Why I Write This Blog

When I first started writing this blog I wanted it to be a place to showcase my skills as a writer. I have written a lot over the course of my life from works of fiction like Ivory Requiem or poems like Be The Change the words of which have become the basic mantra of my life.

The change is you
Live it like it was tomorrow today and yesterday
Society drags down those who don’t resist
Resist the mediocrity and the hypocrisy
The change is within you
And lives through you
It shields the downtrodden from the fists of society
And builds up the weak to highest points
Be the change
And it will change you
Never look back
Keep your eyes on the future
Like the light that it is
It will guide you to the change you can be
Be the change and it will change you
The future seems bright if you live it
The future will be the change
And the change will be you

Still, as time grew, it became just a place where I should showcase myself. Where I could be honest and candid about life. Yet people have been cautioning me that it I should be mindful of what I post online because people might get the wrong. That is exactly why I write this blog so that people won’t get the wrong impression about me as a person. I may have autism but I am still a person. I feel pain, I laugh. I smile. I cry. I am human. Yet I know that people have misgivings about meeting or working with or being friends with a person that has autism. Out of lack of knowledge they can’t get past the “that has autism” part and often forget the “person” bit. That is what this blog has been about: dispelling that ignorance that still exists.

In my last post Why I Use Social Media, I described my need to express myself and connect with other people and how if I wasn’t on sites like Facebook and Twitter. people would not know anything about me. The same is true for this blog. Yet it is here for more than that. I realized over time that there was a lot of ignorance about autism still in the world. It exists despite all of the bloggers and vloggers who try to spread awareness of the disorder.

Ignorance is perhaps the most infuriating thing anyone has to deal with. It is like a disease that just doesn’t want to leave. I see a lot of ignorance everywhere. I sometimes feel that despite the number of people blogging or vlogging about Asperger’s that we are really just preaching to the choir. Either that or we are shouting really loudly and no one is listening. I am not certain which is more frustrating.

On the other hand the battle for awareness of autism has made great inroads among neurotypical people. There are now two types of neurotypical people I have met. Those who know people who know people with Autism and people who don’t. This blog is primarily for the people who don’t but sometimes it applies to the people who do. Ignorance and prejudice can be a fickle things many people may not be aware they even are prejudiced or ignorant. Others are more blatant about it. Even the nicest and most caring of people can be ignorant at times. Even people who know people who have autism can be ignorant. Even people who have autism can be ignorant. The worst is when people don’t realize that they are ignorant. It is for them that this blog is written to end their blindness. I write it to illuminate what they are not seeing that disability does not mean inability. If that were true, I would not be working where I do.

Also there are the people who want to learn more about the disorder that some call autism and I just call being human. For those people too, I write this blog so that they can learn more about it. I have many neurotypical friends who I want to teach more about autism, its causes and its effects on people lives because only through knowledge can ignorance and fear be brought to an end. And on that day I will stop writing this blog because there will no longer be the need. Until that time, I shall continue writing even if I am old and grey. I will not be silenced by ignorance and fear.

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Why I Use Social Media

People have been commenting about why I use social media as much as I do. Its simple really. The answer is in the name: social media. People use it for various reasons but the primary reason most users use sites like Twitter and Facebook are the social interaction features. Yet for many people with autism the primary reason is communication. It is where we converse with friends and family much like a non-autistic person picks up the telephone to chat with a friend. So much of the conversation surrounding social media is about its uses for journalism, pr, marketing and activism. Yet while those people are the most numerous of users they are not the most active. While they tend to use it doing the work time hours of 9 to 5 or even a few hours after work until they go to sleep at night, we never stop. M0st people with autism don’t have regular sleep patterns.

Autistics are usually fairly limited in their ability to interact with people in a social manner. I myself don’t have many real friends except for maybe one or two. Sure I have met a lot of nice people but that barrier that is called autism exists. Social media is how I cross that barrier. It is my portal to the world. It is where I become known to the world. It is where I interact and socialize with people and learn about the world. How many people would I have met without this online medium? Probably none. It was through Twitter that I met Stacey Soleil who is such a caring and true friend even though I haven’t spoken to her recently yet I still enjoy seeing her snarky poss on my Twitter feed. Also there is my friend Cristina Dunning who is like everyone’s personal cheerleader always trying to encourage people and cheer them up and just generally make them laugh They are just some of the awesome and amazing people I have met.

I am not the most chatty person. In most social situations I am usually the one who is sitting quietly like a wallflower but I don’t mind doing that. It gives me a good chance to observe human behavior. I am quicker to size up a person and estimate what they are about because while everyone is chatting with other people, I am observing them. I learn a lot about human behavior that way. Yet at the same time the barrier exists that keeps me from interacting and socializing with other people. I am much more comfortable with interpersonal communication as opposed to group communication. I often sit and watch as people start-up conversations with other people and just gab away while I am often sitting quietly.

Sociologists who study group behavior say that it is possible to feel lonely and isolated in groups. Our dependence on technology as a society has created a state where we all have become like islands in a vast ocean instead of countries who share common borders. Loneliness and isolation is common for people with Asperger’s is common without the use of technology. Without the use of social media Aspies like myself as well as many other autistics who are non-verbal but can type like Carly Fleischmann who has a website called Carly’s Voice and blogs about autism for CTV. Social media is the window to the world for many people who have autism.

If I did not post on here even the people who see me on a regular basis would not know anything about me. I would just be that strange guy who sits in a corner and sometimes says things that are a little weird or out-of-place. People need to understand that this is where I communicate. Like some people like to gab about their lives to their friends at parties or at work or on the phone or in various other social situations, this is where I gab about my life to mine. People tell me that I should be careful about what I post online but when they say that it is clear they don’t understand autism and some leeway is needed when making such demands. That is why I have written this. Just so people can understand the way that I communicate is different from most people. I am not saying either way is wrong of right but the world in general favors interpersonal communication over online communication because it lacks a personal touch and people are always worried about how people might react to something so they keep it offline, for me offline means in my head or in a private journal and not with a close group of friends like many non-autistics choose to do.

For me social media is my way of gabbing about my everyday life. It is the doorway into who I am. It is here that I share my stories instead of gossiping about it with people offline in social situations. If I didn’t do this no one would know anything about me not even the people who see me on a regular basis. This breaks down the barrier that autism creates. I don’t ask why people talk to each other in person or on the phone, because I spend so much time online for the same reason: to communicate and interact with people. I hope this helps people understand me better because though I am verbal I am still in many ways locked behind the walls of autism.

We Have More Facebook Friends, but Fewer Close Friends, Says Cornell Sociologist – ABC News

We Have More Facebook Friends, but Fewer Close Friends, Says Cornell Sociologist – ABC News.

Reading this article made me think how much this is true for people with autism?Especially since we are more prone to spend time online on sites like  Facebook. According to the article, people now have an average of 2.03 real life friends which is down from 3.0 real friends. The definition of real friends used is basically people we can use for emotional support and various other things. Given the naivete that many autistics have, socializing online can be a risky proposition and it is easy to meet people online who will take advantage of us. We may also foolishly believe that people we meet online are really our friends and will be there when we need them. Just because I may have 1,000 friends online doesn’t mean I have 1,000 friends in real life.