Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 2020. Things are going very well. For a global pandemic.

I am writing at home, where by our count it is week six of the global event that is the Covid - 19 pandemic.  Week five of the UK lockdown, in which citizens are requested to stay at home and avoid social contact as much as possible.

This subject dominates news and media.  With good reason.  People are dying.  On mass.  All for one very good reason.

We do not have a vaccine for the virus anywhere on Earth.

The great anti Vaccination (known as Anti Vaxx) lie that you just get any old disease, get sick, get over it and have immunity thereafter is simply not going to survive 2020.  If I am right.  Because as of this week, nothing is certain about the virus and its effects.  What we need absolute knowledge of is:

  • Are any of us likely to get infected.  How and where?  Because right now a huge percentage of the UK does not have this disease.  But all it takes is one mass infection in say a local shop, supermarket or any social gathering space....and off it goes.  Also just a ride into town and back, or absorbing virus from a surface you touch, or the air around you.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  
  • What happens when you get over it.  Do you have antibody immunity thereafter or could you get infected again?
  • When will a vaccine be ready, and do we have to live this way until then?
  • How long would a vaccine protect you for?
  • Is there a scenario in which the world, yes the entire planet right now, returns to relative functionality as before without a vaccine that can be called upon?
  • What will the future bring for the global economy, let alone your regional one and your own?

So here I am, not going on about all matters NeuroDivergent.  Thing is, to an extent I never really have.  What I think I've been up to is a combination of detective work and research, with a bit of writing/steering human history thrown in.

Any guesses how the above works?  Okay, let me explain.

As with Covid 19, it's all being worked out as we all go along here.  This time next year many things will hopefully be known that are not now.  Oh sorry no - MUST BE KNOWN THAT ARE NOT NOW.  Because the epidemic business is far too serious to have uncertainty around.  This is literally a life and death issue.  Science must provide. Huge amounts of money are being allocated overnight by governments the world over, to the pursuit of a vaccine alone.

I think it was the start of 2019, one of the Anti Vaxx/autism is brain damage lobby tried to post a petition to have 'autism' per se declared a national emergency in America.  It got about 19, 000 signatures and petered out.  Mark Blaxill, the noted one-man vaccines cause autism campaigner and author was said by some to be behind it.  Blaxill's signature paranoid writing also turned up in a wonderfully written comment on a Guardian article about autism rates around that time.

I wish I'd copied it...sigh.  Oh, it was wonderful.  It talked about the world being hit by 'a tsunami of autistic children', whom we were led to believe would be mentally disabled.  This seemed to be integral to their being so many of them.  So disabled that our world would shudder to a halt by the end of the century due to their dysfunctionality.  Very much like a neurological zombie apocalypse.

The posting was deleted by the Guardian by the end of that day.  What the author failed to realise was that not all autistic people were as mentally disabled as he implied.

Meanwhile here in april 2020, something is going on.  Something real.  Now spot the difference between what I have described and what is happening with the Coronavirus outbreak at this time of history.  If you are reading this weeks, months or years later you may understand my point.

My work has been all about discovering what I am doing as an autistic advocate as much as doing it.  The central buddhist motive of trying to make compassionate sense and facilitating others is still at the heart of my work.   So all of 2019 on social media I was as much trying to be convinced of other peoples points of view and realise and convey my own.  I remain as usual, open to others to change my ideas and thinking.  But so far that's rarely happened.  Excepting my view on autism as mental illness - and mental illness in general.  Ah, now there I have evolved.

I now see autism as varying in such definitions.  For some, it is disorder and disability.  But not others.  For some still, it can be both.  You see, you have to QUALIFY to have a disorder.  You have to have the PROPERTIES of a disability.  You cannot make these absolute statements about 'autism is only one thing'.  It varies from person to person.

Mental illness is something that comes and goes in peoples lives, just like virus based illness.  The lie that all people have this ongoing steady, stable state of mind has long been debunked by many now.  People vary and change, and in lots of different ways.  Some recover relatively.  Some go in and out.  Some are lucky to remain relatively without definable disorder of the mind.

Yeah, but then what?  What is this normal and healthy.  What is this ongoing state of clear function?  Ever wonder what's going on here in the mind.  I mean something must be.  Instead of the many and complex models of mental confusion, instability and distress....what's the model for the opposite.

