Well kind of. I tried to be. Because I thought that’s what you did when your child got diagnosed with Autism. I wore puzzle pieces proudly and fought like a warrior.
But I never really fit in. I never for one second believed my Autistic child was broken or a problem to be solved. I saw that the puzzle piece seemed to be “the thing” that unified us all, so I wore it and when I started blogging, I made the puzzle piece part of my logo for The Colour Fairy.
And I kept finding little puzzle pieces on the ground in random places, which made me feel all warm and tingly inside.
But my blog and Facebook Page, was again, not like the other Mom’s.
I embraced my son’s uniqueness and mine. I never shared intimate photos or wrote about how hard my life was. I would speak about the challenges *and* the achievements, but it was just about my life – not a “Mother of an Autistic Child’s” life – it was just my beautiful, messy, perfectly imperfect life.
From the second I used the puzzle piece it felt wrong, but like I said, that’s what I thought I was meant to do. And a few months later, I came across Amy Sequenzia, Autistic Hoya, Nick Walker and other advocates and activists – and realised what the puzzle piece and Autism $peaks represented to them. We are NOT a problem to be solved or figured out.
I was horrified. I tried to talk about it with other Mommy bloggers and they kept saying “Yeah, but it doesn’t mean that to me! It means we’re all different and special and fit together like a puzzle.”
I tried to say to them “But all these Autistic people are saying it hurts them! How can you say you fight for Autism, or advocate for Autism if you don’t listen to Autistic people?” but none of them listened. They kept saying, “Yes, but…..”
It didn’t make any sense. It was then that I had to make a choice. I couldn’t stay where I was because I would feel rage every time I saw the puzzle piece, but I also didn’t want to be on my own. I had also realised that I was Autistic too, so this was a big moment.
So part of being a good Bullshit Fairy, I have to call out my own Bullshit. Here is a screenshot of a recently deleted post I did, on my other Facebook page, The Colour Fairy.
It was one of my most loved memes. The picture inside is of my son. I loved it to bits. I was complimented by so many mothers and I was thinking of making it into a photo frame and people could add their own child’s photo to it! (I’m fucking horrified I’m even saying this…. But this is a Bullshit Free Zone).
But I left that community. I made the choice to stand alone and speak my truth. Which has now evolved into The Bullshit Fairy and I’ve met some amazing people and find many others who accept us for who we are.
The Colour Fairy is still a thing, but it’s going to be focused on Education and Homeschooling and *supporting* our beautiful kids the way they are, with not one puzzle piece or other Bullshit in sight.
I looked around at all the other symbols people were using and there’s quite a variety. I didn’t like the butterfly, because that is a symbol for transformation, and we don’t need to change.
So, as I was a Colour Fairy, I used a wand with a star. I wonder if one day, we can all come to an agreement and discard the puzzle and claim a new symbol of acceptance for Autism.
So if you know this and still decide to use the puzzle piece, than you are not a true Autism supporter or advocate. It doesn’t matter whether *I* think it’s ok or makes sense to me. The majority of Autistic people are hurt by this.
And I will fucking judge you. Because this is Bullshit. And I am so sorry to anyone who was hurt by what I wrote before I realised the truth.
I’m owning my mistakes. Time for you, Autism Mom’s™ – to do the same.
~ The Bullshit Fairy (and The Colour Fairy)