I can do anything,
I need support,
More support than able-bodied people,
it does not mean I cannot see and do my successes,
it does not mean I will fail without you,
it just means I need more support than you do not need,
I have my mind,
A wonderful mind,
I have my body,
A wonderful body,
I have my dreams,
I have my life,
A wonderful LIFE,
I have my creativity,
that able-bodied people ignore,
I have my thoughts,
that are not influenced by any one,
I am not brainwashed,
and these thoughts are mine,
I am oppressed by society,
and I don’t think any one cares,
they keep disabled people down,
way way down,
Though, disabled people,
network for jobs (if you realize this or not),
or, actually can network, but
are mostly tossed aside,
can change the world (if you only allow us too),
know so much as a person
while NOT your inspirations,
while NOT your tragedies,
while NOT your burdens,
can flourish if you don’t keep us down,
down in day hab,
down in sheltered workshops,
down in low level jobs,
down in poverty,
down on the streets,
down with functioning labels,
keeping our voices down and silent,
tokenizing our voices,
not allowing us to choose what we want,
without allowing our voices to be heard,
only allowing our voices to be heard by a limit,
and, backing away as we speak our words,
as we teach the able-bodied community
what we think, what we see, and what we know,
we can teach everyone
that society needs to change,
society needs to experience us
from our points of view,
needs to finally learn
what disability really is, and really means.
Let’s begin the change,
let’s begin the way society will accommodate
offering accessibility to disabled people everywhere,
let’s begin to universally design a society
that listens to everyone,
works with everyone on their own achievements,
changing structures both physically and abstractly,
showing less selfishness in the world,
and more humble, gracious, and open communities
to disability and disabled people
from close by to afar.
Inspiration Porn is when society objectifies Disabled people in the community like Autistic people have been objectified for the past 10 years especially by organizations like Autism Speaks. Inspiration porn is creating stigma by objectification because society thinks disability is shameful, that it is destructive, that is a tragedy, a burden, and a negative thing that should not exist. However, society is wrong!
Please watch Stella Young’s amazing video from last year. Every time I have seen this video since it first came out, to educate others has explained specifically why objectifying anyone is not good and not healthy for anyone in the human race.
Disability does exist, Disability will exist, Disability has existed since the dawn of time. Why? Because Disability is a part of the human experience and no one, I mean no one can take that away from anyone in this world especially when d/Disability is what makes us human. In addition, let’s get this straight, NO ONE is an inspiration to us all, because we all have to be motivated and work hard for ourselves by supporting and guiding each other.
Everyone has their own struggles in life, and that’s okay. Why? Because it’s part of our humanity to struggle to get to the peak where we will eventually ‘cross over and rise above’. However, we all have to get through our struggles until we have done our duties or missions completed.
If you try to find inspiration to inspire you to do something or be a someone, then you won’t be doing anything except looking around your whole life finding nothing. So, please do something with your life and stop looking for inspiration from others especially the disability community. Why? Because we are human too. We have our own struggles too, to get where we want to be at, and by any one trying to find inspiration from the outside world like from the disability community to make us look bad and everyone else look good is the real tragedy. That’s why inspiration is travesty and the word should not exist since it causes pain.
Struggling is a part of life. We need to have fun with our life. That’s right, we all need to have fun. Everyone’s fun is different. Some people try different things before they find it like with me. Some people like myself are Disabled activists and scholars, some people are media analysts, some are investment bankers, some are artists, some are writers/journalists, some are politicians to help the government to create/enforce laws, some are lawyers, some are social workers (or help with mental health maintenance), mail clerks and drivers, landscape workers, sanitation workers, janitors, some are medical doctors, some are engineers, some are teachers, some are construction workers, etc. We all do whatever it takes to become the success we want to see in our life with the support network in the community or life we build for ourselves.Without the support network and without the motivation in ourselves to do well, we become lost in our efforts. However, it does not always have to be that way.
We all have struggles all our life. We all can stay in the disability community our whole life or walk in and out of the disability community at different parts of our life. I just don’t want any one to ever think disability is a tragedy because it really isn’t. Acquiring d/Disability from birth or from life, is a part of life’s journey. We all can become disabled at some point or become more disabled, and that’s okay. It’s okay if we have to use a wheelchair or any other assistive device or machine to help us live our life if you need it or if we want to feel more mainstream or not. It’s our personal choice!