In buddhist all I ever studied and heard about was the healthy, insightful, compassionate mind.  All we ever considered and learned about, were the properties of healthy minds that either had or were on the way to enlightenment.  Simple.  It was nothing but compassion, loving kindness and awareness.

Erm...that was it.  Insight itself was a bloody mystery.  That's the point.  I mean people certainly though they had an idea of what it was all about.  But don't you see that so called 'healthy' minds are clearly on a scale as well?  that you get some people who are definable as healthier than other relatively healthy people?

Where does it all end!!  With superhumans?

The funniest thing I found on Twitter last year was an 18 year old who made out he had Tourettes, Learning Disorder and 'Classical Autism'.  Whatever he meant by the last one.  This was the most lucid, rational, stable, manipulative and strategically clever individual on there.  I spent most of the year challenging his identity.  I had to publically apologise for being wrong about his age.  I used to chat to him privately.  Great company.  Utterly biased dialogue without any compromise.  A future pro' on social media.  He'd post publicly that he thought he could never live an independent life.  A few months later, he openly discussed when he was leaving his parents home.

The rest of his friends were a waste of time due to their nastiness, self centerdness and classic autistic personalities which were best summed up as over intellectualising and under developed in terms of empathy and compassion for others opinions.

It was hilarious because this teenager was acknowledge by a number of us as the co leader of an organised trolling gang, blatantly working for ABA proponents and attacking anyone like myself they could find on Twitter whom they disagreed with.  He did nothing but claim he was not whilst clearly only relating to everyone he opposed, in such a way as to make them ALL look stupid.  This was done by filtering out the dialogues so he only concentrated on things people said that he could criticise and argue with, in order to make their thinking look wrong.  He was brilliant at it.  People double his age had trouble with him.

All good sport for me.  I wanted to develop my faculties and found the perfect seminar.  An online dojo if you will?  I finished with him start of the year, and on good terms too.  All the best, Kid.

That my friends was the Autistic Dark Web group.  That's it.  The entire story of my 2019 Twitter dialogues summed up.  That was all it ever came to.

So how does all this connect up in one simple conclusion?  A bit all over the place?  Okay, it works like this:

  1. The US government declared a national emergency over pet owners stealing their own animals opium based medications in order to consume them.  But would not consider Autism to be worth doing the same with.
  2. Millions of pounds are being spent on vaccines, and the US are right there with the rest of the world in committing to spending on developing the very thing that Anti Vaxxers say are mass brain damaging and even killing the babies of all humanity.  The death bit turns up in the truly macabre fan-film Vaxxed 2 The People's Truth.  I protested this thing being shown in Ladbroke Grove in January.  Please listen to my first Guerilla Aspies podcast on Acast/Soundcloud and iTunes to hear a live recording of how that went.  Anyhow, point is that the film has to be seen to be believed in it's message that vaccines kill and main children - and that the unvaccinated are both physically and mentally superior to those who receive the dreaded injections.  For real.  They finish the film with these bizarre scenes worthy of the Nazi's eugenics propaganda....etc
  3. There are many different equally valid ways of seeing reality, but the world I have been operating in is full of groups who can ONLY be right in their particular vision of everything.  All else is wrong.  
  4. The detective work I mentioned has all been about finding out HOW GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS SEE AND THINK ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF AUTISM AND NEURODIVERGENCE (if you want to use a more precise term).  Are they right or wrong?  Are they compassionate or does hammering into peoples heads that they are disabled and have a disorder, just cause them depression and sadness?  Counterproductive internal materialism.  Sorry - you are a psychological loser in life etc.
  5. Some people out there have no interest in the above and are ruthlessly asserting their own, mono tropic, self focused agenda's on everyone.  As if the world could not work this out nor have the capacity to argue.  This last point is interesting because as I explained about trying to make everyone else look stupid, the people doing this sort of thing I encountered appeared to genuinely believe what they were doing was a real thing.  That is was not just some trick or opinion they had but how reality actually was.  Sounds....rather autistically minded to me, eh?
  6. From the above, that all that I found was autistic people being autistic people.  Hehehe.

So there you have it.  Lots of strands that are not necessarily tied up at the end.  A bit incoherent?  Well that's the point.  It's all ongoing right now and hopefully I will produce a more refined and focused statement of how all the above pieces fit together.  

