All you saved was the pea pods?

Victory in a meadow.

Growing up in a predominantly all-white community has helped me better understand what it’s like for my local peers to first encounter a person of color.  In my first twelve years of life, the only people of color I met were a few Native American parents of foster siblings, and my little sister, Heather.  (I don’t count Heather.)

Everyone else was Caucasian.  My teachers, neighbors, friends, family, everyone.  It was all I knew so, of course, it was normal to me.  Basic training was my first experience with diversity.  I stared a lot.  I got bullied by a black woman from Miami who claimed I “talk proper.”  While I tried to process this, the other women stood up for me and shut her down.  It was my first experience with social politics.

My first assigned buddy was a black woman.  We despised each other within a few minutes of the meeting.  She called me an oreo, and I told her she needed glasses.  (I know, I suck at comebacks in real time but think of hilarious zingers after sleeping on it.)  I remember putting all my energy into preventing myself from bursting into tears.  I failed.  Repeatedly.  Throughout the whole eight-week course.  (And that’s not counting the time I spent working one-on-one with a Drill Sgt learning how to walk right before I could begin basic training.)

I was assigned a different buddy since we both objected vehemently.  I got a Mexican-American woman whose English needed some work.  My Sesame Street Spanish served me well.  She was the best buddy I ever had.  We complemented each other well and conquered each challenge by working together.  I also befriended a woman (named Heather!) who was the glue that held our platoon together.  She had bright red hair and a few freckles.  She could find the funny in anything.  I learned so much from her.  Thanks to her wit, we laughed as much as we cried.

I loved serving in the Army.  Acquiring PTSD was my only reason for getting out.  It murdered my eligibility to serve.  I had both positive and traumatic experiences.  I learned a great deal about humans, war, and reality.  I lost my innocence in every sense of the word.  I recognized my vulnerability and gullibility.  I had known before I reenlisted that my reasons for joining initially were adorable at best.  In those initial three years, I grew up.  I entered a child, and before my first active duty enlistment ended, the child in me surrendered control to my adult self.  The military has converting children into soldiers down to a science.  Soldiers are adults.  The process was painful but fascinating.

I remember the day I realized I had a friend from every group identified by the government.  I ate chocolate cake for dinner that day in celebration.  I celebrated because I thought it meant I was safe from ever being called a racist.  I felt like I won some unspoken challenge in life.  This is something I tie to my upbringing.  It’s a subtle conformity to institutional racism.  Subtleties usually fly over me.  I fear I’m too distracted to grasp them regularly.

This recognition of my contribution to the problem of racism is extremely hopeful progress in my journey to being the best possible me.  Now that I’m aware of where I’m fucking up, I can consciously avoid it in the future.  I have several previous posts in this blog where I, unfortunately, demonstrated my ignorance.  When I gain new knowledge and annihilate the ignorance, I’m tempted to go back and remove anything I said that I now realize identified me as an ignoramus.  I chuckle, then leave it.

Another thing I learned in the Army;

 It never hurts to have a reminder handy for those times you’re tempted to shove your head up your ass.

My previous posts remind me, humble me, and (something that might be) embarrass me.  I’ll never forget the day I had to carry a giant cardboard ID card everywhere I went for losing my military ID card.  My Sgt took many liberties in drawing the highly unflattering photo on my large version.  I struggled to keep assholes from yanking it away and running off.  (Losing the giant card would have been devastating.)  People kept honking and scaring the shit out of me.  I was a nervous wreck that day.  I never misplaced a card of any type since.  Or keys.  I guess it was worth it.

I don’t classify my friends by political groupings any longer.  I know diversity enriches my life.  I like being surrounded by it, but I’m also okay with living in a community that doesn’t have a lot of diversity.  What matters is recognizing it’s positive for everyone.  The only superior race is homo sapiens.  We changed the face of our planet, for better or worse, and climbed to the top of the food chain.  This is our planet, and I hope we spread to much more in the future.

When a person creates something that propels mankind forward, that victory belongs to all humans.  The same goes for the athlete who achieves a world record.  And the scholar who wins the Nobel Prize.  The writer who captures our imagination so profoundly we believe the story is real.  The actor that makes us laugh, then cry.  The comedian who’s so funny you laugh and cry at the same time.  The artist who captures an idea and paints it on a canvas.  These are humanities victories.  These are proof of our awesomeness as a species.  We don’t worship people, we share what makes us amazing.  It’s in all of us.  All humans.  It’s in you.  It’s in me.

Knowing this makes me love people.  I know everyone I encounter has awesome in them.  I hope they show it off.  It’s a connection between all of us, and I think we should all celebrate it by eating chocolate cake for dinner.  You in?

He took it out.

I joined the resistance movement.  I’m still not sleeping much.  I’m averaging 2 hours a night, according to my Fitbit.  I’m about to begin a collaboration with another blogger, so that’s exciting.  I held a contest with a group of friends to write a funny version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Two of the winners have agreed to let me share their hilarious versions.  One of the winners is deciding. Next post, I’ll share the ones with consent.  I regifted them the Amazon gift cards I received for purchasing with my Echo device on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as prizes because they’re also Seinfeld appreciators.

