What I Learned from the “Disabled” People on Twitter

BEFORE anyone gets mad at my usage of the quotation marks, they are there because this is the term that I was told they prefer. I thought differently but, as you will find out from this post, I am wrong about a lot of things.  In essence, it’s like some people of color wanting to be called “African American” instead of “Black” or “American” or the “N word”. It all depends on who you ask. 

I am also not going to argue regarding my thoughts on this because these are my feelings and I have the right to have them as a person, NT or not (I was referred to as NeuroTypical so I will use their words and ND is Neurodivergent which many of them refer to themselves as so I am not using these words to disrespect anyone. I am going from what I have learned FROM them).

I make a LOT of mistakes when I am trying to learn things. I am a human.  However, I made three mistakes that have been weighing on my mind and I need to get them out or I won’t be able to sleep because I was very upset (I haven’t even eaten because I was just really at a loss).  I think it’s out of frustration and knowing myself as a person and my intent when I say things. The first and the last instances are totally a mistake on my part and I actually learned from them.  The second one, I’m still trying to understand because I’m not really sure where exactly I went wrong.  I have tried to look at it from so many sides and that’s literally all I could come up with.

WHAT NOT TO SAY ON “DISABLED DAY OF MOURNING”

I messed up VERY badly on this one and apologized. I inboxed the person to further explain how sorry I was and how what I said at the time was inappropriate.

So, a person on Twitter, for Disabled Day of Mourning (which I had never heard of until that day) stated that their mother tried to kill them because they were disabled.  The mom in me wanted to try to put some perspective to it as a parent.  That was NOT the appropriate time for me to apologize for how they (I don’t know their pronouns) were treated but then to say “Maybe she was going through something. Parenting is hard.”  Did my statement have merit?  It did and I stand by the statement. What I don’t stand by is my timing. NOT the right time to say something like that.  I did my best to apologize and state where I was coming from. 

As I stated in some of my previous posts, I used to hold some resentment towards my parents. I can’t say which one I held that resentment towards the most (because I don’t really know as, in my mind, they both did damage to me) but I had to let it go, especially with my father, because I had to look at his mindset.  As stated before, he is a Vietnam Vet that suffers from PTSD and alcoholism.  Then I looked at myself, a person with bipolar disorder, that is raising a child with disabilities.  But this wasn’t about ME.  It was about them and the trauma that THEY suffered at the hands of their mother.  I was wrong for that.  I apologized but, honestly, they don’t have to accept the apology.  I stuck my foot in my mouth and all I can do is admit it, attempt to make it right, learn from it, and move on.  It still bothers me but that’s not their concern and it doesn’t have to be.  Things like this bother me because I know me and my intent and it wasn’t with malicious intent that I made that statement but I can totally understand why they would be offended. 

I didn’t tell you the part that bothered me the most but I could understand their view based off what I had said.  Almost forgot.  I was told that they “feared for my daughter’s life”, that I was a “bad mom”,  and that I needed to “seek help and self report”.  Again, this person doesn’t know me and I can see how one would feel that way because I am a parent that seemed to be taking the side of a mother that tried to kill their child.  I can see it very well.  However, their words to me couldn’t be further from the truth.  My daughter is VERY well taken care of and I do my best for her.  I have a psychiatrist and therapist, I take my meds, and I learn my triggers enough to know when to disengage.  My daughter has a ton of people that support the both of us in words and deeds and I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m abusing my child or wanted to kill her for having a disability.  If anything, I’m trying to learn and help other parents that are trying to cope, yes cope, with having a child with a disability (I almost typed “special needs” which is a term they don’t like because I read that it was akin to saying “handicapable).

When we have kids, we don’t just instantly know what to do with them. Then add onto that the fact that the child is disabled.  Then pile your own issues with society looking at you crazy when you don’t spank your child for being overstimulated and acting out.  Then add your own mental illness (if you have one) and you’ve got an adventure on your hands that you have to navigate through. This is why I blog so that I can help people that relate through the process because it IS a process. 

DON’T SPEAK ON BEHALF OF YOUR CHILD

Now this one confused me again because my intent wasn’t malicious and I was literally making a joke about teenagers. Again, this could have been the timing so I’m going to try to really think about what happened as she made all her comments limited after she told me to “Fuck off” after comparing me to her mother who spoke for her.

This was probably two days after the DDOM. This person said that there should be a Day of Anger. Now, granted, she might have said it in jest but one can’t know on Twitter. So I made the joke “My daughter doesn’t need one of those. She’s a teenager. LOL” Most people know my daughter and she is one of the happiest teens you will ever meet. But this person didn’t know that so I get it. I was told that I was speaking for my child and that my child had the right to speak for herself.

