Month: March 2016

Lighting Candles

Dear T-ssem,

I’ve spent most of the time I allocated for writing this post debating a title. I thought about calling it “Letter to an Autistic Celebrity,” but the thing is, I don’t know definitively that you are. And I’ve always been taught, in my experiences as a disabled activist, that armchair diagnoses are wrong. That it’s the height of rudeness to pin a label on someone who may neither want it nor merit it. Labels can both ruin and save lives, and they shouldn’t be used lightly. I don’t want to be arrogant. I don’t want to put someone in a box as so many have tried to do to me. It’s unfair and it can be perceived as insulting.

However, three factors made me write this post anyway. And I think they’re all applicable to a wider truth about autism and autistic people.

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Remember

Today is the Disability Day of Mourning.

What are we mourning?

We’re mourning that we are routinely murdered. By our parents, by our caregivers, and those who profess to love us, who “want the best for us.”

We’re mourning that this list has grown exponentially in just one year.

We’re mourning that we still have to mourn.

It isn’t about “services.” It’s not about poverty or anything of that nature. it’s about parents unable to cope with the fact that their child communicates differently, and how they can’t handle that it makes them feel like failures.

Your failure will not be paid off with my life.

If you want to fight me about this, do it tomorrow.

Today, honor the loss of many, many people that should still be with us.

harknessgarden2

[Image description: A manicured pathway in a garden, cut between two wild rows of assorted flowers. The path dead-ends at a cylindrical stone with what appears to be ivy growing over the top.]