‘Cause there ain’t no doubt, I… wait, what?

Call me a cynic. Call me unpatriotic. Call me a party pooper. But I really don’t like the fourth of July. Don’t get me wrong – I am grateful for our veterans and think they are heroes. I bawl whenever the news tells a story of a soldier surprising their family when they came home. And I am grateful for those who gave the ultimate gift.

And yet.

People say that we’re all free. But we’re not. Women are paid less than men. A black man can be shot for just walking down the street. An autistic child can be murdered by their parent and the parent walks away. This isn’t opinion, this is fact. In our very pledge we say “with liberty and justice for all”, but where was the justice for Tamir Rice? Where was the justice for the autistic children who were murdered by their caregivers in the name of mercy?

We live in a country where racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and ableism are rampant. We live in a country where disabled adults work in sheltered workshops  to profit off their disability. Disabled people have to fight for the right to marry. Muslim hate crimes are alive and well. When we say “But the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away” like the song says? Or do only some have freedom? The ones we deem good enough? The ones that fit a cookie cutter mold?

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the mean who died, who gave that right to be
And I’ll gladly stand up, next to you, and defend her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt, I love this land… God Bless the USA.”

I don’t particularly love my country. Not when we have the current presidential candidates. Not when my voice was literally silenced, because the caucus is not handicap accessible. Not when people are trying to strip away my rights and freedoms because I’m disabled. Not when my friends are given death threats (yes, it happens) for being advocates and activists. Am I free? In some sense, yes. In other senses, we have a long way to go.

I’m autistic. I’m physically disabled. My brain is alphabet soup. And I am not free. Do I have more rights than I would in other countries? Well yes, it would be absurd to claim otherwise. But I am oppressed. Every single day. My friends are oppressed. We are not free. We still have to have a disability day of mourning, for god’s sake, alongside a transgender day of remembrance.  Not even a month ago, there was a terrorist attack on American soil inside a gay night club.

We sing and speak about freedom and we make noises about liberty and justice. When the truth is, these things are just for a select few and many more are denied these same things every day.

To the Stanford rape victim

To the Stanford rape victim,

I am so sorry that you are a fellow member of this club. I’m so sorry you’re a fellow sexual abuse victim. You did nothing to deserve this. There is NOTHING that you could have done that would have warranted this. Nothing. There is nothing that deserves rape. Full stop.

I’m sorry that he won’t see justice. I know how that feels. I know how soul-crushing it is to have been hurt and to know that the perp was barely slapped on the wrist.

I don’t know your name and you don’t know mine and I don’t know what you look like and you don’t know what I look like. But I know we’re both strong as fucking hell and we both went through horrifying trauma. I was a child and you were an adult but we’re both victims. The people who hurt us never saw justice.

But I will fight for your rights and I’ll fight for your voice. And I know you would do the same for me. People never stop saying it was your fault. It’s not.

People never stop saying you have to forgive him.

You don’t.

People never stop saying that you hold all the power and if you don’t forgive, you’re an ass hole.

That’s not true.

If you can forgive, if you want to forgive, if forgiveness brings you healing, do it. But if you’re not ready…that’s okay. You don’t own anyone anything.

People never stop being judgmental assholes.

You are innocent.
I was innocent.
We are innocent.

And we will overcome.

I’m autistic…and that’s okay.

I am autistic, and that’s okay.

Some times it’s hard. Like today I had to tell someone what I wanted to eat and I went over and over what I needed to say in my head. Even though it was a very simple task, even though it was something so many people do, I just couldn’t do it without repeating things in my head to make sure that I said the right things. I suppose part of that is social anxiety and shyness, too,

Sometimes I flap my hands in public. I noticed recently that I flap one hand when scared or anxious, and the other hand I use to stim when I’m more relaxed. Kinda a funny quirk, but it’s okay. I wear coil bracelets on my wrist to twist and play with. Sometimes I get out my stuffed monkey. Sometimes I play with a bouncy ball. There’s nothing wrong with it, and I hate that society deems it so.

I proudly wear glittery things and tutus in public. I don’t care if it isn’t socially acceptable for a nearly 29 year old. Socially acceptable is relative and if I’m happy and comfortable, that’s all that matters to me. I’m tired of being fit into a box because I am divergent from the world. Why does your comfort come at my expense?

