I Am Autism – A New Take

Oh gods. Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods.

Today, I heard about Autism Speak’s video called “I Am Autism”.

Short rundown: Autism Speaks is a charity that tries to bring awareness about autism and tries to fund money for a cure and whatever. Not exactly popular with people who HAVE autism, because of the “autism is all evil and needs to be CURED!” thing. You guys could Google it if you’re curious.

And of course, in their activism campaign, they come up with videos that’s rather, for lack of a better word, insensitive.

Case in point: transcript for “I Am Autism” (there was a video, but apparently it was taken down after outcry).

Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.

That just makes my skin crawl. I’m also shaking, although nowadays I can’t tell if it’s because I need to switch to a lower dosage of levothyroxine or whether it’s horror or whether it’s from sitting in a chair for several hours.

So, out of protest, I feel the need to provide a counter viewpoint from someone who has autism herself.

Please note that this is NOT representative of all autistic people. I don’t claim to speak for everyone, I just felt the need to respond with my own version of “I Am Autism”. So don’t chew my head off, okay?

I Am Autism – Take Two

I am autism.

Born with it and grew  up with it,
Part of me since as far as I know.
Integrated with my identity
And an important part of me.
I cannot be without it,
Otherwise what am I, really?

I am autism.
I am a face of many in a sea
A color, a shape,
A pair or eyes,
A voice.

I am autism.
I am not a monolithic entity.
I do not come to consume and to destroy
But to enlighten and to create.
I am an individual
I am me.

I am autism.

Sometimes I cannot speak
Non verbal am I and rather quiet.
Sometimes I can integrate
With a little hard work
And a large amount of acting/reacting.
I pay attention to everyone else
And play the game,
Knowing that I’m sometimes right on key
And sometimes two steps behind.

I live and I breathe
And I feel and I read.
I scream and I shout
And I twist and dance
And I am life embodiment.

I am alive.

I do not fear.
What is there to be frightened of?
I am here,
I am.

I am autism,
And autism is me.
Autism is part of my identity.
Cannot imagine my life without it
For how close it is to me it is!

Autism defines me.
Autism is a part of me.

I am not the savant intelligent
And I am not person sociopathic.
I am not Sheldon that you see on TV
Nor am I full of magic or a disease.

I am not abnormal, I am not in need of a fix.
I just need someone who can listen to this.

I am autism
And I have a voice.

You say that I’m silent
And that I’m really a sneak.
You claim me to be a thief
And you claim me to be sin
A punishment, a changeling,
Something not “normal”,
Something not neurotypical.

You say that you need to cure me
In order to save me.

You say these words
And you take away me.
You say those words
And you erase me.
You say those words
And you silence me.

You do not speak for me.

Please, are you listening?
This is autism speaking.

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