Posted by: E (The Third Glance) | July 6, 2013

Why I write this blog: some musings on activism

This post is more for myself, I think. Random musings and mumblings ahead…

I’ve been trying to figure out why I blog, and why I blog about what I do. When I started blogging, I did so because it seemed like the natural thing to do. I’d been reading blogs for ages, and had gotten more and more comfortable leaving comments, which often turned into missives. So I decided that I should probably start my own blog, and stop leaving 500+ word comments on other people’s blogs. As far as I can tell, it boils down to one thing: I think that my voice can be valuable. I’m not an activist. I’m not an advocate. There’s a time and a place and a disposition for those things, and I don’t have it. I’m not out to make enemies, or correct people, or tell the world how it needs to act. I’m not into rhetoric or “us and them” or politics. I tried for a while, both as a part of the LGBT community and again, with the disability community, but it’s just not in my nature. I can’t get myself to be able to function and think like my activist colleagues, and every time I delve into that work, I end up miserable and confused and isolated. Yet again, I don’t fit in with my peers, not even my autistic young adult peers in the blogging world. I don’t think they’re wrong, it’s just not something I can do myself. One might say I’m not out to change the world. But that’s not quite true. I’m out to tell my story, and in doing so, I hope to share a valuable perspective that helps others understand, and perhaps better interact with those people in their lives who think differently from themselves.

I’m out to show the world just exactly how my brain works. I know my brain is a bit different from most other peoples’ brains. And I love it. I read blogs, because I love to learn how other people experience the world. The more I understand about how others experience the world, the better of a person I can be. And I want to contribute to that. I think there’s a time and a place for everyone, and everyone deserves to have their voice heard if they want it to be. The internet is an amazing tool for communication. It gives the chance for many people who might not otherwise be able to communicate, to share their thoughts, feelings, and desires. Although this blog has quieted down somewhat, that doesn’t mean I’ve disappeared. My thesis proposal got approved (I now bear the title “PhD Candidate” instead of “PhD Student”*), and I’m teaching a summer class, so I’m pretty busy. Sometimes when I come home after a long day at the lab, I don’t even have the energy to think in words anymore, much less write anything down.

But I continue to come back here. I have several hundred blog feeds in my rss feed reader (sadly no longer Google Reader, but Feedly since the shutting down of google reader 😦 😦 silly google). And I continue to write. I hope that as I continue to write and share and make sense of my own self, that my experience can help others make more sense of themselves and their loved ones. That by sharing my experience, offering a peek into my world, those who read what I have to say will learn my truth, and apply it to their own lives. It may not be much, but I like to think that my words can sometimes touch a mind, and help to change a life for the better, in any way, no matter how small.

And that is why I keep coming back here. I might not be doing major activism, speaking out and helping to shape the (political) autism/disability rights movement, but I think there are other ways to help do some good in the world too. And I like to think that maybe, just maybe, this is my way of helping make the world a better place. One tiny change at a time. So I just wanted to say thank you to all of the wonderful people I’ve met and interacted with online. And thank you to everyone who has read or shared anything I’ve written. I hope you’ll stick around and we can continue learning and growing from the discovery and consideration of each others’ unique perspectives.


*This is a meaningless distinction that only matters if you live and work in the realms of academia. But I get paid a tiny bit more, which is always nice…


  1. As you know yours was one of a handful of blogs I found that helped shape my thinking, made me question everything I thought I knew and believed and urged me gently to reconsider the path we had chosen. The words you leave here, for all who care to read your blog, are gifts. I can never repay you. I will never be able to find adequate words that entirely convey the depth of my gratitude, though I will keep trying.
    Thank you.
    And congratulations on your newly acquired “PhD Candidate” status!

  2. E,

    I have had the honour of reading every one of your posts, and have been the recipient of a few of your insightful comments… and… you are always appreciated!

    I love what you write and share…
    and the way you let the reader into your experience…
    so we can understand a bit more about the importance of that third glance…


  3. It’s funny you should write this entry , as i had just shared your account of your experience with fire alarms with those in my autistic son’s surroundings in the hope of illuminating what hyper sensitivity to sound feels like ( i hope you don’t mind that i linked to your blog , if you do please let me know ) . I am very appreciative and grateful that you have shared your experiences , it is what has been helping me understand my son better! thank you !

    • Aww thanks 🙂 I don’t mind at all if you link my blog – it’s public on the internet after all. And if it helps someone, all the better.

  4. I’m the mother of an autistic son, and I’m looking to understand him better. Your blog helps me see the world from his viewpoint, and so, yes, you have changed his world and mine for the better. Thank you.

    • 🙂 Thanks, Kim, for your comment and for reading. I’m glad that I have helped. 🙂

  5. Understanding how different people view the world is one one of the things that drew me to study autism. I always enjoy reading your blog posts because of this, but also as a relative and friend of people with autism and someone who studies autism. It’s great that there are adults like yourself sharing their experiences. Congrats on gaining candidature!

  6. Congratulations on your newly acquired status! I always look forward to reading your posts (and yes, Google is silly 😉 ).

  7. Congrats on the Candidacy! (Flap flap flap)

  8. Agreed about google. And I’m thinking about starting a blog for much the same reason. Don’t hold your breath; I’ve said this one before. 🙂

  9. Congratulations…you are making a difference in my world….our world

  10. As a mother of an autistic daughter, I find your blog extremely enlightening! I can’t thank you enough for the insights into your wonderfully unique world. They truly help me understand my daughter’s own wonderfully unique world. An advocate is a person who helps those who can’t help themselves. You may do it in a quiet way, but it is every bit as powerful! I think maybe even more so! Do not underestimate your impact! It is authentically you, and I am undoubtedly greatful!

  11. I would like to add my voice to those of parents of children with autism, who are telling you that you are helping us parent our children. Help doesn’t come cheaply or easily to us, so thank you for this gift.

    Also, I hear you say you are not an activist. You are motivating those of us who are activists, and again…. thank you for writing this blog and being so generous with your readers.

  12. I’m the mother of an autistic son, and I so appreciate your blog as a means of understanding how his mind works, and how I can be a better parent. Thank you for all that you write!

  13. Coming a little late here, but I just wanted to echo what others have said. Thank you, E, for helping me to hear my autistic son’s “voice” better, and understand what he’s trying to communicate. That is indeed a priceless gift.

  14. Telling your story in your own voice to anyone who’ll listen IS activism. In fact, it’s the most important kind, because stories the single most effective way to change people’s hearts and minds. It’s incredibly powerful, and it’s the best way to change the world. (PS–WOO candidate!)

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