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A woman with a little baby in a baby carriage.
Takes seat with her mother in an outside restaurant.
They start chatting.
I start eating my meal.
Another woman takes seat with her son close to the carriage.
She sits, touching it with her back.
She lights a cigarette.
The smoke streams into the pram.
Streams and streams and streams.
The mother watches.
I am suffocating. Can’t speak. Can’t scream. The meal stuck in my throat.
The cigarette-woman has smoked almost all of it. Into the baby’s lungs.
Finally the mother gets up, turning the pram around.
The smoker squints over her shoulder and it almost looks a little snooty.
I don’t know, if I get the situation here.
Everyone saw the smoke floating into the baby’s face. The talk was more important, the food was more important, the sitting place was more important and the cigarette was more important; more important than a baby, who could not do anything about it.
And I am just the autistic. I do not have a clue. Because I am less empathic.
Summer season started. People are celebrating at warm evenings.
They are inviting guests to their homes.
They arrive after work, around eight o’clock p.m. .
In the middle of the week.
They start chatting.
They turn the music louder, otherwise they won’t hear it, because of the loud talking.
They now shout, because otherwise they won’t understand each other, for the music has concert volume.
Someone closes the window with a bam!
Someone opens a window and angrily yells: “Hello?!”, then closes the window.
I also renounce the fresh air while sleeping.
Sleeping? Gosh, it’s 1:00 a.m. and I am not sleeping. Tomorrow’s friday and I’ll have to do some hard tasks, like going to strange places, talking to strange people, hoping my selective mutism wouldn’t catch me, which mutes me off now, in front of my neighbor.
The child above my appartment woke up too, now rumbles sleepless across the floor.
2:00 a.m., the party’s still going.
House rules, house rules….it echoes in my head. My heart beats fast, so full of anger, until I finally fall asleep.
Four days a week on average it goes like this.
It is normal, that the rest needy pay for the fun of a majority.
I don’t know, if I got the situation here.
But I am just the autistic. I do not have a clue. Because I am less empathic.
I just think, empathy ain’t worth anything without active participation.
By Cynthia Kim
Behavior is communication.
This has become a catchphrase in the autism community. And for good reason. It’s certainly true.
A child runs from a store and experts assure the frustrated parent that behavior is communication.
A parent asks for advice about why their recently diagnosed child bursts into tears at bathtime and experienced parents nod in sympathy. “Behavior is communication,” they say.
A child refuses to eat anything but raw carrots and pancakes and the child’s occupational therapist isn’t the least bit surprised. Behavior is communication.
A child flaps at a wind-up toy that’s stopped moving and the experts . . . somberly intone that the child doesn’t know how to communicate . . . that he isn’t aware of the adults around him and is “trapped in his own world”, unable to share his joy with others.
An adult walks away…
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“Everything is okay, Beth”, they tell her.
“Look at all the things you’ve got!”, they tell her.
Beth is a 24 years old Kanner autistic woman, who loves coffee, Michael Jackson and painting flowers all day. She works in an art and handcrafting studio for disabled people and likes it a lot.
But when the clock turns 3 pm, her face gets a different expression. She says: “I’m gonna miss you.”
“I’m gonna come see you again, Beth.”, I answer.
“But I am always alone.”
I know. I am autistic myself. There can be great people around you, they’ll always try to support a disability instead of you, the autistic. They get, that you have needs that differ from their own. And those are so exhausting and impossible to cover up. So they’d forget about understanding them.
But they’d never get the point to support you, like a friend, a daughter, or a partner and let you experience the same understanding. Because thinking in different patterns and using the heart to listen, ain’t an option.
Their exhaustion places on top of the communications agenda they note for you.
And so you’ll be left with those halfly hearted words.
“But it’s not true; you’re not alone.”
“But your xyz loves you!”
No. They don’t love me. They love me in their minds. They love me in a fairytale.
But the love you experience in your everyday life is a privilege, I will never get.
And so Beth comes to work, starting to cry.
“My mom has so much things to do,
my mom can’t help me either.”
Her mom has so much things to do since years. She did not visit the studio in between a time period of two years.
She came to see two exhibitions of her daughter, telling the people stupid nonsense about autism (don’t know the heck where she catched it…Autism Speaks?). The rest of the time she spends to sooth Beth’s anger about sitting home alone every single afternoon, stimming time away, and it turns to depression.
Will they ever understand?
Let’s face the truth, they will always see disablity and forget about getting to know the person, learning, talking to you…
They will stop explaining things, once they failed.
They will touch you like a piece of wood and wonder about your stimming or your overload over and over again.
They will stop interacting with you.
They will make you live the curse of a loveless life,
until the day they might get special needs.
But wait…I am wrong! I don’t have a loveless life.
Ironically it’s Beth who gives me the feeling of true love and support. For some little moments in a long life time, I finally feel completely seen and taken and loved as and for the person I am.
She does not need to say “I love you.” She does.
And that’s what makes her a part of my life.
Parents, friends, partners…they passed me running in anxcious cry for help.
Now I grew up without them.
Now I let them run.