So I’m just going to put this out there because people are upset and that’s never good.
I did a show called ‘On The Spectrum” for the comedy festival.
Some people were concerned about this. They shared their concerns on my page. However concerns quickly turned into nasty debate from all parties. I had to block people. I had to block some people that I really didn’t want to but I could see them being persecuted and I couldn’t defend them. So I just took people out of the battle arena for mental preservation.
What I want to say is that even if I blocked you, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t listen…I just didn’t want to argue. I can see that you are someone advocating hard for autism, I respect that. F*&king good. You don’t agree with my platform for advocating that’s fine, you don’t have to, we can agree to disagree. That’s life. Let’s resolve who’s right about vaccinations shall we? I’m kidding. You catch my drift.
People raised concerns over consent which I believe are valid. So, I have altered the show to be a collective of stories.
People didn’t like the poster. I couldn’t change that for the festival as that had gone to print in brochures etc months before. I’m changing it now however.
People said I can’t speak on behalf of autistic people. I don’t. I speak on behalf of me, and I’m speaking to parents of children on the spectrum and parents of children off the spectrum…because I’ve been both which leads me to this:
Why did I do the show? When my eldest started kindy I was “warned” by other parents that there was an autistic kid in their class. So my reaction was “okay, I best keep my son away then”…………YES! THAT’S RIGHT! I WAS AFRAID OF IT AND KNEW F ALL ABOUT IT! The irony is that my son ended up best mates with another kid who was later diagnosed so that was lesson number one right there.
So then came my turn. Shoe on the other foot. I knew the general attitude of NT (see, I’m learning) because I had it only a few years prior.
Feedback from my final two shows (as I did a lot of re-writing…because-in spite of my own depleting mental health- I was quietly listening to the critics) was how they loved that my son was the hero of the story. Because he is. This is the sentiment I am trying to spread. These kids are cool. Not to be avoided. Just educated, positive acceptance. Invite them for a play date FFS. Get over this idealist attitude of normal.
(My husband said this to me the day of diagnosis. “Fuck normal’. In fact, that should be my shirt.)
I thought comedy would be a good platform for reaching those outside the community of autism as everyone loves comedy but not everyone wants to sit down to an SBS documentary about the condition. They’re too busy watching Bachelor in Paradise.
The other reason I did the show is for the parents of newly diagnosed littlies. To dismiss the feelings and needs of the parents is horribly unfair. Marriages break down. Depression sets in. Isolation. It’s all driven by fear of the unknown. I know. I’ve been there. I didn’t want counselling. I just wanted hope and to be cheered the f*&k up. I needed upbeat stories. I needed optimism. I needed my show 5 years ago.
At the end of my last two nights I had parents in tears, hugging me because they felt happy. They laughed. They resonated and left with the feeling of “fuck normal”.
The final reason was to shine a spotlight on the current system. The confusion. The acronyms. The terminology. The gauntlet to get help. There have been OTs and Speechies who have been to the show who completely agree with how difficult it is to navigate.
So yes, I’ve written a lot here. I’m an incredibly sensitive soul who has taken all of this to heart despite many urging me to fuck’em. A lot of tears have been shed (and 5 kilos). I thought it important to tell you that I value your thoughts. I’ve listened. I’ve altered. I’ve done my f*&king best. It’s not easy making all of your mistakes on stage in front of people. I came home from my first few shows going “yuk, I hated that bit. That bit felt negative. Why did I say that? Okay, I need to write more bits about that. Oh god, I’m not happy with this bit). Then I open FB and I see nasty comments about the bits I already knew sucked but unfortunately, the jury was already out on that show so I just tried to fix the rest. Anyway, I reckon I had it right by the second last show. I think it’s in a really good space now.
I’m sorry if I’ve blocked you….it’s not personal. I wish you all well. Keep fighting your fight but your quarrel should no longer be with me.