A surprise I encountered, which shouldn’t have been a surprise at all since people will be people (number 12 says it best for this example), is that not everyone in the autism community gets along.
I dove in head first, educating myself, turning over every stone and started to form my own opinions based on all the things I was learning. At first, it was somewhat easy to ignore what was happening on the sidelines. I saw some bickering here or there but didn’t give much thought to it. I was solely looking for facts during that time, things that could be backed up with solid evidence, not testimonials or opinions.
Slowly, however, I began to notice there were a few battle lines drawn. Stumbling across one of them, even inadvertently, could set off a chain reaction of bitterness and anger. As I began to pay more attention, I felt forced to evaluate my own feelings on those talking points. To be perfectly honest, there are a few things on which I am still undecided.
My goal with this website is to create a place to go where we can all be accepting of one another. A community for caregivers to find some peace and solace, not a place to bicker and argue. I am open to debate and I enjoy hearing a respectful difference of opinion. At the end of the day, do we not all just want the same things for our loved ones? To be happy, feel loved and supported?
Can we look at it like we are all in this together, like family, even? That while we may trash talk about each other every now and then, we are still family and having the support of one another is paramount to making important gains and being understood as a whole?
I get there are some differences that cannot be mended, that some wedges are just to deep and the divide to great.
It’s hard sometimes not to engage a social media troll when the *anger sharks start swimming in my head.
But 99% of the time, I don’t. I have to conserve my energy. I channel my “Goosefraba,” so I can be the best I can every single day for my family. “I gotta dunk that shit!“every chance I get. Besides, I’m distracted enough without engaging in petty divisiveness. The minute someone is “yelling”, name-calling, using sarcasm, they have indicated that they are not open to learning something new from you. They are clearly not going to change their mind.
I could name several examples of people with whom I disagree, whole-heartedly, but I still listen to them. I mean really listen and hear them. Why? Because they are calm, respectful, thought-provoking and sometimes purposefully entertaining. I’m open to hearing them out. Listening to their side makes me understand my own position better. It either solidifies where I already stand or challenges me to view it another way. A total win.
If you are struggling with where you stand on some of these issues, that’s okay. If you make a misstep, that’s okay too. Just remember, you are deserving of respect and do not have to tolerate abuse or misconduct from anyone.
People are sometimes surprised when they bring up a topic regarding autism to find out I don’t follow that particular belief system. Particularly, if they are otherwise uninvolved and it happens to be the most publicized aspect on that subject. I think they picture a bunch of parents coming together, holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” But, alas, there is division everywhere. Groups form sub-groups, sub-groups to splinter groups and these groups disagree.
I won’t always be able to keep it light and breezy here. Some things are going to be controversial, but the point is to not give up on your humanity. I fancy myself a pretty laid back and open-minded person, not easily offended. The one thing that will shut me down in a quick minute, though, is unnecessary rudeness or any attempt at bullying.
I am open to any questions and topics of discussion from within and outside of the community. I welcome it, in fact! If you care enough to ask and your motivation is genuine interest – I can’t wait to share with you what I know! A few bad apples here and there shouldn’t spoil the whole bunch, right?
Don’t get discouraged and let’s stay the course.
*(Warning: the ‘anger sharks’ link is a video and contains adult language)