Becoming Miss Forgetful and I Hate It!

Photographic memory is one of the wonderful gifts that came with my Asperger’s syndrome. Unfortunately, I feel that it is somehow being taken away from me in the form of not doing some of the simplest tasks given to me. Three nights ago, I had to suffer the verbal wrath of my brother when he discovered that I didn’t get him the Pic•Nic Fries from Walmart the previous night. He yelled, “ARE YOU F%$*ING SH&*ING ME!” twice because this was not the first time I had forgotten some items he wanted. Last month, I forgot to get him the strawberry Special K bars that he explicitly told me to acquire–along with two other things I can’t even remember–and he got a little bit upset. One hour later, after I baked some chocolate chip cookies, my brother requested that I serve him vanilla ice cream with the cookies, but I gave him Heavenly Hash (chocolate ice cream with almonds and some other nuts) instead because I didn’t hear him say “vanilla” the first time.
Two days ago, before my post-op appointment at the dental surgeon’s office, my stepdad told me to do two things: lower the A/C on the both floors of the house and ask my brother’s girlfriend if she could pick me up from the dentist because my stepdad had a meeting that required him to go straight to work after dropping me off. I adjusted the A/C on the top floor and asked my brother’s girlfriend, who was tending to my brother because he just had his wisdom teeth eviscerated, if she could actually bring me back home after my appointment. Afterward, I proceeded not to lower the downstairs A/C but to put away the dishes that I put to wash the night before. When my stepdad realized I forgot to lower the second A/C, I got frustrated. Even more so when, on the way to my 1:00pm appointment, my stepdad told me that the ability to multi-task–“doing 12 things at one time instead of 2,” he says–is one of the many requirements of the workplace.
Yesterday, I forgot to lower the A/C AGAIN after my stepdad asked me to do so. Only this time, I realized it while I was playing Sonic Colors on my Wii. (I was checking to see if the Wii really is acting up, but that’s another story for another day.)

So, why the hell am I forgetting to do the most simplest tasks, and feel that when I forget one teensy-weensy thing everybody loses it? The way I see it there are a few possibilities:

1. I’m not drinking as much water as I’m supposed to. The human brain needs 8 glasses of water per day in order to function properly. Studies show that people who drink the recommended amount of water on a daily basis have less trouble with memory and cognitive issue than those who take in less water. You know what they say, your brain is like a sponge.

2. I have too much going on in my mind, including going back to school on Monday, when the hell I’ll go out to practice my driving again, and how much longer I’ll be forced to endure the pain of having my wisdom teeth removed and trying to prevent food crumbs from going into the cavities where my bottom wisdom teeth used to be.

3. I’m not reading as much books as I used to. Aside from playing Pokémon, I haven’t been doing anything that stimulates my brain. I’m still smart as hell, but still, not reading any novels has kinda screwed me over. I’m still halfway through Misery Loves Cabernet, for God’s sake!

I hope my memory gets better soon. I don’t want to be an Alzheimer’s risk.

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Why I #BoycottAutismSpeaks

I’ve written about Autism Speaks twice in the two months I’ve been on WordPress, calling them the Nazi Party of the 21st century and ranting at my favorite magazine, PEOPLE, for secretly betraying me by interviewing Bob and Suzanne Wright for their Heroes Among Us panel in one of their recent issues (you know the one with the Kennedys on the cover?). Today, I’m gonna tell you exactly the reason why I boycott Autism Speaks.

It was my freshman year of college, and I was sitting outside of my campus library waiting for my mom to pick me up after I finished my Algebra tutoring session. It was Thursday, November 14, 2013.
I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across John Elder Robison’s tweet with a link to his blog post regarding his resignation from Autism Speaks’s science board that he wrote the day before. His reason?
Two days earlier, Suzanne Wright published a damning op-ed piece in which she voiced her over-dramatic and hateful views on autism to Washington, D.C., saying that we autistic people are causing so much trouble for our families financially, physically, and emotionally .
After reading Robison’s resignation post, which included a letter to Autism Speaks president Liz Feld, my jaw dropped. Holy shit! No wonder I was verbally bullied constantly in grade school, I thought to myself. I guess I should’ve paid close attention to the sentence ‘Autism spreads faster than cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined’ in their advertisements.
In my purse, I carried two adjusting bracelets bearing the wooden light blue puzzle piece logo from the Autism Speaks walk I attended at Nova University with my stepdad when I was a Sophomore in high school, a walk I now regret attending to this very day. I held both of the bracelets in my hands–I was going to give one to my mom, because she loves me, and the other to my boyfriend (at the time) Jack, because I loved him. Now my view of the light blue puzzle piece shifted from a symbol of hope to a sigil of hatred and discrimination against me and everyone else on the autism spectrum. I had no choice but to throw the bracelets in the trash. I shouldn’t have gone to the Autism Speaks walk had I figured out earlier that the organization’s only goal is to drive me and my people to extinction.

