Today is World Autism Awareness Day. This bitch was surprised to learn this. Clearly my ass is no longer on the autism news mailing list (wink). But I’m all for awareness and in that spirit this bitch shall share a wee autism story with y’all.
My older brother Bill is profoundly autistic. He was the first born so my sister and this bitch have always lived with autism in our world. Bill is aphasic…hyper active…and, other than a wicked case of autism, perfectly healthy (thanks be to God).
When I was a wee bitch I used to think Bill was faking.
Oh fuck a duck...he’s my older brother and watching him get away with all manner of bad behavior and tantrum throwing made me question why my ass was acting normal. Shit, it looked like the ultimate hustle to me at the time.
Anyhoo, Bill used to raid the fridge for goodies and never get in trouble. Let a bitch score some cookies and my ass was grass…but Bill was “autistic”, so he could inhale all my Girl Scout cookies prior to delivery (drama!!) and a bitch was supposed to explain that shit by saying “well, my brother ate them…he’s autistic!”
One day, while my mother was trying to grab a nap, Bill made for the kitchen. I ran in after him to stop whatever feasting he was about to get about the bitness of doing. We had a brief tug of war over the fridge door and then he started spinning and screaming. He whirled and whirled about the kitchen, waking my mother and getting this bitch into a world of trouble.
I fled to my bedroom where I proceeded to get a monster sulk on for an hour or two. When I came out, my mother was sprawled on the living room floor staring off into nothingness. She looked so tired and so dejected and I just wanted to make it all go away. But suddenly the silence hit me.
“Mom?” I asked.
“Mom, where’s Bill?”
Her eyes went instantly alert and called for him but got no answer. She jumped up and ran out the back door.
She ran around the house shouting for him.
Frantic, I made for the front lawn and there he was sitting square in the middle of it buck-naked eating an apple.
And there it was…the relief and the love. I sat down beside him and called for my mother who stood before us in nothing but a bra and a slip, the midday sun shining down like a spotlight on our perfectly imperfect drama.
“Where the hell did he get an apple?” she gasped.
I laughed, too relieved to be embarrassed that my brother was naked on the lawn and my mother was in her underwear looking crazy with sweat running down her face and her hair standing up in tufts.
“Who the hell knows?" I replied. “He’s autistic.”
My brother has been autistic for more years than I have been alive. He has dreams we don’t know about, concerns he’s never shared and the kind of personality that makes strangers smile when he steals their soda pop at the McDonald's.
Bill is not a cure that didn’t happen…he is more than the treatments that failed…he is my brother.
May everyone with autism in their world find the laughter within the frustration, the joy within the pain and the strength to love a different kind of normal.
That is the ultimate awareness of autism.