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.

The Blue Divide

I firmly believe you can not attempt to “reclaim” images that are triggering to others.

Furthermore, I am a brash and outspoken individual that doesn’t have a reputation to tarnish and therefore I do not back down or mince words when it comes to calling out something that I think is grossly offensive.

I’ve seen this a few times now, people claiming to use an image first and then continuing to use said image with the negative impact and triggering effect already in place from it being used for years by another corporation, company, organization or entity.

I’ve written about related things in “An Autistics Guide To Corporate Social Responsibility” which provides a great resource for those who might want more information on how to create a favourable campaign while being considerate of Autistics.

With all of that being said, there is a DEFINITE divide in the “community”, I created this image, youtube video and podcast about it. I hope you have a chance to check it all out below.

There’s lots of links in the youtube description as well. Just click the video.

Thanks for reading, watching and listening!

Update

My speech on September 28th went particularly well and I wanted to share it with all of you:

My kickstarter ended and right now it’s in the stage of collecting payment. Once I get the cards and fulfill the orders, I will be donating some to various animal welfare organizations to help raise money for them. I will also be listing some on etsy as well! I’m so pleased that the kickstarter was such a success.

I didn’t have the opportunity to protest Autism Speaks Canada, but I am hoping I can be there next year. I always talk about how they continue to silence Autistic voices, so it wasn’t a surprise when I went on twitter today to see that I was blocked.

I was talking about the Inclusion Art Show and that’s happening this Thursday. If you’re local to Vancouver, i’d love to see you there.

I have plenty more I want to write about but it’s late (or early?) and I can’t formulate anything else at this time.

Thanks for reading!

You know what’s more important than selling art?

Being myself and having the freedom to do so without people attacking me for it.

The last couple of days have been rough. The images above continued to spark a firestorm of negativity against me. I have been getting criticized from all angles. I have been told that I shouldn’t be mixing business and politics by a couple of people.

It’s funny, I suppose they’ve never read this blog. I’ve been very honest about how I feel about things. I’ve spoken out against issues plaguing the LGBTQ communities when it came to the former director of AutismBC. Why did I do it? I firmly believe that LGBTQ rights are human rights and that someone who is supposed to be representing Autistic people shouldn’t be speaking out against young children learning about sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s not okay. We’re supposed to be creating safe spaces for youth. I knew for a very long time about myself that I didn’t identify as feeling female (or feeling male) and i’ve recently come out as non binary which has been very freeing but also has opened me up to a whole lot of hate from people.

I guess i’ve been bullied for the majority of my life and i’ve touched on that in previous blog posts.

So i’m DEFINITELY for LGBTQ rights. That’s one thing people gave me hell about.

The second thing is my support for Greta Thunberg who speaks about the fact that she is Autistic (but has been formally diagnosed under the umbrella of Aspergers) and how powerful, inspiring and amazing she is! That alone had climate-change deniers and trump supporters coming after me. I can’t believe how many people are bullying a young person with such a fierce nature to create change in this world. They make comments like “She’s a sick girl” or “She needs to go back to school” which I think is just backwards. They talk about her [neurodiversity] like she’s sick, unwell, needs healing or is severely disabled. It breaks my heart–especially as someone who is passionate about creating change, albeit not at the same level that she’s been able to achieve and i’m focused on different topics.

The third and final thing that people were getting upset with me about is the fact that I am pro-choice. I firmly believe in “my body, my choice”. I am not going to decide what other people do with their bodies! That’s none of my business. I have written two articles about being childfree and how I believe in overpopulation, that we’re destroying our planet (so you can see why I support Greta so much!) and that I never, ever want to have kids. I am sure I have some kind of gender dysphoria and if something were to ever grow inside of me and take over my body, I would be in a much deeper depression than I already am dealing with. I’m still thinking about getting my tubes tied but not everyone has (or wants) that option. I don’t need political figures deciding what is happening in my uterus. That’s just not okay.

I count my lucky stars that I am a Canadian and I have the rights that I do because I am truly privileged to live here.

So, back to the title of this article:

I’d rather be able to express myself freely than make another CENT off of my artwork. I am not compromising who I am and I shouldn’t have to be subjected to people freaking out at me if they don’t agree with me. I believe in LGBTQ rights, I believe in climate change, I am pro-choice and I am non binary.

“Don’t mix politics with business” someone said.

You know what I say?

Say that to Trump.

Say that to Chic-fil-a.

Don’t say that to me.

(I would like to properly attribute these images to their sources but I am unable to find them through google image search. If you know the creators, please let me know so I can properly credit them. Thanks!)

It’s a mood, for sure.

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’m so lucky to have these cute, silly beings in my life though. They make it all worth it.

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.

My holiday cards are also still up for pre-ordering at a reduced rate. Hoping to have my hands on those the 3rd week of October, ready for shipping.

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:

USA ONLY SALE!


I decided to have a SURPRISE SALE this weekend for my AMERICAN CUSTOMERS!

Today & Tomorrow ONLY, I’m offering a discount on SELECT PIECES OF ORIGINAL ARTWORK.

I will be shipping out FROM the USA on MONDAY and it all should arrive by Thursday. This is a GREAT opportunity to get some cool work by me at a reduced price!