Here’s a playlist of songs that best describes my anger towards Autism Speaks and how much I want them to go out of business for persecuting me and my autistic friends via their Nazi-esque propaganda brainwashing our neurotypical friends, families, and health care providers–not to mention some of our favorite celebrities–into believing that autism is a disease when it actually isn’t.

1. “Call Me When You’re Sober” by Evanescence

2. “The Phoenix” by Fall Out Boy

3. “Haunted” by Disturbed

4. “Oceans” by Evanescence

5. “Black Water” by Nobuo Uematsu [from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children]

6. “Edge Of A Revolution” by Nickelback

7. “Awake and Alive” by Skillet

8. “Colors of the Heart” by UVERworld

9. “Don’t Say Nuthin'” by The Roots

10. “Freak On a Leash (2006 MTV Unplugged version)” by KoRn ft. Amy Lee

11. “The Night” by Disturbed

12. “Headstrong” by Trapt

13. “His World (E3 2006 version)” by Crush 40 [from Sonic the Hedgehog 2006]

14. “This War Is Ours” by Escape the Fate

15. “Breakn’ a Sweat” by Skrillex and The Doors

16. “Numb” by Linkin Park

17. “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot

18. “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence

19. “Shadows” by Red

20. “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling ft. Lzzy Hale)

21. “Scream” by Michael Jackson ft. Janet Jackson

22. “Massacre” by Escape the Fate

23. “All Hail Shadow” by Magna-Fi [from Shadow the Hedgehog]

24. “Simple and Clean (PLANITb Remix)” by Utada Hikaru [from the Kingdom Hearts series]

25. “Going Under” by Evanescence

26. “99 Problems” by Jay-Z

27. “Devil’s Cry (Shall Never Surrender)” by Bentley Jones [cover song from Devil May Cry 4]

28. “Faint” by Linkin Park

29. “Don’t Stay” by Linkin Park

30. “Tony’s Theme” by Giorgio Moroder [from Scarface]

31. “Stronger” by Kanye West

32. “From Yesterday” by 30 Seconds to Mars

33. “Question!” by System of a Down

34. “Vim and Vigor” by Yoko Shimomura [from Kingdom Hearts II]

35. “The Way I Am” by Eminem

These days, every time I think about Autism Speaks I fantasize about grabbing my Keyblade and fighting Suzanne and Bob Wright–especially Suzanne–for broadcasting such propaganda about autism and for researching ways to rid the world of us autistics, who have actually done a much better job at improving society than the Wrights ever did. They have no right to tell us that we’re broken, diseased, and unintelligent because we’re actually very gifted people. Autism Speaks has been spreading fear, hate, and injustice to us for the past decade, and they need to be stopped.

I hope my mom will understand what I’ve been trying to tell her about Autism Speaks’s wrongdoings against my kind when she reads this and other posts about my views on the organization in the foreseeable future. Or, rather, when I read them to her as the circumstance may warrant.

I’m Autistic, Deal With It

I have a sense of humor, really–
Just not when my brain registers certain jokes as serious.
Neurotypical older brother asks me,
“Don’t you have a test to study for?”
It’s summer vacation, and I’m not the kind of person who takes summer classes.
So I shout, “NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!”
“You get every joke on Family Guy, but why can’t you understand mine?” he asks.
Instead of telling him my analyzes jokes differently I say,
“I’m autistic, deal with it.”

I’m a nice person most of the time, really–
Just not when I’m in unfamiliar situations.
Neurotypical mother asks for the following favor:
“Can you set the language on my Bluetooth back to English?”
She’s not great with technology, and she set it to German by accident.
So I say in an angry tone, “I’ve never had that problem, so I can’t do it.”
“Why do you have to get so frustrated when I give you a new task?” Mom asks.
Instead of telling her I can learn how to fix things with interest I say,
“I’m autistic, deal with it.”