I’m Autistic. I am not a person with autism. I cling to my identity-first language and anyone who says I should say differently can shove off. Also, anyone who thinks I should support Autism Speaks can bugger right off, too.

Just because I’m autistic doesn’t mean I lack empathy. I’m kind and compassionate, and I’m the most loyal Hufflepuff you’ll ever meet. I don’t want to be cured, nor should I be.

I’m Autistic.

And I’m Nora.

Victim Blaming

I am not going into details because this is a public blog. It is vague ON PURPOSE. Do NOT ask me for details because you will NOT get them. Get it? Got it? Good.

Now.

Explaining why someone acted the way they did is not victim blaming. For example:

“I don’t understand why so and so didn’t stop.”
“So and so didn’t stop because you didn’t stop.”
“THAT’S VICTIM BLAMING!!!”

Now, if you had said IT IS YOUR FAULT, yes, that is victim blaming. Explaining the possible reason is NOT.

Wanna know what else something isn’t? Abuse isn’t someone telling you you’re wrong. Abuse isn’t kindly correcting someone. Triggering, yes, but abuse, no.

Also, if you delete all posts from someone calling you out on your bullshit doesn’t make you look good.

Thanks!

This has been a PSA from Nora.

How dare you

Anyone who knows me at all knows I’m pretty obsessed with Marvel. I have an impressive amount of Avenger T-shirts. I have  multiple action figures of Marvel stuff. I was proudly #teamcap for Captain America: Civil War and went to the movie wearing my BB8!Cap shirt and Hulkette, my stuffed Hulk bear from build-a-bear. So, to say I love Marvel would be an understatement.

Which is why the news this past week has completely shaken me up. At first, my response was “Oh, it’s Marvel, nothing is forever, right?” But then I thought more about it. And then it got worse and worse. You see, they turned Steve Rogers into someone who was a Hydra spy all along. Which, so much nope. There is no way, Marvel, you can make this right. There is no way you can make this better.

Cap is the one who told the world “No, you move.” Cap is the one who gave the proverbial middle finger to the government. Cap is a figure of safety, of security, of idealistic Americana. Cap is the hero who fought for the underdog.

How dare you, Marvel. How dare you take a character that punched Hitler in the face and turn him into this. For context, it was an INCREDIBLY risky move. The gravity of how awful Hitler wasn’t as well known. This was a world before social media. This was a big fucking deal.

How dare you, Marvel. How dare you take the Jewish and non-Jewish lives that were slaughtered and turn them into a marking ploy. As someone who was born disabled, I would be one of the ones among the dead.

How dare you, Marvel, set it up so parents have to explain to their children why they can no longer read Captain America. That the guy who stood for everything they stood for is actually a bad guy. My knee jerk reaction is “I love Cap, how can he be evil!?” But it’s so much more than that.

To everyone who says we’re overreacting, check your privilege. If you were born in the time era where the story initially took place, would you have been among the dead? Would the ones you love most me killed? Many of my closest friends are Jewish, Disabled, LGBT, and more. We would all be dead. Cap was someone who fought for us. Cap was someone who we looked up to. I mean, part of the reason I have so much Cap stuff is because I have PTSD and it helps me feel safe. And now, that has been taken away from me.

Marvel, I’m not the one who needs to change her prospective.  I’m not the one who needs to lighten up. You did this just to shock people. Do you realize the damage you’ve done? Do you realize that there is no turning back? Do you realize that you’ve completely alienated  a large portion of your reader base? Because how dare you to this..

And I will not shut up.

 

Because you know why?

 

No. YOU move.  

Living la vida PTSD

Trigger warnings for childhood abuse and PTSD. As well as self injury.

Sometimes, I go back to my old Livejournal. And sometimes, I find things that take my breath away. Like this, which I wrote all the way back in 2009. Which feels like forever ago.

