Yesterday, for the first time ever, I met someone from Whisper in person. It was a woman, but as she’s engaged this was platonic and not a date. However, she knows about my inability to date or find a sex partner and that I’ve never had a girlfriend.
We had a good time and were glad to meet in person. But after I got home, I got a message from her saying she was worried she’d upset me. I had no idea why or how that would’ve happened, nor why she thought that. But she told me that twice in our conversation she moved closer to me, and I moved back–away from her. I believe her; this is EXACTLY the type of non-verbal communication to which I am TOTALLY oblivious, and which makes dating and flirting and all that shit impossible for me. I never noticed her moving closer to me, and I had no idea I’d moved away in response. I could only apologize and tell her I didn’t realize I’d done that, she hadn’t upset me, and assure her I was utterly clueless as to both her body language to me and mine to her.
Now, if a platonic friend notices this and tells me, just imagine how often something like this has happened with a girl I was attracted to or tried to flirt with, ask out, or be on a date with–none of whom ever mention it because they don’t think to. They don’t know I’m autistic and hopeless with non-verbal communication; they assume everyone knows what they do. Imagine how many phone numbers, dates, one-night stands, and relationships I’ve missed out on because I can’t read body language. And there are NO resources to teach this to autistic adults. There’s everything you could possibly imagine for KIDS with autism, but almost nothing for adults. That place at Children’s I posted a while back? I talked to them. They don’t take Medicaid (go figure), and I don’t qualify for financial assistance. Nor do they offer services that would help me, because they’re focused on low-functioning adults. I know how to dress myself, maintain decent personal hygiene, ride the bus, prepare meals for myself, etc. But if you have a health condition which, through no fault of your own, precludes your ability to fulfill the basic human needs of love and sex, we don’t give a shit until you’re suicidal. At which point, we physically make sure you don’t die, but do even less to give any QUALITY to your life than we do for the kids we convince low-income teenagers not to abort. We’ve all seen and possibly shared the memes about pro-lifers focused on forcing women to have the baby, only to deny it every service and support it needs after birth. We never hear or discuss the fact that we do the same thing, but worse, for people who deal with suicidal ideation.
“Don’t kill yourself!”
“But my life sucks.”
“It may suck now, but it will get better!”
“When? Are you going to help make it better?”
“I don’t know, just don’t kill yourself!”
“But I’m failing and flailing and suffering.”
“Just don’t kill yourself!”
“Just don’t! It’s immoral/illegal/selfish/will hurt other people!”
“Well, once I stay alive, what can I look forward to?”