Writing From Factor X

November 5, 2011

Fuck Yes, I Have Pride

Filed under: Anger,Fitting Sideways,Reacting To Assumptions — Sciatrix @ 10:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

I feel the need to tell a story about pride. (This is bouncing off a post Ily recently wrote, which, again, is fantastic and which you should read.)

One day, I was having lunch with a friend. And at this particular lunch, the topic of some personal insecurities of mine came up. It had been a pretty bad day, and I was in the middle of one of my figuring-out-how-my-affectional-orientation-works-and-freaking out phases, and the topic of autism had come up in a most faily way earlier, and I was tired.

So I complained about how badly, some days, I wish I could just fit in; how much I sometimes wish I could be normal, just so I didn’t have to deal with certain kinds of shit. Being different: it’s exhausting. Microaggressions are exhausting! Existing in a world that is adamantly not set up for you is exhausting! Always being the only one in the room is exhausting! And some days, the prospect of getting to stop being exhausted is a really tempting one.

And she was completely flabbergasted. “How can you ever want to be normal?! You always seem to take such pride in being different!”

I paused for a moment, looked at her and answered: “Of course I take pride in being different. It’s that or hate myself.”

I’ve never forgotten this exchange, because it illustrates something that’s pretty fundamental to the way I work.

Every time I say “I’m proud of who I am,” I’m also saying: “Fuck you, world, for telling me I should ever think differently.” Every time I say “being ace is awesome” I’m also saying “and fuck anyone who says otherwise.” Every time I say “I wouldn’t change my autistic status for the world” I also say “and fuck all of you who would rather seen a child dead than see it born autistic.”

My pride is a reaction to an entire lifetime of being told to be ashamed of who and what I am. To being told that I should hide away, should pretend to be something different, so that other people can be more comfortable. Or less bored. Or something, anything, but forced to consider that I exist.

I have encountered a lot of people, over the years, who see my existence as something to grieve over; whose first response to hearing about people like me is unthinking pity or scorn. I have encountered a lot of people whose first reaction to me telling them about an essential part of myself is to ask me if I’ve looked into curing it, if I’ve sought treatment, if I’ve tried to make that part of myself go away. I have encountered people who are completely baffled by the idea that I would find attempts to make sure no children like me are ever born again offensive.

I’m also a naturally contrary, angry person. And there has been nothing in my life as freeing as the realization I had a while ago, that I can say “fuck them.” That for every person I come across saying my asexuality is something pitable, for every fucking Autism Speaks bumper sticker I come across, I can stand up and say “I’m fucking awesome, just the way I fucking am.” And I can say: “I’m proud of who I am, who I am is great, and if you think otherwise you can go screw yourself.”

I don’t know that I would be as proud of what I am, of who I am, if so many people hadn’t attempted to make me feel otherwise. But I do know that if it’s a choice between being proud and taking joy in who and what I am and listening to the people who tell me I should be ashamed and hate myself?

I’ll take the pride every time.

6 Comments »

  1. I’ve been out of the loop… I’ve been busy trying to figure out what the hell my orientation actually is and dealing with financial shit and other stuff. But I wanted to pop back in to say THANK YOU and AMEN to this post. It mirrors so well how I feel.
    I speak in front of autism groups and I’m the first to say I’m glad I’m autistic and you should never view your own autistic child or anyone else’s as a tragedy. It saddens me how many people think they are tragedies.
    I feel the same way about my autism, my demi(?)sexuality and my gender identity. Yeah it’s rough sometimes, but I’m me and I don’t want to imagine a world without me in it.
    Thanks for writing this.

    Comment by Shula Asher Silberstein — November 5, 2011 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

  2. I get confused over the different uses of pride sometimes (as in: I don’t feel pride for being autistic or asexual in the way that I feel proud when I’ve baked something that turned out awesome or if I made a necklace I think is gorgeous), but I think I get the feeling that goes with the word and so I can get fully behind it (because yeah, I like who and what I am. Because… otherwise I’d not like who I am. And I’ve been there already: massive depression and suicidal thoughts).

    Comment by Norah — November 6, 2011 @ 5:41 pm | Reply

  3. Pride is something that, when it comes to identity, took me a long time to understand. I never thought that people shouldn’t be proud of who they were, but I didn’t “get” the feeling until I connected with a particular pride symbol (an uncommon genderqueer flag). The other day my girlfriend told me she was proud of me for writing about being ace and neutrois even when there were antis- out there who scared me. I think that’s what this kind of pride is: hanging onto yourself even when other people don’t think you should be.

    I don’t know if I could ever do panels or be as out in offline spaces as you are, about various things, but I will try to keep writing. And supporting the people I know as best I can.

    Comment by ace eccentric — November 6, 2011 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  4. Everything you wrote is perfect and describes my own thoughts on pride. My pride is also the f-the-world, I’m-going-to-be-OK-with-who-I-am kinda pride. I spent the first 18 years of my life feeling ashamed. For having learning disorders. For being a smart girl who wasn’t able to show it on tests. For not being pretty. For not being like everyone else. And because I was ashamed, I was depressed, anxious and had an eating disorder. At 19, after leaving a mental hospital AMA, I had the revelation: I am OK. And in the past 6 years, I have gone from a tentative girl to a confident person who knows she will not be loved by everyone by doesn’t care. Those who matter will accept me. Those who don’t don’t matter. Or, they matter, but I can’t let them keep me down. I’m not just OK any more. I’m happy, I’m confident and I’m chasing my dreams. Damn, it feels good to write that.

    Comment by KJ — November 8, 2011 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

  5. […] nachdem Ily hier und Sciatrix hier sich Gedanken zu Stolz und Vorurteilen machten, musste ich einfach mal ein bisschen tiefer in die […]

    Pingback by Stolz und (verinnerlichtes) Vorurteil « Der Torheit Herberge — November 11, 2011 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  6. Yeah, exactly. For a counseling assignment, I wrote a note to myself on my bathroom mirror that says “you are a worthwhile person”. And when I notice that note, and read what it says, that’s what pride is about. Just the reminder that yes, you are a worthwhile person. And being X doesn’t detract from that in the slightest.

    Comment by ettina — January 1, 2017 @ 8:41 am | Reply


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