Meanwhile in reality, the questions I posed about Covid 19 remain hanging.  Peoples lives have been put on pause in a way never before seen since World War 2.  In fact as far as I who was born in the Cold War am concerned, this is it.  This is World War Three.  Biowar.

Where is NeuroDivergence in all of this?  Oh, we are there.  We are there and we always will be.  

Let time move on and the scenario progress and change.  I have no idea what is next.  Apart from one of our regular walks, dodging people.

Be happy and well x

Monday, December 16, 2019

There is going to be more. But for now, a little background.

I do not usually blog.  My life is analogue and off line.  Things happen in real time.  Should I capture events and relay them, statically on here?  Should I give you my biased opinions because blogs always are.  If people write things then it's their account.  Just them and the medium of conveyance.

I have work to publish.  I just want to see whereabouts I can place it and should I admit to it?

I have been busy this year.  I found a new extreme sport - Twitter with aggressive adversaries whilst on public transport.  You see, I have to use buses and trains to and from my home and it can take over an hour to get to the main London Underground system to go from there to my final targets.  So I had time on my hands, surrounded by strangers (who are always private and actually good company for this).

There I would be, rushing out or coming home.  The atmosphere a little tense as everyone wants to complete their journeys.  All around the rich mix of my neighbours in the London transport zone we live in.  The air so filthy yet we never notice it.  Private lives all around me, buzzing externally with the faces and clothes of the people.

Me on the Twitter, avoiding aggression and insult whilst trying to always objectively make sense and brevity of what I was facing.  That you see was the sport.  Could you actually do that?  Because if not, one of us was in the wrong game.  I wanted to know if it was myself, as much as perfect the ability.

All this year, slowly eliminating people.  Why?  Aggression, some of it so present I did not consider that person capable of a safe dialogue.  Circular statements with no relation to my attempts at dialogue.  People talking to themselves as a reply to me.  Poor Jonathan Mitchell's paranoid quest to forever frame anything he does not like or relate to in any way he chooses.  The childish hyper intellectualising of autistic people who do not need to respect or empathise with others whilst thinking they do.

People trying to traumatise and 'freak out' others due to their autistic natures.  In order to get them off social media.  Because Twitter is, for some palm top warriors, the only battleground they have.

All this has gone on.  Now I've gone through the entire group of people I started with.

What have I concluded?  Aha...

Everyone who publicly identifies to the world as autistic, and holds views on this, is Neurodiversity Movement.  Which is a metaphor rather than an actual thing.

More to come.  ;)

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Edinburgh Festival 2019 blog: Two shows and one theatre company.

It is 6:54am on the morning of Friday the second of August 2019.  I am sitting at my computer, in a hostel that is dead central to the action of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe of theatre and performances.  The Cow Gate area of Edinburgh.

Outside the great, huge grey gothic monster that is Edinburgh is waking up.  The cars and lorries glide by like waves on a beach that go sideways instead of forwards and backwards.  Seagulls comment occasionally. Metal clanks as bins empty the treasures of the nights before.

Tonight it gets intense.  Tomorrow equally so.  The weekend brings more noise and revelry.  Joyous humanity, striving for euphoria.  Why not.  It's going to be interesting to share it this closely all these stories above the different ground levels around here.  

Out of the window you can see buildings that start two to three stories below the bridges they are build on, and go up another four or even five.  Many windows, some exposing the lives within.  A grim world of stone cages, hinting of the colourful life they contain.

I sit here in a rented room, my base for sixteen days.  It would normally be 25 but I ran out of holiday time.  Also the period is within my regular budget.  Sadly the usual places fell through as the people who rent them got wise to just how much they could be making if they let them per day.  Accommodation is a viciously priced business at this time of year, around here.  Why not?  What would you do if you owned a place you could rent.

It's a matter of time before the joys of sharing for a short while give way to Air B and B I know.  Or just plain a cheaper private rent.  Last year my friend George from Los Angeles rented an absolute palace off the Haymarket area down the road.  Yeah it cost but someone else was paying as part of his mighty Magic 8 Ball, my life with Aspergers show.  Timing meant I never got to see it as it clashed with my two productions.  But we will meet again.  George used to come round to our apartment round the back of the Pleasant Courtyard to use our washing machines and chat.  A fascinating, brave man.

