I have decided to take a hiatus from autism advocacy but I will be back at it soon enough.Sometimes I get tired of being an autistic advocate. It’s not a responsibility I want, but it’s something I must do. Being an advocate is something all autistics must do. We must all come out. You can’t defeat ignorance if you’re hiding in the shadows. The decision to come out of the closet is not always an easy one. The first time I came out about being autistic was not by choice. I was outed by someone else. It really was not something that I was comfortable talking about. Even to this day I don’t like talking about it. To me its a just a necessary evil. I am certain most autistic advocates would rather talk about anything else at times, but it is something we do because we must even if we don’t always want to do so.
Often times we don’t come out for fear of how other people will react or fear of reprisals. Also some are afraid it may effect their job prospects. That is because that for as much information that is out there there is still a lot of stigma placed on autism, some of it is self-induced stigma.
Even after being outed the first time I did not discuss it very much for years afterwards until I had moved to a new town and a new school where I made the decision to come out and I ended up coming out to 32,000 people at the same time when I wrote what I believe was the first newspaper columns in my student newspaper the Daily Titan about life with autism I believe it was also the first weekly column in any newspaper anywhere. Now I talk about it more often. In fact, I do it almost every day. I am proud to be out and am not in any way worried how people may react to me. Their opinion does not really matter. People can think what they want, but I know I am and those who care about me know who I am and that is all that matters to me.
The fight does get tiring especially when you do it reluctantly. As my friend told me I have a responsibility to keep fighting, but I am tired and need to recharge my emotional and mental and physical batteries so I can pick up this cross again. Its cross that only those of us who are autistics or are the parents of autistics must can and must carry.
When the time is ready I will, pick up my cross but at least I know I am not alone and I am not the only one carrying it.
One thought on “Autism: My Cross to Bear”
Thank you for all that you do, Robert. As a parent, I know the fight and the need to recharge your batteries. I know the struggle to come out, face your fears and go about your daily life. I pray my son has that courage. Your efforts do not go unheeded and I love that your blaze your trail fearlessly.