scorch the earth #lovenotfear

Image is a rust colored background.  A faded puzzle piece is covered by a heart.  The text reads:  No more puzzle pieces.  Love not Fear.

Written by Beth Ryan
This post was written as a contribution to the “Love not Fear Flashblog” presented by Boycott Autism Speaks.

You are my child.  You are the child that I have.  And the very child that I wanted.

Your Autistic body is exquisite.
May it always respond to you.  To your will alone.
You owe your gaze to no one.
May you rest it only on that which offers you contentment.
Your flapping hands express your joy.
May they laugh at those that seek to make them table ready.

Your Autistic spirit is on fire.
May it burn bright in sight of those who would extinguish it.
You owe compliance to no one.
May you incinerate the intentions of all those who would force it.
Your worthiness of humanity is infinite.
May it ignite the blazes of love and acceptance to which you are entitled.

Every part of you is Autistic.
And I love every part of you without qualification.
There will never be a “but” after my love.
May we scorch the earth of all that endangers your selfhood.

19 thoughts on “scorch the earth #lovenotfear

  1. Sorry, but puzzle-piece == fear, end of story.

    Sending messages of hope and love and whatnot when they are marked and iconned in Fudgebook with a symbol that has similar connotations to me as the Swastika is really pointless. At the end of the day, I am shaking and shivering because it is the symbol of the enemy.

    • I HATE the puzzle. I’m not sure if you are referring to the image at the top of my post? If so, maybe I failed to get my point across. Which was the puzzle piece is a symbol of fear and that we need to get rid of them (which is why it says no more puzzle pieces at the top of the image). I was trying to say, cover the fear with love. I guess I failed at that?
      Or are you saying that the puzzle piece (even though it was meant to be a criticism of it) is too awful to have up even in a critical context?
      I look forward to clarification and I will take the image down if it is the latter and provide a better explanation if it is the former. I’m sorry that I upset you. ❤

      • If you will pardon me a moment, I think it may have been the way the image was “translated” on Fudgebook. I am sure I need not explain to you that Fudgebook has a habit of “trimming” images to look all nice and neat in its special linking format. With consequences like this, of course. When I saw the image on a friend’s link, what I saw deeply upset me, and made me think “not another piece by someone who thinks the autistic actually like the puzzle piece” or similar.

        It is a very awful image (the puzzle piece, I mean), however, and using it comes with risks of things like this happening. To have it there carries that risk, regardless. That is why in posts of mine where I have fired at it, it is usually not the only image in the post, and it is at least a paragraph from the top.

        Now that I know why it is there and what was meant, there is no need to take it down. But perhaps thought in future should go towards where images like these are placed in context of the article and how much explanation for their presence is given. I know I never tire of explaining things.

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  3. Nice poem, but too bad you had to keep labeling your child. If each of us is an individual, worth loving for ourselves, then wouldn’t it be best to actually do that, love “Johnny” for his Johniness rather than a descriptive that labels your child with a preconceived definition?

    • You say that as if “Autistic” is a pejorative label. I am proud of my Autistic mind, my Autistic body, my Autistic life. Autistic is what I am — not the only thing I am, but a very important part of me.

      Is not Johnny’s “Johniness” for which he is loved something that is comprised of many things? Perhaps Johnny has a charming sense of humor and that is part of what is being loved when we love Johnny. Would we protest about the label if someone wrote a poem about Johnny’s humor and labeled him “funny” and “witty”? What a tragedy that we keep insisting on calling Johnny witty! Such labeling! Can’t we just love Johnny for Johnny without labeling him like that???

      But Johnny *is* funny. It is an important part of who he is. We admire his clever wit and we wouldn’t want to take away Johnny’s sense of humor, even though sometimes he makes a joke in class and distracts everyone from the lesson. Being witty is more than just a label. Being witty is an integral part of how we know and love Johnny. Who would be sad at a poem that kept repeating how much we love Johnny’s sense of humor because he is funny?

      When you say it is too bad that the poem kept repeating that the daughter is Autistic, you are the one who is making Autistic be a bad word. You are the one feeling that a preconceived definition is limiting the child. You are the one who has implied, by saying, “if each of us is an individual, worth loving for ourselves,” that there is something unlovable about being Autistic.

      Being Autistic is not something to be ashamed of or try to hide. Being Autistic isn’t some label that detracts from the lovability of a person. I am not lovable in spite of being Autistic — I am lovable because of it. There is no way to say “autism is over there and we shall not speak of it. We shall only love Sparrow, who is over here, away from the defining label. What we love is Sparrow, not autism.” There is no way to say that because I am not like a onion with layers of autism that can be peeled off of me. I am Autistic all the way to the bone and it can’t be sifted out of me and set to the side as some unwanted label.

      Imagine trying to set aside my mammalian nature and attempting to love me, not the mammal. Isn’t that a ridiculous thought? If you love me, you are loving an Autistic person. It really is that simple. If the label “Autistic” bothers you, it’s time to think about who and what you really believe I am. Because if “Autistic” bothers you, then every thing about me will bother you because there is no particle of my being that is not Autistic.

      • The word Autistic doesn’t bother me, it’s just a meaningless word when used in the context that you are using it. It isn’t a descriptive adjective. Your autism and my autism are probably completely different, so how can we be talking about the same thing? Autism isn’t a quality, it is a neurological condition. I’m sure that it is self affirming to try and make it into a culture, but it isn’t one.

      • Your humanness and my humanness are not the same. That doesn’t make “human” a meaningless label. I am very different from other people with brown hair, white skin, XX chromosomes, an age between roughly 45 and 55, who have cats, and rude bicycles, but the labels brunette, white, female, middle-aged, Gen X, cat-lover, cyclist all say something about me even though they don’t perfectly define me and even though others with those labels are often very, very different from me.

        Why single Autistic out as a label that shouldn’t be used because it isn’t perfect when all the other labels we use aren’t perfect, either, but barely get noticed?

  4. Like trying to fit a time-and-space-dependent image into a single point on a line. That is that accursed puzzle piece. It reduces autistic PEOPLE into objectified tools that their Normal betters use to increase their own individual and collective social dominance – at the expense of autistics everywhere.

  5. Pingback: almost like us | love explosions

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