It’s okay if you are feeling very obstinate or unsure of how disability helps us with gaining empathy we all struggle with. Empathy is a learned human trait for everyone in the world. Some are born with more empathy than others, but no one lacks empathy since we all have emotions that frustrate us at times. Sometimes we may not realize that our empathy can be misleading sometimes when we struggle with discriminations and stigmas in our life which is ableism. Ableism is a problem for the world. There are millions of people in the world struggling with ableism right now. Some people may not even be aware of it, but it is inside of them already especially when the person has been objectified in their life at some point or their whole life. I feel for those people who are struggling more from their ableism because society doesn’t understand their language and dialect.
Ableism is about objectifying people while this needs to stop. It is also a struggle when everyone who has been hurt by ableism and internalizes this stigma, the stereotypes, and even can become the oppressor after being oppressed since ableism is also like a virus. Ableism is not only a curse, but it’s the biggest oppression that confuses people into thinking they are not worthy and unable to do something unless they become an inspiration to become objectified by others.
Objectification or ‘Inspiration Porn’ exemplifies and manifests a person’s persona to make them something they are not. There are so many people who objectify others that it becomes really pathetic in our society, but it does not always have to be that way. Change means allowing yourself to guide others into their own self-determination to live their life with just encouraging people to do what they love to do just the way you do for yourself. No one is a random act of good because we all are good people who can do whatever we want to do to help others.
We just have to think about our own mission to help, how we can guide and support others, and know how to advocate for change in our society to think about why we can’t hurt others in any way. Life is a journey with emotions that does not mean we can say or do things to others to hurt them since that is not only ableism, but is also other forms of pain too, inflicted on others. People can be hurtful which is also a part of life, however, we need to know that what we do and say affects other people either instantly or over time. Over time, we all internalize the pain unless we start healing the pain(s).
So, let’s start healing the pains we all may have to become the person we all are meant to be with the guidance from the support network we are born into and choose from the billions of people in the world to be a part of it too. This is how ableism can heal from the pains we have all felt at some point, some a lot more than others especially those people struggling to ‘pass’ for society’s norm or standard of how to speak, think, feel, see, or hear.
Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions which means we all have the freedom to speak our mind respectfully and respecting others. No one can curse at, hurt, silence, or tell others that what they believe for themselves to contribute is bad. It’s not black and white ever (like organizations like Autism Speaks suggests about autism), it’s all gray, and it always has been gray. There is good and bad in everything from the yin and the yang as long as we know what is good and what is bad, we can focus on the positive aspects of our life. Thus, focusing on the positive aspects of other people. Finally, becoming a contributing member of society from our own individual self-determination which is different for everyone in the world.
Some need more guidance, some need more support, though we all need mentorship to get through our life as we all fulfill our goals we want to achieve. That’s not inspiration, that’s just doing what it takes to be a success in what all of us want individually. Part of what having support is, is motivating our family members and peers who come in contact with to move forward with what we want.
Struggling to achieve something can be difficult, but not impossible. Impossible does not exist. The very word means ‘I’m Possible’ and we can’t let anyone take that dignity away from us. We know who we are and what we want regardless of what are identities are by identifying how we want to for ourselves. As an Autistic person and a part of the broader disability community, I have understood that disabilities helps us live our life better by embracing our own humanity.
No one can tell us who, what, and how we are to live our life. We are gift in this world. If we unwrap the gift with taking in negativity from the outside world, we become negative. Otherwise if we unwrap ourselves with positive feelings on how to help the world, we become the most positive force the world has ever seen embracing and celebrating life in of itself.
I struggle, you struggle, we all struggle with something we need. Some of us struggle more than others, but that just means they need more guidance and support. Since we all live our life with struggles, it just means, that once we need to figure out how to use our skills, our talents, and our strengths to do what we feel will help the world is when we can we feel our own humanity. Sometimes this is very small, sometimes very big, and/or sometimes it can just be teaching ourselves to become a contributing member of society who positively affects everyone. We all are here to motivate each other to do well, not be jealous of any one.
We live our life positively, but most importantly, we live our life to do whatever we can to reach out and touch our spirit. If you can’t find yourself, if you don’t know what it is that you need to do, and you want other people to feel inspired by you saying your life is better than theirs (or vice versa), than you are wasting your life.
