Guest poem: FFS

A guest poem by Josey Robinson

“What do you mean, I need to fill in this questionnaire?
Is this something else that I’m going to be blamed for?”
I don’t know, Mum, is it?
Why do we need to assign blame, anyway?
What will playing the ‘blame game’ solve?

After all, who’s to blame for cutting public services to the bone?
Who’s to blame for not training teachers to identify neurodivergent students?
Who’s to blame for scrapping community support initiatives for neurodivergent adults?
Who’s to blame for forcing kids into neat, compliant little boxes which stifle their personalities?
Who’s to blame for the lack of community mental health resources?
Who’s to blame for the three-year waiting list that I’m currently on for an assessment to tell me what’s obvious to anyone with eyes in their fucking head?

That I’m different, that I’m difficult, that I’m deficient.
A weirdo, a freak, a “social retard,” standoffish, aloof, soft-headed, unfriendly, uppity, obstinate, rigid, inflexible, intense, and naive …
Hellfire, as a school-leaver’s gift when I was 16, I got voted “most likely to become a mass murderer.”

Because I’m autistic and I interact with people differently.
Because identifying and ostracising ‘outsiders’ is an innate human instinct.
Because taking the piss out of something you don’t understand is easier than making the effort to understand it.
I didn’t know I was autistic then.

So I internalised everything they said about me.
Nowadays, I’d have stapled that dickhead’s bollocks to his fucking forehead, but at 16 years old?
As a child who didn’t know any better?
Who didn’t have anyone to advocate for her?

Is it any wonder that my mental health suffered?
Is it any wonder that I feel like an extraterrestrial, dumped on Earth with no training and told to “just assimilate with the indigenous population”?
Is it any wonder that I have attempted suicide on multiple occasions?

What is a wonder is that I turned out as well as I did despite being a member of a society that is determined to kill me off.
And who’s responsible for that?
Who worked out that disabled people will die faster and reduce the state burden if they remove access to life support services through public spending cuts and benefits sanctions?
Who decided disabled people aren’t a useful and important part of our communities?
Who gave human life a monetary value?

Do you know what –
if them fuckers want me dead, then they can drag me kicking and screaming into my grave,
Because some of those ghouls from my past were right: I am obstinate and inflexible –
when it comes to challenging injustice.

I’m passionate and compassionate and I am proud to be a complete pain in the arse:
they say autistic people aren’t creative, but I can think of a thousand ways to ruin my gaffer’s day.
After all, we can allow those bastards to break us and become a part of the problem,
or we can find strength in our comrades and become part of the solution.

I will not allow myself to be sold short any more.
Why the fuckinell should I?

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