The good news is, I made it to the second chapter of Cynthia Kim’s book I Think I Might Be Autistic.
The bad news is: that first chapter is super short and is actually technically the introduction.
Literally, the first chapter looks like this:
I went ahead and let myself flip out about this for a minute, since clearly I need all the distraction I can get on this journey.
That minute looked like this:
okay seriously when you’re writing a book you can have an introduction or you can go right to the first chapter but cheese and crackers you’re NOT SUPPOSED to have a first chapter called “Introduction” that’s like having a pet turtle named Lizard it’s just confusing now if you had a pet turtle and you named it Chicken yeah okay THAT I can get behind because if you’re going to be a certain kind of wrong you need to go big or go home
and then I reined myself in and calmed myself down and read all the way to the second chapter, where I got all the way through most of the first sentence before the flipping out began again.
I let it spin itself out this time, because what I was upset about wasn’t a distraction. It was a real issue that I had to let myself grapple with meaningfully. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to read the rest of the book. The noise in my head would be too loud to let Cynthia Kim get a word in edgewise. And I do need her words in my life right now.
I just need to take them at my own pace.
So here’s a little thinking/journaling I did about that first sentence, with some help from a dictionary and one of my more soothing internal voices.
* * * * *
Why does it have to be called a “disorder”? Neurotypicals don’t exactly have their collective act together, either!
(looks up “disorder”)
First definition: “lack of order.”
(looks around room at stacks of books, piles of papers, and heaps of unopened mail)
“2. Breach of the peace or public order.”
(thinks about how hard it is for me to get up nerve to leave the house even when there isn’t a pandemic)
“3. An abnormal physical or mental condition
// a liver disorder
// a personality disorder
Again, fair; but do they have to make it sound so terrible?
they aren’t. they’re just stating a fact. you are different from the norm.
Not JUST different, sounds like! BAD different!
not necessarily. it’s not a judgement call.
anyway, why should that bother you so much? you have endometriosis. you don’t feel affronted when a doctor calls that a disease.
Yeah, but that’s something I have, not something I AM!
Anyway, I think I like “disorder” better when it’s a verb.
“1. To disturb the order of.”
Aw, yeah! I want to shake up that narrow, limited, limiting, ableist, neurotypical world order.
“2. To disturb the regular or normal functions of.”
I promise to do my best!