Please don’t waste your life trying to find this thing called inspiration especially from my fellow Autistic peers and any one else from the disability community. By calling us inspirations, you are also saying that your life has always been better than ours. The medical model suggests that the only way we become inspirations is by overcoming a burden or tragedy within ourselves to become an inspiration for others. However, this is a travesty and a false belief system that we don’t need to hear or see.
Inspiration is taking what others say as face value without thinking of yours or their own life because of the way the mainstream media and the masses objectify so many people including people in the disability community. The use of the phrase ‘Inspiration porn’ is to say that objectifying anyone the media wants to ‘use’, ‘stigmatize’, painfully stereotype, and dispose of later after the mainstream media has had enough of the person is hurtful. The media as a whole needs to change their way of thinking, how they think about humanity, and stop personalizing one’s own life of struggle as a tragedy that a person’s overcame to become a human being. We all our human beings from birth. Humanity means struggling to live our whole life through emotions we all have while finding our authentic voice and self to fulfill our greatest mission to do what we love to do. That’s what I’ve always known and was taught.
Do you want to try to find inspiration or do you want to do what it takes to live your life they way you always wanted it to help others? Humanity is about helping ourselves while helping others.
We need our own tenacity to work hard toward living our life, building our experience in life the way we want to without anyone else trying to live it for us or will live it for us or even mimic other people’s lives. I’ll tell you this that by trying to imitate other people’s lives, people won’t be their true authentic self. That’s why if we become obsessed with inspiration, we no longer know how to live our life. Please don’t do that! I want all of you to live your life and work hard for who you all are in this world.
There are billions of people in the world. From the billions of people in the world, that’s one big support network to help each other work independently for our own self-determination which means striving for whatever positive contributing factors we want to live our life. We can all be supportive while guiding ourselves in our life through thick and thin. If someone is struggling, they need to think about getting back on track while if someone is struggling a lot they need you to lead them more with guidance.
Getting back on track is not inspiration, it’s just life. We all fall back into situations where we need to get back on our feet, however, that does not mean we look for someone else for inspiration, it just means we have to push ourselves to live do whatever it takes to get back on our feet with whoever is supporting and guiding us. Remember, there is always someone who can guide you, any one just has to ask, as a self-advocate.
Life is not about inspiration, it’s about self-advocacy and helping others achieve that self-advocacy!
Self-determined language is very important for any one to know that any one can identify themselves the way any one feels comfortable with. Self-determination is also a way to be involved with our own life, our own feelings, our own conversations about us, and not involved with anything any one influences us about.
Emotional abuse can hurt a lot when people turn to us when saying or referring to our way of being as if we are not even human or we need to take medications to pass for a particular specific person’s individuality. This does not allow us to be our own individualistic self. Though, sometimes some people need to take medications regardless because of the ableism or emotional abuses affected by the way life immensely becomes too overwhelming. When this happens, any of us can become very anxious and seem disturbed since we are seen as being out of control. However, society creates this in individuals from the standards of a general normal that they want everyone to pass as.
We need to just live our life through the way of who we are, what we individually believe about who we are, and what we feel about our own life. This allows us to know that our life is what we want self-determinedly.
What we feel and what we do, is only a part of our being. When we move forward, we bring on not only what we want in our present situation, we bring on the past life we have lived too as a continuous spectrum of time and diversity in the human race.
We need to Remember our mission through what we are here for by what we can do for ourselves. The community needs to always remember the identities we all want for ourselves individually as part of self determination.
As an Autistic who also is very different from the general mainstream norm, society needs to understand that individuals are really individualistic as part of what makes us a part of the human race. The human race is exceptionally individualistic which is so diverse, so unique, so simple yet complex, so continuous though building on each other like legos, and everyone really is a spectrum of who everyone really can be. As an individual person, if we meet one human being we’ve have only met one human being.
While any one lives on this planet today, we can all think it’s hell or heaven depending on our experiences with our feelings while being involved with family, friends, and the broader world community. It depends on the feelings now that we feel before our body becomes too old; thinking of negative or positive feelings that determines our destiny. That’s what makes up heaven!
Everyone has their own spirit and their own feelings for our own space (or boundaries) to protect our own self of how we were first created in the world. This way, no one could ever feel like they can barge through who we are and our identity. The many things we built up for ourselves, makes up our own life in the world that we want to contribute to, to become the person we are destined to become.
