Rudolph and the Conditions of Neurotypical Acceptance

An apt summation of the conditions of neurotypical acceptance of NDs

Okay, this is another post I’m going to start the wrong way: with a disclaimer. I’m including one because this piece might just possibly piss off some neurotypical folks. Now, if anything I say here doesn’t apply to you, that is fucking great. Please keep doing what you’re doing because we love it. But if it gets under your skin, you might want to think about why. And maybe try to do better, goddamn it. So, what is it that has such potential to cause hard feelings? It’s the fact that there are conditions of neurotypical acceptance for neurodivergent people. Basically, it only happens if we’re useful to them. And, I’m going to show you this by using Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Why This and Why Now?

So, you’re probably wondering why you’re reading a post that references a Christmas special a week after Christmas. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be done with all the Santa bullshit by now? Maybe. Probably. But the week leading up to Christmas was a motherfucker. I mean, Christmas is stressful enough on its own but those arctic fucking temperatures that blew through here last weekend took things to another goddamn level. The bottom line is that you’re reading about Christmas shit 6 days after Christmas. because I want you to, motherfucker. It’s important so trust me, okay? Now, stop asking so many goddamn questions, and let me get on with this shit.

Rudolph and the Conditions of Neurotypical Acceptance

So, when it comes to Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, I identify with the Rudolph of the memes, not the one of the song and TV special. Now, I know that seems like a non-sequitur but bear with me on this. I promise it’ll make sense before the end. To begin, I suppose I should explain where this analogy is coming from. As a person of a… let’s say, “certain age”, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer–both the song and the special–has been a part of my Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember. As a neurodivergent, traditions are very important to me. So much so that it doesn’t feel quite like Christmas until I’ve indulged in those traditions. That includes watching several different Christmas specials from my childhood. It was while watching Rudolph a couple of nights ago that I realized my favorite reindeer’s experience was extremely similar to my own as an autist and someone with ADHD. How so? Read on, intrepid follower, and find the fuck out.

Santa Was a Dick, Okay

I’m going to quote Johnny Marks here and ask, “But, do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?” Also, do you recall how everyone at the North Pole treated him so fucking badly? No? We’ll start with the song. It says that, due to his difference (the red nose), the other reindeer “used to laugh and call him names.” Also, they wouldn’t let him “join in any reindeer games.” What a bunch of assholes. And, while Santa doesn’t feature much in the song–he only shows up near the end to ask something of Rudolph–he has a much greater presence in the 1964 television special. In it, he takes a major role in marginalizing Rudolph for his atypicality (that fucking nose), even making the guy feel guilty about his shitty-ass family going missing after they went looking for him. And then he has the goddamn nerve to ask our boy to pull his fucking sleigh? Sadly, Rudolph has thoroughly internalized his oppression. So much so that he agrees to the fat-ass fuckweasel’s request without even thinking about it. What he should have done was tell Santa and the rest of those North Pole walrus fuckers to chow down on a big pile of polar bear shit. Honestly, it should have gone something like this:

Meme Rudolph Fucking Rocks

Right about now, you’re probably wondering how the fuck I’m going to pull together a synopsis of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the conditions of neurotypical acceptance. To be fair, I’m kind of wondering myself. I mean, this idea sounded so fucking amazing when I thought of it. But now? Well… I mean, it still sounds good but I forgot my brilliant fucking plan that would integrate this shit so goddamn seamlessly. Which is, I have to say, the most ADHD thing I’ve done in a while. Fuck it, let’s shit can the nuance and just goddamn say it. I identify with Meme Rudolph rather than TV special Rudolph. Why? Because the former refuses to define his self-worth through the acceptance of those who only give a fuck about him if he’s useful to them. And, that is something I’m working on for myself.

Neurotypical Acceptance Has Conditions? Who Knew?

A while back, my son and I were talking and he told me: “I feel like we (neurodivergents) are only acceptable to neurotypicals when we can do something for them. The rest of the time, I feel like they want us to fuck off somewhere out of sight.” Every so often, something comes along to drive that point home to me. In fact, it’s happened within the past few months. I won’t go into detail because this isn’t a space for calling out specific people. It’s a space for calling society’s shittiness toward neurodivergents. And hopefully, fostering a little bit of fucking change. If nothing else, I want this page to be a place where other neurodivergent folks feel heard and seen, which is not a common goddamn occurrence. Just know that I’ve gotten yet another fucking reminder that my acceptance among neurotypicals is contingent on what I can do for them. And, that if I’m not going to be useful, my weird ass needs to fade into the fucking background.

What the Conditions of Neurotypical Acceptance Look Like From My Side

In case the metaphor hasn’t been perfectly clear, neurodivergents are Rudolph and all you neurotypicals are Santa and those other dicks in Christmastown. I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. Ask any ND about this and they’ll tell you the same. In fact, Grimes, singer and mother to wannabe Bond villain Elon Musk’s children, recently tweeted about it, saying, “Sometimes, I wonder like… everyone talks [about] accepting everybody but if u aren’t the correct type of neurodivergent ppl just rly hate you, I can’t figure out how to read the room or act normal and I never will. . . . Most ppl legit don’t vibe w[ith] spectrum-y folk.” She’s right and you know it. And, it only gets worse if we refuse to stop being weird and just fucking assimilate already. That’s a cardinal fucking sin is and NTs don’t like it. And when I say “don’t like it” I mean on a “KILL IT WITH FIRE!” level.

Goddamn Right We’re Angry

Okay, this is starting to run a little long so I’ll wrap it up. But before I do, I want to address something you might be thinking: that I am so very fucking angry here. You’re right, I am so very fucking angry. If you’re wondering why, I’m wondering if you read the goddamn essay. Which is certainly possible, so I’ll end with a TL;DR: many neurodivergents (yes, many. I asked around) feel like there are neurotypical acceptance carries conditions; i.e. that we’re only tolerated when we’re useful to the neurotypicals around us. Otherwise, we need to shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and fade into the fucking background until you need us again. We’re goddamn tired of that shit and it needs to fucking end.

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