My daughter isn’t on Twitter and has the reading ability of about an 8 year old as well as the cognitive ability of one. She has a moderate intellectual disability as well as autism. I am her voice in many cases when she needs it. She has an invisible disability (one that you can’t tell just by looking at her) so people tend to look funny when they know she is 15 but isn’t “acting” like a 15 year old. That is when I step in and inform them of said disability. As far as she knows, she’s just Kieyah and that’s fine with her. But I was literally making a joke. This person that was mad had cerebral palsy. I’m not sure of the other disabilities but I have to take things like that into consideration when speaking to people with disabilities as sometimes they process things differently. It is to the point that I talk to my therapist about these interactions as she is a Social Worker with The Arc so I do ask her a lot of questions and attempt to learn about how to let go of the reins and let my daughter do things and stop being afraid. I actually blogged about that on my daughter’s blog. I also ask her about where I go wrong in these interactions because I don’t want to offend anyone and my intent is never to do so.

We have to let them go because we’re not always going to be here but my concern is that she will become one of people named on the #DDOM. So it’s hard and I actually explained that to a young woman who said that parents need to “support” them and let them be themselves. I, as a parent, let her know that many of us don’t do that out of malice but out of fear because this world is trash. It really is and I don’t want my child to become a statistic so, sometimes I am overbearing. But I told her that I heard her very loud and clear and that it is something many of us are working on. She appreciated being heard. That was really all she wanted. Just to be heard and told that her feelings were valid which they were.

A LESSON IN ABLEISM

I am not sure that what I was doing was ableism but here is the definition according to one source:

“Ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or the other. Ableism is intertwined in our culture, due to many limiting beliefs about what disability does or does not mean, how able-bodied people learn to treat people with disabilities and how we are often not included at the table for key decisions.

Just like most forms of discrimination, ableism often shows its ugly face from nondisabled people with good intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions never solved any problems.”-Source: https://www.cdrnys.org/blog/uncategorized/ableism/

So, as you can see, I literally have good intent but that’s not enough. In this last situation, I was attempting to be comforting but it went allll the way left. And when I say all the way left, I mean, my feelings were hurt and I was literally called all kinds of names for having said feelings and was made fun of for being “NT” and feeling.

Now, this is how the conversation went: Someone stated that it confused them that people were using the word “stimmy” to describe the stimulus check. Everyone agreed, some of us asked what it meant as we wanted to know. We got the answer and thanked them. Cool, right?

Well, someone said that NT people should know that this is their terminology for it and the woman that went off on me said “They would have to care first.” Now, in my ignorance and my intent to let her know that people do care for ND people, I stated “We care. Sometimes we are ignorant. Everybody is not out to hurt you.

Look at that bold part and never IN YOUR LIFE say that to a ND person. NEVER! It is a trigger. In essence, I was stating the obvious and she didn’t need to be told that as she already knew that but I basically, for lack of a better term, “mansplained” it to her. Another person with autism actually went to bat for me though. I thank her for that.

So I was literally lost and trying to understand. I was telling her I didn’t intend to be malicious. I was just trying to tell her that people do care about ND and just to give us a little time to try to understand and make the necessary changes because a lot of us are ignorant. That’s not what she nor any of the other people heard (read). I was then called defensive because I kept explaining that it wasn’t my intent. But how do you feel when people pile on you? Even when she apologized for her snarkiness, she made the comment “And your last comment didn’t help”, the part where I said “everyone isn’t out to hurt you”. So I was literally at a loss and trying to have a discussion to figure out what I said that made my whole comment void.

What made this go all the way left and to a place that it shouldn’t have gone was when another Twitter person took a screen shot and made fun of a “NT being ‘bullied'” and some other really messed up stuff. So I was like “That’s not what I was doing.” Literally, I got called an “unapologetic asshat”, “privileged”, a “fuckmuppet”, and a lot of other things based off one screenshot which literally didn’t tell the whole story.

The confusion for me started when I asked for some respect and not to name call and yell (CAPS) because I wasn’t trying to be mean or rude. They literally made fun of me for asking to be respected. Now, this is where it hurt my feelings and I have a right to be hurt.  If you have been marginalized your whole life, how can you take utter DELIGHT in inflicting the same pain that you felt onto someone else? I will say, most of them were white and were chomping at the BIT to call a black person privileged. I’m not as dumb as I look. The WHOLE time, I didn’t cuss at them, call them names or anything because, as a human, I respect people. I don’t care if you have a disability, are a child, etc.  I don’t care. It’s something that I feel people deserve.

I was then told that I didn’t deserve respect because I disrespected all of them. I was like “I was literally just telling her-” DOESN’T MATTER! You, as a majority canNOT tell them how to feel is how they interpreted it. That was not what I was doing. I was trying to be comforting and literally tell her that we all aren’t shit people and some of us care and want to learn.

