I was born in 1988 to a rich white family on the East Coast of the United States of America. For those keeping track, I was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when I was 9 and Asperger’s when I was 14--but all that really tells you about me is that I was born in 1988 to a rich white family on the East Coast of the United States of America.
By the time I was 18, I had been undiagnosed many times by people both qualified and unqualified to do so; and after a brief flirtation with Autistic culture I soon succumbed to the implications of the types of praise and encouragement young disabled people often receive. When we succeed we’re told that we’re not really disabled or that we’re different from other disabled people. The idea of being a real average disabled person becomes unacceptable. Being approved of or getting the things that we want is associated with not being something that we are; so, growing up, we bury part of ourselves.
I grew up to be a buried young adult. When I associated autism with myself at all, I identified as “very high-functioning” or “someone who used to have Asperger’s.” I even wished there was a word for someone who was more high-functioning than Asperger’s, since I felt I was on the very, very mild end of that spectrum, almost disappearing into thin air.
I experienced a lot of intense emotions, but ultimately calmness and joy, when I was around disabled people; so in college, I decided that I wanted to work with disabled people professionally. As I began to get experience doing this, I became aware of two things. First, I learned that I liked real average disabled people and would like to be one. I also learned that disabled people were often treated or judged in ways that didn’t make sense but were accepted as natural.
So, I became interested in analyzing and taking apart some of the “natural” judgments and decisions that are made about disabled people, and that’s most of what I do here. In the process of writing this blog and learning from other blogs, I’ve made some real average disabled friends and acquaintances who have helped me get better at being RAD.
In a few weeks I’ll graduate from college and go work at a summer camp for teenagers and adults with disabilities. I don’t know what I’m doing after the summer, so I can’t write a better description of my life circumstances. The best way to describe my “disability experience” is to say I’m a cognitive zombie and an emotional werewolf, but I’d rather not try. I’m Christian, queer, and cis; I write genre fiction about dishonest people; and I used to make pop music.
Here is a picture of me with a book I really like, but unfortunately have to write a paper on soon:
[Image description: a white girl with blond hair wearing a black shirt, blue nail polish, and a ring, sitting in front of a window in a white room and holding up Showings by Julian of Norwich. Unintentionally covering up Christ's face. Overdoes image descriptions and as a result tends to avoid them or put them as alt text so no one finds out how dumb the image description is without using a screen reader, or hovering over the image to see what it says.]