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No Missing Pieces #1 pg 6 & 7

Submitted by admin on Tue, 12/02/2014 - 21:04

Contributor Bio: Mel Baggs is 34 years old.  Sie was born in the redwoods of California, grew up in San Jose, lived in the redwoods again as an adult, and moved to Vermont in 2005, where sie currently lives.  Hir biggest hobby is crocheting, and sie always has several projects going on at once. Sie has been involved with the autistic community since sie was almost 18 years old, and has seen a lot of history and changes even over that short period of time.  Sie has also been involved in other aspects of the disability rights movement:  The psychiatric survivor/consumer/ex-patient movement, the mainstream (mostly physical) disability rights movement, and the developmental disability self-advocacy movement.  Sie is not one of those people who is always finding a movement or community and feeling as if sie has come home for the first time.  But if sie had to pick one of these movements, sie would pick the developmental disability self-advocacy movement.  Sie has been in the developmental disability service system hir entire adult life, due to severe problems with daily living skills.  This may make hir more emotionally connected to the experiences of people in general with developmental disabilities, rather than autism in particular.  Sie has a number of disabilities and chronic health issues that make hir more aware of autism as it fits into a broader concept of the landscape of disability, rather than being a unique condition that is different from disability somehow.  Sie also loves cats, and lives with an elderly and amazing cat named Fey.  Hir experiences as an autistic person, particularly hir perceptual differences from the norm, are highly meaningful to hir and sie would not change them even if it meant sie would be more ‘independent’.

Sie has a poetry blog at:   http://ameliabaggs.wordpress.com/

Sie also has a blog at:  http://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/

Hir tumblr is: http://withasmoothroundstone.tumblr.com/

 

 

In 2000, a group of autism parents decided to hold a rally in Washington D.C. to “raise awareness” for an autism cure.  They did not consult with autistic adults anytime during the process.  They did collect as many pictures of autistic children as they could, to show how many of us existed.  And worst of all, they called the rally “Hear Their Silence,” the message being that only parents could talk about autism, autistic people were silent and only fit to be present as silent faces on posters.  The following poem is my response to the title of their rally:

 

You Can’t Hear My Silence

 

They told the world to hear our silence

Hear the silence of the mute autistic people

Who will never have a voice of any kind

Presumed, by them, to be all of us

Or all of us who matter

And they, of course, would speak for us

All of us

At all

 

I wish they could hear silence

I wish they could listen to silence until they heard it

 

Silence is

The gap between your words

Silence is

The void between you and me

Silence is

The place where everything begins

Silence is

The place where the universe hides

Silence is

Everything there is, and nothing

Silence is

Where I’d rather be

Silence is

Where you’ll find all of me that matters

 

But you’ll never hear my silence

Because you don’t know how to listen

To things you can’t hear