Brand Awareness At Our Expense

When a brand like Mortgage Tree runs a contest and they utilize an Artist that is NOT AUTISTIC for a campaign, red flags are raised immediately.

There are SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH THIS. Can you spot them all?

A contest is being run and prizes are available to those they choose. There’s not many restrictions as to who can enter.

When I say this has a lot to do with branding, Crystal Salamon deleted her original case study which revealed that only about $60 has been spent on paid ads when this campaign was run in 2017. That’s right: she’s been at it for years.

I have posted negative reviews on both Crystal’s facebook page and Mortgage Tree as well. With Mortgage tree, that lead to a very uncomfortable conversation through private messages which I try to avoid.

They’ve also VINYL WRAPPED A CAR (which was revealed after this conversation)

For more information on this campaign:

Of course, there’s plenty more links that include all the twitter and instagram pages as well as a search for their hashtags. They’ve got all their bases covered. The youtube videos are pretty bad too.

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Acceptance, please?

I’m laying in bed right now, trying to desperately turn off my active mind. It’s nearly impossible to do.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As April 1st comes to a close, i’m already struggling to come to terms with this month and the ignorance i’ve already encountered. Twitter is the place to go when you desire controversy and i’m no stranger to that.

I reside in British Columbia and we are synonymous with the NHL team, The Vancouver Canucks. Many people find them to be a source of pride and optimism, even to go so far as to say they represent Vancouver. I believed that for a long time until I became aware of the Canucks Autism Network.

It’s a great thing to want to support Autistic people but it’s another thing to utilize the puzzle piece and incorporate material sourced from Autism Speaks. They also use strange language like “families with autism” in their marketing materials. I feel like the #1 resource for those who organize these events and create the foundation for these networks and charities should be an Autistic person or even a group of Autistic people. To me, that simply is common sense.

The way these events are structured, there is a strong emphasis on family and children. A lot of the time Autistic adults are left out and not even considered. It’s as if they believe Autistic adults don’t exist. Hello! We’re here. We exist. We have opinions, thoughts, feelings that we would love to share with you. We’re human too!

I also saw that they are working with Microsoft’s Vancouver Office. For a while, I wanted to reach out and collaborate with Microsoft and I couldn’t even find a viable way to contact the right department. I was given a telephone number, I tried to exhaust internal contacts and I couldn’t get to the right person. I wonder if it’s purposely inaccessible? Microsoft has a program to hire Autistic people and yet the company is virtually unreachable.

Between Canucks Autism Network, Autism Support BC and Surf’s Up For Autism, amongst many others, we continue to be coloured blue and puzzled. I feel as though they don’t know the negative connotations or simply don’t care. If you want to help us, ask us. Put it out there on twitter. Have a focus group with Autistic people of different ages. ASK US FIRST. If you’re running a contest with a colouring page for Autism, hire an Autistic artist.

Autism Awareness Month SUCKS.

It’s ALMOST HERE GUYS, the time of the year I absolutely freakin’ hate. Did you know that Autism Speaks even has a whole guide of how to use their logo? (They took down the website but I linked a cached version because they can’t outsmart me!)

There’s mortgage companies running contests complete with puzzle pieces and artwork done by a non-autistic person.

It’s also the time of the year that my local car dealership puts up some heinous banner on the inside and outside of their building.

There’s also pretty crude donors, ignorant ambassadors, poorly thought out sponsorships and William Shatner’s gaslighting of Autistics on Twitter amongst all the things we already have to deal with.

Here’s what you can do instead:

Here are some pertinent links about why Autism Speaks & April is so bad:

Seeking Member Submissions

for the Made By Autistics Community! I am starting a website and may buy a domain name soon (if I can afford it!). I would love to feature more people.

https://madebyautistics.wordpress.com/members/

Join us on Facebook. The community page will have more information on how to submit.

The Crippling Severity Of Mental Illness

I have always been very open about the mental illnesses I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. I’m not trying to plan a “pity party” or attract negative attention to myself. I’m just trying to find a way to decompress, even if it’s just temporary.