I always keep my composure, really–
Just not when I get excited about something.
Neurotypical Twitter user announces:
“New main Pokémon game to be released in November!”
I take gaming news like this with a grain of salt until I find a trailer on YouTube.
So I squeal with delight and flap my arms at the sight of the real deal.
“Why do you flap your arms and squeal like a baby at times like this?” Mom asks.
Instead of telling her that arm-flapping and squealing are forms of stimming I say,
“I’m autistic, deal with it.”

I’m into sophisticated things, really–
Just not when it comes to certain forms of pop culture.
Neurotypical brother tells me, as I watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,
“That show is for babies.”
Correction: the My Little Pony TV shows and films from 1986-2006 are for babies.
So I argue, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is for people of all ages.”
“Why the hell do you even like cartoons like this?” he asks.
Instead of telling him such cartoons are my default interests I say,
“I’m autistic, deal with it.”

Just because I can’t take certain jokes doesn’t mean I have no sense of humor.
When I get upset in unfamiliar situations, don’t tell me I’m impatient.
If I stim by flapping my arms and squealing excitedly, I’ll calm down eventually.
I love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, so don’t change the channel.
All these things are a part of who I am,
And I wouldn’t change myself for anyone.
So if you ask why I act and behave in a certain way at a certain time and place,
I have these five words to say:
“I’m autistic, deal with it.”

An Angry Aspie’s Letter to PEOPLE Magazine

On the eve of my fourth ever driving learner’s permit exam–which I passed, thank God–I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across a tweet by @AskAsperboy that reads, “What is this about @people and the Wrights (even though they’re clearly wrong about #autism)? #BoycottAutismSpeaks?” @AskCisco replied, “@AskAsperboy It’s because @people published some article calling them ‘heroes’ for ‘crusading against #autism.'”

It turned out that PEOPLE published their interview with Autism Speaks founders Bob and Suzanne Wright on their Heroes Among Us panel entitled “Crusading Against Autism.” The synopsis read, “After their grandson [Christian] was diagnosed [with autism], Bob and Suzanne Wright launched a battle against the disorder.” Included was a picture of Autism Speaks’s founding couple, with Bob looking down on his now 13-year-old grandchild with what everybody on the spectrum deems a smile of deceit.

Because I was too focused on studying for my learner’s permit exam and passing it with flying colors the other night, I couldn’t write a letter to PEOPLE explaining my anger towards them for interviewing autism Nazi couple. Now, I have the chance to tell them on this very blog post.

Dear PEOPLE,

I’ve been a loyal reader of your magazine since I was 15, if not younger, and I’m extremely angry and disappointed that you published an article about the founding members of Autism Speaks in your Heroes Among Us section of your most recent issue. Are you out of your f***ing minds?! How could you betray your autistic readers, myself included because I have Asperger’s syndrome, by interviewing the very people whose main goal of their organization is to exclude everybody across the spectrum from mainstream society and bring them to their extinction with their Nazi-esque propaganda and their invasive therapies designed to make us less autistic? Autism Speaks claims to have helped autistic people and their families achieve a better quality of life, but in reality only 4% of their budget goes towards family services while 44% is invested in research into the causes of the disorder and how to best prevent it before it occurs. They even go so far as to call on every city in the world to light their buildings blue every year on April 2nd to get everybody feeling so damn sorry for us when they shouldn’t be. We’re alive and well, not missing and dead like Autism Speaks suggests. 

Autism is a gift God has given to people of His choosing to make life in this world more fascinating and interesting. Take Satoshi Tajiri, for example. If autism had not given him the love of entomology and video game design, he wouldn’t have begotten Pokémon, the most popular video game franchise in the industry. And Mozart–were it not for autism, he wouldn’t have become a renowned musician from a very young age. The world would be very boring if autism hadn’t touched the people I mentioned in this letter and others.

You guys should be so damn ashamed of yourselves for interviewing Bob and Suzanne Wright about their fight against autistics–not to mention their own grandson–and publishing it in your magazine, angering me and everyone else on the spectrum who read it. You need to understand that autistic people are the most intelligent people of our species, and we really have so much to offer in this world. Autism Speaks should be put out of business so that we may live in peace without fear of persecution for being ourselves.

Sincerely,

Cristina Alexander