I jumped up and ran to get this thing going, in my usual ADHD-get-big-ideas-done way. But I found myself both disheartened by the lack of response from so many who expressed interest and from just being swamped with work. I had no time to devote to this and build it up. I also need to remember that these things take time.
I was ready to get back at it a month or so ago, but I found myself… impatient? fed up? with neurotypical culture and neurotypical complaints about autistic partners and other neurodivergents. I, myself, have fully immersed myself in neurodivergent culture, and I’m kind of done with making excuses or trying to avoid hurting NT sensibilities when they so often aren’t concerned about hurting ours.
“But if I’m not nice, who will read this?”
That’s what I thought at first. But then I realized: people who genuinely want to learn and change will do so. My bluntness here is only blunt to those who want to make excuses and scapegoat their ND partners. So that’s where I’m at. I strive to build community, to educate, to share stories… but I’m not going to coddle anyone or tell you that autistics and other neurodivergents really are all that difficult, so your complaints are justified.
In the meantime, I’ve been reading this incredible book, “Nobody’s Normal,” by Roy Richard Grinker. It’s a kind of anthropological history of how society labels and views various mental health issues and “disorders.” (Spoiler alert: capitalism really is a problem.) But I’d invite anyone reading this to check out that book and do some critical thinking about what they believe to be “true” or “normal” about how humans interact. For those of you who think autistics will “never give you what you need,” I invite you to consider that what you think you needed was embedded by the culture you live in (relationship styles vary across cultures) and the family you grew up in. Human relational needs aren’t this immovable, cemented thing. They are defined by the times and culture we live in.
I do not have a better relationship with my autistic husband because I’m neurodivergent, too. I have a better relationship with my autistic husband because I’m flexible, open-minded, and curious. Because I understand that my perceptions about his behavior are based on my own defenses and triggers and not because he’s doing something “wrong.” Perception is a funny and, fortunately, malleable thing.