I began to get tired toward the end of this year and was wondering how I would keep going under the pressure of everyday life. My mind is such that I am driven to do and to achieve not only for myself but on behalf of others. I have had time to rest and reflect and realise that it will always be my lot to be the way I am!!
2009 has seen many changes and machinations in the autism self-advocacy world and what I am seeing is a third-wave of advocates who a striving for a more rights based recognition of autism and autistic people. I am tired and as much as I’ll keep soldiering on, I am grateful for the new blood even if there is a bull at a gate mentality at times.
I remember being a younger activist – not just taking a stand on autism and disability but on refugee issues, global economics, war, unemployment, youth issues, gay rights and more. I approached every issue with fervour and could be found at the front of picket lines and travelling from state to state to set up camp on a new issue. I was an arts student with time to spend on developing concepts, campaigns and time to dream about a better world. I was not only dreaming I was taking action and I believed wholeheartedly that every little bit counted. I think that some of the more seasoned activists around me would have looked at me and my fellow newbies with a mixture of amusement and knowing because they had been there done that – so to speak.
Sometimes now when I read about the actions of the new wave of self-advocates and activists in autism I have a mixture of the feelings that I suppose those elders had when I was younger!
There are some of us who have been there and done that in a lot of ways and yet there is still so much to be done. We do have a legacy which is a luxury and not a luxury to be taken for granted.
Now is a good time to reflect on some of that legacy and the things that inspire me!! (some links are to old sites)
Oops… Wrong Planet Syndrome (1995 – 2005) Archives here
Aspergia.com (no content available – you had to be there!)
These are a snipet of my introduction to the autism world many years ago when resources seemed sparse. Today there is a veritible flood of information, options, opinions, resources, forums, chat rooms and the like. There are many activists and advocates awakening to the cause and looking toward the horizon with a sense of importance, boundless energy to give and rights to fight for.
I am a little bit tired but not nearly as tired as some who went before me – all that I wish for is that we honour the legacy of a movement. Spend some time looking back before you run foward.