The venom of awareness

It’s my first April publicly identifying as Autistic. I have very deliberately over the past few years made sure I do not expose myself to the negative rhetoric that goes on, but this year it has been brought to me in a very personal way through a hateful comment left on my blog.

The comment will not be published, as I caught it due to my moderation safeguards, and will not approve it. No one will see it, except the person who wrote it, and me.

I saw it.

I can’t un-see it.

It is horrific both in its venom and in its predictability. And I have to say, even though I knew what to expect, and even though I know who I am, what I am and what I am not, it has shaken me.

It is incredibly confronting to be told so clearly what is thought of you and people you love, as though your life does not matter and your feelings are inconsequential.

This is what awareness gets us. Hatred, discrimination, and bile that should be directed at an intolerant society instead hurled at us one carefully chosen vindictive word at a time.

I won’t settle for it. I will fight it every day until I can see it shift, until I do not worry that my children will have to face it.

I will do what it takes to protect myself, I will toughen up, I will carry on. But I will not let peoples ugly hatred of diversity stop me from speaking about what is right.

One week of April down, three to go.

Solidarity to all my Autistic friends. We deserve better. We will see better.



11 thoughts on “The venom of awareness

  1. Dear Michelle—You are nothing short of amazing to me! Since I discovered your blog and FB page, you are my daily shot of courage and inspiration. As my journey of self-diagnoses is daunting and I feel so closeted, you give me hope–and as I raise my beloved autistic kids– I am a fierce advocate for their rights and the rights of a community that I adore. Please be heartened…the hate tries to tear us all down, but love will rule and the truth will always set us free. You are appreciated and so valuable for so many of us! My very best, Joni

  2. I had no idea what I’d be stepping into when I “came out” autistic. But what else can I do if I want to contribute to the common good? I write my words as honestly as I can, and I won’t settle, either.

  3. Much sympathy. I’ve been diagnosed autistic for 7 years, I’m now 49. This year seems worse than ever in its hatred, but equally autistics have been standing up for themselves and saying not in my name, and that has been very positive. Best wishes and keep,doing what you are doing

  4. Often times people who leave vitriolic comments are trolls hoping to cause a “chimp out” or angry response to screencap and make fun of. You defeated them by not publishing the comment. They live for reactions and people who throw insults at them.

    Silence takes their power away. They like noisy targets.

    Unfortunately, younger people can’t handle trolls well and things go downhill. I hate trolls, they’re so boring.

    Good on ya for standing up for your beliefs and yourself! 🙂

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