My efficiency suggestion led to my getting an office at work, so now my mini trampoline is a go.  Yay.  I’m glad of this change as I work better alone.  I have to remind myself that I’m working a job, not a career.  My career days are history because my country is in crisis.  I now work a part-time job and keep my expenses minimal, so I can fight to protect our rights full time.  I had fun earning money to pay for things I wanted but didn’t need.  Priorities have changed, and are no longer me-centric.  I’m part of we, the people.  That’s where I invest from now on; in non-hateful American people.

Reality

I got a job offer in Estonia.  I don’t speak Russian, and I don’t see myself learning Russian in a timely enough manner to take the position.  This was an attractive offer because I like the Russian spirit of brutal honesty.  I like that even their corruption is honest in that they don’t bother to hide it.  They enforce it with brutal violence, and it becomes the way of life.  The Russian people, regardless of how they feel about such a harsh world, go on living their lives.  They’re very fatalistic, too.  I watched a portion of a video of 3 Russians in a car that was submerged in a lake.  They were absolutely going to die from this predicament, and not one of them showed any signs of fear or alarm.  They had a very, “Oh, I’m going to die.  Goodbye”, attitude.  They accepted the inevitable, and didn’t try to change reality by wishing or praying or any other futile method of self deception.  I like that.

It’s a way of thinking with which I can relate.  As an autistic person, I could communicate with people who think that way.  They are honest and accept reality for what it is, as it is.  I can understand them.  Where I live, it’s almost the opposite.  I live in a red state where people are always kind to your face, profess a deep religious faith, and live the lifestyle of an atheist in secret.  When you go online, you find a lot of them on Reddit subforums engaging in orgies of hatred.  You see them on the news getting caught with child pornography on their computers.

I was raised here, but fortunately, I’m autistic,  African American, and I have always been an outsider in this world.  Not everyone here is like what I described above.  But they are the majority.  It’s not hard to live among them, because they are so concerned about how they appear to others, that they don’t spew their hatred publicly.  It’s supposed to be a secret.  The irony is the fact that the people they put forth the most effort to hide it from are the people who are doing similar shady things.

I can walk about town without a single person mistreating me.  It’s not that they respect my basic human right to exist unharmed.  They just don’t want anyone else to see them mistreat me.  I figured this out at a young age, and decided to be amused by it.  I didn’t vote for Obama, but as I stood in line, cursing McCain for partnering with Palin, a lot of people felt the need to tell me they were voting for him.  It was like they thought since I’m black, they were obligated to tell me they were voting for Obama.  I thought it was funny at first.  Then it felt wrong, so I left.  I don’t like it when people feel they have to overcompensate in order to avoid being identified as a racist.  Nothing about that is funny.

I don’t like phoniness or lies.  I don’t like it when people use manipulation in order to try and skew reality, or in an attempt to control another human being.  The fact is that all of these behaviors lead to self loathing.  Anything gained by lying, cheating, or being phony will not present the desired result in the long run.  It will only require you to continue lying, cheating, and being phony in order to convince yourself that your misbehavior was successful or justified.  In the long run, it hurts you far more than those you prey upon with deception.

Right now, I feel a lot of pressure from society to abandon all of my autistic traits, and accept their idea of normality.  I reject this.  I have a solid basis on which I make this decision.  While I don’t expect neurotypical people to conform to my way of thinking, I don’t appreciate their efforts in doing this to me. I’m not ill.  I don’t need some form of a cure that murders some of the traits that make me who I am.  I don’t buy into these subtle ideas of treatment, special diets, and therapies as a means of improving myself.  I see them as an opportunistic way of generating income.

This is why I want a physical world where I can live my life unmolested by these ignorant vultures who think they understand autism.  I want a large acreage where autistic people can live and support one another without the interference of those who are eager to fix what isn’t a problem.  It’s a symptom that some neurotypicals suffer.  A need to make everyone like them.  It’s a pretty primitive mindset.

I’m going to pursue my choice of living in a village where the population is mostly made up of autistic people.  It won’t require people there to be autistic, nor will it shun those who are neurotypical.  It will shun those who refuse to accept us as we are.  They have no place in my world.  I don’t know yet if I will continue living in the USA.  Serving in the Army was a great way to see my country naked.  I love the American people, and I love the land where we live.  But I do not love the corrupted government.  I don’t love the fact that money is the real god here.

When I joined the Army, I was a gung ho, naive patriot by default who thought America was the best country ever.  Now, I look back at that belief with sadness.  I fell for the lies they taught us in school, just as many others do.  The truth is, there is no perfect country.  Every nation has blood on her hands, and has committed atrocities in her history that explain why ‘The Game of Thrones’ is considered entertainment.  Patriotism is another word for ignorance.  It was a painful lesson.

Now that I’m aware of the fact that nationality is irrelevant in the big picture, my views have expanded to include all of humanity.  I don’t care about the color of your skin, your religion, your gender, your sexual identity, or your neurological variety.  I care about your character.  Do you choose to be a loving person because it’s what you want to be?  Than we can connect.  It’s about what you choose, not where you happened to be born, or how you were raised, or how much money is in your pocket.  This is what makes you who you are now, and who you’ll become in the future.  This is the only thing about a person that matters to me.  These are the people I can love, learn from, and live beside.  These are the people I care about, and want in my life.  The rest are on ignore.