It's been two weeks of dialogues at TPGA. As we each work to figure out what it means to be a part of this community and where the boundaries are, I thought I'd share my latest from Countering. --KWombles
"My mind's more at ease, but nevertheless, why stir up memories?"
And ain't that the truth?
I don't get around to many blogs anymore, too many papers to grade, and an ever earlier and earlier bedtime as I find myself worn out. Some nights I beat the girls to bed, and am grateful that Rick shoulders the bedtime duty. I miss some of my blogging buddies, those women and men whose lives I got to share in, but I don't miss the drama of visiting places that are angry, hostile places.
What I have read, though, are the dialogues at TPGA, some of the comments, and many of the posts written by other bloggers in response to those posts and comments. We've been putting those blog posts over at the directory as I'm able to find time to contact the blog writers and get their permission. If I haven't gotten around to you and you've written one, email me and I'll get it up.
When I started blogging in 2009, the autism community seemed to be clearly divided into two vocal camps: neurodiversity followers versus those who believed autism was caused by vaccines. The neurodiversity camp also lined up in opposition to autistic adults who very much want a cure for their autism. Of course, that's an oversimplification, but those were the factions I was initially exposed to. It was easier to find a place, in some ways, because you were immediately routed to one camp or the other based on what you thought about vaccines.
I made several close friends in the midst of blogging, advocating, and trying to make a difference. I made some enemies, too. I acted intemperately at times. I stumbled, occasionally, and I learned a lot. I lost some friends, too, people who quit blogging, or who retreated when something besides vaccines popped up and revealed that there was another line that could create a divide.
The directory that Kathleen and I run, the bloggers we've met through that, has changed my views, tempered my opinions, and led me to react differently than I did back in the summer of 2009. You can't practice inclusion, read hundreds of people with a variety of beliefs and experiences and not come away changed.
What I learned from reading parents who believe a multitude of things that differ from my own beliefs is that they write to reach out, to get comfort, to know they are not alone. Adults on the spectrum write for the same reasons. We all want the same basic things: acceptance, appreciation, accommodation, and to know that when needed, people will act on our behalf for our benefit.
Far too often, they don't find this, even in a community where we should have an abundance of experiences that should lock us together in solidarity. And yet, it often doesn't. Far too often there is rancor and strife and instead of making people's lives easier, we make them harder. Instead of finding comfort, we find drama.
Perhaps we could all spend a little more time asking what we bring to the equation: comfort or drama. And if I've brought you drama in the past, I'm sorry.