Saturday, December 3, 2016

International United Nations Peoples with Disabilities Day

Today is the United Nations International Peoples with Disabilities Day. I can only back and think of all that has taken place in my life over the years. I realize that I wish for a world where the norm across people of all abilities is to respect people with disabilities twenty-four/seven/three hundred sixty-five, no holidays, no breaks, no vacations, nothing-without neurotypical temporarily able-bodied people feeding their need to be part of the solution without taking ch...arge of their actions or still seeing themselves as the center of this world. Non-disabled people certainly dominate this world in numbers, and socio-economically, but they claim no patent to being a norm, and I genuinely believe that the age of NT/TAB people is ending, if it even took place once, and the age of people of all abilities is unveiling itself. I believe no action is a mistake when its harmful implications have been demonstrated to its maker, and EVERY person who would give their most genuine needs to conduct themselves in everything regarding disabled people upright consistently with no reward, and I do NOT think I am asking too much. Disrepsecting our differences is disrespecting us, all of us, whether you mean to or not.

And to NT/TAB supporters of Donald Trump, I aks this. On behalf disabled people: if you ever want us to be there in your life, think of the man you have supported, think of what he want cause, mocking a reporter with a disability in such a way that you cannot turn away-that is beside the point ultimately-we will ask, when anything and everything related to Trump's irreparably retrograde and old world view of disabled people has been unleashed on us, where were you? Where were you when this absolutely 1952 thinker on disabled people was placed in charge of our affairs? I believe in second chances and I believe in ways to work things out, but if you ever think any of us aught to help you when you need us, we can ask you whether or not you were there for us. If not, we can ask you when we do not choose to help you, how are you any better then your idea of ourselves. And anyone there for us conditionally is not someone I feel compelled to help. If you cannot care about EVERY disabled person who is important to me, you cannot care about me. So we can ask you one day, where were you? Food for thought. You genuinely never know when you might need someone in your life.

Monday, July 11, 2016

My New Year's Resolution: The Second Three Months

This post is a little late, but having watched how much I have kept my New Year's Resolution for the first three months of this year, I also have taken note of how I have kept it in the next three weeks (April through June).  So far I noticed I have: 

-worked at least ten full-time work weeks
-finished two more books and got farther along on seven
-finished reading seventeen* more graphic novels and started on another one
-came up with two new "Autistic Fairy Tales" and five new novel ideas
-worked on all my fairy tales and at least eight different novel ideas
-wrote another poem and started on another one
-started working on the last few posts of The Autistic Mule (formerly Ben's Blog) for the first time this year
-drew nine more pictures
-finished four more watercolor drawings**
-made seven more receipt coasters, as well as a vase and my Autistic Pride rainbow infinity from receipts
-made at least 100 produce bags and 100 grocery bags into plarn
-saw my friend Jack twice, my friend Tyler three times, and my friend Erin once
-passed my Spring 2016 Disability Studies class with an A***
-gone all of April without wearing blue in defiance of the April "Light It Up Blue" campaign by groups like Autism Speaks, who depict autism like a car wreck and do not provide autism services.

Thus far, I would say I have stuck to my resolution pretty well.

*originally sixteen
**added fifteen minutes after publishing this post
***added nine days after original publication

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Some Reflections on the 81 Birthday of the Dalai Lama

Today is the eighty-first birthday of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, the pope-like figure to many of my fellow Buddhists. I have always admired his equanimity and compassionate demeanor while he has lost his country, home, loved ones, and everything while the Chinese station troops in his native Tibet, drain its resources, set up missiles, overwhelm with Chinese immigrants, and impose abortions and sterilizations on its women-in contrast to Westerners living relatively comfortab...le lives fighting each other on-line, and demanding safe spaces and trigger warnings whenever they are presented with views they disagree with when they are college students expected to take part in intellectual discourse, but judge based on a person's number of followers on social media. I think I will forever admire this man as a model to Buddhist practitioners everywhere long after he is gone from this earth, happy that, after that time, he will (according to Tibetan Buddhist belief) be reborn as the next Dalai Lama from a series of reincarnations going back to Tibetan Buddhist saint Chenrizig. Namaste.
Photo from United Nation's for a Free Tibet (UK)'s Facebook page

