Sunday, November 1, 2015

Autism Answer: Me And My Hubby - Arm in Arm

When we're in public and I reach out to rub my husband's arm, or hold his hand, or wrap my arm around his waist, he usually pulls away from me, instinctively. He often then looks
Me and my hubby!
uncomfortably at the ground or around me - rarely at me. And then he'll say something completely unrelated to love. Like, did we remember to pay the gas bill?

I don't mind. I'm used to it. Also, I understand.

He's not got a sensory issue, like my youngest brother did. My youngest brother who also used to pull away when I'd go in for a hug. No, my husband is black and I am white and people don't like it, don't want to see it, and have always treated him unkindly because of it.

They don't treat me unkindly, much. I'm used to this too. 

I grew up going places with my brothers who all had different styles of functioning, and people would treat them unkindly. But they didn't treat me unkindly, much.

So I've grown accustomed to the people I love pulling away while the strangers that watch play an almost invisible role.

But it's not entirely invisible. I see it.

And when I use my privilege to point it out to them, an ever growing number of them see it too.

So I rub my husband's arm, I hold his hand, and I wrap my arm around his waist in public, even though I know he'll pull away, because he doesn't mind. Or, at least, he's learned not to mind. And I refuse to let the possible prejudices of strangers push their almost invisible judgements with such force that they knock all of us "strange" or "different" or "inconvenient" love display-ers down.

I have a vision: One day my husband will feel my arm around his waist, we'll be walking through the parking lot of our local grocery store, and everyone will be completely comfortable. 

I believe in this possibility.

My youngest brother, who had sensory sensitives (and still slightly does), reaches out to hug me now. His focus on being accepted, his hard work at finding where those accepting places are, and the control he has when he reaches for the hug first, have made him far more comfortable in his skin, even when it touches mine.

When we all take advantage of our differences and privileges, introduce ourselves to the world kindly and consistently, we actually do make a difference.

One day you'll see me & my hubby, arm and arm, comfortably disagreeing about the value of organic food; and if you stare at us it'll be because you like my boots.
Me and my brother!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

Author's Note: I feel that this is a timely post, because it's voting season. I can't vote on a ballot where I live, but I can vote (actively!) with my actions. So, I do and I will and I invite you to join me. Hugs!! ~Tsara