Today, I saw a poster on campus. I see lots of posters on campus, every day, in fact. Having three or more classes every day means that I do go into buildings where posters are. Normally, it's cool. But this is April. Autism Awareness month, and also Autism Acceptance month. I'm more in favor of the Acceptance month, but the organizations that have money to burn, such as Autism Speaks? They like awareness. (Over time, you will find that I don't like Autism Speaks. Specifically, I don't like the way they are run. I haven't got issues with individual members on the level of parents who participate, at least, not on the pure fact that they participate. I wish these parents gave their money elsewhere, but it's not as if parents get told about groups like ASAN when their kids are diagnosed with Autism.)
And that brings me to my problem. The poster on campus was for a fundraiser for Autims Awareness month. It had the blue puzzle piece that screams ``AUTISM SPEAKS" at me. The event is this Saturday. Do I go and hope to educate people, knowing full well that if I do, I will probably spend much of Sunday curled up in a ball, shaking? Or do I put my own short term mental and emotional health first? I say short term because long term, the best thing I can do is live in a world where I can admit to being autistic and it will be OK. That takes educating people. I also say short term because I know there is a genetic component to autism, and there are autistics in both my family and my fiance's family. There is a very good chance that I will be fighting this battle on the side of my children some day. I'd like it to be easier then. Long term, the answer is clearly to go. But I've spent most of the weekend curled up in a ball shaking every weekend for the last month. But I have homework, which I would like to get done without pulling another all nighter. But I have what is likely the only Ultimate Disc tournament I will get to play in until October on Sunday, and I haven't gotten to play in a tournament in almost a year. But I have exams coming up. So I don't know.
Self advocacy, like any kind of activism, is done by human beings. (I suppose it is also done by any sentient beings that interact with each other too, but I'm sticking to humans for now.) I have to remember that. I have to remember that I need to have time to be human. But I also need to make sure that I can admit to being who I am without fear that I will then be seen as not-quite-human. Self advocates have the most to lose. Sure, self advocates who can't ``pass" the same way I can and usually do have more to lose than I do. But I have more to lose than advocates who are not themselves autistic, for one simple reason. Their status as human beings is not in question. Mine is. And I still don't know.