I’ve got those self-isolation blues!

A new piece of art – “Bright Skies”

As usual – I have been slacking when it comes to writing and updating this blog. That’s a little unbecoming and not up to the high standards I reluctantly uphold for myself.

It’s been hard and my energy has been fluctuating. There are days where I am apt to clean and tidy up my surroundings and then there are days that are spend entirely in bed, sometimes accompanied by cookies.

I’m on a constant rotation of just a few things. Netflix, napping, eating, art and a minute amount of self care. I’m trying to focus more on that because I know how important it is for my mental health.

Some tasks are more difficult than others, including running Made by Autistics Community on facebook – a task that is emotionally draining at the best of times – it puts me right in the forefront of having to maintain some order and good reading comprehension. I’m not great at the comprehension aspect and I find that keeping objects orderly versus people is already something I obsess over. Throw emotions in to the mix and I sink, real fast. I make mistakes, we all do – but there’s one thing we can choose to NOT do – and that’s call people names. I had enough of this in my past (hurled towards me with a cold blast of anger, no less) and I don’t need to be triggered.

I’m thankful I have people I can speak to who have been supportive of me because I can only take so much criticism in one day. I burn out faster than i’d like. It’s been hard not having any physical affection or the inability to see my friends and hang out in close quarters. I realize that we’re trying to do our best as a whole to stop the spread of a really horrible virus and some of the things we can do are:

  1. Wash Your Hands
  2. Maintain Your Distance
  3. Be Nice

Three rules that could make a big difference. Hope you are staying healthy and happy!

PS. I also started a petition to make it mandatory to have ALL cosmetics be tamper-proof sealed. Could you sign it?

Autistics I like!

Here’s a video of some Autistic folx I really am fond of. I would also like to mention Onikage from Aut-ish & John Greally!

Also want to apologize for not having any new, wordy posts up. I haven’t had the mental capacity for it lately.

Video: The problems with some Autistic content creators

The costs of being an Activist

When I first found out that I was Autistic, my life finally made sense. It was a sigh of relief. I didn’t know of the great change that the Neurodiversity movement has been striving for until I was able to join the conversation.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

Whether it’s the blue divide, eugenics, harmful imagery, hate towards LGBTQ2+ individuals or a vast variety of other pertinent social issues, I am continually learning.

Some of these issues are very divisive. Throw religion in to the mix and it’s a whole other can of worms.

Sometimes i get so fired up and I feel compelled to create content about it. I hope that it’s something people want to read and share. Although, that’s not always my main motivation, I believe it helps me get out all the things that are bubbling up under the surface so I can rest a little bit easier, knowing i did something constructive with it.

From being targeted by friends-of-a-father-of-an-Autistic-child to an Autistic Christian content creator, to someone who alleges that I am creating content with hate directed at someone else (amongst many other examples), It hasn’t come with out its fair share of drama which I am not immune to. Yes, people do make critical and hateful comments towards me.

I don’t think anyone is immune, i think what varies is the way you handle it. Bullying is not something that’s new to me. I always stood for what I believed in. Seemingly having a non-conformist opinion (the contrary to what everyone else was thinking), I never went along with the general construct of society. I usually didn’t agree with my peers. I knew I stood out and that I was weird or different. My schoolmates didn’t hesitate to be cruel and unusual with telling me these things.

I cried a lot as a child, but as an adult – I have chosen to find different ways to handle things. My life experiences have paved the way for me and have created positive changes in my way of thinking. I am not saying that I always have the most optimal coping strategy; it’s flawed.

I do get angry sometimes. I choose to talk about my feelings with others so I can get an alternative point of view. I think it’s essential for me to form some well-rounded responses, even if they just live in my head and are never uttered aloud.

Negativity bias is also something I struggle with, thanks to years of emotional abuse during my most crucial brain development years. This is very evident when I get a flurry of positive responses and seemingly am only able to focus on the one or two negative ones I receive.

I need time to myself, self care and self reflections are things we shouldn’t ever deny ourselves. My blog was initially started as a passion project to portray how I felt about receiving my Autism diagnosis. I never thought that I would end up on various news outlets. I guess that is because I am so passionate. I put my whole heart in to everything I do and I believe I am here to create real change.