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Autistic Pride Day 2016

Today is the 12th annual Autistic Pride Day, celebrated June 18th by Autistics around the world. I created this rainbow infinity symbol out of 140 receipts, hanging above a window in my bedroom, that I pick up at work all the time, in honor of the logo of the creators of APD, the UK-based group Aspies for Freedom (Aspie-slang term for person with Asperger syndrome). This is the first Autistic Pride Day that I have celebrated at home alone, rather than in Leadville, Colorado like the last two years, and working from 1-9:30, but that does not make this day any less special to me, which is why I made this piece. I would also like to wish a happy Autistic Pride Day (what is left of it) to my fellow autistics and their families and service providers in Warrensburg, Missouri, the town of my alma matter-understanding how difficult it is with lack of services and ignorance in rural areas for Autistics, particularly women. Know you are never alone and your fellow Autistics are out there ready to embrace you. And also a happy Autistic Pride Day to Johnson County Community College's thriving autistic community, who, being a part of I feel really shaped me into who I am today. Walk with pride.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

My First Year Back at Home

It has been exactly one year (and six days) since I left the University of Central Missouri and the town of Warrensburg after graduating with a bachelor's degree while leading aand blazing a trail for people starting social network for autistics, promoting and supporting autistic culture and autism acceptance in a town where the people had never heard of neurodiversity, Autism Acceptance Month, or Light It Up Gold, and left behind the wisdom I gained from Johnson County Community College on leading a collegiate autistic community to several influential staff, students, and Warrensburg residents in the name of the Autistic Culture, while the UCM and Warrensburg have seen an increase in autistic students and families with autistic children moving to the town. After that I started a two year Disability Studies certificate program at UMKC, while dealing with a huge void of leaving behind such an incredible chapter of my life. However, over the last few days, I have looked at how I have spent my time in the year and six days since I have left and came back home and realized since that time I have:

-gotten halfway through my Disability Studies program
-worked nearly forty forty hour work weeks
-got my first car
-signed up for a health care plan and found a primary care physician in my area
-got together with Tyler and Jack three times, Tyler twice, Jack once, my friend Erin three times, and my friend Nick from high school once
-ditched a former friend who constantly talked down to me, belittled my accomplishments, kept accusing me of being all about myself, and scathing me with five page long Facebook comments, and messaged me until 1:30 in the morning.
-spoke in front of two groups of campers at Camp Encourage for autistic youth this summer
-got involved in the Arc of Douglass County/Self-Advocate Coalition of Kansas
-went all of April (Autism Acceptance Month) not wearing the color blue for the first time because of the color's use in April to promote medically modeled autism organizations that pay so much to executives and genetic testing and so little to autism services and have almost no autistic leadership, while posting selfies of my doing so everyday
-finished reading nine different books, as well as two Platte and Munk Co. books on different cultures, and started on at least fourteen other books
-read forty-one graphic novels and started two other ones
-drew over thirty pictures and did seven paintings and eleven watercolor drawings in my art class
-made about one hundred forty-seven coasters from receipts, ten bottle cap signs, four or five tambourines from bottle caps, a picture from bottle caps, a bottle cap cross, bottle cap fish, three toilet paper roll wall pieces, a sign made from straws, a wallet made from a book dust jacket, a mandala (meditative image) from plastic bags, started on a heart wall piece made from straws, and worked on a belt made from plastic bag yarn (plarn)
-made one thousand produce bags into plarn for a blanket for a homeless individual, twenty produce bags into plarn for a friend of mine, and over several hundred grocery bags into plarn
-sold two sets of receipt coasters and one bottle cap wall fish
-came up with nine new ideas for novels and three autistic fairy tales
-wrote sixteen new poems, one new song, seventeen blogposts and started writing at least nine of the ideas I have for novels, my three fairy tales, nine other poems, one blogpost, one song, three other books, and two other snippets of writing I couldn't fit into any other project of mine
-worked on my novels all but three days for the last four months
-went one time, when I had the time, to one of the meetings of the autistic student organization I started at JCCC
-fed Peter and scooped his litter box almost everyday for the last eight months, mowed the lawn in the summers, emptied and reloaded the dishwasher nearly every week
-disovered how teaching disability history in school could help future parents of disabled children to know what resources exist for their children and that modifying our television viewing habits could someday lead us to have politicians who have the experience and understanding to do more for their disabled citizens, as well as the fact that there are even people in the autistic culture who can make a business of helping autistic people with their troubles, and as such, do not want the autistic people to rise above their troubles, as that would mean these people would lose their livelihood.