I’m heading off to Las Vegas on the 1st (I won a trip) for four days so i’m trying to see what kind of sales I can drum up.


www.etsy.com/shop/retrophiliac

So many opportunities

You might have found my blog through the amazing article written by Renee over at The Mighty and if not, you can read that here!

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 also will be speaking at Kickstart Disability: Arts & Culture’s 10×5 at the CBC Vancouver on September 28th. I have my speech ready to go and images selected.

The final thing is that I will have 4 pieces displayed at the Inclusion Art Show in Vancouver on October 10th so if you’re local, it’s a chance to own some of my works.

I can’t believe how busy i’ve been and I wanted to thank everyone for continuing to support me.

Lots of things happening!

I wanted to start this off with some really good news.

My Kickstarter has met AND exceeded it’s goal! I’m so pleased and so grateful!

I’ve been approved to work on a local, digital collaboration project and I will be speaking later this month about my artwork and being autistic. So many things are happening for me all at once and it’s absolutely insane. I can’t even begin to express how totally thankful I am.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I’ve also made a lot of new friends on facebook and my etsy is seeing wonderful amounts of traffic. The feedback about my artwork is so positive. I am happy that I get to share my story of success and what Autistic people are capable of.

It’s really awesome that I will be able to have Christmas cards in 4 different designs to share with people. The fact people want them as much as they do is something I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams!

On another side of the coin, i’m dealing with some pretty severe stress and anguish because I have someone who has made it a point of posting completely untruthful things about me on Reddit. I’m not sure how to handle this. I’ve shared my side of the story and I would hope people would read it and come to their own conclusions. It’s really too bad because this person has insinuated that I don’t do research when it comes to getting my art on different items and also questioned my Autism diagnosis. They purposely misgendered me as well and took multiple different subjects I spoke about in a live stream to craft a gigantic LIE about me. This person is a fellow Autistic Artist too. I had to actually ban them from my Made by Autistics group for coming after me.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I’m really doing my very best trying to mentally compartmentalize all of the things I have coming up and what I need to prioritize but it’s incredibly hard and dealing with such unnecessary drama takes a toll on my executive functioning.

Ah, C’est la vie.

Coming to terms with identity.

As you may already know (but you might not?!) I already have a hard enough time calling myself an “Autistic Artist” without a few people getting rather upset with me over that.

Now, I am adding a new term to the mix:

Non Binary

Nonbinary, also known as genderqueer, is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary.” –Wikipedia

I have never felt female. I also haven’t felt male. I just feel something else and it’s just a fluidity of sorts. I went through a phase in my life where I would ONLY shop in the boys section at retailers like The Gap, The Bay and Zellers. I practically lived in my carpenter jeans, a “no fear” shirt and a red gap pullover hoodie. I hung out with a few boys on the school yard. We would discuss Pokemon. This was when Red version had just come out — 1996. I guess I was around 8 years old.

I had no desire to wear anything remotely feminine. I didn’t even want to get my ears pierced, learn how to do makeup or anything my sister was doing.

I just felt awkward. I knew I already had struggles fitting in, but I couldn’t figure out why I felt such negativity towards being outwardly female. I still am unsure.

When I got a bit older, I embraced it. I learned how to do my makeup, I got my ears pierced, I wore dresses sometimes, skirts more of the time and styled my hair. I’m not saying these things are necessarily feminine but for me, I equated those experiences with that gender role. I’m not sure I ever felt comfortable dressing that way. I went to a family wedding and dressed up nice and in a dress, but it didn’t feel like me. I may have to invest in a nice pair of dress pants or something different.

Here’s a video that makes the concept easier to digest:

I am still coming to terms with things like pronouns. I know that she/her makes me uncomfortable. I just haven’t decided what I want to replace that with. I’m not sure if they/them would work for me.

I also don’t like terms like “pretty girl”, anything to do with “lady” or “m’am”. There’s just a feeling of not being able to relate that comes off pretty strongly for me. I’m not really sure what about it bugs me so much. I guess when you have something this deep-seeded and it’s been manifesting for so long, there’s a point in which a decision has to be made to live your truth. I’m starting to learn how to LIVE MY TRUTH.

I realize there’s probably a lot of places where I refer to myself with female pronouns and other female identifying words, so please don’t call me out on that. This is a work in progress and i am in a stage of my life where a lot of things are changing and patience is an exceptional virtue.

I definitely needed to get this out and share this with my readers. I know that sometimes there’s quite a bit of time between my posts. I often have to wait for that perfect moment where I can sit down, write and unleash all the thoughts that are building up in my mind. It’s a perfect release.

Expanding my art offerings!

Things have been so crazy lately! I sometimes get on random art tangents and i’m able to create things I didn’t think were possible.

A lot of people have been asking about me getting my art on merchandise and I just didn’t like the options until I found a good one – so now i’m able to offer art on all kinds of applications.

This is my favourite:

Here are some bag designs currently in my shop.

I hope you have a chance to check out my etsy and my facebook page for updates on me.

Oh, I also have a meeting with a couple fellow Autistics who have asked me to join, to talk to an organization I currently have come concerns about and have written about. This will be a first for me.

-Margaux