I loathe this word with my entire being.
It was used a lot throughout my childhood to describe me.
Mostly in reference to some behaviors that were due to my AS.
It hurts. It still hurts. I cry when people call me annoying or say that I’m being annoying.
I hate it when people use that word to describe anyone. “Obnoxious” or “inconvenient” or “bothersome” would be better. They all mean the same thing, I know. I am not ignorant to that fact, but that biting, stinging word still cuts to my core every time. I try to not let it get to me. After all, it’s something that I am trying to lead by example on for my children: You are not in control of what other people do, but you are in control of your actions.
I am not in control of how and when people use that word. I am in control of how I react to it.
And I may have slightly overreacted to something.
(Background: I am part of several autism pages on Facebook. I am not as active with these groups as I would like to be, but my life is pretty busy most of the time.)
I saw a post from someone on a group on Facebook and I felt the need to say something. Mistake? Maybe.
“Anybody else annoyed by children? They get on my nerves SO much.
I never want kids of my own (which means I’ll probably be single forever).”
I will admit that not even I,
the amazing Maternal Woman,
am a big fan of lots of kids (can be quoted as saying “Mateo for sale. Can be bribed with blueberries, falls asleep by himself, is sometimes cute, loves animals and babies, has a bad attitude, is driving me crazy…”),
but come on!
(I’m definitely biased, but my sweet Mateo is pretty dang awesome! Also, he is 1 now!!!)
I responded by stating that I agree with him to a certain extent. After I agreed that children can be “annoying” *cringe*, I tried to appeal to the HFA or AS in him by likening children to us.
They have a hard time controlling their emotions, can’t really communicate their emotions, and being unable to properly communicate just frustrates them more. (This alone is about 60% of why children misbehave in public.) They are easily overstimulated and overwhelmed. (This accounts for another 30% of why children misbehave in public.) And they are trying to learn, just like us!
Then I asked that he simply be patient with and kind to the children that he does encounter.
He responded by explaining that he was bullied and that children bring back bad memories.
I mean, I understand trauma and bullying. I understand being uncomfortable. I understand wanting to avoid things. I really do! But I wasn’t asking him to have his own children or start a daycare or purposely interact with children. He can avoid them! That’s okay! I was just asking that he be kind when he can’t avoid it. Because, HFA/AS or no, he is the adult in this hypothetical situation and he has more control over his reaction than a child does. Because I have seen firsthand how unkind adults can be to children that honestly don’t know any better. Is this man that finds children annoying unkind to them? I have no clue. I was just hoping that seeing that children are like us might make him more inclined to be kind in the future.
Another woman responded and acted like I was being pushy, judgmental, putting words in his mouth, and altogether not understanding of his point of view. I did not think that I was, but tone is very hard to express through the written word. Because she, a woman that gets a lot of flak for not wanting children, was already on the defense, she interpreted my words to have a different meaning.
It made me wonder: had I done the same thing? Had I reacted with stronger feelings than appropriate for the situation because I was on the defense from simply seeing the word “annoyed”?
I read back through my comments with this new light and can say that, while the feelings behind my responses were very strong, my words still rang true. I still meant every bit of it.
It amazes me that I have gotten to this point in my journey with AS. I was able to express an opinion, attempt to appeal to someone, and explain things in a way that he may or may not have thought of in a mature, level-headed manner despite my personal feelings of hurt. I was able to analyze another person’s reactions, recognize those same feelings in myself, and retrace my steps to figure out if I had done the same thing. Having experienced these things, I feel that I have a better grip on how I handle myself and I feel confidant that I can do better in the future. But, that’s always the goal, isn’t it? Self-improvement.