George Steeves had become one more cutting edge pioneer of an art form that does not entirely exist. Neurodiverse self advocacy theatre.  Although there have been representations such as the West End of London run of Rain Man, I write of when autistic people write, produce and perform their own work.  They started as 'my name is xxxx and I have autism and this is what it is like'.  Tales of hardship ensued.  It was impossible to know where being autistic ended and describing mental health issues and the performers own personal limitations and that of his social world began.  Now things have moved on.

Back in 2015, Cian Binchy and I were the first people to have shows that blatantly gave it away that we were autistic, and what it was like.  They both lasted for many years until my Guerilla Aspies - Become Autistic with Paul Wady, remained to return each year.  For a few years the Ross Hepburn is Beetlejuice'd show on the PBH Free Fringe, revealed it's narrator had Aspergers at the end.  Great hyperactive work it was too.

(Ah, that snob term.  I'm so clever and functional.  Performers use it to differentiate from representing relative mental disability.  Personally I eschew the snobbery of it and just call myself and my work, autistic and representing being autistic.  As usual with Aspies, a term I still paradoxically use, we are all deeply individual).

Eh?  I thought I didn't like it.  Already I've given away the complex paradoxes of language around being autistic.  Or was it having autism.  Or being a person with autism?  There are ongoing and I think, somewhat unsolvable debates around how you say you are autistic.  That statement alone merely contributes rather than resolves.  Look - I gotta say it somehow.  If you are homosexual it is easy - just say you are gay.  But with the spectrum....yep, another term, oh it goes on and on.  Oh, come to think of it we ended up with the ever expanding LGBTI instead of...  Oh, here we go again.

Indeed autistic people tend to argue endlessly about the different terms involved in the different aspects of being NeuroAtypical.  Fine definitions of finer and finer classifications of...a small number of personal characteristics you can have that define you as one of us.  The things we hold in common.  There.  Simple.  Our shared natures.  

From this people like myself attempt to create art that expresses what our lives are like and who we are as people.  It originally centred around what went wrong in relation to an ideal of ability and the infamous but universally used term functionality.  Autism was and still is, usually defined via deficit, or savant genius skills.  I seek to show how many of us are in-between.  Hang on, doesn't that sound like most people?  

Our work, such as Anders Lee's Dummy which is playing this year, focuses on showing character, personality, maturity and yes, individual identity.  The orthodoxy around being autistic (I will use the term and that's that.  I've gone into the endless definitions/predications debates) says that IF YOU HAVE MET ONE PERSON WITH AUTISM, THEN YOU HAVE MET ONE PERSON WITH AUTISM...THAT IT EXPRESSES IN SO MANY INDIVIDUAL WAYS.  Like we don't have characters.  Just that the condition we can be defined as having manifests so individually in each of us.  Oh, so if we didn't have it we'd all be uniform people then?  Like everyone who doesn't have it always is.....  Oh I forgot.  Another cliche is that we don't ' do sarcasm.

Anders was and still is, a New York city based comedian in his twenties.  Then two years ago he came to see both my show and the Stealth Aspies company, went home and produced a frank and brave reveal of his own vulnerabilities that discussed what is normal.  I consider it better and more advanced than what I am performing.  I see Anders as having build on top of our work.  Which is exactly what I dreamed of happening in the field of Neurodiversity self advocacy performance.  

More to come.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Vaccine/mercury autism conspiracy theorists - do they have inferior and substandard children?