Then they piled on with “we don’t have to teach you anything” and one called my daughter an “autism card”.  I was like “Wow!”  I STILL don’t get why it had to go THAT low.  The WHOLE time, I didn’t cuss at anyone, didn’t call anyone out their name, I literally was trying to understand how everyone came to this conclusion of me being “defensive” and then literally just started throwing every insult they had for every single NT person that had ever hurt them in their entire life.

In the end, while someone was trying to insult me more, they said something that made sense and it was pretty much that my comment was like women having a conversation about men and a man coming in and saying “not all men”.  And that’s when I got it.  Now, while they gave this example, and even after said example, they insulted me more. 

They really took a joy in insulting me because I didn’t understand and many were like “Welcome to our world!” The thing is:  I literally came to your world to try to understand my daughter and how she might get frustrated.  I LITERALLY understood that they get frustrated which was why I was there. BUT to take it to the level that they did was overboard for me.

I’m going to give the best example that I can at this time and, if you don’t care and think that I’m playing the victim, have at it but this is what I equate it with to try to gain an understanding:

What they did to me was like a black person literally just going around hanging white people because of what people did to them and their family.  Literally, that’s how it came off as to me.  They literally took JOY in just shitting on me and beating me down so that I could feel what society made them feel. Do I understand it, I do.  Do I CONDONE it, NO! Your not having a voice does NOT give you license to take the voice of someone who is literally trying to understand and learn. It also doesn’t give you license to verbally assault someone and their own child that has autism.  That was a new level of low that I will never stoop to.

And what they ALL constantly ignored was my request for respect.  You can tell me I’m wrong all day and that’s fine but don’t be disrespectful to get your point across.  NO one deserves that, ND or NT. NO ONE! I wouldn’t talk to my daughter like that and I would slap anyone that talked to any person with a disability like that.  Maybe, in their minds, that person is me talking down to them.  Maybe that’s what they saw.

But making fun of a person for having feelings (and they were really piling it on) regardless of them having a disability or not is unacceptable.  When people are trying to understand so they can learn and tell other people so they don’t make the same mistake, you don’t have to accept it but you also don’t have to make them feel like shit for trying.

In the end, we came to a resolution as the person that insulted me after explaining it to me was told by me that “it actually does make sense”. And I had already apologized and, honestly, I was mentally drained at the point and kind of mad at myself for caring so much that I put myself through that like a masochist. 

I was really trying to think about if there was ANY time I had EVER said the things that these people were saying to me because of my past experiences with people.  I had stated before in another blog on here that I had a white friend that apologized to me for slavery and I told her “That’s okay, you didn’t do it.”  I hold no ill will to people for what society has done to me as a Black, single mother with a mental illness.  And, yes, people with ND process things differently but, as a NT person, I have the right to ask for a little kindness as I do my best not to be insulting or offensive to anyone.  To literally belittle and make fun of someone for something they can’t control nor understand is extremely hypocritical no matter how you try to justify it.

Sometimes you have to let people that feel that they have no power go on the internet and gain that power.  So, if talking shit to a person that cannot touch you and you would NEVER say ANY of that stuff to in person, makes you feel bigger, have at it. So, if you need to feel power in a society that makes you feel powerless, have at it….on the internet.  You can have that fight but I’m looking at the end game.  The end game is to be more powerful together. You can’t have communication and open dialogue if you literally won’t give the other party a voice.  You don’t want my voice, that’s fine.

Sadly, what I learned on this day, right now is that you don’t advocate for people that don’t want your help or empathy. My struggles don’t matter.  My feelings don’t matter.  So I will save my feelings and caring for my daughter who didn’t have to ask for it.  I went to try to talk to adults with autism to learn a little bit more from them how they feel and, as I was told, they don’t have to help me do anything.  So, in a way, they did teach me.  And it’s a lesson I will never forget. 

Published by tallgirl79

Blogging about life. Well, my life. As a black, bipolar, mom to a teenager with special needs, well, there is always a story to tell. From my aversion to having a man to my weird experiences while trying to avoid people, it's all there. Being me is.... different but it always makes for good blogs.

3 thoughts on “What I Learned from the “Disabled” People on Twitter

  1. I love you, and I love the mere Essence of you. Your blog post broke my heart to read because I know you personally. You always have the best intentions, and when you are wrong, you correct them—reading about a group of people insulting you making you cry my blood boils. We live, and we learn! There will be another time for you to ask questions, and your voice will be heard

  2. Reading this makes me want to give you a big hug. (virtual hug)) I’m sorry you had this experience. It sucks when what you say does not get taken in the way in which you meant to deliver it. I hope you received some relief blogging about it. You’re an awesome Mom to and awesome kid. Words hurt, but try not to let it bring you down for too long. Truth be told…it was a misunderstanding, and they may never understand it. I pray you get the peace you need from this experience, and a good night’s sleep.

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