11 November, 2011

about this blog

I am actually writing this in December 2012 and hiding it in the past so people don't mistake me for someone who writes real blog posts.

My name is Amanda. I'm 24. For the first two years I was writing this blog, I went to Oberlin College in northern Ohio. After I graduated I lived in Cincinnati for a year and then I moved to San Francisco. My points of view are:

1. I have worked with disabled people a lot, mostly at a summer camp for developmentally disabled teenagers and adults, and at a nursing home for seniors with dementia and mobility disabilities. I have seen a lot of messed up things and first became aware of hardcore ableism when volunteering at a behaviorist school for kids with autism. Right now I work for a severely disabled young woman and her parents and I'm not experiencing turmoil about anything related to my job, which is a brand new feeling.

2. I am disabled. Specifically I have autism, but I refuse to say that anymore. It's a totally immature way of dealing with conflict but most people's conception of autism is so unrelated to who I am that if I mention my diagnosis, everyone tries to argue with me and it makes me feel terrible. So let's just say I have plenty of learning disabilities and I am crazy and I don't know which one came first. But most of my friends are Autistic and my main connection to the disability rights movement is through the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, so I'm not doing a good job being an unidentified disabled person.

3. It's probably important to note that most people do not perceive me as disabled, especially in situations where I'm perceived as "staff" for a disabled person. "Looking non-disabled" is completely subjective and doesn't necessarily have much to do with who someone is or what their disability is like, but nonetheless I tend to get treated like I'm not disabled which gives me a lot of feelings of not existing, divided loyalty, being worried that I'm faking my disability, etc. It also means I get to hear bad stuff about disabled people because people think there are no disabled people in the room, which explains the name of my blog.

I try and write about power dynamics I experience as a staff person, fallacies, passing, and some other things.

Fallacies--society creates "facts" about disability and disabled people for the sake of convenience. How can you argue about anything when everyone doesn't even question that these things are true?

Passing--hiding or downplaying stigmatized identities. The most well-known example might be biracial people passing as white, but people can try and pass as upper-class, cisgender, heterosexual, non-disabled, etc. You can try and pass on purpose or someone might do it to you against your will. Why pass? How does it help or hurt you? Who do you become when you pass, especially when you are trying to live beyond your means in order to pass? Why do professionals assume disabled people are more healthy/functional if they pass as non-disabled?

This blog is 4 years old and boomerangs a lot in style but you can usually count on a lot of puns, pop culture references, and TMI. If you want to be friends with me or ask me about my actual content, please do so. Don't try and talk to me just because I have autism because I know NOTHING about autism. My house looks like a trash can and I'm drunk all the time.

(I know the first 6 months of this blog are kind of like "look at me I have autism" but I realized it was boring and made me feel gross.)

When I started this blog I used to make a lot of off topic posts so I made a directory of the posts that I thought were actually worth reading, but then I got a tumblr and didn't make so many off topic posts on here and the directory swelled to a point where I can't even understand it. If you can use it I feel sorry for you.

About me: I was born in 1988 in the US to parents who were born in the US, I am white, I am cisgender, my family always had enough money, I am gay, and I generally wasn't in what you would call special ed. I still live in the US, I have trouble thinking about religion or politics but I'm something like a Christian socialist and don't really see a line between those two adjectives. I went to preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, and 4-year college, and I "live independently" far away from my parents. I work low income jobs and try to pay for my own food, rent, and insurance, but my parents pay for my phone and I would be able to fall back on them in an emergency. I am actually telling you this to apologize for failures in empathy and form some kind of backdrop to my anecdotes, but if you want to explain why I'm not really disabled I want you to have a head start.


  1. Hello :)
    I found your blog accidentally and have been reading for hours,my neck actually aches from all the nodding at your world-views. I have 'stuff that makes me different' too and get annoyed at labels. I'm female but that doesnt mean I'm the same as all other females so why do people assume that a disability label/s tells them anything about the person I am?
    Anyways,just wanted to say thankyou for putting your thoughts out there and I'm bookmarking your blog so I can read more later
    From sponge

  2. Hi,
    Do you still write in your blog? I enjoy it! Thank you for all the convenience and help to the world.

  3. I'm not sure if my comment went through so I apologize if this is a repost. I just read your post as part of the advocate/parent dialogue on TPGA and it was amazing. I am reblogging it on my blog (walkinontheedge.wordpress.com) because it is such a clearly drawn perspective. Thank you so very much. As an NT parent of an autistic child, this is a huge help.

  4. Dear Amanda,

    My name is Vered Seidmann and I am conducting a study on Autism and the Social Media. I am a PhD student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information Studies (WKWSCI), in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. I study the voice and the presence of autism as reflected in social media. The direct voice of autistic people is under-explored and I find it extremely important to listen to the unique voice of autistic people. I was wondering if I can be in touch with you for more detailed explanation.
    If you are willing, I would be very grateful to be in touch with you directly via e-mail and send you more detailed information. My e-mail address is: vered001@e.ntu.edu.sg .

    Thank you,
    Vered Seidmann