Whenever I have to deal with rejection because of autism, it is never easy.
I will also let you know that is not an easy topic for me to write about. I’m sorry for the negativity, but lately I’ve not been at my greatest.
Unfortunately, in the past couple of months, I’ve dealt with a few people removing me off of their social media lists. They didn’t do this to clean up their friend lists, but to target me specifically.
This had rarely happened between when I first started using my current FB account in 2011 and 2018. However, I’ve had three people do this to me in the past two months.
I wonder what’s possibly going on since I have not changed my social media or real-life habits in recent months.
The singling me out of social media is depressing and disturbing because I know they do it to me because I am weird, socially awkward, or the horrific r word in their eyes. Hint: Rejection isn’t the word, but I won’t say it here.
Instances of autism ableism
The first, as I mentioned in an earlier post, was a guy I went to high school with who used to bully me. I ran into him on the bus back in June, and we talked for a bit. I naively thought he changed for the better. He added me on social media in August and then blocked me on Facebook two weeks later.
A month ago, it was a guy I went to college with who never really talked to me who unfollowed me on Instagram. However, he kept other classmates he didn’t really talk to as well.
More recently, a guy who actually did sometimes talk to me went out of his way to deliberately remove me off of his social media lists just a day after our graduation ceremony. I swear, it’s like some people have an agenda to hurt others, and people like me are especially vulnerable.
I don’t really care when people just clean out their friend lists because they’re moving on with their lives. However, if people only remove me to the point that I’m not even cool enough to be on their lists of hundreds of friends, I can’t help but let it get deep into my skin.
Fortunately, in college, most professors and peers seemed to look past my flaws or at least tolerated me.
Then, of course, there was the incident in June where some borderline-drunkard punched me in the face in Downtown Toronto because I was just standing there with my phone. He broke my glasses, and I ended up getting a new pair a few days later.
I’ve moved on from these situations. However, these have not stopped me from wanting to post a blog about the kind of bullying and discrimination people with autism face.
The disturbing part is that I have disclosed my autism to almost every person I’ve become acquainted with (Mostly through class presentations and social media posts), yet some of these people still shun and single me out because I’m different. I’d understand if they didn’t know about my condition, but they do.
I didn’t ask to have autism. You know that, right? If I could be normal and fit in, I would do so in a heartbeat, but that’s not how living with a condition works. I can’t just snap out of autism or the social difficulties I face. I see the world in a different way that I, unfortunately, have little control over.
What’s sad is that once some people see that I am self-aware of my autism, they think I can recover and become normal like them or that if I’m still out of the norm, I am acting that way on purpose. Not true. Learning some social and non-verbal communication skills is like learning a foreign language to us.
One can’t completely recover from a disability. If you have one, you can’t really do much other than endure or embrace it. Expecting someone with autism to be more social is not any different than telling somebody with depression to cheer up or somebody with anxiety to get over themselves. Social interaction does not come naturally to people on the spectrum.
Another issue is because my disability is “invisible” some people may not believe that I have it and think I am using autism as a free pass to get away with not being normal.
I try my best to fit in this world and face challenges just like anybody else. I just have some additional challenges on my plate.
In this world, at work and school, you are going to come across all sorts of people with varying abilities. Sometimes, you might meet a person with a disability. Often, people may be unsure how to respond to something they haven’t dealt with before. Still, you have a choice to either accept or shun them.
If you deliberately single out or bully somebody with a disability, especially if they’ve done nothing mean to you, it is no different than telling somebody who is homosexual that they can’t have cake and ice cream like everyone else. That’s how pathetic it is.
Unfortunately, ableism has been alive in 2019, not just in Trump or Ford’s world, but with people I’ve actually personally known as well. Not with everyone or even most people, but with the odd 20 something per cent of people I meet.
It’s not easy to function in society when people don’t have the patience to deal with somebody who is different from them.
All I want is for people to be more accepting. We need to accept and understand one another. If we do so, mental health and people questioning their self-worth likely won’t be as much of an issue as it is in today’s society.
You may also enjoy: Autism: Do people accept it more now?
This post from earlier this year on another site is also a useful read.