For most of you, we are coming to the end of April Is Autism Awareness Month. For PanKwake and I that is 365 (366 this year) every year for the rest of our lives. What we strive for though is not awareness…I can be aware of the ants in my kitchen…while I squash them. Or I can ACCEPT that they too are part of this eco-system with a valuable role to play.
Besides puzzle pieces, butterflies are another symbol often associated with the autism movement. For me, I would prefer a bee…a honey bee.
First of all, they obviously bring sweetness into this world. Their honey makes even bitter tea more palatable. My daughter has done that for me…and many others, perfect strangers on the bus, in the park or street. Her completely open, honest and live in the moment approach to things make people smile.
Bees too live by patterns. When scientists took the time to study the dances that bees did, they discovered that actually it was a complex form of communication used to give directions to flowers. I believe that is the key to autism…not curing them. They don’t need a cure. Any more than bees need to be turned into butterflies or ants or humans. We just need to break the code to unlock…
Those directions to the flower garden. You see the beauty of autism is that they live in the moment. There have been times when PanKwake told me…this is the best day ever. Then a couple of hours later, she hated me. But like Mother Nature herself once her fury was spent, the calm on that beach littered with driftwood and seaweed, the clean crisp smell after the after, the sun peaking through those clouds…those moments too are beautiful.
Oh, but watch out for those stingers. Bees, unlike wasps, are not naturally aggressive. They sting only when threatened. That is what we do not realize…those meltdowns are not anger, manipulation or temper tantrums. They are cries for help…because they are threatened and in pain from the environment in which they live. Thankfully, unlike bees, they do not die from their own stings.
That is the thing though…bees are under threat. They numbers are dropping. And here is the final point…we cannot live for long without bees. They are a crucial part of the circle of life.
I am going to show more of my crazy here…but I know that Homo autistica have been sent into this world to usher humanity into a New Age. You see man, in particular our societies and institutions, are stuck in old ways of doing things. Ways that once served a purpose, but are no longer necessary for the survival of our human species. Norms, morals and rules that just don’t make sense any more.
The thing is that for most of us it is almost impossible to break away from those ‘norms’. We can think…damned, that is stupid way of doing things.
For instance, how we manage our friendships. We want everyone to like us…even if that means we never show them WHO we really are. We paint our masks to be pleasing to others…until we lose our own identity in those masks.
Autistic individuals are not born with those ‘filters’. They don’t know how to lie…unless we teach them. They are who they are. And you know what…given time, patience and support…not taught or forced to wear OUR masks…they eventually find their place. Better than we do. They find others like themselves…they find empaths, who do not take their ‘peculiarities’ personally but accept them for who they are.
They even re-define friendship. There are times when PanKwake will be telling me a story…a memory. She will say, ‘Mommy, remember the time that we did X in the park with my friend.’ And I will struggle to remember it, because she has only a handful of friends…two good ones actually. Then she will keep going on and on until something clicks and I will remember the event.
Except it was not with one of her friends, it was a random stranger that we met that day and maybe have never even seen since. But to her that person is a ‘friend.’ Because they added value to her life. That new definition is one of the greatest gifts that PanKwake has given me.
But the thing that makes Homo autistica truly special is that they are our X-Men. Mutants sent to save us from ourselves. All those old rules and systems that no longer serve a purpose. Look at your keyboard right now. The ‘qwerty’ system was created for type writers based upon the frequency with which letters occur…to minimize those nasty times when the keys got tangled up. But we live in a computer age…no sticky keys any more. Yet we are stuck with ‘qwerty’ rather than a more logical ‘ABC’ system.
Why? Because it is what sociologists and economists call a ‘lock-in.’ Our world is full of them…eight hour work days, offices, cities, rules of ‘polite’ society that are anything but. The thing is that without being forced to…we will never change those lock-ins.
One thing about those on the spectrum…they do not tolerate senseless, illogical fools lightly. They will call us on that shit every time. Demand to know why we do something that does not make sense. And that, folks, is the ONLY way that change happens. When we are forced to look at our ugliness…like that mirror in the women’s changing room a few weeks ago. Only then do we have the motivation to do what is necessary to make changes that we should have seen long, long ago.
And that is why Homo sapiens so desperately need their new mutation Homo autistica. The only question is how successfully we will chose to integrate with them. Do we see the value of their new ways? Do we interbreed with them? Or do we become Homo neandrathal and pass from existence in favor of the this new species?
One of my favorite movies is X-Men: First Class. Watch this powerful scene from that movie.
We are Charles Xavier…homo sapien. Homo autistica is Eric/Magneto. If we can do as Charles did, we can help Eric to unlock his power. The problem is…Charles despite his words…NEVER truly comes to accept the beauty and power in Eric…well, that is another movie…and not until they face extinction, until he loses his friend.
Let’s not be like that. Let’s stop looking for cures…and start looking for keys to unlock their potential. (Yes, I believe that some of the most brilliant brains on this planet are locked helplessly inside of those at the other end of the spectrum…the non-verbal.) This one gets is so right…