Also want to apologize for not having any new, wordy posts up. I haven’t had the mental capacity for it lately.
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.
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.
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:
- The puzzle piece is a symbol of hate
- 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.
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.
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!
Trying to see through the thick cloud of anxiety and depression is no easy task. It’s a huge, huge burden to bare. The flashbacks have become more repetitive, they feel deeper. Each time I fail, I feel those traumatic events seeping back in and filling those gaps where hope once was. It is a situation full of despair.
I should be happy or at the very least feeling fine. I think part of the disappointment is due to the fact that I really thought the article on The Mighty would perform better. I thought it would drive people to my website and to my shop, but the views and interactions have been fairly dismal.
The hits on my Etsy shop have totally decreased too. I heard there’s something going on with an algorithm to do with the people that don’t have free shipping or don’t offer it on all their listings. It’s making them less visible. I know for me that when i sell original pieces, shipping is included. It’s everything that’s made by a 3rd party that has shipping separately.
I also should be pleased with myself about having my speech coming up later this week and being approved to be a consultant about issues surrounding mental health and Autism–and yes, I am looking forward to creating change, but i’m also the poster child for those issues. So, I guess in a roundabout kind of way, i’m going to really be able to reflect on my experiences and create change. That’s the silver lining.
I wanted to share some images that my customers have shared with me, which is pictures of their purchases from my etsy shop. This helps keep me going, but sales in the last while have been so dismal. I’m also upset because the way advertising works on etsy is that I paid 4.80 American to get one person to click on one item that they didn’t even buy. So frustrating. I’ve heard better things about facebook ads but i’m just not even sure how to go about it. Seems when I talk about business, there’s people that genuinely want to help and then there’s people who poach on my lack of experience and try to manipulate me to pay them. I guess that’s another business strategy–but it’s one that I don’t want anything to do with.
If I can bring joy to others, even though i’m suffering, well.. I think that’s a way to turn something negative in to something positive.
I tried creating a new plaque that says “cats make life purrfect” but the cats I drew look terrible. The two wood signs I was happy about completing, haven’t really seen much traffic either. I thought they’d be a bigger hit.
Greta Thunberg, a climate change activist and fellow Autistic has been taking quite a beating online. It really upsets me that people say such horrible things about her. I think politics are a main driving factor for people to be so hateful in this world. I tweeted about the honesty of Autistic people and how we’re fact based and it definitely goes for her too. Actually, this quote of mine says it all:
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember.
I also had a fasciation with running a business. When I was younger my uncle actually gave me a very memorable birthday present. He gave me some business cards he made for me, file folders, an open/close sign and one of those receipt books with carbon paper.
Fast forward to 2019 and i have been lucky enough to find success through my etsy store. I recently added this design:
This wasn’t my first taste of business, though At around 15 years of age, I was reselling vintage on ebay. This has always been something i’ve been super passionate about.
Since i already struggle socially, I am constantly leanring new ways to cope and interact with people.
I recently got accepted to a local artist collaboration group and I feel so lucky that I can help others, get their help and meet new people. It’s been so perfect for me and I look forward to the next session.
I can’t believe how busy i’ve been and I wanted to thank everyone for continuing to support me.
…That there’s nothing left in my hands but time
Time don’t really care if I carry on.”
I have a few things on my mind so I figured it would be important to get it all out in the open.
Sometimes people send me an image pertaining to Autism with the best of intentions and yet the imagery is so widespread that the notion of it being offensive fails to cross the mind of the person sharing it. I do my best to write about these things in my blog but not everyone takes the time to read my articles.
I was sent an image of hands in a handshake position that had one of the hands being disgustingly adorned by a rainbow of interlocking puzzle pieces with words like “awareness” placed over top of the neutral/skin-toned hand.
Immediately, a wave of frustration with a dash of anger washed over me. I thought I had made it very clear how I felt about these words and images used. I had even posted this image a day prior:
I had responded with a numbered list of how generally we (Autistics) don’t like skin to skin contact, that the puzzle piece is offensive and that we do not need awareness. I also linked an article titled “the ableist history of the puzzle piece”. The response I got surprised me. It was not taken well. I had to explain that Autistic people are generally fact based and that my attempt to educate had no malicious intention.
I can not sit idly by and not say anything- that just isn’t in my nature.
On another note, I am in the process of updating my sales terms on Etsy in as many places as possible.
I am not sure how many people know about print on demand but it is a service that I utilize for the majority of my offerings.
Here’s how it works:
I upload my artwork to their website and I configure it on a number of products. The website creates a very realistic looking digital mock up of said item. I add the price, edit the description and list it on my Etsy store. The item will say “ships out of the United States” or sometimes China, depending on where it is manufactured.
I would say that 95% of my customers live in the USA. It didn’t occur to me that “ships out of the United States” is not enough information in regards to duty.
I purchase a lot of things from online American retailers and I also live near the British Columbia / Washington state border. Duty is something I always consider and take in to account. I have even been sent promotional items for review and had duty slapped on.
I will be adding “This item ships out of the USA. I am not responsible for duties, shipping and exchange rate incurred” on each listing. I have nearly gone through two out of five pages of listings so far. My laptop can’t handle it.
I also need to express that some people have perhaps attempted to reach out to me through various channels and I am not always quick to respond. This is because I am still going through a lot of personal things and I am doing my best to prioritize. However, I am under a significant amount of stress and I am having a very difficult time viewing things accurately because of how clouded my thought process is. Anxiety is not easy to deal with.
I am doing my very best and trying to cope in a way that I am still able to be productive. I just need a bit of room to breathe.
Happy New Years Eve everybody. I’ve had a pretty eventful past few days. Firstly, I submitted a WINNING ENTRY to No Frills – which is a budget friendly grocery chain here in Canada owned by Loblaws (Galen Weston). I came up with a catchy, tongue-in-cheek melodic jingle and it’s going viral. It’s nearing 100,000 views. Check it out right here!
I hope you have an amazing 2019!
I LOVE working on my blog!
I will admit that it’s incredibly hard work and I face a fair bit of negativity and rejection. There has been a lot of positivity, as well! I can’t believe all the opportunities I have had and continue to have. It’s amazing!
With that being said, I also do NOT make a single dollar off it. Not one.
In order to do so, I would have to:
- Host my own blog, which is expensive! I would then be able to initiate google analytics.
- Affiliate links and Ads
- Charge brands to work with me in exchange for content creation. I can’t do this because my traffic is not significant enough.
- Sell some Art. That means REALLY sell Art. Not just false leads aka. interested customers but no transactions.
There’s various ways you can help me:
- Share my content
- Sign up through my Ebates / Swagbucks links on the right hand side of my blog
- “Buy me a Coffee” – Monetary Donation
- Buy some of my art
Believe me, I have been brainstorming! I do whatever I can to make a good go-of-things but I currently work VERY infrequently and I am always wanting to create more and more content.
Thanks to all my amazing viewers, friends, family, #actuallyautistic community and brands/venues that have been kind enough to collaborate with me.