Autism Awareness Month is going to sweep over us again, like a nauseating sludge – engulfing, choking, terrorising.
Awareness? Just like the cockroach in the room that one becomes aware of, that’s as far as it goes, this ‘awareness’ exercise. And autistic persons are being treated accordingly.
Parents, Siblings, Teachers, Peers, Autism Organisations… the list goes on… and round and round in dizzying concentric circles…
You write books detailing my vulnerabilities, my meltdowns, telling the world how terribly inept I am, using my dirt and mess as stark contrasting juxtaposition to your shining, glittery ‘suffering’. You can be you, this is you, this is how you deal with things, this is how you talk, this is how you react, this is just what is, so take it or leave it, but I cannot be me, because you are feeding me, housing me, and so you own my existence.
You kill me, it is murder, but because I am autistic, you become a hero instead, and the media is in a pity-party frenzy, not for me, but for you.
Do I even realise how stressed you are, having to care for my every need? Oh yes, I do. I am aware of much more than you care to even know about me. But what I think and how I feel are not at all important to you.
When autistic people protest, you tell us: Stop the drama!
When I try to explain myself to you, you tell me: Stop arguing!
When autistic people ask to be paid for work done, you tell us: Stop making demands, we ought to be grateful that you are going to great lengths to organise events on our behalf!
When I try to share my hopes and dreams, you mock me: Stop being ridiculous! You can’t even take care of yourself, what are you talking about?
Is my voice so broken? Are my words so devoid of sense? Is my Beingness so utterly despicable or laughable that you must use puzzle pieces to symbolise me? Or are you just not wanting to know my thoughts, not interested at all in who I am, because YOU are all there is and I simply should not exist? Without you, I am nothing. I cannot tie my own shoelaces. I cannot earn enough money to feed myself. Or… I cannot even feed myself. So I have nothing valuable to say. It is Autism Awareness Month, and you are making all the awareness on my behalf.
Cockroach in the Room. I am already much aware that you are aware of me. Awareness is a behemoth – overwhelming, overpowering, tyrannical – no room for negotiation, not even gentle co-existence. The Autistic is persona non grata. Deemed useless, hapless in the swirling vortex of Awareness.
Bring out the cockroach spray. Get the brooms ready.
We do not need more awareness, really, do we? We already are your filthy little cockroaches in the pristine normative room. And you are swatting and spraying at us every single day anyway. Let’s just do away with the pretext, shall we? Scrap Autism Awareness Month. We’ve been aware of your awareness for a very long time already.