“make it stop make it stop make it stop
someone. anyone. i can’t take this anymore.
i can’t take it.
it’s too much. it’s too much. it won’t end.
it’s a nightmare when i sleep. it’s a nightmare when i’m awake.
it won’t end. my thoughts are consumed when i’m awake
and there’s no end in sight to this. it won’t go away.
it just won’t go away.
it won’t end.
i’m not safe. i’m not protected.
they won’t go away. and there are some times when the memories get so intense
so real. so tangible. so close. so present
that it’s like i’m living the hell all over again.
and other times (sometimes these times overlap)
it’s like i leave my body, i leave myself, i’m not real
but i’m just watching eveything happen again.
it’s all happening again. and there’s no comfort.
there’s no end. there’s no way to make it stop.
which, of course, why should it stop? why should it end?
i deserve it. i deserve every nanosecond of it.
i don’t deserve to be free from this anguish
even though i want to be free. i want out. i want it to go away.
i want to cry, to scream, to push it all away
but it’s not okay to show that amount of emotion
it’s not okay to let it out. i don’t even know if it’s okay to write it out.
i just want a break from these thoughts. memories. nightmares. daymares.
would cutting stop them? it has before. and it’s to the point where even though
even though i know that it’s just a quick fix, a short-term solution
a momentary trip to nirvana
it would be enough. just for a rest. just for a break. just to make it all end.
even just for a few seconds. nanoseconds, even. just a break.
it’s all i ask. even though i don’t deserve it
i don’t deserve a break but i did deserve what happened.
so maybe i’ll just live in this torment forever.
and never be free. that’s surely how it’s looking right about now.
and maybe i just won’t eat for awhile. maybe if i’m empty inside
maybe if i’m not putting anything inside of me
then maybe, just maybe, it will ease. i’m willing to try anything
at this point. i just can’t keep going with this and i don’t know
what else to do.”

 This was written seven years ago in a private live journal post. And this is the first time I’ve let anyone else see it. And I’m Fucking terrified. I’m afraid people will judge me. That people will say the abuse was my fault – and maybe they’re correct. Maybe it is all my fault. Maybe I should have been a better daughter. 

I try to word these things out loud and I can’t. They’re trapped inside me. It’s like when you have a cassette tape and the brown tape part gets all tangled so it can’t play (gods I just aged myself and I bet there are readers who don’t know what a cassette is). I hate to admit I still blame myself. I hate to admit that I think these things. But it’s true and I do. And I wonder if other CSA survivors think these things. I wonder if other people have these same thoughts. 

Or if once again, I’m alone. 

After someone changes their name

After someone changes their name, there’s a few things you should not do. Super Nora to the rescue!

  1. Do not ask why they changed their name. Their reasons were likely difficult or personal. It could be as simple as “I didn’t like my old name” or it could be more complex as they have transitioned, they are escaping an abusive situation, etc. If they offer up a reason, great! But if they don’t offer, it’s none of your business. 
  2. Do not ask them what their name was. See above. This could endanger their career and lives, and frankly, it’s none of your business. 
  3. If you knew them before or you know their old name, don’t call them by the old name. The old name may bring pain. It may be a power trip for you. It may bring back painful memories. Name changing isn’t easy and isn’t come across flippantly. Respect their choice and call them their new name.
  4. For god’s sake, don’t ask “But how do your parents feel?” Well, in my case, that wasn’t something I needed to take into consideration. I never liked my name. Changing it freed me and gave me something about myself I like. So don’t ask about them.

Basically, just call them by the NAME THEY GIVE YOU and keep your opinions to yourself.

You’re the part of my life that I’ll always remember

Image is a black and a white picture. A pigtailed female is holding her golden brown tabby in her arms. They are nuzzling each other’s faces.

 

Three years ago today I brought you home.

Three years ago today you joined my family.

Three years ago I held you for the first time. And you chose me.

You have me wrapped around your little paw. It was love at first sight.

I love you, Athena.

I love your meows. Your cries. Your purrs.

Your snuggles. How the second I walk in the front door, you mrow at me and fling yourself at me for attention.

You’re my fuzzbutt.

My flufferbutt.

My whinypants.

And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Image is the very first picture of me and Athena, taken in the shelter when I held her for the first time. Image is of a pale female wearing a Pikachu hat and an orange sweatshirt holding a golden brown tabby cat.

Exciting Announcement!

I am starting to work on a memoir. I’ll be compiling pieces from my blog posts and whatnot. It’ll focus on being autistic, grief, and accepting my disabilities. It’s going to be dedicated to my friends who have died because they’ve made such an impact on my life. I only hope the list doesn’t grow before it is published. I am hoping to have it published by my 30th birthday – in June of 2017. That sounds super soon and I only have a year and a half, so I better get my ass cracking!