Not only this, but I managed to do it while having an old woman crash into me while making a left turn, on-line mobs of cyber trolls, and getting fleebites from a colony that launched in my bedroom. Looking back, I truly believe that I have really managed to adjust well to this new chapter of my life. I have left a great one behind, after finishing another great chapter, and am ready for many more that await me.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My New Year's Resolution So Far: First Three Months

This is not about Autism Acceptance Month, but it does have to do with the first three months of this year that have gone by.  A few months ago, I made my New Year's Resolution for this year.  So far, this is how I have kept to it in the first three months:

-made it through ten weeks of my Disability Studies program
-finished four discussion papers
-did one presentation for the class
-finished reading thirty-three graphic novels and got farther along in two others
-finished reading five of my books, as well as two Platte and Munk Co. books on different cultures from the Leadville antique store
-read over several dozen pages of six other books of mine
-came up with one new novel idea and three new "Autistic fairy tale" ideas
-started writing four of my novels, two other book ideas I had, my three aforementioned fairy tales, started or finished eleven other poems of mine, and two snippets of ideas that didn't fit into any pieces of writing I am working on yet
-got together at least twice with a friend of mine

-broke off with a friend who subjected me to all herown drama
-finished eight watercolor drawings
-finished thirteen drawings and worked on five more
-made thirty-seven more receipt coasters
-turned one hundred eighty discarded produce bags into plastic bag yarn (Plarn) to make a blanket for a homeless individual, as well as twenty for a ball of yarn for a friend of mine's cat, and at least sixty grocery bags into plarn
-sold one of my receipt coaster sets
-made another one of my bottle cap signs
-finished another bottle cap picture
-made another bottle cap tambourine
-made an entire sign out of drinking straws
-made three more painted stones from rocks I found out in Colorado
-made a paper streamer made from old Starbuck's bags
-made four more pieces of toilet paper roll wall art
-finished building a shelf for my Lonely Planet books
-also worked on my writing pieces/stories for all but four days of the last two months, fed Peter and scooped his litter box almost every day, spent several nights talking on the phone tomy best friend Tyler, taken several pictures with my i-phone, and learned to be more positive about finding relationships, people throughout world, and other areas of my life.

So far, I think I have kept to it very well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Autism Acceptance Month 2016 (Year 6)

Copied and pasted from my Facebook account:

