Labels, like the people who created them, are mirrors that can reflect important aspects of our beingness back to us and reveal elements of ourselves that we perhaps otherwise could not see, and in that, they have tremendous value.
But they should always be directing us back to our center of awareness, like a guide sending us home after taking us to the top of a mountain where we can gain a better view of where and how we fit into the whole landscape. They should be a tool for increasing awareness, not mistaken for being the awareness, themselves.
I am wired to discuss things which make others uncomfortable, not because I take any pleasure in making others uncomfortable (I actually hate it) but because I see no point in skirting meaningful exchanges in service of perpetuating an illusory status quo. I see no point to existence if we are not discussing real issues that matter or learning from one another or the world around us.
… But do these things translate into a person who is incapable of experiencing or expressing empathy? Or do these things simply suggest that without explicit, clear communication of another person’s “feelings, thoughts and experiences” that there is sometimes insufficient shared experience between individuals of distinct neurotypes for one to be able to experience empathy for the other? And is this inability to decipher cues from a foreign social language a true one way street, or do the native speakers of each of these social languages have difficulties deciphering and empathizing with the experiences of the other?
I created The Autistic Ambassador (TAA) blog to facilitate cultural exchange between neurotypes.
A “neurotype” refers to a group of people who share commonalities in the ways that their brains develop and function. There are two main neurotypes – people with neuro-divergent brain development and function, and people with neuro-typical brain development and function. As their names might suggest, the latter is most common or “typical” neurotype while the former is a smaller population which differs from the majority.
I am personally a member of the neurodivergent community as multiply-neurodivergent person and parent of two neurodivergent children. I also coparent with a neurotypical person. Being part of this inter-abled coparenting relationship has been instrumental in demonstrating for me both the need for this cultural exchange between neurotypes and the rewards of working towards it, and serves as a living model and source support for which I am deeply grateful.
The ultimate goal is to facilitate cultural exchange between neurotypes, and that is not a one-way street. TAA aims to serve as an intermediary between the neurodivergent community and the neurotypical community, and to help each better comprehend where the other is coming from.