Sometimes it takes a long time (as it did for me and for others) to think about the things we are destined for as we become way too influenced in our life to think of ourselves. Humanity is beautiful. It does not have to be too stressful, anxiety provoking, or even a way to pass for someone else’s normal. It’s who we are, what we want, and how we want to live it.
Self-determination is what builds our life now for even the future of our own
self-determination. It’s our own choice and no one else’s. We decide through our own spirituality of what makes us human, but ultimately what makes us a part of the universe.
If we make or give good, we get or receive good back!
Let’s make it a good life 😄
Love to my family, friends, and the broader world communities,
The article, “Islands of Loneliness:,” by Theoharis, et. al, the authors write about the importance of inclusive education for Autistic people like myself. I reflect how I agree with the authors. They interview several Self-Advocates on the autistic spectrum including Temple, Tito, Daniel Tammet, and others (there is also Carly Fleischmann as well). These people have different stories about what drives them for social interaction because if you met one Autistic person you’ve only met one Autistic person. Every one on the autistic spectrum is different. And as in beginning of the song by Freddie Jackson called “You are my Lady,” he sings “There’s something that I want to say, but words sometimes get in the way…” This song makes me think of how it is hard for Autistics many times to communicate the way so called ‘normal’ people speak.
Instead of reiterating what my Autistic peers have told you in this article which are valid too, I prefer to reflect on my own needs and wants for social interaction. As I discussed in my reflection on Mark Haddon’s book, I went to Autreat 2 years in a row. I am hoping to make it to another Autistic run event again futures to come. Although it is not called Autreat anymore and Jim Sinclair does not run the week long event anymore. One of the many retreats over the summer was created after Jim disbanded Autreat, called Association for Autistic Community conference or what some people call Autistic Con or as some friends will still try to call ‘Autreat’.
I say being Autistic is culture because there are many things that make up who we are. For example, stimming like flapping when we are happy, angry, sad, applauding, etc to express ourselves. Another part of Autistic culture is echolalia which means a person like myself repeats words or phrases without realizing it. It is very hard to be around Non-Autistic people especially those people without disabilities because they typically do not understand us. Sometimes I don’t get enough energy (or in Autistic culture we call enough spoons) to explain to Non-Autistic people what we are and how we like to interact. Though many people find because I have practiced passing as normal so many times, that there are Non-Disabled people who don’t really think of me being Autistic. However, I am and always will be!
Autistic people do socialize when we want to, we just need to be comfortable with the person we are about to socialize with. If someone is going to want to interact with us, then we need them to understand our own space so no one crosses into our boundaries either verbally or nonverbally. Everyone always talks about how Autistic people lack social skills, but there are many Non-Autistic people who lack social skills too. Social skills and boundaries should be taught in schools with everyone. The article talks about the importance of inclusive education among every student even those who are on the autistic spectrum and I truly believe that inclusive education helps. However, it’s not perfect since inclusive education needs to still ensure every one in the classroom including teachers respect one another.
I wanted to make sure I was mainstreamed by the time I reached Junior High School. Although since the education system wasn’t exactly accepting back when I was in secondary school, I was bullied not only by students, but by some teachers too. Society decided to create segregative schools and settings for Autistic people since we were different. They felt and still feel by segregating many of us, and teaching us to conform, we would learn to adapt to the current system. We were considered burdens to the current school system and to society, so they place many of my Autistic peers in segregative Residential school centers throughout the world today (like the Judge Rotenberg Center). This is not inclusive and does not provide us with the self-determined social interaction that many other Human cultures are given in school.
Educating people does not even mean placing students in private charter schools either where the students go home after a single school day. The current public primary and secondary school systems need to acknowledge the many ways a person interacts and communicates and learns with the world. Not being able to speak does not mean we don’t want interaction or communication, it just means we may use different ways to communicate our thoughts to others. For example, Henry Frost fought to be included in the public school system as a Non-verbal Autistic youth!
Loneliness is a problem in this world that society created, but we can solve it by understanding each other more. By understanding each other, we can read the many hundreds of blogs written by my Autistic peers telling our stories as more blogs are created too. The article stresses how many people on the autistic spectrum write about their autobiographical stories for others to read. Well, everyone needs to read them all whether published in books or personal blogs, and read each account as a way of understanding the differences so that society can understand and accept. Listen, read, learn, and understand Autistics who have their own way of just being and interacting.