The tension in my chest feels like a bubble that you can’t pop. It sits in my chest, nestled right above my breasts in the centre. it’s below my neck. I am tense.

I can’t think very straight. Recently, I made a very abrupt, irrational decisions to approach a person from my past and said things I don’t mean. Just today I was working in a poor employment condition and I blamed it on myself. I quit the work I was doing because I started internalizing everything that was going on and felt that if I resigned, that was me taking the blame for what was going on and being responsible, even though what was happening was mostly beyond my control. I don’t feel very good. I also feel as though i’m lacking any intellectual value.

I wish I had the option of having an “away from keyboard” moment for my life. I just need the opportunity to disconnect and relax. I can’t seem to do that. The sound of a text message, the sick feeling I get when I anticipate a negative response through an email or even just how I feel when people are impolite towards me – it makes me physically ill. I’m talking about: blurred vision, profuse sweating, vision distortion, light sensitivity, a feeling of dizziness/wobbliness, nausea and headache. I used to cry a lot as a child. I had a reputation for it and looking back, it was my body’s coping and defense mechanism.

It emotionally hurts me when I try so hard to communicate and clarify things I am saying and the response I am met with is an eye roll. I already feel like just speaking and having to “think on the fly” is the worst way for me to get my thoughts out. Whether it’s in person or on the phone, my mind hits in to overdrive and I start flapping my lips. The thought process is skewed and the results are not always becoming.

I spend time at home, hanging out with my cats. I sleep a lot. I’m trying to do positive things that will make a difference, but the worry is always still there in the forefront of my mind. The obsessive tendencies I have, like checking/looking for things, thinking about misplaced items and other repetitive thoughts are worsening. The flashbacks of my traumatic youth interject themselves in things as simple as self-care routines, which is a detrimental setback. The fact I can’t take a bubble bath without these visions of being verbally abused is a really painful reminder that I still have so far to go. I am not hesitant to find a professional to help me through these things, I just don’t know where to start. It would be nice to have that chance without being reprimanded and grilled on all the things I discussed.

Even if I don’t have a visible wound, I am still badly hurting inside.

Made By Autistics!

After being beaten down this week (see my last two posts) and feeling absolutely hellish, I wanted to do something good, something creative and something NICE!

I have found there to be a severe lack of opportunity for my Art locally and I can only imagine that other people have felt the same so I created the Made By Autistics Marketplace on facebook to give people the chance to sell their art, wares and other things they’ve created to anybody willing to join the group. I coined the phrase “By Autistic People For Everyone” to really outline what i’m going for.

I would love for you to join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/MadeByAutistics/

Time for me to boycott.

If I say I don’t want to be on the phone then please respect me.

I have been dealing with some of the worst customer service I think i’ve ever experienced in my life. I visited a popular shoe store that is geared towards youth with popular brands like Vans and Converse, to name a few.

It takes a lot out of me, energy-wise to even get out of bed, get ready, and leave the house. I decided to go to the mall – which I rarely do and it was a huge mistake.

I walked in to this store, the teenage sales associates were standing around, three of them, conversing. I actually had to interrupt their conversation to ask a question. No one wants to have to do that. It also was a Sunday and I was the only customer in the store. The last time I went to this mall and walked by this store, their sales associate was sitting on the cash table, legs dangling down towards the entrance. This should have been a red flag, but it wasn’t.

I wrote both their social media and their email and received form email responses. Nothing says “I don’t care about your patronage” by copying and pasting a pretty generic message – especially after spending the time to actually file a complaint and give them room to rectify the issue. From what i’ve read, it seems like their customer service, generally speaking, is pretty awful.

There was a few other issues, but i’ll spare you the details.

