I don’t like to talk much. And judging by how much I bare my soul here, you’d probably think I was lying, but that’s only because I don’t have to initiate a face-to-face conversation with you. Not that I wouldn’t in real life, but it’s FAR simpler through WordPress. Anyway, backwards organizations like Autism Speaks portrays Aspergian silence as a the mark of the beast, proof that we are mentally deranged and unable to function in the normal world.
(I have a job that is nothing BUT talking to people. Suck that, Suzanne Wright.)
As someone with aspergers, I can tell you for a fact that our silence is something else entirely. Does it make us seem unapproachable? Only if you believe the lies of the medical profession. I’ve had people all my life come up and tell me how kind and sweet I am, so I guess the silence isn’t as debilitating as they’d make you think.
My aspergian silence (I prefaced it with aspergers because it’s different from a normal person’s silence) serves as protection. People are inherently afraid of the quiet ones. I can tune out chatter and listen to what might be getting overlooked, and that gives me an essential head start over everyone else. And it’s a blessing, too, because I struggle reading nonverbal cues, so I need every bit of help I can get. My silence also serves as the “angel/devil on your shoulder”. I can be discouraged or encouraged to/from people simply because of the silent. Rather than making immediate conversation and getting lost in them, where obvious problems can be missed, I sometimes take weeks (If it’s in a group setting) to talk to others because, for me, silence is like a police sketch artist. I can determine what kind of person you really are by standing away from everyone. Maybe I’ve done that to one of you on here (my apologies, it’s just how I function). Because of this superpower, I’ve been able to avoid toxic relationships.
My silence isn’t just protection, though. It also serves as the backdrop of my creative self. There’s nothing more I enjoy than quietly watching scenes unfold. Not too long, though, because then you might look like a stalker, but just long enough to appreciate the moment. I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately. Appreciating where I am, when I am. I feel more connected when I’m in the moment, and my poetry reflects it. (I’ve also been sleeping better)
Organizations like Autism Speaks won’t tell you this, because few of them are #ActuallyAutistic. They don’t want awareness, they don’t want change. They just want your donations. But I’m different. I want not just awareness, but activism. I want autistics talking about their strengths and weaknesses. I want autistics sharing their life stories, stories of defeat, but also of victory. Wearing blue doesn’t do shit for us, but talking to us, learning about us, that’s special. That’s real. I hope you all are enjoying this series of posts, and if you have any other ideas for topics you’d like me to discuss, leave it in the comments below.