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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

 

In The Wake of ...

doubt, fear, criticism, I become stronger. I need to write and verbalize in order to move through experience, find joy, and learn.

Today, I borrow the words of Audre Lorde, for she speaks for me right now. Some people have explained that to be silent through their experience or their fear -- be it having an autistic child or a cancer, should be kept private. But this doesn't work for me. I have spent time considering this, and if I am wrong to make public what is so private for others. But what are we if we the village do not share, because we can make each other strong.

In "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," Lorde writes:

"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect...for it is not difference that immoblizes us, but silence."

And for those who have had such a difficult time understanding the Joy of Autism, (which I don't really care because it seems those people only have political interests, not emotional ones):

"And most of all, how do I fight the despair born of fear and anger and powerlessness which is my greatest internal enemy?

I have found that battling despair does not mean closing my eyes to the enormity of the tasks of effecting change, nor ignoring the strength and the barbarity of the forces aligned against us. It means teaching, surviving, and fighting with the most important resource I have, myself, and taking joy in that battle. I means, for me, recognizing the enemy outside, and the enemy within, and knowing that this work did not begin with my birth nor will it end with my death. And it means knowing that within this continuum, my life and my love and my work has particular power and meaning relative to others."


I guess that's why I have been writing for books and this blog on autism for 3 years now. Of course, she is talking about her breast cancer, not autism, and I deal with a different kind of cancer. And I'm certainly NOT comparing autism to cancer, but it does seem relevant to compare her strength and will to find joy in her breast cancer and experience. It seems a shame that there are people who want to make autism comparable to cancer or a tragedy for political gain, not the benefit of autistic people, for our kids (and autistic adults) are full of such life. It is so important to move through despair.

8 Comments:

Blogger abfh said...

What struck me about the passages you quoted is that they could be applicable to any civil rights struggle. It's so true that disability prejudice is a cancer on society and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Best wishes for a quick recovery.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Ange said...

I enjoy learning from you, and you make me pause to reflect. I often feel I share too much, and try to be delicate to the fact that many other people's stories are part of mine. I have been open about everything from death, to infidelity, to my own anxieties, to raising my children (the highs and the lows). I have learned that if you share your journey, you grow, you heal, you push forward. but sharing makes other people NOT feel so alone, so vulnerable, so unconnected. Instead it makes them step forward, embrace change, think differently. And I for one am glad people like you exist, because they make people like me take chances and jump...

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not alone and you are a brave and smart woman. Words speak for those who cannot as it is your gift not only to yourself but to others.

HIK

12:05 PM  
Blogger hollywoodjaded said...

Thinking of you Estee and thanking you for all that you do. Best wishes for a quick recovery.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is human nature to communicate,that is why we created the internet,blogs...Your words have brought hope,understanding, and humanity to so many.Your gift of yourself makes us fortunate recipients!!

TF

8:16 AM  
OpenID mimi said...

Beautifully written and heartfelt post. I do appreciate your writing... it gives me the opportunity to virtually talk about what people around me don't always want to... "the elephant in the playroom" so to speak.

4:35 PM  
Blogger ChainingMagic said...

I've been following your writings for a long time. They give me strength and I look forward to your posts.

2:36 PM  
Blogger LAA and Family said...

I hope that you are feeling better Estee. I have been looking at the the beginning posts of your blog. It is fun to go back to the beginning of a blog to find out WHAT made that person decide to share his thoughts and opinions with the world. I am so glad that you made the decision to share your thoughts and Adam's story. I am grateful to have found others who believe in the abilities of their children.

10:21 PM  

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