One of my pet fascinations over the years are the likes of Wakefield and Tommey and the Age of Autism website people.  This week Dan Olmstead, lynchpin and editor of Age of Autism was revealed to have died.  No one is saying how so far but I am sure it will be attributed to some great conspiracy by the pharmaceutical industry in general.  There is no fooling those people.
What fascinates me about the writing I find online by such people is that sooner or later, it proves to be far less than it appears.  This very day in The Times, it was revealed that the Curzon cinema Soho pulled a private booking screening of the Vaxxed film.  An article dated last year reckoned that it was supposed to be premiered in the UK last june in the same venue.
Point is, if you just study the behaviour of this actually quite small group and their writings and attempts to connect with mainstream science and the press, patterns emerge.  A constant self view that puts the judgement of the likes of Wakefield above and beyond the medical establishment that stripped him of his doctorate.  An insular community of virtually entirely parents of autistic people supporting them.  Invariably young autistic children, who are problematic rather than 'relatively functional'.  Also some parents defining themselves as 'vaccine damaged' too.  Or rather, if you read their attitude and style, people who reckon they or their children fall short of standards for human ability and function that they set themselves.
Losers in the race of life.  Lesser people because of their neurodiversity.  Abnormal folk with this ever present and shared standard of normality and ability that autism has deprived their children and sometimes themselves of.
Relatively low functioning people.  Brain damaged.  Retarded.  Vaccine damaged.
But thankfully they have their own community of brave freedom fighters that support them in their science fiction quest against mighty evil corporations and the governments they bribe and collude with.
One day President Trumps acknowledgement will lead to proper and unbiased study proving their beliefs RIGHT.  Then the world will know that autism is not just a man made epidemic.  It will also know that neurodiversity is a DISEASE, A PERVERSION AND A SICKNESS.  Humanity will, overnight, earn the right to HATE AND DESPISE the mental disease that has stolen so many children's minds from their families.  Neurodiversity as a concept will come to mean accepting and being nice to the retarded, the damaged and the sick neurotypicals.  There will be no spectrum any more, merely the ill and the well.
Just think about the above frame of reference.  See how cold blooded, facist, ableist and simple it is?  Hate difference.  Want cures to make people normal.  Get your children back to normal.  The way there were before the vaccines.  Eliminate or at least acknowledge brain damage.  For Wakefield himself wrote on line...AUTISM REALLY IS THE MOST TERRIBLE DISEASE.
I assumed when I wrote this that Wakefield used that phrase in an exchange with one of his supporters as a trigger phrase to get on the right side of them.  To bond with them.  This suggests to me that these so called 'parents motivated by love of their children' are actually motivated as much by the hatred of anything that is not what their group considers normal.  which is behind the scenes a very facist and nasty attitude.  I thought this close band of parents where the good guys?  The people who tell the truth and care?  What is all this aggressive and nasty business against autism then?  Oh, but they see it is nothing but a disease and a disorder.  Illness, like plague or the diseases they seek to encourage by stigmatising vaccines.  Which is what they do but always deny.
So by now you see that if you pay as much attention to the personalities involved, patterns emerge.  One comment on the Age of Autism site back in 2011 when they were attacking Ari Ne Man went...YOU CANNOT LEAVE A CHILD IN A STATE LIKE THAT.  I KNOW WHAT THIS NEURODIVERSITY IS?  IT IS EVIL.  At the time the last sentence was what fascinated me.  But later on I considered more and more the first one.  This massive generalisation about autistic children being 'in a state'.  The point blank command that all autistic children had to be cured.  That something must be done about their being autistic.
Question is, what if all these people's parents were functional autistics as I was as a nipper?  Would they be believing all this vaccines/mercury/autism business.  Do you get the feeling they would not?  Yes, exactly my point if you do.  Would they have a vicious and hateful attitude to autism if their kids were able to lead the kind of life I did?  Hey, it was not perfect.  Bullying in school, lots of inability to achieve in any forma academic way.  But still I was relatively okay.  I could work around my weaknesses.
See?  What is the precedent with these parents?  That their kids are dysfunctional by their standards rather than that they are autistic children?  That they cannot compete and achieve and lead normal adult lives in the future (they think).  That's the thing I want to leave you with - the urge to work out just what it is these vaccine/mercury people are fixated on.
Is it either their children lack of competitive ability, or the fact that they do not share the same  neurodiverse nature as they do?  Or, that they have natures that they reject because they make nosies and gestures that their own parents despise and see as inferior, weak and stupid.  Great language to use about your own children, eh?  But tell me?  Whereabouts is the unconditional love and acceptance in all of this? No matter who and what their own children are, do they really love them?
Or are they below standards.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Spaced out and simple minded. Why I am someone to be wary of.

Some people on occasion encounter this weird, pathetic looking old man.  He appears to be overwhelmed.  Now, when you look like you cannot handle a social situation you are in, the obvious conclusion is that you are not intelligent enough to keep out of the way of it.  Or, if it is understood you had no choice but to be there, some allowance maybe made in the mind of the person encountering you.

