being human

We're autistic, we're human, get used to it

Some dehumanizing descriptions of autism are negative. For example, some people believe that we are incapable of love, or incapable of imagination, or incapable of understanding anything of importance.

Some dehumanizing descriptions of autism are positive. For instance, some people believe that we are incapable of lying, incapable of being manipulative, and that we always say exactly what we mean.

Autism doesn’t work that way. We are fully human, for better and for worse. We are fallible. We make communication mistakes. We don’t always know what we mean, and we don’t always express ourselves clearly. For instance, sometimes we say things that feel direct but that are actually very confusing. That’s human.

We are capable of treating others well, and we are capable of treating others badly. We are capable of caring about others, and we are capable of indifference. We are capable of being kind, and we are capable of being cruel.

Autism means having disabilities that can affect how we communicate, how we move, and how we understand things. Autism doesn’t make us better than other people, and it doesn’t make us worse. We’re not subhuman, and we’re not superhuman. We’re just people.

You can only fight evil as the person you really are

When you’re fighting evil, it’s important to be aware of your limitations. You can only fight evil as the person you really are. Trying to ignore your limitations will not make you a better activist — it just crushes you.

Fighting evil is a lot of hard work. It’s not just about being a good person, or caring, or having the right values. Mostly, it’s work. And no one has infinite capacity to do that kind of work.

In fact, no one has infinite capacity to do *any* kind of work. As human beings, we’re limited. We have bodies, and needs, and we can’t do everything. Trying to work flat out all the time doesn’t end well, no matter how important the work is.  

One of the things we need is love. Part of that is being aware that not everything is evil. Some things are good. Some things are amazing. Some things are important in other ways. And, no matter what, people matter, and our world is worth fighting for.

Fighting evil is incredibility emotionally draining. In order to fight evil, it’s generally necessary to come into close contact with it. And to face the fact that not everyone is on your side, and not everyone means well. Many people act with active malice or callous indifference. It can be very hard to keep going when you lose an important battle and feel the weight of the consequences. It can be very hard to avoid slipping into despair. Love is one of the most powerful defenses against despair.

It is not only ok but *necessary* to find things that you can value and enjoy. Valuing your own life and the things you enjoy is an important act of resistance. Keep in mind that one of the lives you’re fighting for is your own. You are worth fighting for.

You may have to do hard, draining things that no one should ever have to do. You may have to make sacrifices. You may need to learn how to do things you never thought you’d need to do. But you don’t have to do more than you’re capable of doing — and trying to ignore all of your feelings and limitations will not help.

Understanding your limitations actually makes you more effective (at activism and at anything else you might want to do.) Working with your brain and body works better than trying to become a superhero through sheer force of will. You can only fight evil as the person you actually are.