Allow us to get the introductory stuff out of the way. My name is Dean McIntosh (more on this anon), I was born in the late 1970s, and I am autistic.
Just saying those last three words, “I am autistic”, is pretty much an open invitation to a storm of enraged normalistic “correction”. Although the whole “you cannot be autistic, you look/sound/act too intelligent/independent/not-disabled” bullshit is starting to finally fall out of vogue, sadly the other “corrections” are not.
I am a lot of things. We all define ourselves in different ways. Our identities consist of different aspects that have different priority over one another, and how we prioritise them differs between us. I am an adult male first, that much should be readily obvious to anyone who really knows me. And in that phrase, the word adult and male are given equal emphasis, emphasis on the level of Michael Ironside snarling at someone his character dislikes. I am also the grandson of a Scotsman who migrated to and, to hear it from one source, served in the armed forces of a country that would disgust him nowadays if my experience is anything to go by. And that, dear fellows, is precisely because of the identity aspect that I stated in my previous paragraph: I am autistic.
Another aspect of my identity that is right up there with being autistic, a grown man, and of Scottish descent is… well, this is going to take some explaining.
Like every child who grew up in a middle-class suburb during a time when the middle class was not being brutally savaged by the ruling class, I had access to a number of storytelling and story-receiving media. The Video Cassette Recorder being a great example of the latter. Even before I became so sick during one year that I stopped fearing I would die and started fearing I would not, I wanted to tell stories in some medium. At first, I tried to learn to do this in words. Word processors, although crude and unwieldy at the time, gave me a way to slowly hone my writing and storytelling skills. It has been a long and rough journey, but after completing about half a dozen novel manuscripts, I would like to take the next step in that (more on this in good time).
I also used to try to play music. Being that I also have auditory processing disorder and hear lower frequencies a lot easier than people say I should, I liked to play the bass guitar. Many of my favourite songs at the time I took this up, I did not say “hey, listen to the great guitar” or the like about. I was listening to what the bassist was up to. This was especially the case when I became reacquainted with the works of such artists as David Bowie or Black Sabbath. Sadly, the degeneration of the workings in my forearms have put paid to any chance of making any kind of workable life out of that.
Visuals are also a big thing for me. Cutting up video and pasting it together in ways designed to put forth a message was a great pastime for me. Ditto for creating fresh video of myself or other subjects, and tweaking the results into shapes that impart the information or story I desire to tell. Taking photographs of subjects such as myself, wild animals (especially ducks or, as I aspire to photograph one day, bears), or locations, is an artform that occupies much of my present attention. Photography is now my primary means of self-expression.
But there is a problem. Specifically, there are deficiencies in my skills that are making this whole thing very difficult from my point of view.
Nobody is ever going to tell me that I am good at telling people what they want to hear, or communicating in a fashion that pleases a lot of people even some of the time. This, you can imagine, makes soliciting employment a very trying task. It also makes communication with those who hold the gates to getting my own works out in the field very, very difficult. Given that much of my writing concerns itself with a people who are “grim and plain-speaking” (just about every fantasy source you care to name, save the ones that only an asshole named Jackson seems to have access to), you can imagine how difficult simple networking might be for me at times.
I will briefly touch upon this aspect because it deserves discussions of its own, too. I was abused as a child in multiple ways that were ignored and even condoned. This also makes living with myself quite a difficult proposition.
So that brings me to why I am here now. After some scanning around a place on Fudgebook and in turn finding my way to the journal of one Lydia Brown (Autistic Hoya), I decided that whilst people seem to be determined to ignore me, I am going to stand here and shout anyway, until someone takes notice. Because I still hope, in spite of myself, that someone is intelligent enough to look at my words and pictures, and realise that a society that only allows those it agrees with to be heard is not one that people with independent minds really want to be part of.
If you have read this far, thank you. Hopefully we will be able to get more acquainted, and work towards a better world for all of us, together.
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