I don’t like using the word “hate”. I really don’t. My children will tell you that I’ve always enforced not using it. Hate is such a powerful emotion that can bring about horrible reactions. Feeling so negatively towards something/someone keeps you chained to them/it. Oddly enough, as autism is a daily part of my life, I’m most definitely chained so I may as well make my peace about my emotional attachment.
Now I’m well aware that there are plenty who won’t agree with my position. I don’t really care…seriously, I don’t. This isn’t about me bringing you over to my side of the understanding table. If you’re into embracing autism as a gift then please don’t continue reading this post because you most likely won’t get where I’m coming from. If you’re all about celebrating autism as the thing that makes your child “special”, please spare yourself from my tirade. You’ll only end up frustrated and well, who wants frustration in their life?
For those who say that hating autism means you don’t love your child, I say this: ^G…T…F…O…H…W…T…BS!! (Figure it out!)
When I say, “Cancer sucks!” no one tells me I hate myself for not embracing my cancer. If I dare say how much I HATE the ill-effects that come with having this craptastic disease, there isn’t one person out there telling me I’m an evil human being for feeling that way. No one dares suggest that by hating my cancer I hate myself! Let’s face it, that’s a ridiculous response, isn’t it? Of course it is. Yet, tell someone you hate autism and suddenly you hate the person who has autism. Y’all are killing me with that shit!
I’ve heard the, “You can’t equate cancer to autism because cancer is a disease and autism is a disorder. Cancer kills and autism doesn’t…Cancer is an intrusion of the body, autism is the person…” comments. Hmm…Do you read the news? Are you involved in any autism community groups? If so, you’ve seen children with autism who have wandered to their death. You’ve read the God-awful stories of parents killing their children because they can’t deal. Autism can kill and it does! Read this story about a boy with autism, the system that failed him and his subsequent suicide and tell me you can find something to embrace within such tragedy: Death of Gareth Oates
You think autism isn’t an intrusion on the body? Just like malignant cancer, autism is NOT a natural occurrence within the body. Have you spoken to a parent who has recovered their child from autism? Want to tell them you can’t separate the sickness of autism from the child? Go ahead and try it…I dare ya!
I love my son beyond words. My despising, hating and being frustrated with what autism does to him doesn’t diminish my love one bit!
I struggled with whether or not putting my feelings out into the ether was a good idea. I’ve been wanting to write this post for the better part of two weeks but I allowed other things to get in the way. A part of me was worried about how it would be received by those who actually know me. Clarity set in when I reminded myself of one of my favorite sayings: “Own your feelings!”
Being the researcher that I am, I searched the blogosphere to see if there were others who felt the same way I did. I came across a blog that said you couldn’t expect acceptance for autism if you hate it? Interesting notion. Especially considering that we live in a world where people are fond of saying things like: “I may not like it, but I accept it…I don’t believe in it but I respect your right to [insert unacceptable social, aka against the bible, reference here]…“ Social acceptance and tolerance are not mutually inclusive with liking/loving someone.
I don’t have to love autism to advocate that my son be respected. I don’t have to see autism as a gift in order to justify me giving your ass crap about being rude to my child. I refuse to act like autism hasn’t brought challenges to my life and doing what I can to rid my life of those challenges doesn’t make me a bad parent.
If my son’s gut issues cause him pain, shouldn’t I be treating those issues? If his eating habits cause bowel obstruction, wouldn’t you expect me to change his eating habits? If he can’t be left alone for fear of throwing himself into a wall or eating styrofoam, shouldn’t I be trying to find a way to help him??? I bet you’re saying YES to all of those, right? Damn right you are! So tell me then, WHY does attempting to change those things mean I hate HIM or am trying to change who he is?
People say that if you change those things that come with autism then you change who the child is. In the sense of those examples above, I hope they’re right because I don’t want my son to suffer with chronic constipation. I HATE that he gets so upset that he can’t help but throw himself into a wall. I get frustrated when he feels compelled to eat things no human being has any business eating. I wanna scream when his meltdowns are so bad that all you can do is stand back and watch him lose it…sometimes for longer than you care to admit. I cry for the pain he’s in that he can’t express. I pray for a day when it doesn’t take an act of Congress to be able to leave the house.
None of that means I won’t continue to fight for all the rights that he deserves! Maybe I just don’t want to have to fight such an uphill battle. Maybe I’d like for Jabrien’s chances to be a bit better.
I respect your right to feel how you feel about autism. Our journey isn’t the same and so I don’t expect our opinions to mirror one another. The world is so ‘embracing’ of those who speak of autism in glowing terms. For those of us who don’t share that ‘autism-is-a-wonderful-blessing’ outlook, it can be a lonely existence. I’m not saying that life with autism is the worst thing in the world; it’s not. I certainly won’t deny that there are challenges but there are also great rewards in little things. Yes, I’ve learned things that were it not for raising Jabrien, I might not have learned. Some will argue autism taught the lesson… You say tomato and I say toe-mahto!
And I also say…
I HATE AUTISM!
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