In my mind, I am taller. The meaningless, enraging misuse cringes away from me like I cringe away from the inevitable result of it in reality, and I furiously backhand it to the ground, stand over it with bunched fists, silently scream “not autism!” at it, a chopped-off stand-in for the things I can’t consciously articulate that thunder through veinlike channels in my mind.
Outside, I pause in my reading for a second, and continue past the words. This detail-fixated, autistic perception. The battle autism. I hate them all. I hate them in a distant, ethereal chip of me that contains an ocean storm of vitriolic acid for a split-second every time one suprises me.
They leap out of the page and hit me with a crystal wall of shock, steal and appropriate what I am and make it fit into their fiction by tearing it apart and pulling out the meaning.
Like a living building in Arcadia endlessly renovated by architects without proportion or logic to their designs, it is cut and twisted and compressed by them until it fits whatever puzzle-piece gap in their fictional mosaic that they needed a cheap scare term for, dragged and trampled and shredded like an old trailing rag until it’s just two broad brackets with a confused haze of contradicting meaning between them instead of a metal origami shape of planes, edges and clarity.
My identity, the thing that has defined my life and defines it still, the way I think and feel, the only thing fundamentally and utterly me, stripped down into a single stereotyped element for the purposes of some ignorant wordsmith who felt like appropriating a disability and just. Didn’t. Care. Didn’t care to think that one of *those* people might be reading, care to research, care to do something people never seem to do on their own and think.
I know, I know.
I judge you harshly.
You didn’t know. You thought you knew, you didn’t research the ideas you got from TV, movies and books, and how were you to know that an industry that runs on convenient misreprsentation could conveniently misrepresent autism. You care, you just went on the information of the last person who didn’t care. Or maybe you don’t care still.
Maybe you’re ready to dismiss this with the quasi-academic scoffing of someone who complains of “political correctness” when asked to stop appropriating a concept that doesn’t belong to them or speaking on a matter they’re ignorant of, that overwhelming flood of scorn and contempt and harshness and illogical concepts, so many concepts, in an assaulting wave that overwhelms my ability to think, though I’ve disproved each in smaller groups.
I’ve come to expect that. So no, perhaps (likely) you’re not ready to realize what you did with your careless word yet. So let’s talk about other people. They don’t care about autism because they think they know about autism, and so they don’t research autism, they care more for reading books or watching movies in their free time.
They read books and watch movies, I am afraid, written by authors like you. Perhaps you begin to see my point forming. They do exactly what you did and think of the ignorant notions of the last person who didn’t care when they think of autism. And some of those people? Some of those people will write books, or direct movies. Some of these books or movies will touch on autism.
But what’s so bad about that, correct them, it’s a load of PC whining! you perhaps (likely) cry.
What’s so bad about that, author, is that I don’t fucking exist to most people, and you can’t fucking well consider someone who doesn’t fucking exist. You can’t diagnose hir when cie is a serious, hypersensitive little 9 year old with the vocabulary of an academic. You can’t tell hir why cie is so different in a thousand covert, terrible ways from the accepted norm.
Cie can’t work it out, because cie just can’t be autistic, cie can relate to other living beings, a bit, and cie has no attention to detail that cie has forgotten, which is most of it. No, cie is just broken from abuse and a monster from not being taught better than to take part, and cie should really just stop living. Tell me, author, if you hadn’t washed or changed your clothes for a few weeks, how disgusting would you feel?
I felt about a fraction more disgusting than a broken, awful thing like myself was already, and it was worth it to not look at myself. How bad is that, author? Is it bad enough? Try a few years of it. Try having days where you know that you will walk to that window and fall if you see your face in that mirror.
But I forgive you, author. I forgive you for this cycle of ignorance, as long as you understand what you and people like you did and you take your part in not doing it again. For the price of a few hours of caring, of educating yourself, perhaps something in the non-fiction prologue to your next book that will do something opposite to what you’ve already contributed to.
For the price of you not rationalizing the bullshit excuse I expect to hear from you, that you’ll use to avoid confronting this and run away.