Autism acceptance begins at home. (or should)

So I wanted to write this down before it slips from memory.  I had a really good time at our Aspie of Houston meeting last night, even though I didn’t have high expectations for it.  The IHOP after gathering turned out to be the largest we’ve had in my memory.  Lots of new people.

A friend of mine (and co-author on this blog) has a funny Asperger’s t-shirt that says something like “I am not rude or weird, I have Asperger’s; what’s your excuse?”; I decided it was about time I get a similar “Aspie Pride” type shirt.  Don’t know if it’s just a “me” thing or an Aspie thing, but I’ve always loved wearing t-shirts that loudly express an aspect of my personality, or personal passions, whether it’s Sci Fi, or an expression of my political views, my various collegiate almae matres or whatever.

I didn’t want to just pick the identical shirt, so I went in search of one I liked.  I’m not overly fond of all the puzzle logo design shirts, etc.  They’re not horrible, I just didn’t find one I particularly wanted for myself.  On Zazzle I stumbled onto one that read: “I am an Aspie; What’s your Superpower?” and thought to myself, “Perfect!” and ordered it.  It arrived, I washed it, and, it being casual Friday at the library, decided I wanted to wear it to work.  It’s not as if people at work—especially those that matter, like my immediate supervisor and the library director and several branch managers—don’t already know that I have Asperger’s.  But part of me said to myself, probably better run it by mom—and another part said “yeah, you know she’s not going to like it.”

That latter part was right, of course.  I finished breakfast, showered, donned my jeans & the shirt and came downstairs to present myself to my mom with a triumphant “tada!” by way of announcement.  The combined look of disgust, disapproval and horror was immediate, quickly followed by a verbal rebuke.

After a brief, awkward pause I blurted out “FINE, I’ll go change it…but I just KNEW you’d react that way!”

I rushed back upstairs and threw the shirt gently on the bed; I opened the dresser drawer and grabbed an innocuous Houston Astros t-shirt and headed back down.  Controlling my anger, I went calmly back downstairs and told my mother simply, slowly, and deliberately “…I am very disappointed with your reaction.”; Mom responded with something about being more prudent/cautious at work, and I replied it’s not as if anyone in authority at the library don’t already know of my condition.  It’s not as if I don’t know that some shirts clearly AREN’T appropriate for my workplace, like my Democratic Party shirts or any of my atheism-related shirts…I get THAT.  But I don’t see an Aspie pride shirt falling in the same not-appropriate-for-work category.  Indeed I strenuously object that there’s anything wrong with it at all.

Anyway, one of these Fridays I am going to wear that shirt to work with pride no matter what my mom says.  Just not this Friday.  This Friday was a  trial run, a test of my NT mom’s reaction mainly.  I found the results of said test disheartening and hurtful.

I spent the rest of the day in a dazed funk.  It didn’t help when my two comic book nerd friends played hookey today from lunch.  One was out for the day, the other I assume had errands to run at lunch again but didn’t email me ahead of time.  So I finished my sandwich and went outside to sit in the nice sun, resting my back against the guardrail of the library outdoor auditorium/theater-space, listening to the Anime ending credits theme songs to the series Genshiken (an anime about anime/manga nerds–very meta), Seasons 1 & 2.

Relaxing at lunch

Relaxing at lunch

I just felt blue the whole day (no pun intended–yes I know my sneakers are blue).  And depressed that I don’t feel accepted, even by my own family at times.  It’s like they wanna deny the reality of my ASD.  Or think I can just “get over it” somehow, as long as I “work” at it.  The reality is, it’s just not that simple.



2 thoughts on “Autism acceptance begins at home. (or should)

  1. There’s nothing to “get over” 😦 That line always makes me feel sad. I hear it a lot in reference to my depression, too. My mom jokes about it, says, “Well stop it.” in response to me being depressed. I guess I’m blessed that my family is full of oddity and ASDs at least. It’s just sad that we feel the need to hide who and what we are….

  2. You should have worn it anyway. It’s not like you need their approval. Besides, like you said, your supervisors already know you’re an aspie. There’s nothing imprudent about being open about our autism. It’s what makes us us, and it’s an awesome thing.

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