Being so lucky to find a generally accepting community of Neurodiverse friends around the world has been one of the greatest gifts that came along with my diagnosis. (I want to say that I don’t believe having a formal diagnosis should negate anyone from finding this community. It’s just how I personally needed the validation of a dx for my own reasons)

I have learned so much from them. Eve of International Badass Activists was one of the first people I ever had the pleasure of talking to. Her website was one of the first Autism activism sites I ever visited. I am so thankful to Eve’s strong voice. She inspires me and leads with strength.

I have no plans to stop. No one is going to force me in to silence. None of my Autistic friends and change-makers should be bullied in to silence.

I stand with them, beside them and for them. We will not shut up. We deserve to exist.

Why I am not okay with the puzzle piece for Autism: A response & counterthought

I posted this video to my youtube channel. I try hard to create a corresponding post so that it makes it a bit more sharable and I can add a bit more context.

Youtube decided to recommend this video to me:

I took it upon myself to make a response:

I felt it was incredibly necessary for me to explain what exactly is wrong with the video and why it’s so hateful. I also wanted to represent some of my #ActuallyAutistic friends and activists who are on the other side of “the blue divide” and explain that yes, there are other symbols out there that do represent us much better than the puzzle piece. Although my reach on youtube may be smaller, my voice is still loud and valid.

I have also covered this topic before on a few more blog posts.

Don’t tone police Autistics

As always, I want to put out a disclaimer:

These are MY PERSONAL VIEWS. These belong to me. Other Autistic folks may agree and some may disagree.

I wanted to talk about something that’s been really unnerving lately which is: Non Autistic Parents of Autistic Children sharing imagery and inspiration porn that is very harmful.

As an Autistic person myself, I feel as though attempting to bridge the gap with Autistic parents is a very important stepping stone to creating unity and setting their Autistic child up for success in the future. Assisting them with the tools needed to make sure that hateful imagery, improper terminology and ableism is eliminated. However, when Parents of Autistic children and their friends chime in and belittle, berate and negate the work of an Autistic person, this is moving backwards.

A few days ago I saw this image come up on my facebook feed. I was dumbstruck.

It got widely shared by this father who I believed I was friends with and he tagged his wife and said his child would love it. I pointed out 2 very prevalent things that are troublesome:

  1. The puzzle piece is a symbol of hate 
  2. Autism, or being Autistic IS a disability however–there’s nothing wrong with that.

I even linked an article and mentioned how I create content on the subject. Two friends of this father chimed in and essentially told me that just because I create content and cite sources, doesn’t mean that it’s true and that I should allow this father to be happy. I explained how I want their child to be set up for success in the future and that I am only trying to be an ally. I wanted to provide information as to how these things were harmful and that speaking over an Autistic person when they are trying to HELP truly doesn’t help anyone at all. I also mentioned that, at it’s core, it is incredibly ableist and problematic. 

No one defended me. None of my Autistic friends were able to even come and assist. Although the facebook post was public, the comments were not open to everyone. Eventually I gave up and I deleted this father from my friends list. He had ample opportunities to take this as a learning opportunity and chose not to. He also did not hold me in any kind of regard because if he did, he would not have allowed me to get attacked the way I did. I can only hope that his child gets the kind of support that he needs because if how I was treated was any kind of indication, I have a reason to be worried. 

If you are a parent of an Autistic child and you are looking for help, here’s what I can suggest:

Do not take content creator Daniel Jones of The Aspie World as fact. He creates sensationalized content that is, at the source, his income. He very rarely (if ever) cites sources for the material he creates and is not an ally to the rest of the Autistic community. I have even been sworn at by his content manager before and I have created 2 react videos. Please DO NOT utilize his advice to assist your child.

Reach out to Autistic adults – the ones that have your child’s best interest at heart. We can be the best resources available as we have lived this. Also, I do not create content for money. I do this from my heart because this truly gives me purpose in my life. 

Do not negate Autistic voices. Allow yourself the opportunity to learn from us. We are the best allies for your children and, for the most part, we want to impart our wisdom and create change. If anything, we want to help. Obviously i’m not speaking for everyone.

I hope this shed a little bit of insight on some of the struggles we face on a daily basis. It’s truly not easy but by listening to Autistic people and truly taking in the things we say is a great step to unity, change and acceptance for all.

Van Dusen Festival of Lights

Firstly I wanted to thank Van Dusen for giving me the chance to bring my entire family! We had a blast.