There are many Autistic people who are Non-Verbal. It can be hard for parents of Autistic children to know that not every child is going to be the same wanting and reaching for the same goals as what many parents want for their children. Many parents want their children especially those who are Autistic, to think like the status quo and make a lot of money, and I understand why. Not everyone can be a CEO, a Director, a social butterfly, or even a Celebrity, and parents need to understand this. It’s okay for any one to be their own unique success story. Many parents of Autistic children want their children to be success stories not needing any support. Support is a necessary part of being Human because everyone needs some kind of connection all throughout their lives to feel a part of someone else. That’s why we have our families, so people can be supported. Independence is important, but everyone needs to remember the importance of Interdependence in humanity.
Please Read Lydia Brown’s “Privilege and the Myth of Independence” on her blog, Autistic Hoya!
Here is a video by Drew Morton Goldsmith a Non-verbal Autistic person who talks about the importance of Autistic Rights!
and, here is a video series called Ask an Autistic, Amythyst has a series of videos on ‘Ask an Autistic’ who vlogs different topics each week on her You Tube account, she also has a blog which she states on the videos. This is the first episode:
Any one who wants to see Citizen Autistic on Hulu can see it tomorrow and talk about it on a Twitter feed on Monday!
There is so many things every one needs to learn about that people generally don’t know or think about when people think about autism in general.
Causton-Theoharis, J., Ashby, C., & Cosier, M. (2009). Islands of loneliness: Exploring social interaction through the autobiographies of individuals with autism. Journal Information, 47(2).
TRIGGER Warning: A foul word was used in this post.
Visualizing who we are and what we can do to make a difference is important. It does not mean wearing my own shoes or being someone else, it just means exploring yourself, but it’s also important for everyone to understand each other’s feelings. Empathy is a Human trait that everyone is born with, some more than others. My Autistic peers (who’ve I met or haven’t met) and I are stigmatized to the thinking we don’t have empathy. However, this is rhetorical myth that obviously needs to be erased from history. Researchers have their own agenda too about their feelings about Autistics.
Here is a good recent article by Lydia Brown entitled “Why the term Psychopath is racist and ableist” who discusses about how empathy makes us human. A few years back I read the book, “The Sociopath next door” and I saw on the cover that nearly 1 in out of every 20 people you interact with are sociopathic. However, it is entirely random to know who will be a sociopath and who will not be one. There is no stigma from any background of a person, and any Human being that you interact with can be sociopathic or a psychopath.
Being Human means we all feel for each other as a random act of kindness, but we feel for each other in different ways. Sometimes we feel for each other with a hug, sometimes we kiss, sometimes we pound knuckles, sometimes we shake hands, sometimes we flap, sometimes we rock, sometimes we spin, sometimes we look at each other, sometimes we even just smile, and sometimes we just know by reading each other. There are many other ways to feel for each other and sorry that I missed some. It’s important to know the ways people feel for each other and everyone has to realize this sooner or later. However, there are ways a person does disconnect from others when any one becomes intensely angry using foul language which leads to abuse of power, using weapons, or becoming physically violent toward others. However, sometimes foul language is used as means to be happy with each other like when there are adults who like to make love with their partner or use the language to establish a celebratory experience. I was always told there are two ways a person can get fucked with pleasure or when someone really manipulates to hurt you.
It’s important to remember who you are and what makes you Human. Explore your humanity! We all need to be excited and happy to be alive always remembering the tools given to us from our birth that help us to be who we are. These tools help guide us toward our goals in life in order for all of us to contribute to society. Explore your likes, your dislikes, you passions, your dreams, and find the way you want to contribute too. Not everyone likes everything, but we all need to understand the diversity of Humanity. A lot of times many people do not intentionally stigmatize and stereotype groups of people, but please do not do that. It’s important to realize everyone needs to explore what makes them unique.
Creating the goals we want to achieve allows us to establish our humanity for the future of our powerful legacy. Avonte Oquendo’s powerful legacy was to show us the importance of why Autistics like myself matter too because Autistics bring everyone together as one!!!
Have a great week!
Sometime in February be on the look out for the start of the 5th Annual Autistic Artistic Carnival promotional sign I will be creating soon for Autistic Pride Day, June 18!!!! It’s going to be AWESOME again this year and in many ways even more AWESOME!!!!