us) stressful and challenging in a way that is a distilled version of our everyday realities.
So who am I, what am I doing here, and why am I doing it?
And why pick this month (April) of all months to start, formally? First: I’m an autistic adult (who also identifies as an animist -- more on that later, as they’re highly related for me), called recently to engage in self-advocacy, and I’m writing this blog as a way to share my experiences and engage with community. What community? Broadly: the autistic community, the animist community, and ultimately anybody who finds any kind of value in reading what I’ve written.
I’m choosing to do this in part because, as I said, I’ve been called. More on all that later, as well, as it’s a bit of a longer story than will fit in one blog post. And more simply because I want to, it’s helping me, and I have a sense it might help someone else as well. And I chose April because of a combination of 1) the sting of remaining silent during “Autism Awareness” month, 2) an intuitive sense of timing (spoiler: this is how I make most of my decisions), and 3) the convenience of having 30 days in the month for a 30-blog-post writing challenge!
So for context and as a simple introduction to the next 29 posts you’ll see: my goal for this month of April 2021 is to get a new blog post written every day, and to have the technical details around publishing all worked out by the end of the month so that they can start to go live by May. So if the publication dates are confusing to you (like I’m saying it’s April 1 right now but who knows when this post will actually go live), that’s why. One of my goals with this project (and this blog more generally) is to expose some of the process I’m following (as influenced by both my unique set of gifts & struggles associated with my neurology, and my animistic approach to life). So I’m not going to be hiding (all of) the mess involved. :)
To be honest, this post feels like kind of a dull one, I don’t say a whole lot, and I’m definitely not helping things by reflecting on that here at the end, but that’s a theme you’re going to see repeating and evolving throughout this blog: I’d rather get what I have to say out there, the way I would say it, and share some of my process and joys and struggles with folks than edit it all away for the sake of marketability(?) or other unspoken rules about The Proper Way to do things. I’ve had it with unspoken rules. Maybe you have, too. I’m more interested in transparency and sharing lived experience. And my lived experience is that my process requires a certain amount of organizing and structuring up front, and that’s what this post is aiming to do.
Tomorrow, I plan to talk a bit more about lived experience, process, “spoons” and how my particular set of gifts & challenges from autism has influenced my general approach to life.
Autism “Awareness” from Autistic Perspectives, Further Reading
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