If you’re in or around Vancouver, BC and you want to do something joyful for the holiday season, look no further than the Festival of Lights! With over one million lights decorating 15 acres, the scenery is sure to dazzle even the smallest of humans! With free rides on the carousel (my niece went on like 8 times!), a dancing light show, photos with Santa, food trucks and much much more – you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun! We did.

Don’t forget to share your images with the hashtag #vandusenFOL – Learn more about the event at: vandusenfestivaloflights.ca 

I’m not an easy person to date.

I’m just going to preface this with a disclaimer: These views are my own and do not reflect the Autistic community as a whole. I am a singular person. I also want to make it very clear that I am not a professional and this post should not be viewed as professional advice.

Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

I was 23. I had just moved from a small town back to the city where I was born. I was staying on a friends couch. I was bright eyed, super ambitious and ready to make a name for myself with my art. I’ve always been really active online and I took a chance one day and met someone. That changed the course of my life in a drastic and dramatic way.

Eight years. That was the amount of time I spent with this person. You grow a lot in that span of time. I thought I knew what I wanted. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. I had absolutely no idea.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was putting a label on a relationship with someone I had just met. We started dating from the moment we met. We were not even apart from each other. I didn’t even have a chance to get to know him.

Like the title suggests, i’m not an easy person to date. I also didn’t get my Autism diagnosis until a month before I turned 29. This is relevant because some of my behaviour throughout the relationship–where I was made to feel like I was difficult or acting out, ended up being directly attributed to things like meltdowns, shutdowns and sensory overload.

Patience is a true virtue. However, there’s a fine line between dating someone and feeling like you have to babysit them. I wouldn’t want to put someone through that again.

That’s not to say there were situations I was put in that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable and any relationship is a 2-way street.

There were instances where I was left feeling wholly uncomfortable and in massive amounts of distress. I had to deal with things like anti-semitism, being in a car with my partner and not being told where we were going or what we were doing, having my messages online sifted through, being made to feel like the things that were important to me were irrelevant, having my birthday ignored, having to owe money for things like rides from point a to point b, bargaining, having my cultural background ignored– I even overheard a conversation about how I didn’t want children, the list honestly goes on.

No one should have to be subjected to those kind of things. Listening to your partners wants, needs and desires is imperative. Again, this goes both ways.

I am the kind of person who needs structure. I need full disclosure. I need plans. I need to know what’s going on. I should never have to play a guessing game with someone who responds with ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know’. I’m not sure how I was able to play along for any length of time. Exhausting, emotionally draining and frustrating are only some of the key words used to describe it.

Not to mention exasperating. I’m truly learning about myself, WHO I AM and what my goals are.

Should I have to continue to defend myself for simply being? Should I have to put myself in situations that I made very clear I do not want to be in? No. Never. There’s no excuse for this.

This year has been incredible in terms of the things I accomplished and believe it or not, i’m proud.

I just want to continue on and keep going. I am prideful and I am strong.

P.S: A video WILL happen on this subject but I have lost my voice.

Aut-Ish: Episode 10 – Art (Special Guest – Margaux Wosk)

I was featured on the AUT-ISH PODCAST! Have a listen or read the transcript. Thanks Onikage!

Aut-Ish

Woo! Episode 10 is live on Podbean! Also accessible via Itunes and Spotify!

Click “Continue Reading” to access transcript provided.

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Multiple things to discuss!

I created a new video on a couple things that I felt needed to be addressed:

My facebook page, facebook.com/madebyautistics was hacked. My one other admin and two mods have been removed. Facebook is being useless so I had to rebrand entirely and create a new page over at facebook.com/madebyautisticsgroup.

I was featured on CITR’s ALL ACCESS PASS. You can listen to me here: https://www.citr.ca/radio/all-access-pass/episode/20191030/ My Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture speech is at the 34:00 mark and my interview from the PosAbilities Inclusion Art Show is at the 16:15 mark.

These have been added to my shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/retrophiliac

In addition to the four plaques that have been happened, there’s also all my holiday cards too. These are just a few examples:

Thanks to my Kickstarter backers who made these cards a reality, I was able to pack up all these cards and they will be getting distributed between 3 cat welfare organizations. They will then be able to sell and/or use the cards and keep the profits. I also am thankful that it will be an opportunity for more cat lovers to see my work.

Welllll that was a lot to cover.

Thanks for reading!