Pro-neurodiversity, pro-vaccines, pro-disability rights, anti-cure.

Now Katy doesn't want to live in Smithton anymore.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On getting my ass moving...

I keep not posting and I really don't know why, although now that I think about it I guess I'm afraid no one's listening.  I have a lot of connections with other autistic bloggers and so on but I haven't exactly gone out and invited everyone to start reading the blog.  I'm kind of terrified of the idea that I could post something about people from my personal life and forget that it may offend them.  Because this is the first time I've had an idea of myself putting things out in public instead of keeping them in private conversations.  Oh, well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So a sorority at my school was raising money for Autism Speaks.  I was going to lunch with a friend from class and I turned and saw one of the girls waving a sign with the little puzzle pieces on them.  I was so angry.  I was just shaking with anger and I could barely think straight.  I went up to the table and asked them if they supported eugenics and told them they might consider finding a new organization.  Actually that makes me sound too well-organized.  I was kind of in mid-meltdown (and meltdowns don't leave me with much room for effective communication), so I wound up stuttering out something that made me sound a little insane and then running up the escalator.  I couldn't concentrate in class; I was shaking still an hour later.  So I stopped trying to take notes on my computer (which I sometimes use instead of notebooks for the sake of organizatino) and instead typed an e-mail to someone in my school about it, hoping it would get someone responding to me. 

I was very surprised when I got a meeting out of it with the advisor for Greek Life and someone at the Student Life center.  I organized a bunch of  data on why Autism Speaks is bad (if you don't know about this I think sums it up pretty well and a Google search can get you the info as well.)  So I managed to convince the boyfriend to take off work to come with me because I was terrified and I am not good at that sort of thing, and he works for the government so he is used to the kind of bullshit I expected to encounter.

They were surprisingly polite and seemed pretty sympathetic to me.  I was surprisingly conversational, although I'm sure they weren't used to someone being that eloquent while staring firmly at the table for an hour.  I tried very hard to fake eye contact and I just couldn't.  It always sounds like it will be easier when I'm thinking about it than it is when I try to do it.  They told me they would talk to the sorority but they couldn't really do anything about what student organizations raised money for.  Basically, they could raise money for the KKK and the school can't do anything about it.  The important thing is that they actually listened to me for an hour and took the information I gave them, along with a list of other organizations that would be more suitable to raise money for if the sorority is really interested in promoting supportive services for autistic people.

I also got information on how to form a student group for disability rights.  It's entirely probable that next time the sorority or anyone else tries to raise money for Autism Speaks, I may have a few people willing to picket them with me. 

I recently got an e-mail from Disability Access Services from my school.  For a little background, I went to DAS as a freshman asking for them to help with things related to my hearing loss and my autism.  They were kind of the opposite of help and we couldn't figure out a way to make them do what they were supposed to.  Although they did tell me I was to meet with one of them once a month for reasons I can't exactly figure out.  Went to two meetings, but the second one (with the coordinator of that office) happened while I was sick with a mild flu.  I asked her awkwardly at the end of the meeting if she knew how I could see the campus clinic next door.  She seemed alarmed and took me there herself, and told the girl at the front desk I needed a psychiatrist and it was an emergency.  I had to explain in front of everyone that I was not in fact suicidal and just needed someone to check up on my respiratory illness.  I left without seeing a doctor, feeling both embarrassed and weirded out.

Then I broke my foot badly.  I had an avulsion fracture of the 5th metatarsal that required two surgeries to fix.  I am too uncoordinated to use crutches so I was in a wheelchair for two months.  I wasn't too upset because my brother had brittle bones when we were growing up and I'd used his wheelchair before; they don't actually suck as much as my friends seem to think they do.  But my school has a lot of hills so my father had to take me to school every day.  One building I had three classes in was an older building that only had one door that was accessible for a wheelchair user.  When I tried to get into it for the first time, I found that it was locked.  There was a card slot next to it, so I tried using my student ID but it wouldn't work.  My father had to go around into the building and open the door for me from the other side.  I contacted DAS to figure out how I would get in the building.  They said they had to put something on my student ID card to make it work in the door.  I asked if they would do that for me, and they said no.

DAS has never done anything to help me, even though I have only asked them for the simplest, least time-consuming things possible.  So I'm not a big fan of them.  And today they sent me an e-mail letting me know about their exciting news.  Seems they have a new office space (yay for them) and the old coordinator who gave me so much trouble has retired and a new coordinator started in her place.  I wrote him an e-mail detailing my experience with DAS.  I then asked him if I could continue to expect the same level of services s before or if they would actually start helping the university's disabled students, which is what they are paid to do.  Haven't gotten a response yet, but I felt awesome after sending  the e-mail.  I just sent it today, so I figure I'll wait a week for a response and then decide what to do.

In other news, October 1st was my one-year anniversary with Sean, and he proposed to me.  He took me out to eat and when we were standing outside the restaurant looking at the sunset, he pointed to a nearly jewelry store and told me I had to go with him there because he didn't know my ring size.  I couldn't talk for a minute and just made excited squeaking sounds while I hugged him, and then I said yes, even though he hadn't asked the specific question. 

So we went inside and explained to the people we were looking for an engagement ring but I don't like diamonds (not just personal preference; the idea of blood diamonds makes me queasy).  So we wound up doing a custom sapphire ring with a light blue stone.  It was awesome.  Now I'm doing wedding planning.  So between this, school, and everything else, I have suddenly become a very busy person.  But I like constantly having projects so I suppose that's all good.


  1. Hi, Kat.

    Sapphires are beautiful! I am also seriously creeped-out by diamonds, even though I love jewelry. I like the idea of lab-created gemstones, because 1) they are usually bigger and more colorful than mined ones, and cost a lot less, and 2) nobody suffered and died to produce them.

    That's also really neat that you got the Greek Life people to listen to you about Autism Speaks. (I hope they look at your list of other charities they can donate to!)

  2. My first-ever comment! I'm excited. ^-^

    For Valentine's Day Sean got me a really beautiful necklace that is all lab-created sapphires. In the middle is a large deep blue sapphire and around it are smaller white sapphires. It looks way more expensive than it is (although he tells me I'm supposed to pretend it's expensive...>.>) But a lot of times lab-created gems are prettier than natural ones and the non-suffering, renewable resource, and costing less factors all make them really worthwhile.

  3. Congrats on the wedding plans! Got a date set?

  4. Not a date, but I'm graduating with my bachelor's in December 2011, so I think the wedding would work best in January or February of 2012. After I'm done defending my thesis and stressing about finals and all that good stuff. I did want it to be in the winter, though, because I like winter and a winter wedding would be awesome.

  5. Many congrats!
    Im glad you were listened to re AS but a pity they cant do anything.

  6. Thanks, Casdok! I understand their limitations and I'm mainly glad that the sorority is aware of the issue so I don''t feel like I have to give them a chance now, whatever they do. I'm not sure where this all will go but I'm happy I'm finally trying to do something instead of just thinking and talking about maybe doing something.

  7. Gratz on the engagement!! that ring sounds so pretty!. Would love to see a picture!. DH and I have been together for 10 years this Feb. I dont believe in diamonds either. DH gives me bubble machine plastic rings every year!. lol.