Blog

Me and Emotional Manipulation

Three or four years ago, I got called out for something I said about rap music: that I didn’t like it and that many musicians’ names started with “Lil” and were thus hard to tell apart.

“Called out” is a gentle way to put it. “Viciously attacked” would be a more accurate description.

It was a group conversation. Someone had brought up rap. I said I didn’t like rap. The caller-out asked me a question. In retrospect, they were probably eager for me to say what I said, to have the chance to pounce.

How I’m Staying Sane

Values values values. At various points throughout my life, various people have refused to shut up about value. Thus, I have done many values exercises. In tenth grade, we had to work on a project that include – I kid you not – “chastity.” Not sure if any parents, administrators, or other teachers were aware of this. (I did great, in case anyone cares.) That was one of the worst. Better: an exercise that involved a tournament-style ranking of values. Instead of just crossing off the less important values, you pitted them against each other repeatedly until you had your top five, three, and one. I particularly liked this because I realized that certain values fit into others – for example, I see kindness as a huge part of both integrity and humor (keeps you from cruelty/harm). Now, I talk about values with my students when I help them with their college essays, and this might be my favorite iteration, because a successful essay identifies values in context: what do you think is important, and how does that inform your actions? Nevertheless, these lists invariably omit one of the most important values ever: sanity.

=

Two people walk into a restaurant. They sit down at a table and order their food. The menu is written in small print, and Person #1 has low vision and thus cannot read the specials. The restaurant orders large-print versions of the menus, so Person #1 can now access the same content as Person #2. This is equality.

Words, Want, Matter

About a year ago, my younger sister embarked on a mission to misuse the phrase “per se” at every possible opportunity. “I’m probably going to go to bed a little early tonight, per se.” “Do you think it’s, per se, going to rain tomorrow?” “I’m getting strong whiffs of”–long pause–“turmeric, per se?” After a few months of this, I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to use “per se” properly. Even now, I leave it out of my writing because my memory of the term is so muddled.

Seismology

The summer before tenth grade, I tried to turn my bedroom into an ideological Petri dish. Used Post-Its and song lyrics as growth medium, pipetted my dreams onto sheets of graph paper, let premises and poems grow like bacteria all over the walls. Like a spinning top, I gained momentum without going anywhere, my lunacy filling notebooks and megabytes on my laptop. Sometimes when you’re moving really fast, everything outside you turns into a blur. You can focus on things in your frame of reference for a little while, but even then, they exist independently of any external anchors. You’re trying to be the best and do it all and crush the competition and you end up losing track of everything in the process. Thus, the departure of reason…

How to Harness Light

If you’ve ever watched the Netflix show Atypical, you’ll know that Sam, the autistic protagonist, likes penguins. In the autismverse, there’s a particular term for Sam’s love of penguins: special interest. A special interest is like a neurotypical hobby on steroids. Tendency to fixate on small details + ability to hyperfocus on said details with remarkable intensity + cognitive stamina + tolerance for repetition = a relentless, all-encompassing, überimportant, incredibly special interest that means the world to its autistic owner.

Everyday Feminism Is Comedy Gold

Everyday Feminism’s articles follow a predictable set of formulas. They’re all essentially reaffirmations of positions the website espouses: center the marginalized voices, everything is critical theory, we live in a racist sexist ableist classist cissexist adultist dystopia, science is oppressive. I don’t think it would take a particularly sophisticated algorithm to keep producing this sort of content, because it’s incredibly trite and predictable. Most titles include a number; a buzzword; and a stock photo that probably wasn’t intended to be hilarious, which only makes it more hilarious.

Kind People and Dangerous Ideas

There are some questions that I’m not supposed to ask. It’s not because I don’t want to ask them, or because I think they’re bad or wrong. It’s because I’m told that these questions are too inflammatory, too controversial, and that I’ll be eaten alive for trying.

It doesn’t matter if I do so respectfully or curiously or with no intention of hurting anyone. Many people, particularly at Stanford, where social justice culture is thriving, don’t believe intention is important. It doesn’t really matter what you believe or how you form those beliefs or whether you’re willing to change them. It matters that you align yourself visibly and vocally with whatever cause is deemed right, and that you agree to view yourself and the rest of the world through the simplistic framework of privilege and oppression.

Woke No More

If you’ve been reading my blog posts in chronological order, you may have noticed that some of my beliefs are evolving. I’m done with the dogmatism around language and the focus on other people’s actions. Call me autistic, call me a person with autism, call me Lucy…as long as you treat me respectfully, I really don’t care, and you can expect the same from me. (The same respect, that is. Not that I don’t care about you.) I noticed that I was becoming quite self-absorbed in the name of “justice,” so I decided to cut it out. I’m shifting my focus from “activism” to being a kind human. In this post, I want to go into more detail about why I’m done with Wokeness.

Changing My Mind: Language and Labels

Scrolling through the posts on this site that I wrote back in April and May, I can’t help but be a little disappointed in myself. I put a lot of energy into arguing about what words people should and shouldn’t use to describe autism, or me. Those posts now strike me as well-intentioned, but still sanctimonious and fundamentally misguided. Here’s why.