Hello, and welcome back to The Autistic Writer. How are you all bearing up? It’s cold here, with icy air and frozen ground, and white stuff all across the hilltops. It isn’t only the cold that’s biting. The lockdown continues, the pandemic still does it’s horrible thing. And yet all around me, I see people smiling through the hardships, even though sometimes it is literally smiling through tears of grief, sadness, anxiety, fear and frustration.
My original plan for this week’s blog was to tackle the debate over whether Autism – or Autism Spectrum Disorder – is actually a “disorder”. Is it fair or accurate to call it a “disorder”? But I’m not going to be able to follow through on that. This is mainly due to the subject being huge, and me not having garnered enough knowledge yet to be able to make the case briefly and concisely. I’ve got opinions on it, sure, but you know what they say about opinions and assholes… Just an opinion is never enough when you’re talking about something this important. But I will come back to the subject when I’ve done a little bit more research, and I will have something to say about it.
So, that leaves me wondering what to do this week. Having thought about how many of us are having to struggle to be happy in these dark times, I wanted to do something lighthearted, so I present to you… (drum roll) The Autistic Writer’s Meme Special!
When I first discovered internet memes, however many years ago that was, I was skeptical. To be fair, I’m skeptical about most things, but internet memes just struck me as nonsense; worthless guff. I have drastically changed my mind on this, much in the way I have with emojis. Language changes over time, and I’m not interested in being some kind of linguistic luddite. And make no mistake, emojis and memes are language. Emojis will become ingrained in all types of language over the coming years, I’m sure, even in workplaces and serious academic situations. I can see huge potential for them in education, as well, particularly for autistic children who are non-verbal.
Memes are a bit different. The use of humour and irony wrapped in pop culture references to make a point – sometimes a lighthearted point, sometimes a deadly serious point – is powerful stuff. Emojis and memes will never replace words. But memes are going become even more prevalent than they are now in the world of fast-scroll social media when people are deeply bored, deeply distracted, and deeply short of time. They are better than videos and gifs in the respect that a good meme can often be a single image and a short caption consumed in a second, but – if done well – digested for hours, days, or weeks.
I’ve found that autistic people having a ball creating memes to describe their situation. Some of them are hilarious, some moving, some deeply upsetting. It’s a great way of getting those issues out there.
So with no further preamble, here is a selection of autism-related memes, some created by myself, others pulled from Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and elsewhere. Enjoy.
That’s all for this week. Take care of yourselves, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.
Why do I write this blog?
When I was first diagnosed as autistic, at the age of 54, I quickly learned that there was a serious shortage of information and resource for newly-diagnosed adults. It’s my aim to inform about autism and autism-related issues as I learn. I will never hide what I do behind a paywall. If you like what you read and want to chip in, feel free to “buy me a coffee” by clicking the icon below.
You might also be interested in David Scothern’s blog, Mortgage Advisor on FIRE, which covers a range of topics including mental health issues and financial independence.