Thursday, May 3, 2007

To whom it may concern: a confession

I have a confession to make.
I've been blogging.

I know, I know, writing a blog is not illegal, immoral, harmful or bad in any way. If you are reading this and are not the Whom referenced above, you may be wondering why a person would need to confess to a thing like this. But to Whom, this may come as a shock, simply because I usually tell you most of what's going on in my life, at least the important things, and you've not yet been invited here.

This is my effort to correct that. I was going to say "that oversight" but really, it wasn't. I started writing this blog a couple of months ago, just to have a place to put down some thoughts you seemed not to want to hear. I need a place to talk about my life within the context of what I now know about myself and about autism. I had grown tired of the discussion boards where most of the members were quite a bit younger and had different interests and concerns from mine.

As you know, I have been reading blogs by autistic people and friendly others for some time. It seemed a natural development to start one of my own. I didn't tell anyone I know in "real" life. For the first month or so, I didn't link to anything. I wanted to get comfortable doing this before I opened all those doors. Writing on the internet is different from anything I've done before. It's not that I think a lot of people are going to read what I post, but the knowledge that anyone could makes this feel like a very public endeavor.

I want you to know that this was never meant to exclude you. Everything I've said here is something I've either said to you or wanted to say. But wanting to be honest and open has conflicted with my need to avoid the pointless and draining arguments which have often ensued when I've tried to tell you these things.

I know, too, that you sometimes find the disparity between my written and spoken "selves" disconcerting or even alarming. This is perhaps the most apparent hallmark of my autism. It's not about hiding things or being secretive, but about the fact that talking aloud is like speaking a foreign language to me. Yes, I can do it, on occasion I can even do it seemingly well, but that does not mean it suits the way I think or has the capacity ever to express my thoughts and feelings with accuracy. Writing is the form in which language works for me, and doing it has always been vital to my sense of being whole.

I used to have the strangest feeling that I was lying when I said this, even though I wasn't. I think now that I had internalized a lot of garbage from people who assumed I wasn't trying hard enough, was just shy or looking for attention. Since I have known the truth, I have started to like myself much better.

As you said to me tonight, I can not un-see what I have seen. Nor would I. I will never go back to being confused about why some things are difficult for me. Blaming oneself for what could not have been otherwise does not define responsibility. Neither is it the key to personal improvement.

I have been writing a lot here about disclosure and visibility and the importance of these in negotiating societal change. I have had several opportunities lately to speak in classrooms and at conferences about autism and my life. I find that I must now go a step further in making myself heard, even when you have shown me that you are not ready to listen. It isn't any secret that I hate personal conflict and will go to great lengths to avoid it.

I can't do that anymore. Not without becoming a liar. And then I would hate myself again.

Coming out to family, to those who have the most invested in their images of who their loved one is, is always hardest. It's never just a one shot deal, free from obligation to repeat. This is who I am. This is always who I am. Please accept this invitation to what goes on in my head. Welcome to my blog.


  1. Very brave post, Bev. I can relate to much of it, especially the part about the huge differences between writing and talking. Talking aloud is like speaking a foreign language to me too sometimes. I really like the way you worded that. I may have to steal that quote someday, but I will give you credit for sure :) I hope all goes well with Whom.

  2. Thank you Bev, for welcoming ms. It just took me 8 years to find your blog. =P


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