In the midst of writing last week’s blog post on Embracing Silence, a poem popped up in
my Facebook Feed.
It has touched me deeply, and reminded me that sometimes, it is vital that I not Keep Silent.
There are times when I must Speak Up and Speak Out even when those around me are telling me to Be Silent.
Teaching us to be Silent
** Trigger Warning: Abuse **
They teach us how to ask nicely, but not when it’s time to demand.
They teach us how to engage, but not how, when, or why to disengage.
They teach us how they wished social interaction worked, but not how it really does.
They teach us how to accept, but not to decline.
They teach us how not to offend, but not when we need to offend.
They teach us how to act the same, but not that we shouldn’t need to.
They teach us how to fit in, but not how to stand apart.
They teach us to be kind, but not how to respond when others aren’t.
They teach us to accept, but not when to reject.
They teach us the rules, but not when to break them.
That’s how they teach us to be silent. That’s how they teach us to accept whatever abuse they may give. That’s how we learn we are broken and wrong, because we are expected to engage all the time, more than even they are, and we simply can not do it.
That’s what’s wrong with our therapy; that’s what’s wrong with social skills training.
They are not teaching us the way people really act, but how to be invisible.
That’s not to say that all social skills classes have to be bad. It’s a great idea when done right. It’s just that almost no one does it right. Teach us when to swear. Teach us what white lies are for and when to use them. Teach us about euphemisms. Teach us how to politely decline invitations. Teach us how to say no. Teach us when to demand, and how to ask questions that aren’t really questions. If you’re going to do it to us, teach us how to do it back, and teach us to know when you are doing it.
But they don’t really want to do that. They want us to be easy to handle, easy to manage. If we can not be normal, they want us to be invisible. They teach us to be silent, turning a wonderful idea for helping us navigate the world into a tool to help them manage us.”
From ‘Yes, That Too‘, a blog by Alyssa Hillary, an Autistic masters student in maths.
This was written by an autistic woman about her experiences. They almost word for word cover my experiences as an autistic woman growing up in an emotionally abusive home, and later being in an emotionally abusive marriage.
When I began my journey of rebuilding who I am, one task I was given was to find my voice. To speak up for myself. To say ‘This is what I need’ and claim it as mine. To find my Truth and hold it up for all to see. To stop Being Silent at the expense of my physical health and emotional well being.
I speak up through talking to other people and sharing my story. I speak up by challenging hatred and abuse when I see it. I speak up by saying ‘No.’ when I need to say no. I speak up through writing and blogging. I speak up by saying – Here I am. This is who I am right now at this moment in time.
I’m still not a crusader, and it is highly unlikely you will see me at any protest marches. However, in my own ways I am today holding onto my Truth and I am not keeping silent any longer.