A response to the incredibly moving short film “Dear Daddy”
I just wanted to thank you for looking after me so well, even though I have been somewhat of a handful. I know you already try harder than Superheroes, and you never signed up for a kid like I was.
But I need to ask you a favor. Warning. It’s about you because you see, I was born Autistic, and I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 20, which means that by the time I was 14, the kids in my class were calling me a retard, a loser, a freak and many other things. It’s just for fun of course, something kids do. So you didn’t worry and I understand that. Perhaps you did the same when you were young, trying to impress some of the other kids. I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it. Still, some of the people didn’t get the joke and funnily enough it didn’t make anything better. So by the time I turn 16 a couple of the boys had snuck their hands down my pants when I was so drunk I couldn’t even stand straight. And although I said “no” they just laughed, it was funny, right? If you saw me you would have been so ashamed because I was wasted.
My social inadequacies will leave me forever vulnerable to those who would take advantage of me – I just want someone to like me. No wonder I was raped when I was 17, 17 and on my way home in a car driven by the son of a guy who works with the state. The guy who always told insulting jokes but they were of course only jokes so everyone laughed. Had anyone known that his son would end up raping me they would have told him to get a grip. But how could they know, he was just a boy, telling weird jokes and in any case it wasn’t their business. They were just being nice. But his son, raised on these jokes becomes my business. This isn’t the only time my growing fear of being too different for this world will get me in trouble.
Then finally I met Mr. Perfect and you were so happy for me because he really adored me. And he was smart with a great job and all through the summer he taught me incredible things about science – like you used to. But one day he stopped being Mr. Perfect and I don’t know why. Wait. Am I overreacting? One thing I do know, I am not the victim type. I am raised to be a strong and independent woman. But one night it was just all too much for him with me at work, and the in-laws and the baby, so he called me a freak, and because I am so different – so out of the box – you blamed me for it. But, I understand. I’m not angry about it. You never asked for a Clinically Depressed, Anxiety and Panic ridden Autistic for a daughter.
Then another day he hit me. I mean I was way out of line, I can really be crazy sometimes. We were still the world’s greatest couple and I was so confused, because I loved him and I hated him and I’m not sure if I really did do something wrong and then one day I almost killed myself because of things he said to me. It all went black, even though I have incredible talents, a fantastic congregation, I’m loved by my friends and family, I am well brought up and nobody saw this coming.
Dear Parents, this is the favor I want to ask: One thing always leads to another so please stop it before it gets the chance to get worse.
I am begging you to stop blaming me for something I had no control over. Because, time and time again, before my diagnoses happened, someone abused me for my problems. Because I spent the better part of the last 20 years terrified that I would never be good enough for a world that I wasn’t made for. Because no one bothered to look into why I was so different as a child, I developed PTSD that is related to my own DNA. I am now Clinically Depressed, and riddled with Anxiety and Panic over everything. Everyone who knows me really well – unfortunately, unlike you who haven’t spent more than a few days with me since was 17-ish – says that I am an amazing woman, and that they are privileged to know me. But I am unable to believe them, because when I try to tell you about what I want to do with my life… you bring up how disastrously weird I was. My severely untreated Autism is a mark for you on our relationship. It colors everything you say to me, and how you choose to respond when I say I need something. Please, please understand that I am working so incredibly hard to figure out what the social normative is and ways of behaving. Stop judging me for the 14 year old who could do nothing but hate the world out of fear, for the 17 year old who ran away repeatedly… for someone I tried to kill.
Dear Parents, it is too late to make the right choices regarding what I needed as a child. I am now asking you to make good choices regarding who I am becoming as an adult. Because I was born Autistic, and that is still the greatest challenge I face each day.
** Original work produced by CARE Norway and is exclusively their copyright. This is an attributed work modeled on and derived from their work.***
Peace, Love, and Bulletproof Marshmallows,
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