Monday, October 13, 2014

To Issy Stapleton, with love.

To Issy Stapleton, with love.

Dear Issy,

I wish with all my heart that I wasn't writing to you in this circumstance. I wish I was writing to  you in a more joyful situation. I wish you had become known to me because you were exploring your Autistic identity and taking your rightful place in our community-a community that loves you for your very existence, a community that thinks you are whole and complete.

Unfortunately, that is nearly the complete opposite of the circumstances that are before us. You are in the hospital right now. Your mother tried to kill you. You know that, though. You know that you were doing the best you can with what you had and that it was never good enough.

I am writing to you because there are things you need to know, things that very few people are going to tell you, because they with their vaunted NT empathy can't manage to feel for you-only for your assailant.

Dearest Issy, it is not your fault. You did not make your mom do anything to you. It is her job, as a parent, to cope. Not to kill. It is not your fault that your mother chose to use you, yes use you, for pity and sympathy. It is not your fault she elected to try to kill you. That is not your fault at all. You deserved oh so much better. It is not  your fault that she demanded what you couldn't do. It is not your fault that she refused to acknowledge that you have weaknesses to go with your strengths. It is not your fault that you can't do the impossible. It was not fair or right or acceptable, even, to have that demanded of you.

Issy, I know that the media and your mom's friends are being absolutely awful and terrible about you. That isn't right. That isn't fair. It's revolting, it is bullying, it is trying to excuse the inexcusable. There is a whole community that has your back. We are outraged, indignant, on your side. Unquestioningly on your side. There is a large Autistic community and we care about you. We are standing for you, right now, and always. There are non autistic allies who are speaking for you too. We cannot undo what was done to you, as much as we'd love to, but we can declare that it was not ok.

We have logged many, many miles in your shoes. We know what that journey is. We won't let anyone forget.

I want to be able to tell you that everything will be ok. I cannot make that promise, and I respect you too much to lie to you. I can promise that we will do everything we can to make it ok. I can promise that we will not let you go undefended. This isn't enough, I know. We cannot fix it. But we are here for you. There is no justification for harming you, ever ever ever. I'm so sorry that the only promises I can make are really not enough. I am so sorry that you live in a world that tries to justify hurting you. Sorry and angry. Not angry at you. Angry at everything, ever, that tells us that you are less than. You are not less than anyone.

Dearest Issy, I have your back. We have your back. We love you just as you are. We know how love works. And doesn't work. Love doesn't work by suffocation. Love works by accepting and embracing a person as they are. We are going to do our best by you. You deserve it, and you have been failed by the very people whose job it is to do their best. We will not let that stand.

We may not be able to make everything be ok, but we are sure going to try.

With deep wells of love,


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