Monday, July 31, 2017

Looking Past Scary Beginnings

I have been thinking all day about some conversations that I have had with friends recently, especially ones concerning my last post about advocacy. Maybe this is not the best day to do a lot of deep thinking, and even less so writing about how I'm changing things up due to the fact that I am battling a case of strep. Maybe my extra sensitive feelings are serving me well in giving me an extra push that I needed, I don't know. I'm going with it, though.

I've had an achy feeling lately. Not one that originates with my physical body, but achy on another level. When I say lately, I mean the feeling started nagging at me probably 2 years ago, or so, and has gotten stronger, more frequent. What began as a feeling of restlessness has exploded inside my being as a feeling of persistently being out of place. A wrong place, wrong time feeling. I'm no stranger to feeling misunderstood, or out of place. This has been a lifelong feeling on my part, but what I'm talking about is different. This is a feeling of reliving something that has long past, but that I can't let go of. A piece of life that has long since gone.

The only issue is that I was unaware of what this meant. What part of life had I outgrown?

I am old enough now that this isn't the first time, and probably not the last time this has happened. Little things turn into big frustrations. My nerves get on end, and life in general seems rather forced instead of a free flowing of experiences. Plainly put, I feel discontent.

Feeling discontent is a weird place to be. It's not depression, or sadness. It's not any emotion that is easily summed up in a word, or two. It's just a feeling of being .... not fulfilled, of something missing. In order for me to remedy this feeling I have to find the root of my discontentment, and address it, even if it means facing harsh truths, and scary beginnings.

As I poured over all the things that make up my days I found that one seemed to stick out more than any as the likely culprit, and that activity is advocacy. I feel like the advocacy scene in general has changed. I feel like I have changed. I feel like so much has changed in all sorts of ways that I've outgrown it, and it's outgrown me. I'm burnt out.

But, then this is a huge part of who I am, isn't it? I mean who am I if not an activist?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Civil Rights and Pitchforks

When I was growing up one of the virtues that was taught was the saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." As far as I know, this is still often taught to children as a guideline to behavior, yet from what I have witnessed of people lately few adults are following this advice themselves, especially when it comes to advocacy efforts.

Let me preface this by saying that I am aware that there is often a need to be outspoken, bold in order to be heard. Sometimes we have to be less than nice to take some of our power back, because that's how power imbalances work. No one group holding the most power, and privilege is going to relinquish it in a passive manner, because the oppressed is asking nicely. That's not how it works.

However, when did being a snarky, condescending, foul mouthed, angry person spitting sassy comebacks at everyone whom you cross paths with become what we call advocacy? When did answering every question from others from different groups with an air of, "I'd explain this to you, but you're just to stupid to understand it."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#Autism and Suffering

"But, *my* child does suffer from autism...."

Being in the autism community for over 10 years I have heard this sentence a lot. Every so often a parent of an autistic child will proclaim that their child really does indeed suffer from the condition of autism. Sometimes they'll remark how it isn't a gift for some people, like their child. they add, giving adult autistic advocates the side eye. They feel bold, like they just said something that was important. An untold truth, if you will. This remark will often beget throes of relieved parents chiming in with the 'me toos'. The numbers may speak of solidarity on the side of parents, but the sound of silence on the child's part is deafening to me. I want to explore this silence.