TW: ableism, aspie supremacy, other stuff my brain won’t let me comprehend
I just saw the Ken LaZebnik’s play called Theory of Mind. I’m going to write this the way my brain is telling me to, so structure is going to go out the window possibly.
Alexithymia- having difficulty comprehending and putting words to your emotions. This play seemingly attempted to illustrate that, but it did a shit job. If you look only at the dialogue, the only emotion that the main character knows is anger. When he is vulnerable, he feels anger. He does not put words to any other emotion, he claims to not feel any other emotion.
I have alexithymia and that is not my experience. My experience is that my brain starts doing something and my mind tells me something is happening. I then begin to prod within myself to figure out if that something is good or bad. It is impossible to ascribe language something you feel when that language was not meant to describe what you feel because what you feel is not neurotypical and language is meant to give words to neurotypical emotions (Ryskamp).
Capitalist Reason for Autism
Okay, this is probably going to be a scramble of words that hopefully will make sense. There is a common argument out there by several groups that autism is a gift that helps our society. Basically, “Autism is not a disorder because I have gifts that let me do work better than most neurotypicals. In fact, our society would not be where it was today without people with autism” (Note the bullshit first-person language).
This argument can be found in Steve Silberman’s book “Neurotribes” and through most of the work of Temple Grandin.
But this argument is so absolutely dangerous. In fact, it might be one of the most dangerous things that we face today outside of people who claim to advocate for us trying to exterminate us (they use cure, but extermination of autism is what they mean). Why is it dangerous?
It is so dangerous because autism is a spectrum. But don’t think of it as a linear spectrum from low functioning to high functioning or mild autism to severe autism. Look at it from the idea of a color spectrum. A color spectrum is not just from one thing to another, it is a 3 dimensional spectrum where you can move from left to right and up and down.
So it is too with autism. Autism is a spectrum that is constantly and forever shifting, never staying put for any length of time. Five weeks ago, I was getting my shit done better than anyone else I know. Writing 20 pages a day. Then, four weeks ago, I couldn’t even get out of bed. And when I did, I just sat there staring at things uncomprehendingly. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t do anything but beg my brain to come back online.
But it didn’t. It didn’t for nearly 3 weeks. For 3 weeks, I was barely eating, barely sleeping, ornery as hell, hating every second because I couldn’t even type because I couldn’t make sense out of anything. This is my experience.
This is not meant for pity, you can shove your pity up your ass for all I care, I don’t want it. This is to illustrate that the spectrum is constantly moving and while I may be able to do something amazing today, I may not be able to do it amazing, or even ever, ever again.
So, the capitalist reasoning for autism being okay is so dangerous because autism only has value because it can give society something. But what about me for those 3 weeks? This argument would say that I should be fixed because I was not contributing to the economy, I was not helping anyone, I wasn’t even helping myself.
So, this argument breaks down because people like Temple Grandin say things like all autistic people can do anything. No, I wanted to even play god-damn video games during those 3 weeks, but I couldn’t even comprehend anything I was hearing. According to this argument, if autistic people are helping the economy, then don’t fix them. If they are not helping the economy, then fix them, cure them, get rid of them because they are a burden on society.
That’s all I have for right now about the play. More may come, but I’m done thinking for the day. I’m done with everything because I can feel myself on the verge of that same burnout. For me, it took 3 weeks for my brain to come back online, but it didn’t come back with its former strength. So, my spoons are really low and I’m done for now.