March 27

Hello all,

This April and April 2nd specifically is, for members of the Autistic Culture such as myself, Autism Acceptance Month and Day respectively. Note I say ACCEPTANCE, as opposed to AWARENESS, which are very different, and which is the theme of April and April 2nd for those who believe in the medical model of autism, such as Autism Speaks, the National Autism Association, and the Autism Research Institute. AWARENESS, symbolized with puzzle pieces and blue clothes and lights, generally focuses on autism as a medical disaster causing divorces and taking children from their family, and allows Autism Speaks executives to continue making their six-figure salaries while paying less than 5% of their organizations to any meaningful supports for autistics and their families. The blue lights, alluding to AS's puzzle piece symbol, comes from this fastly discredited notion that there are four autistic boys for every autistic girl, while autistics such as myself reject the puzzle piece as we are not broken pictures to be reassembled, and we, and our diversity, fit together naturally, with no beginning and no end, like the Autistic rainbow infinity piece. ACCEPTANCE, which we launched to take back April, embraces the social model of autism, being a difference to be respected as with homosexuality or any other difference, not caused by vaccines, genetic deformities, bad parents, bacon, tanning beds, and so on, expressed through links, photos, art, poetry, blogs, and events that portray my condition POSITIVELY-certain not as always peachy, as, like with every way of living, life with autism isn't perfect and has its problems, but this should not be the focus of how we view this segment of our humanity. I shall be doing this certainly, but I have one final "piece" to mention. THIS MONTH is celebrated by wearing and lighting GOLD, RED, TAUPE, and ORANGE, for the chemical symbol for gold (AU), the first two letters of the word "Autistic"; red, a heart, to symbolize autism, rather than a puzzle piece; taupe, the Tree of Neurodiversity (various mental wiring, including autism and neurotypicality, being valid); orange, the spark from the Celebrate Autism Foundation. Their is also green from the coil-and-jump logo for Great Britain's Autscape and purple for royal purple (indicating royalness) from Scotland's Autistic Rights Group Highlands, and the rainbow, but, not blue alone. Note, this is different from awareness, for its not just what we see, but the lens (or lack of) with which we are to see them. I have said before, we have enough awareness, but awareness is not enough. We need acceptance, and rather than donating to Autism Speaks, realize their our groups that will allow autistics their socially crucial need of acceptance, such as the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education, the Autistic Union, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, the Autism Women's Network, and so on. I realize many may have a lot to learn, and I have a lot not to judge, but note this, throughout the entire month of April, I will not only be wearing gold, red, taupe, and orange (and green and purple), but I will be wearing no blue (except for my rainbow Autism Acceptance Day shirt, which is different, and make sure to put a photo of it on Facebook every day, so you can be sure of my promise. I did this last April from the 5th (when I got the idea) to the 31st, with clothes from the Salvation Army store in Warrensburg, a bottle cap necklace, glow bracelets covered in Cheetos bag strips, and handwoven friendship bracelets. And the results were amazing. All-in-all these posts got at least sixty likes altogether, over half a dozen from the UCM community, and more if you counted the faculty and staff and alumni. This time I shall do it again, all thirty-one days, somehow fitting it all in with school, work, my social life, and working on my novels every day as part of my New Year's resolution. I do not ask that anyone try this, but know that to me, blue does not signal an immediate ally to my solutions, and while everyone can learn more in cultural competence, I will not let my world go unaware of my message when I have the words, actions, and clothes to embody it. So if you see me and you notice I am not wearing blue, I hope this will explain why. ‪#‎AutismAcceptanceDay6

March 28

Today, I went to Ten Thousand Villages, and found this red leather bracelet made from scraps of leather from Columbia's textile industry, which says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi. I got it because it is red, in honor of 2016's Autism Acceptance Month in three days, and for its quote, which meant a lot to me as an autistic activist at UCM and elsewhere. ‪#‎AutismAcceptanceDay2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

World Down Syndrome Day Year 10

Today is World Down Syndrome Day, a day that reminds me ever more of how grateful I am for my good friend, Tyler Nelson Weekly. I remember him being my roommate in our second year at UCM's THRIVE program, going with him to see all the Hobbit movies, watching his school dance performances, talking to him on the phone, having him spend nights at my home where we watched The Power Rangers, watching the Disney Channel of my own accord for a while after a year of living with him, coming with him to the Down Syndrome Guild of Kansas City's yearly Down syndrome dance, having him by me during my graduation from the University of Central Missouri, taking him for rides the first night I got my new car, going to Royal's game with him and our friend Jack, coming with him to Starlight Performances-where he is an usher captain-and the time he came with me to Minsky's on my twenty-sixth birthday and took a diagonally slanted picture of my mom and me. He constantly supports every dream I have and is just so eye-opening to the lives people with Down syndrome lead. He always wants to help me. I constantly love how he is funny, kind, intuitive, loyal, and so many other things that I am lucky that he is. I remember every time when I have looked for the right woman, and got to know one out there, Tyler would say, "Did you tell her about me?" and I said, "No, Tyler, but don't worry. I would be remiss if the girl I dated did not know about you." I once told my granddad, "Any woman who does not accept Tyler exactly as he is, is no girlfriend of mine."
"On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others. Let us build an inclusive society for all."
-United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon