not a resource
seeing the humanity in all of us
When I got my first few 100 followers, it almost felt like finding family I never knew I had, but at the same time, known for ages.
I was just newly diagnosed with my first neurodivergence & I was keen to just write and share my perspective, share my journey. I’d write about some new insight and we’d all chat about it. We supported each other a lot more back then. It was a time when I finally felt I wasn’t alone.
But not long after, things blew up for me and a few of my Black neurodivergent friends during an campaign on Instagram called Amplify Black Voices during June 2020. I lost many of those initial contacts after that and social media’s never been the same since. That was when my Black ND friends and I were thrust into being seen more as resources of neurodivergent information rather than fellow neurodivergent people, trying our best in this society too. I’ve watched us all grasping to keep hold of our humanity, at times clinging to each other, reminding ourselves that we’re still human even when others in our communities refused to see it.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about humanity. Not just mine but everyone’s. I’ve thought about how we grow up learning that we must change who we are to become something we’re not. Bending and reshaping ourselves as if changing our nature is something that should come easily to us, because (as we’re reminded over and over again), “everyone else can do it, so why can’t you?!” We come to believe that our differences from what is normed makes us difficult, unsuitable or a problem. Anything beside human.
Soon we began to treat ourselves that way too. Not like we’re human, but a resource. A resource that is often worked to point of burnout over and over again. Our bodies, our skills, our capacity, all berated so badly, as if we truly believed they will suddenly change to exactly what’s expected of them - if only we could just criticise ourselves enough.
The way we understood our bodies changed from relatives that we should have been taught to love and care for as they are, to resources we had to abuse and extract from until they might produce, change and perform into what we were told they should do or be. I think that’s one of the saddest things we learned about how to see ourselves. That since being ourselves was never enough for others, it could never be enough for us either.
So now I write to try to rehumanise all of us neurodivergent people, in a society that was built off how it dehumanises people to varying amounts of harm depending on who we are and how we’re seen within it. But much like those first few hundred followers (and many of you now) who reflected back to me my own humanity at times when I needed it most, I hope to reciprocate that to all of you.
One lesson learned, one insight gained and one story told, at a time.
Thank you all for being here.