Sunday, October 12, 2014

I could have been Issy Stapleton

Friday, September 6, 2013

I could have been Issy Stapleton.

If you want to tell me I'm judgemental, go away. You aren't wanted here. I'm going to say harsh things about autism parents. You have a choice to go away, or to actually think about them. Being an asshat or sympathizing with abusers and murderers isn't an option.
I could have been Issy Stapleton. If I'd been 10, 15 years younger? Oh so easily could I have been Issy Stapleton. For a variety of factors had I been killed when I was 14 (so in 1997 or so) you'd never have heard my name. But had I been 14 in 2007? Oh yeah.

See, my mom got off on the attention that extremes got her. We were talented athletes-and she made sure everyone knew. She got off on having a child who placed at State and Nationals regularly in a very difficult sport. No, really. She'd drag me into her work with my little warmup suit and my trophies. It was embarrassing, because I knew the only reason she was doing it was to one up someone whose kid made the starting lineup or something.

But she also got off on saying profoundly negative things. Now, she didn't lie, exactly. But she fudged the truth. She would present stories so as to erase her role in them.

I keep seeing "Issy was violent" portrayed as an excuse. Thing is? My mom could have made the same case. I tossed her across the room more than once. I bit her more than a few times in my teens. Pulled her hair once or twice. Kicked. Knew better than to hit because my legs are stronger. But this was not  unprovoked. My mother's idea  of a good time was to provoke a meltdown, then get in my face, try to hold me down. It feels like suffocating, being in a prone restraint.

And I am stronger than my mom. I kicked her, pushed her off, to survive. She banged my head into the wall, so I pushed her off as hard as I could. She dislocated my shoulders, so I kicked her off. She had her hand and arm over my face, so I bit her. I was in fight or flight, and flight isn't an option when someone is trying to keep you there. Flight was my first choice. I was forced into fight, and to survive I had to win.

Are you still feeling sorry for my mom? Really? If you are your empathy is misplaced. And don't try to tell me for a second that she lost herself in the moment because she was overwhelmed. She never touched my face. Not once. Just parts of me that were covered with hair or clothing, or that could have been bruised other ways.

My mother was violent first. And I have no doubt that Kelli Stapleton also did things that made Issy feel trapped, where fight was the option because flight was made impossible.

While my mom had to call people or tell people in person that her life was hard and that her 90 pound daughter beat her up (neglecting the part where she started it. I have dents in my skull and a chronically subluxating shoulder from her), Kelli Stapleton had it so much easier. She could tape shit and youtube it, or type it up and post it to a blog for the whole world to see in minutes. She could reach more people in 10 minutes with her sob story than my mom could in 10 days.

If my mom had known she could get away with it? Be lionized for it even? She would have done the same thing. With thousands of people who she knew had her back? She would have been on it. Our garage would have been cleaned specifically for the purpose. She'd have found a way that I'd die and she'd survive (probably a method of poisoning. My 90 pounds to her 150 means that I'd be oh so slightly more susceptible, in theory) but yet get sympathy. If she knew hundreds of people would support her, that the media would support her, I have no doubt in my mind she would have gone for it.

There is no extreme like "I tried to kill my child and myself". That's even better than "My kid won a medal at the 2nd highest level at power tumbling nationals". It rolls off the tongue so much easier. People know what you are talking about. And for some reason, people just love parents who are supposedly driven to extremes.

My mother would have gleefully destroyed my privacy on a blog. When applauded for it, she would have gleefully kept pushing and pushing. And when she saw that the most attention and support goes to people who kill their children?

I would have been dead.

Issy Stapleton is one of us. I could have been her, oh so easily. Many of us could have.

Think about that before telling me not to judge. Not  only is judgement healthy, but I have every right to judge. I lived Issy's life, just before every parent had a blog. Those are the shoes I've walked in.


  1. I am autistic myself and while I have achieved a lot I will say it irks me that idiots want Kelli to have sympathy.

    But if you ask me Kelli Stapleton is like Adolf Hitler.

  2. Thank you for speaking out, I'm so sorry your mother treated you that way and so glad you are still here. If I could speak to you in person right now, I would give you a hug and tell you are valued.