Generally people who encounter others who look childlike, overwhelmed and vulnerable assume they are of a lesser intelligence than themselves.  You face someone you can 'handle'.  Someone who is not a threat.  Someone child like and simple.

This is how I have often come across to people.  It is in fact, a lie.  But am I lying and deceiving others with my appearance?  Is this my responsibility?  Also, what exactly is happening in the social intercourse taking place?

Many autistic people dont have the capacity to relate the way the neurotypicals around them do.  We are a kind have universal properties, one of which is a disconnect between how we are within and how we relate externally.  This can get bigger the more stress is put upon us both in the world and as develops within ourselves.  Internal stress is not necessarily due to external stimuli.  It can be a very traumatic business being autistic and you can easily grow up so used to abuse, you miss it.  So you work within to keep it going.

I can recall many social moments when I have been patronised and humoured.  Which is a bit paradoxical if you consider I was aware it was all happening.  Oh, so why didn't I make some sort of indication to the other people involved that I knew this?  That would have been all they needed.  Unless they deliberately played on my weaknesses and wanted to rejoice in that fact by seeing that I knew there was nothing I could do about their actions?

Dark stuff, eh?

So I posted this on Facebook:

Ever had that experience where you have been humoured, patronised and treated like you were simple minded but you knew full well what was happening to you? So how could you be those things when you had awareness?
Am I right that this single experience expresses the reality of being autistic relative to neurotypicals really well? Also that you never thought anyone would state it like this for you to relate yourself to?

Within 10 minutes, three friends had reacted positively, two of which wrote that it was like explaining physics to monkeys trying to make neurotypicals understand this?

The experience of being misunderstood or even seen as something you are not is clearly universal, since at lest one response was not from an autistic person.  It happens to everyone etc.  I would say the chief reason I get upset with myself is my inability to deal with this single issue?  Its the main thing in the real world and I always saw it as 'standing up for yourself'.

Assuming of course, my perception of such situations is accurate?

Maybe the other person or group has me right?  I am vulnerable and relatively feeble minded?  So accept it.  Well, how can you when you are that simple that you think you are not.  Quite a common thing in the Polytechnic of North London I was at I can tell you.

This is the issue with existing in a society that often means you go into situations where people don't know you, don't care about you and why should they do these things anyway?  Do you know personally and in detail everyone you walk past?  See in shops and clubs?  Interact with in lifts and on trains?  Do you want to personally care about them?  Well actually many of us do want to have consideration and respect very much.  So note the paradox?  Being considerate whilst being private from others.

I think it is time for a new slide in my show?

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Aspies who do not relate. Getting reality wrong.

Many of the autistic people I know seem to have a real issue with how to relate to a world containing other people.  Other people's values, attitudes and approaches to everything in life.  In short, consensual reality.

There seems to be this need amongst some of us to operate from motives that do not have to make sense to anyone but ourselves, and which we will use force if necessary to assert upon others.  I really do think some do not even need to understand their own actions.  They do not need coherent motives.  They just do what they feel they have to.

Sound familiar?

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Friday, August 05, 2016

Are you a doctor Mr. Wady? The ethics of aspie 'outing'.

August 5th 2016, the day before I travel to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for three weeks.

Recently I broke a cardinal rule of mine.  I publically outed someone.  Last time I did that the woman involved ended up bringing a show to the Edinburgh Festival about it.  True. 

After the long list I gave of autistic properties that I felt my target possessed, I was asked whether I was a doctor?  The question implied either, did you train at length in a proper medical frame of reference to know what you are talking about, and/or that only such people could make such lengthy judgments.  It does not take into account Asdar, autistic gaydar.  Or that aspies know aspies.  That because we have empathy for our own kind, we know them when we see and experience them.

Making a diagnosis of neurodiversity is usually broken down into elements like ADHD, OCD, PDA and lots of other specific properties.  As an aspie I just see it all as the ordinary and varying properties of an aspie.  Its neurodiversity – everything else is the individual.  Simple.  Actually this week I filmed two experts making a training film in which people where discussed by them property by property to see whether they fitted the profile or not? 

