I’ve written two scripts for this topic plus a script each for two other topics I considered discussing instead. I’ve felt blocked recording them. I get upset at the sight of myself on camera, I feel like I’m leaving the emotional core out of the content when I review the scripts. So on the one hand I’ve been trying to think of a more standard format for these videos and considering whether it might be good to do more sermon-like things, but at the same time I seem to be rejecting more structure.
My sister does a sermon about once a month and we’re starting a website where she does that and I practice writing devotionals. It seems like the practice is doing her a lot of good, especially considering she hasn’t had any preaching classes and didn’t have any experience before this. And I can see how much being out of practice and letting it go longer than a month between videos has harmed my ability to speak on camera. I might do short assignments like my first preaching professor had us do to get more comfortable with it. Probably try some gameplay videos with voiceover so I can get used to speaking separately from getting comfortable with the camera.
This time the assignment is just to talk about something important to me. I had written an essay on why non-compliance is so important – to me, to autistic people in general, to marginalized and oppressed groups in general. It came out sounding kind of stiff. Eventually it seemed that I could either talk very objectively and be kind of boring and impersonal, or I could just talk about what I was feeling and possibly not make a lot of sense.
I opted for the personal angle because by the time I finally was able to record this I’d already spent over an hour this time (not even counting the similar time spent in my two previous attempts to record and edit videos) crying about everything from how I looked to the sound of my voice to my inability to just get it done already. And I realized even that had a lot to do with non-compliance – I was upset because I didn’t look and sound and act the way I think I’m supposed to look and sound and act, and forcing myself to look at that was causing a lot of self-destructive feelings.
There will be a time to talk about non-compliance in a more general and detached way, and I’ll probably get to that at some point, more likely in a blog post than in a video. But right then, confronting those feelings and acknowledging how much trying so hard to comply with people’s expectations has hurt me was more important. So I’m going to try to be comfortable with what I’ve left out by getting personal and just let this stand. Other than this admittedly long description. 😀 Trying hard not to over-explain all my statements, which I want to do almost reflexively.
The only thing I do want to add is that non-compliance is often encouraged in the neurotypical community. People will proudly claim to be weird or state that none of us are normal, teens in particular experiment with drawing attention to themselves and challenging social norms. These things are important. But people who are actually “weird” in ways that go noticed by others are not encouraged to embrace that. There’s a sort of intentional weirdness and normal/mainstream non-compliance among neurotypicals – like they’re performing weirdness to protect their rights to be who they are.
I’d like to see that spread to autistic people (and others with disabilities) who are constantly told to stop drawing attention to themselves, just act normal, stop twirling/flapping/staring/touching, dress like your peers, stop talking so much about things no one cares to hear, etc. If there’s no normal and you don’t want to be confined by that concept, be aware of how you respond to people and try to accept people that aren’t just acceptably-mainstream-weird but who actually challenge expectations of normalcy.
I never really did much with that performance of weirdness. I struggled too much trying to act “normal” (quiet, smiling, reactive) and suppress myself, learning after that when to discard it and act “weird” just like everybody else was too much. It would have been nice if the insistence on no-such-thing-as-normal meant I could just STOP TRYING so hard in those social situations, but that didn’t actually seem to be the result. So I would just stay quiet and got a reputation for being too much of a good kid to step outside the lines while I was feeling like I was too different-bad-wrong to participate. I’d like more than just that superficial embrace of the “weird.”