Friday, April 14, 2017

Autistic Bloggers, A Sea of Messages in Bottles, and Vera

Trigger/Content Warning (TW/CW): the following blog post contains mentions of rape, assault, suicide, abortion, domestic violence, and childhood abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

This year's Passover holiday has got me thinking. I know; dangerous, isn't it?

One of the things I neglected to mention in the Passover post is a song recited about why this night (usually of the seder) is different from all other nights.

A smartphone screenshot of a
list of blogs from #ActuallyAutistic
bloggers. Each blog is in bold
orange text, with descriptors next
to it in plain black text.
Something caught my eye the other day while I was looking at other blogs relating, in one way or another, to autism. Usually, these autism blogs are proverbially ran (or maintained) by either 1) parents/guardians/caretakers of autistic children or 2) acutal autistic folks. What caught my eye was a blog that showcased a list of sites from other autistic bloggers. As you can see from the link, that list is hucking fuge (and yes, I made the list)!

All of this has got me thinking; not of "why," but rather, "how."

How is this blog different from all other #ActuallyAutistic blogs?

Yeah, Vera, what's so got damn special about your blog?

Well, for starters, I have you, Dear Reader.

*facepalm* That's cute, Vera. I mean, what makes this blog stand out?

Allow me to entertain you with my in-depth analysis.

What are you? Al Jazeera?

*ahem* Number one....

....oh boy, here we go, kids.

I am one of the few bloggers has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder more than once.

I received an initial diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder at the age of 3.5 (3 and a half).

I received a second opinion diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder at the age of 34, about 6 weeks before I started this blog.

I have the rare and distinct honor of being diagnosed both as a child and as an adult.

The second opinion diagnosis is a bit of a misnomer; I really wasn't doubting at that point in my life whether or not I was autistic. Actually, I had no paperwork to show my doctors of my initial autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. I don't know what my parents did to that paperwork (it was more than likely thrown away due to the heavy social stigma at the time).

From 2005 to 2014, I spent time researching for the doctor who diagnosed me (my mother gave me an incorrect name of the doctor; her intentions then are now irrelevant) with absolute no luck.

More or less, the second diagnosis is more, to me, a confirmation diagnosis; to show the world that I said who I was the entire time, an autistic pain in the azz. Or something.

I am a first generation Holocaust survivor and a second generation Holodomor survivor.

I had a conversation with a colleague today about my father's family history. Whenever I share that history, I feel kind of awkward. When most people hear of Holocaust stories, they think that the survivors were once placed in concentration camps, have numeral tattoos on their arms, and were openly Jewish. My father and his parents, and his biological father, had none of those factors; yet they all came to the United States as refugees because they were being sought after by both Soviet and Nazi forces during World War II.

When it comes to Holodomor, I can still hear the voice of maya baba (my grandma) through a microphone that produced that 70s haunting vocal sound, describing what she and her parents endured. I still wonder about this "brother" she had mentioned last year. Did he die during Holodomor? Was he actually related? What was his name?

Why can't my father and my grandmother just be open and honest about their Holo backgrounds for once?

I am the self-proclaimed world's worst autistic activist.

Judging by the activism from various autistic bloggers, my activism is pathetic af. Seriously. I'm not some rebel rouser protesting at an Autism Speaks event (through maybe I should). I'm certainly not the best when it comes to going after people attempting to destroy the messages from autistic people, as if said messages were in individual bottles afloat in a body of water somewhere. I try like hell, but I am not a screamer. I'm not that combative. Rather, I use psychology and analogies to get a point across.

Maybe that's why this blog isn't as popular as others, heh.

I like to talk about topics that aren't talked about enough.

Another time where I feel awkward is when I say this sentence: "I am a mother." Not everyone sees it that way, and I can see why they wouldn't. I mean, if you have an abortion, do you automatically lose your proverbial parental club membership? Do you even say "I am a mother," if the child was never born (via miscarriage, still birth, or abortion)?

Here's another topic: sex. I love sex (with consenting adults, thank you very much). That's where my pansexuality comes into play. I focus on hearts, not parts. And if I can get it, then by all means I'm going to get it. Does this make me a slut or a player or some nuance? No. What's more important is that I don't care. As long as the partner is drug and disease free, we good.

Speaking of sex, I am also surgically postmenopausal. This means I won't have a second chance to have a child come from my own ovum. This also means that I have to do more for my physical appearance and overall health should I want that good stuff again. *Looks in the mirror* Yep. I'm on it. *cough cough*

Finally, I live with types 1 and 2 of posttraumatic stress disorder, along with major depressive, generalized anxiety, and adjustment disorders.

I have been through childhood trauma via neglect and abuse, both witnessing and experiencing. I have been through bullying both at school and in the workplace. I have been through domestic violence. I have been sexually assaulted. I have been raped. I have been tortured in the name of educational purposes. I have been gaslighted. I have been suicidal many a time.

And yet....

I have been through general (or mainstream) education after several years in special education. I have graduated from high school and two vocational programs. I have participated in a volunteer program, helping to "bridge across the digital divide" (that was the catch phrase back in 2000). I have worked for a number of radio stations throughout Northern Ohio. I have worked for the United States Department of Defense. I have been through the process of converting to Judaism. I have survived brushes with death from mature cystic teratomas destroying both of my ovaries, allergy to general anesthesia, anaphylaxis to shellfish, and witnessing domestic altercations.

And I share it all here.

To finish my Passover theme of thought: on all other #ActuallyAutistic blogs, we read what autistic bloggers share on their minds, for a variety of reasons. On this #ActuallyAutistic blog, we read what I share from my experiences and hope that you can learn from the mistakes I have made.

That's a nice commercial for your blog, Vera.

Thanks, but it's over thirty seconds long.


  1. Vera,

    love what makes your blog unique.

    That blog directory had quoted the details of many of its writers without permission or consent like a sitecrawler and with as much ... conscience.

    Again, it's good to hear what makes This That and Vera what it is.

    1. Hi, Adelaide!

      Thank you for your long time support for TT&V.

      To be fair, when I discovered my blog was listed, I contacted the owner and asked if I could add some tidbits about myself. The administrator agreed to, thus why there is some info after my blog title.

      At the end of the day, I love how TT&V sticks out like a yellow daffodil in a flower bed of purple tulips.

      I'm a rebel within the rebellion, heh.

      Much love, and again, thank you for your support!