So what have I done apart from be born one?  I have read the books over the years.  (Regular daily access to Nas library helped in the first few years I tell you).  I have read the papers and worst of all I have looked at the dreaded internet.  The home of authority that needs nothing behind it.  Like this blog?  No wonder the anti vaccine movement lives there. 

I think that to all the other kinds of conspiracy theorists as well, the electronic medium of written information that can be accessed (and edited) anywhere in the world is more than a blessing.  It is the perfect base of authoritative expression.  No more soap box standing or long conversations in pubs.  Now you just type it all in and it sits there.  Brilliant.

So…what’s the difference between that and what I wrote?  Simple.  I have spent nearly 12 years diagnosed and over 10 in a relationship and married to another autistic person.  By my 53rd birthday I will have met more autistic people than I can recall. I had a purpose in doing that too.  Before I was an aspie I was a Buddhist, spending all of my 30’s in the same movement.  For me it was all about self awareness.  Meditation retreats (30 over 10 years, from weekenders to two weekers and the buddhafield retreats and festivals on top.  I loved the cold harsh light of stripped down self awareness). 

On the 24th May 2016 I spoke for the Royal College of GP’s at a meeting in Edgbaston, Birmingham.  I can provide the PowerPoint presentation I wrote for them.  I became one of many autistic people who have had the privilege of training doctors. 

I do this kind of thing all the time for my day job with the National Autistic Society, running around the UK making presentations as part of a bigger training day.  But that is not why I assume any authority in making the diagnosis I initially referred to.

For five years, we had an autism rights group based in London.  I was closely involved with it on and off, witnessing both its formation and its ultimate disintegration.  Four men came to rule it absolutely to a degree that would have made Stalin feel like a considerate man to his old friends, or Mao rather inclusive of the opinions of non communists.  You literally could not speak during meetings unless it was on the monthly agendas.  People would turn up and say nothing all meeting.  No slot allocated you see?  You could be just as brutally shut down. 

Eventually the four dictators turned on each other and over the course of two months, two of them expelled the other two.  One each month.  Years before I emailed that it was getting ridiculous and wanted nothing to do with it.  The reply from one dictator was…WE HAVE THE POWER TO VETO YOUR RESIGNATION.  WE WILL SUSPEND YOU INSTEAD.

There then followed a macabre series of meetings, some of which were held between one or two individuals and noted in the comprehensive and detailed minutes as ‘secret’ or private.  These were not young men by the way?  One had a family and ex partner.  Some were older than I was.  Finally a huge letter arrived with a 1p stamp on it.  I had to get it from the postal depot.  I had no idea what was going on by then as I was too busy either laughing about it or avoiding it all.

Inside the huge A4 envelope was a big document, carrying various macabre charges.  I still have it somewhere.  I showed it to people to great comic effect.  I should take it to parties?  Anyhow, my point here is that if there is one kind of personality I can relate to, it is the Super High Functioner.  That is, autistic people who don't look sound and act like we are supposed to (Rain Man.  Maths savants who cannot go into public places without having screaming meltdowns etcetera).

I had an autistic father who embodied quite a few of the characteristics I detail below so I know the behaviors.  Hell, I spend my life trying not to be like that myself. 

The four dictators could be characterized thus:

  • ·      Nice guy but really obsessed with a left wing communist organization and prone to lines like WE ARE NOT A POLITICAL ORGANIZATION BUT WE MUST PROTEST ABOUT THIS AWFUL COALITION GOVERNMENT. 
  • ·      Manic.  A man who would spend the entire meeting on minutes arising from the previous ones if unchecked.  All of it.  Prone to literally screaming and shouting if something was not done properly or a point made incorrectly.  A man with an attention to detail that was not humanly feasible to maintain.  In his 40’s and devoutly religious.  
  • ·      An alcoholic in some sort of bizarre and quite brilliant world of his own in which was a CEO, a Political and Campaigning person, A Support Worker and a great savior of the autistic world rolled into one.  Described to me as employing Stalinist tactics where you eliminated people how had helped you get to where you wanted to go, once they where of no further use.  Had the advantage of alcoholic delusion where you believe that what you decide is real, is.  Charismatic and very well read too.
  • ·    Always right.  A very intelligent and educated man who if the books said one thing and he remembered another, knew which was right.  He would literally ignore screaming and shouting at him if he was certain he was right.  Years before in one situation where he met with other autistic people, someone hit him in the face because he was so intractable.  Could only be right.  Often incoherent because he spoke from his own perspective all the time.

