Autism: Superpower or No?

What I think of every time I hear that “Autism is a superpower!” bullshit.

Recently, Scottish comedian Fern Brady appeared on “The Last Leg” and spoke about how neurotypicals love to pathologize us (Brady is autistic). At one point, she says, “[t]here’s not enough talk about neurotypicals are,” and how they need to be pathologized more. She’s right, you know. You guys are fucking weird and you need some goddamned help. She also points out how some NTs get weird when they talk to us about our conditions and call it a “superpower”. There is no fucking middle ground when neurotypicals talk about neurodivergence in general and Autism in particular. It’s either “Oh you poor thing” or “You’re a superhero!” But neither of these things is true. Autistic people are just that: people. We may not put our pants on one leg at a time, but we still put the fuckers on. And, that doesn’t take goddamned superpowers. So, today, let’s talk about the “autism is a superpower” bullshit.

It Ain’t “Super”

Superpowers are mostly used to fight crime and I don’t see my shit doing that. I mean, my options are pretty limited since I don’t fly or crawl on the fucking wall and shit. I can’t really see hyper-fixation/focus as being all that useful as a crimefighting strategy. And, how would I use my social awkwardness to stop bad actors? Make them so uncomfortable that they just leave? I suppose I could info-dump until a villain’s eyes glazed over but then what? If I’m having a touch-averse episode, I won’t be able to put them in handcuffs and take them to jail and we all know there’s never a goddamn cop around when you need one. I’d have to have a neurotypical sidekick and what kind of fucking superhero needs that?

The Downsides of Superpowers

Something else that bothers me about this shit is how it just assumes that superpowers don’t have downsides. If they’re anything like autism, superpowers can’t be turned off and that could be a definite problem. Think about it for a minute. If they can’t be turned off, then Superman is always super-strong and has X-ray vision. And that Spiderman can always climb the walls and shoot webs out his wrists (this is one time I prefer the movie version). And, The Flash is always super-fast. That shit would be hell in everyday life. I mean, how much disgusting shit has Superman inadvertently seen due to his X-ray vision? I’ll bet people hate loaning him stuff because it comes back broken due to his ham-handedness. And you know Spider-Man’s shitweasel buddies are always trying to scare him, hoping he’ll jump up on the wall or accidentally squirt out some web shit. I don’t even want to think about Flash in the bedroom. Oh Iris, you poor thing.

It’s Kind of Messy

Okay, so I get how some of the shit we do may look a little superhuman. The way we make crazy connections seemingly out of nowhere, our ability to pick up on obscure patterns, and the creative leaps we can make could come off as shit out of a Marvel flick. But that’s only because you don’t see the fucked up processes that lead up to them. Like, I’m sure you’ve seen someone who’s neurodivergent come up with a connection that stunned everyone else in the room — partly because we tend to just blurt shit out — and wondered, “How the hell did they do that?” Like the time I saw a Target ad and said, “Tegrin spelled backward is ‘nergit’.” So, I see the sign and my weird-ass brain reads “Target” as “Tergit”. That sounded funny to me and I started doing that with other words like “cerpit”, “merkit”, etc. Then, somehow, “nergit” crept in and a moment from “Friends” popped into my head. Before I could catch myself, I just blurted out the aforementioned phrase. Like I said, the shit gets weird.

Answering the Question of “Autism: Superpower or No?”

The title of this entry is “Autism: Superpower or No?” and I think it’s clear that the answer is “no”. It’s not super, just fucking different. But that’s not to say it isn’t kind of cool. There is fuck ton of neat shit I get from being neurodivergent and I wouldn’t want to be any other way. Even when I talk to neurotypicals who have good intentions (that pathologizing shit) or bad (all the ways they actively make NDs’ lives suck). I constantly tell myself that their good intentions outweigh the bad but really, it’s a hard fucking sell. It’s necessary though, because it’s the only way I can keep myself from going on a throat-punching spree. So far, it’s worked: no neurotypical dickbags — or well-meaning dumbasses — punched in the throat. Huh, maybe I do have a superpower. Who knew?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *