When I was a little girl in elementary school, I was bullied. Bullied by a fifth grader. There were times in elementary school when I had mean words aimed at me and was being called names. It hurt me so much. I still recall those days when I was bullied by that fifth grader.
The fifth grader called me names and was really mean to me, he treated me like dirt and also treated me unfairly. He called me a f*ggot, and even in the lunch lines he was mean. I felt so alone and it made me feel like there was nothing I could do about it. He yelled at me that one day in March 1998, saying to me, “What the f*** are you looking at?” I started bawling and running over to my aide, and she and I went to the learning support room to collect myself. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t handle what he had said to me. He was just so mean and rude to me. It was a horrific time in my life for me. It was a very bad time in my life. It hurt me so badly. Sometimes I have nightmares about the way he acted around me. My aide and I had a long talk about it. I always loved our long talks.
In high school, in tenth grade, I was bullied by a group of guys, and they called me names too. They called me a pig. They laughed at me, they called me a “poser” or something like that. I think what they actually called me was a “hoser”. The truth is, when you are autistic, you get bullied. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be bullied. I still go through this phase a lot, now that I’m in high school. It hurts so much. It’s never easy being who you are, and sometimes life can hurt. But it’s good to know that I have a lot of people in my life who love and care about me.
I am an autistic adult, and I’m a human being. I am not a pig, I am not a hoser, and I am neither a monster, a tragedy or a burden. I am me. As an autistic adult, I enjoy my life, but sometimes it can be hard. But I know that I have a lot of family and friends who love me and care about me. I don’t like hurting others and I don’t want to hurt anybody. I love everybody, and as an autistic adult, I want people to know how much it hurts an autistic person when they are teased, bullied, mocked, ridiculed, tormented, murdered, muzzled, and silenced. I want to get my story out there and make it go viral so that people would be more understanding of what it is like to be autistic. People are so quick to judge, mistreat and condemn us constantly. It’s not right. That’s why I am getting the word out there so that people can understand what it’s like to be disabled.
Some days aren’t like the others but I’m glad to say that as an autistic adult, I have value, and my life has value. A lot of people don’t see it that way. They want us murdered or left in institutions and nursing homes to vegetate and rot. I’m thankful that for a second year in a row I get to tell my story to let people know that our lives as disabled people have value, that we disabled people matter and that we disabled people need to be loved and taken really good care of. That we disabled people are not burdens or tragedies. That we disabled people need you to give us hugs and let us know how much you love us. Don’t try to cure us, just love and understand us. Don’t talk over us, talk TO us. Don’t dismiss us, don’t judge us or condemn us. Listen to us. Because we need to be understood. We need to be taken care of. Don’t throw us away in the garbage can. When you do things like judge and condemn us disabled people, you are taking away so much of our dignity.
As an autistic adult, I am tender-hearted. I don’t lack empathy. I have feelings, and I cry and I hurt just like everybody else. I laugh, I have a sense of humor, I am hard-working on my art and singing, I have a heart, and I care. I’m thankful that I’m not in a nursing home or institution where I have no freedoms at all. Please love and understand us disabled people. And know that our lives do have value when the rest of the world seems to have lost their compassion for others. Thank you.