Defying Stereotypes Since 1976

Posts tagged ‘understanding’

#LoveNotFear Flashblog Event Today

Greetings, WWA readers!

Today is the #LoveNotFear flashblog event in which autistics, family, friends, and allies are invited to share their thoughts on what the statement “love not fear” means to each of us. The event is a creation of the Boycott Autism Speaks movement. I’ve chosen to participate to help indeed spread love, and not fear, and thus help promote a greater and better understanding of autism.

I’m sharing a poem for this event, “The Sky Belongs to All of Us”, which is up at my Raven’s Wing Poetry blog and the #LoveNotFear blog will also be publishing many fine write-ups by autistics and their allies today on this theme.

Speaking of which…for a very long time, I have felt that my best way of self-advocating as well as promoting understanding, not to mention the very act of activism in and of itself, is through my art. I am a poet — I speak best in verse. Some of you may have noticed that I have not posted very much here at Woman With Asperger’s for a while. My art is taking over my life, and in a way that’s a good thing.

I will be making a public announcement in more details about my plans for Woman With Asperger’s in the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy the articles and things that are here, and please keep commenting! I will try my best to respond soon.

-Nicole

Isolation, Loneliness, and the Angry Aspie? An Open Letter to the World and My Readers

While I have always tried to be truthful and revelatory when writing posts for this blog, in this post I am probably speaking with the most candor, bluntness, and with the rawest language I have used in a long time. I don’t see the need for a trigger warning, except that I am speaking about negative events and feelings I have been keeping private for a long time. Also, I will be using more profanity that my readers are used to seeing here on WWA. If that doesn’t scare you, read on. I should warn you that some of this may not read very cohesively and might seem like a very long rant, but I have had a need for a long time to say some of these things.

Isolation and Loneliness
When I was a little girl, I was a veritable chatterbox. Some of my earliest memories from around age five or six involve inundating other children, people my family knew, and my own parents with an explosion of words – what I was thinking or feeling, what I had been reading, things I’d seen earlier in the day that I thought were really marvelous, spectacular, or even beautiful, and so forth. I’m even guessing that some of these were lengthy descriptions of something related to my Aspie “special interests”. I remember Dad having to tell me to stop chatting and eat my food at dinner, as I would stop eating at some points and just start talking.

You probably wouldn’t think that the above description fits me if you were to meet me today. Yes, it is true that I can be very opinionated and expressive. In the past, I’ve not hesitated to “put myself out there” in terms of my poetry, my experiences with being an Aspie, or other things that interest me (anyone that’s chatted with me online about The Doors can attest to this). However, within the last few years I have been finding myself feeling more isolated and lonely than I have since I was a teenager in the small town in which I grew up, trying to negotiate the social landscape.

Believing that it was not wise to allow too much personal information about myself on the Internet, I chose not to speak of my experiences and feelings in this regard until now. In and of itself, this would not be a big deal. However, events were going on in mine and my fiancé’s lives that only worked to add distrust and paranoia to our already growing sense isolation. Our family was certainly of no help and in many cases, caused the very problems we were experiencing. Other events upon which I do not care to elaborate began to make us feel even less secure and more fearful. Although it may not seem obvious to those who know me from the autism and poetry communities, I was beginning to feel the need to close myself off and withdraw. And that, my friends, was where I began to lose the idea that I understood or had a true grasp on reality.

What does this have to do with autism or Asperger’s? Plenty. I’m sure there are many autistics or Aspies reading this right now who can identify with the feelings of isolation and loneliness of which I speak. While I fight for the emphasis of the positive things that autism can bring to our lives – our unique talents and gifts that enrich ourselves, our families, and our societies – I also believe in authenticity and honesty in revealing my personal and unique autistic experience. We need to be honest about the loneliness and isolation we may feel plus the difficulties we experience while navigating a neurotypical world. I figure it’s been long overdue for me to talk about this in my own life.

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Aside

Poetry for Autism Awareness, Acceptance, and Understanding

Since I self-diagnosed myself in early 2010, I’ve been writing poems about autism and Asperger’s in order to understand them, as well as myself, and to make sense of what being autistic means. As part of both Autism Awareness/Acceptance/Understanding Month as well as during National Poetry Month, I’ve written some more poems about autism and Asperger’s.

You can read these poems over at Raven’s Wing Poetry, and I’ve gathered them all in one category to allow for easy finding.  Some of these are password protected, so you’ll need to hit me up either via comment moderation, Twitter, or the contact information on Raven’s Wing Poetry if you’d like the password to read them (I did this so that they are not considered “published” and thus I would still be able to submit them to journals or other markets).

Happy reading!

-Nicole

I Am One Woman. One Woman With Autism.

I am one woman.

Who am I? I could be your coworker…your next door neighbor…your best friend…your classmate…your teacher…your student…your secretary…your boss. I could be your mother…your daughter…your sister…your lover…your wife.

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Putting the Awe in Autism: My Poem on TV and Other Thoughts

Note: this post is modified from a post which originally appeared on Raven’s Wing Poetry.

First, an announcement: an excerpt of the video of my poem, “You Don’t See It”, was featured in a Long Island TV FIOS segment about Awe In Autism.

The segment has been posted on MyLITV’s website in two videos. Part 1 features Awe In Autism, its founders (Deborah French and Kim Covell), and some of the work featured on the site, include the excerpt of my poem. Part 2 features “for dylan”, a song and music video which the founders call “the song behind the Awe in Autism” project.

In and amongst this bit of news and self-promotion, I feel the need to express a couple of things. First of all, if I haven’t said it before, my thanks and gratitude go to Awe in Autism for giving the opportunity for my poetry, namely “You Don’t See It”, to be featured on their site. AWE has given many autistic artists, musicians, poets, and others an opportunity to have their work seen, heard, and accessed. Also, as Kim Covell states in the first video, artists with autism often have a harder time self-promoting, and while I’ve gotten used to it thanks to the Internet, I must say I still find the task daunting sometimes. I am grateful for the opportunity for my work to reach a wider audience and go beyond this blog thanks to AWE.

Secondly, as I have said before, “You Don’t See It” is probably my best statement and expression to the world of what having Aspergers/being autistic is like. The experience of self-discovery and acceptance has been joyful and at times painful and overwhelming — but probably the most significant thing I could say is that is has been enlightening. And through it all, the craft of writing and poetry have been a conduit and a means for this journey.

Writing is my native language. I am much, much better at the written word than I am at oral communication: there are times that my tongue fails, but praise God my pen does not. This is part of my reality as an autistic person, and is true for many others. The poetry helps me say what sometimes my lips cannot. I hope I have given you, the readers of WWA, at least a glimpse or a peek at what that reality — and my reality as a whole — is. I also hope that through the writings on this blog, both prose and poetry, that I have reached you, moved you, connected with you, made you think, and most of all, made you feel.

Finally, please consider not only watching the videos of the segment but visiting Awe in Autism to see the vast, wonderful spectrum of art by creative and talented autistic individuals. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed, but amazed at the breadth of expression the site has to offer.

Saludos,

Nicole

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