Sunday, November 1, 2015

Finding my Voice Again for Autistics Speaking Day

khawkgirl posts "Finding my Voice Again for Autistics Speaking Day" on Life as a Feral Autistic

Warning for cyber-bullying, anxiety and silencing of communication.

I was unvoiced for a few months this year.
I am naturally good at writing. Though I am able to speak most of the time, unless I am overloaded to the point of shutdown, I find I am much more eloquent when I am writing. There are none of those pesky non-verbal cues and tones that I struggle to send or receive here. I don’t have to worry about losing control of my volume and accidentally blasting everyone within earshot or, mumbling so softly that no one can hear me. I often speak way too much, rambling on about whatever topic that has caught my interest without noticing that everyone else was bored with the topic 30 minutes ago. I spend a good portion of my time not speaking at all because I am too afraid of annoying people or hurting their ears.
Here, there are only words without any of those other distractions.

I wrote a blog post that went viral back in May. It was shared on a lot of popular science pages around Facebook and my amount of readers exploded from about 50, to over 10,000 overnight. Most of the comments I received on my blog post were very positive. I had moved several people to tears even. Most of them were outside the Autistic community and had not been exposed to an Autistic first-person account before. The one negative comment I received is what lead to me withdrawing from the world for a few months. Someone who disagreed with me, decided to dig through the information on the Google+ profile attached to my blog to try to discredit me.
I have never been on the receiving end of that disgusting flavor of petty, immature nastiness before. I have known several Autistic bloggers who have been cyberstalked and even received death threats and murder attempts for speaking out, but it has never happened to me before. I knew right away that I am not strong enough to handle that kind of behavior. I am extremely sensitive, anxious, prone to self-doubt and even self-loathing. It has taking me years to build my confidence to the point where I no longer spend hours mentally and physically beating myself up for every tiny mistake and it is a shaky confidence at best.
I hid my YouTube videos, deleted my blog and my Google+ profile and thought very hard about deleting my Facebook profile and public Facebook page. I ended up only deactivating my Facebook account for a while and was much happier without it for a few weeks until my cellphone was stolen and I was forced back on it in order to reconnect with my friends. For a few months, my most effective form of communication was lost.
I have switched to a new blogging platform that will allow me greater anonymity and more control over my comment section. Now if anyone tries to be mean to me, I can send the comment directly to the dumpster where it belongs before the general public sees it. I have had to make my own safe space in the wilds of the internet to allow me to keep my voice. I find it fitting that my return to blogging should occur on Autistics Speaking Day. This was the first Autistic holiday that I encountered after my autism diagnosis 4 years ago. Today is a day when Autistic people gather online to celebrate how the internet has facilitated the formation of the Autistic Community because we communicate more fluently on the internet than we do out in the sensory confusion of the Allistic world. It is a day when we collectively tell the world we will not be silenced. I am here to say I will not be silenced either.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful, and relatable for me too. I think my experience was on a smaller scale than yours, but I had a similar reaction, and am working on finding my way out of silence. I am glad you won't be silenced any longer.


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