I am not a tragedy. There is nothing tragic about my life. I am disabled. I am autistic. And you know what? It’s all a part of who I am. It isn’t tragic. It isn’t a horrible fate. And no one is my voice. No one but me. Even when I lose my verbal speech. The only time I do not have a voice is when you try to silence it. The only time I am voiceless is when you refuse to listen to my atypical speech.
I am not a tragedy. I don’t suffer from autism. I am not a person with autism. I am an autistic female. Autism runs through my veins. It’s very much a vital part of my personality. It is as crucial to my personality as the fact I’m a sarcastic asshole and my affinity for puns. It’s just not something I can easily change. And to be frank, I wouldn’t change it. Of course there are things I hate about autism. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. But at the same time, to love myself and to hate my autism – like so many parents claim about their children – would be to hate the very core of my being.
I am not a tragedy. My disabilities are not tragic. Sometimes they suck – getting sick so easy sucks. Having disabling migraines suck. Being in pain all the time sucks. But you know what? Some very good, very not tragic things have happened as a result. I have an amazing circle of friends who would move hell and high water for me. I have friends who have done little things for me, just to make me smile or to hear my laugh. I’ve made friendships I wouldn’t have had. Is the fact I’m a college drop out tragic? Absolutely not. I am simply making the best of my situation. There is nothing tragic about it. The only tragedy is people who try to silence me, because they think I should be a good little crip.
I am also not your inspiration. I do not exist to inspire. I do not exist to teach you. I do not exist to make your life better. There’s nothing inspiring about me doing my famous hobble-hop on days when I don’t want to use my crutches or walker. There’s nothing special about me being able to balance crutches and a cup of steaming hot coffee (well, okay, it is kind of impressive I don’t spill it down my shirt, but that’s because I’m an absolute klutz not because I’m a crip).
I am not your inspiration. I am not inspiring because I simply go about my daily life. To call me, to call your child, to call your sibling an inspiration just because we’re disabled and for going around our days is ableism, and turning us into inspiration porn. Don’t do the thing. Don’t demean us. Don’t objectify us. Don’t tell us that we exist to inspire, that we exist to teach. We don’t. We exist to life our lives.
I am not your inspiration. I am just like you in many ways. I love Firefly and Doctor Who, the Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m snarky, sarcastic, cynical, bubbly, and happy go lucky. I am a mix of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, Kayle from Firefly, River Tam from Firefly, and Silica from Sword Art Online. I just have disabilities.
Do not turn me into a tragedy.
Do not turn me into an inspiration.
For I am none of those.
I’m simply Nora.