People would only last a few meetings before they either left or stayed on as minions.  Really.  Those small dinky yellow creatures?  More or less what you had.  There was always a small crew of such people going along with whatever the gang of four got up to.  I often wonder what they had to say later on about it, but attempts to get sense out of them usually fail.  They just sort of smile and say it was all a long time ago now.  Nice harmless aspie folk. 

This then is my specialty corner of the spectrum.  The folks who don't live and behave as if they are restrained by having stereotypical neurodiverse natures.  People who never get any kind of formal diagnosis and look after themselves, and sometimes others so well, that they never get noticed as being neurodiverse.  Odd, eccentric, brilliant, criminal, problematic and even dangerous yes?  Hiding behind addiction, depression and mental health issues yes.  But not regarded as being autistic. 

Now, if you where involved in the online exchange I was initially discussing, do you see anything familiar here? 

What good does it do to out someone?  To make sense and explain someone’s personality and characteristics?  Well I think the more of us actually know what we are the better.  However, public outing is problematic.  In fact it may be disastrous in the personal work and living scenario closet aspies may have been forced to construct to survive.  Also there is the matter of not having the individuals permission? Someone’s nature is a private business and I for one should not feel I can go around doing things like that to people. 

So should I be going around doing this?  No, and I conceded I may be wrong in the example I started this blog discussing.  However, my tactic in the instant in question was to leave breadcrumbs.  To suggest and actually allow defeat.  To maybe look like I am mistaken.  But I felt I had to do all of this simply to save the poor person in question.  Because I really do think they are going to get hurt.  Rejected and ignored by their own people in the scenario they have personally created and that is clearly deeply important to them. 

I don't think they can let go and that as time goes on, the people around the aspie will simply ignore them and do what they want.  I think the scenario will simply evaporate gently.  I also think the closet aspie will not be able to adjust to and go with this evolution of what is a huge and long standing structure of organization.  Now something of an institution. 

I have already had first hand proof that a small number of people involved in this entity can be found to be using it to mitigate mental health issues.  Awarding themselves with power and authority, and the chance to do what they really want to do.  Whereas anywhere else in any other situation, they would not be able to do this.  Using the scenario to stand tall and believe that others acknowledge and relate to them as having strengths and abilities and authorities they are desperate for. 

I don't think that is a bad thing actually?  Why not if they don't hurt anyone and perform their roles okay?  Sadly such a person was very harmful to me.  (I bet you where just waiting for that one?)  Although they where also responsible for bringing me into this ‘world’, which this year I am yet again cheerfully entering.  I am certain that although the first time ended badly, the third this year will be like my second.  Great fun and an adventure.  Although surely I am getting too old for all this….

Or not.  I see my work in all of this is to positively represent my kind.  A hybrid of my Dharma/Buddhist aspirations and practice, and the skill set I developed as a teenager and in my early twenties as a would be actor (I cringe to write this but its true.  I performed in a huge amount of plays between the ages of 18 and 24, ultimately spending a year in the East 15 drama school and not completing the 3 year professional acting course.  Just as well one way or another).  Nowadays I go out in front of audiences and I relate what it is to have experienced, read and seen so much of my own kind whilst being one myself. 

I try to be a sort of Rosetta stone.  Someone who spent all his life up to the age of 41 not knowing who and what he was, then ended up married to someone in the same position.  My working and private life coupled with my past all focused on this one time of my life.  To go out there and tell the truth, whilst forever acknowledging I maybe wrong.  When I do a show, I invite the audience to join in?  Correct me if you will?  Come on, let us all create an aspie space and share?

At the end of the days training in Birmingham, two of the GP’s came out to me as being on the autistic spectrum, let alone having children who where.  I made a comparison with gay people that was commented on when I was writing online, outing the man I have mentioned.  Yes, I responded, I do indeed see the spectrum of sexuality as being a perfect parallel and metaphor for our kind.  Aspies are on a neurodiverse spectrum in relation to being non autistic – which is as relative as sexuality.  It is not an absolute.  Only when you have enough properties occurring at once can I notice you in that special way, and know you are one of our tribe. 

Sound familiar?  Well if it does, maybe best not say anything.  ;)

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