Defiantly Here

Six weeks or so ago, I packed my brain back into its box, closed down Un-Boxed Brain and left all social media.

I was done. I was finished. I was broken.

I thought that that was the end of blogging about being autistic for me. I thought that because I was told in no uncertain terms that I didn’t deserve a seat at the table – and I believed that.

This morning, I woke up and realised that the person who said that literally has no authority to decide who gets to sit at the damn table.

What’s more: I don’t even want to sit at that table.

I started this site to explore my neurodivergence. I started writing to unpack the stuff that comes with growing up autistic without being aware of that. The little internalised comments about how I’m not good enough, how I will never amount to anything, how I can never complete anything, how I am too lazy to ever fulfil my potential, … I could go on and on.

I didn’t start this site to be an activist. People started calling me an activist, and I started feeling as though I had to fulfil the role of activist.

I needed to deliver. I was under pressure to deliver. I was under pressure to make sure that every time something related to autistic rights happened, I wrote about it.

I was burning out, but I couldn’t release myself from the pressure I was feeling. To compound this, I don’t blog anonymously so most people know my name, and while my blog is still a reflection of me, some people seem to think that this is all I am.

I am more than an autistic blogger. I am a whole person. I have needs for space and down time. I have needs to sit among friends and ask questions on my private Facebook profile without it blowing up into an online battle of epic proportions because my questions seem to somehow be interpreted as a form of activism.

My questions, when I ask why the fuck we do things the way we do them, aren’t activism. They aren’t moral judgements. All they are is my attempt to understand the meaning of things.

So, this morning, I woke up and decided that I had had enough of hiding, licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself. Asking a question isn’t doing anything wrong. Being angry because the world is generally a shitty place isn’t wrong. I did nothing wrong.

And now I’m back, but before I’m truly back, I have a few things to say:

I am not an activist.

I might talk about human rights, but I do not have the social or economic capital required for activism. I write because I want other autistic people to know that they are not alone, and I write because I want non-autistic people to realise that autistic people are perfectly ok just the way we are.

I am sorry to my friends.

When I was at my lowest point, I needed to disconnect and hide. In doing that, I know that I let friends who were also hurting down. I am sorry for that.

I am not sorry for asking about the meaning of safety pins after Brexit.

That was the question I asked on my personal FB profile. I will do it again and again and again. If something doesn’t make sense to me, and if I can’t figure out the point of it, I will ask. Maybe someone can tell me and maybe they can’t, but it’s the only way I know of to learn. So, I am totally not sorry for that. I am sorry that the result of that was that some people decided I wasn’t worth knowing anymore, but I’m also not sorry. I’m glad that they decided to fuck off out of my life. Now I know that the people who are still here are actually here for a reason.

Yes, it’s deliciously ironic that a safety pin almost tore me to pieces.