What really gets me from all these interactions is that someone from head office called me and our conversation went sour, fast:

  • Her: Hi this is __ at Journeys , who am I speaking to?
  • Me: It’s Margaux calling you back
  • Her: So I know you’ve spoken with Ryan, or social media team etc and i’m just not sure…(i can’t remember the rest)
  • Me: Yes. I don’t feel comfortable on the phone, can you email me?
  • Her: I’ll be short with it
  • Me: I’m on the Autism Spectrum, i’m really not comfortable on the phone, can you email me?
  • Her: I’m sorry, i’ll do that

Well, that email never came. I decided to contact the highest-up person I had been corresponding with through email and I was shocked at the response:

This was the response I received back

I was already visibly upset and after receiving this response I feel even worse now – but that’s not the first time they have refused to respect an Autistic Person:



I’ve also read cases of racial profiling, emails being ignored, product fulfillment gone wrong and a lot of customers vowing to never shop there again.

This makes me pose a pretty important question, If you are getting NEGATIVE feedback from Customers, wouldn’t you want to address them personally, rectify the issue, LEARN from it and improve? I don’t think it matters because their quarterly profits increased and in the end that’s all that is important to them.What you can do to help:

What you can do to help:

The unsavoury world of celebrity influence

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Celebrities – you know them. They can be kind, generous, and approachable. They can also be crude, negative and bigheaded. In this case, the latter applies.

Yesterday was an absolute firestorm on twitter and it all started with a joke: Someone posed the question of what they should wear when going to meet William Shatner. Someone else responded by saying “A Boycott Autism Speaks Shirt!”. William personally found this tweet and followed it up with the tweet you see here.

Victoria responded and Shatner viewed that as a threat – which is completely ironic due to the statement he made in the above tweet.

It also appears that this is not the first time he has become very hostile towards someone who was asking a very genuine question about their Autistic child.

I wonder where his publicist is and how his unprofessional behaviour has not reached the mainstream media. If you are going to attack a marginalized group of people, defend Autism Speaks and expect that the #ActuallyAutistic community is going to be quiet, you’ve got another thing coming. A lot of his fans are blindly following him and hanging on to his every word, without doing research on the subject. They are attacking us and creating an extremely stressful environment because of their perceived allyship to Mr. Shatner. I would only hope that asking for donations to ASAN would be welcomed, but sadly that is just not the case.

Bold opinions and unnecessary apologies

I added to my anxiety today and it was my own fault. At this moment I am waiting for a bus and the sun is beaming down on the back of my legs. This long awaited warmth is not eclipsing my overwhelming feel of regret and embarrassment.

I learned a very big lesson today: I don’t ever have to apologize for offending people in regard to my strong, personal beliefs. 

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com
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Birch + Fog Review

I was provided me with a gift card to put towards the products of my choice and the opinions are my own.

Birch + Fog is a rising star in the online cannabis space. They provide the ease of shopping at home and having it delivered to your doorstep in a very quick fashion. They are Vancouver based and have a very luxe feel to their website and marketing strategies. There are lots of unique products I have never seen before.

With that being said, there are a few things they can work on. I’m not sure what legal grey area they operate in. I don’t believe they have any government licensing. At this point, their location of operation is untracable. The packaging is very vague and there is no certification on the products i’ve seen.

In terms of flower being sold, The Roll Model CBD Mango Haze says it’s 60% Sativa/40% indica and lab tested. It does not indicate what dispensary has grown the flower. I have purchased this same strain from the government and the percentages of CBD & THC are different and it indicates it’s a Sativa. Perhaps each individual grower comes out with different statistics on their products when they are tested? I’m not sure.

The customer service is very friendly, but they do need to work on their communication time. I found that the facebook discussions I had left something to be desired and the auto-reply becomes very redundant. Probably best to contact them directly.

I’m not saying it’s all bad but I wanted to write a realistic view of the experience I personally had. Some people want to support indie companies and NOT the Government and I completely understand. I wish we, as a whole, would embrace these small businesses so that they can grow, flourish, hire more people and continue to improve.

If you’re interested in purchasing from them and testing it out for yourself, the website is www.birchandfog.com and you can use my coupon code NAVIGATINGLIFE for $20 off your very first order!