So, Is Your Autism Community Bringing You Down?

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I like almost every autism parent I have encountered online. My personal statistics on this are overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been lucky. And, of course, my page is small. But I can accept that in life people can and will make fools of themselves. It does not define us as a community, it’s just how human nature works. Some people are simply meaner than others. Some are more (or less) emotionally charged. Some are at an intellectual advantage. Or disadvantage. Welcome to the wonderful world of human interaction.

I am certainly no saint. I repeatedly have to stop myself from saying things I might regret. I write ten times more blog entries than I am willing to post, but have let a few slip through the cracks. Maybe this is one of them. There are times when I have been meaner than necessary in a debate. And I pray no one is still whispering about anything I said or did during the summer of 2005- when I proved that the combination of alcohol and fertility drugs make me way more outgoing than I ever intend to be. Consider this my official overdue apology to anyone who just said to themselves, “I remember that summer.”

We all have a long list of things we wish we could take back. But I hope no amount of anger or insult would make me react in a way that compromised my integrity in this community. Some people have a very different definition of integrity, or have no idea how to maintain it when they are angry. Many people are quite mistaken about what a clever comeback is or how ineffective pointless insults are in proving one’s point. We all possess varying degrees of wit and emotional self-control. I guess it’s because we are all human. Unless you are part of the lizard people conspiracy (and I secretly hope you are).

There is temptation to delight in the mistakes of those who we don’t like, and even more temptation to pick sides when a line has been drawn in the sand between a friend and someone we deem undesirable. But if you choose to publicly attack one another with immature insults and mean-spirited conversations, we can all see you doing that. Continue reading

In Case I Forget to Say Thank You

 

Facebook is a strange human experiment in friendship.

In some ways it really shines. It keeps me in touch with family members, who I may otherwise have let too much time pass without contact. It keeps me in the loop of my friends from Illinois since moving back to Michigan (and with the ones who have also spread elsewhere throughout the country and world). It allows me to meet new people from all walks of life and make connections that were never before possible.

It also changes the natural course of things as we knew it. If you are of a certain age, that is. Suddenly friends who had drifted out of our lives are there again. Which is great….and weird. Because some of these familiar strangers, whose children I have never even met, know some of my deepest secrets. Some of these now casual acquaintances once knew me better than I knew myself, and it went both ways. You know who you are.

And then there are the misunderstandings and expectations of each other. Some people like to share in this type of platform, and others do not. Some people like to watch it all unfold from their secret little corner. Some of us take risks, seek approval, or hold our own approval up as some kind of prize to be won. Some of us care, and others- not so much.  Continue reading