bookmark_borderImagine holding the exact same views…

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100% correct.

As is the first comment on the post, which reads as follows: “How come whenever I talk to my non-Democrat (Republicans/Libertarians) friends they’re capable of mutual conversation of differing political opinions, and can critique those they vote and support for and their policies. But my leftist/Dem friends aren’t capable of criticizing anyone in the Democrat Party, policies, etc. It’s almost like they’re a cult or something and incapable of individual and critical thinking” (comment edited slightly by me for typos)


bookmark_borderSensory sensitivities aren’t as bad when you don’t have to hide them

Yesterday I was walking to the train station after work, and I was in agony. As an autistic person, I have severe sensory sensitivity to wind. As I speed-walked down the sidewalks and ran across the streets, trying to get to the station as quickly as possible, air blasted brutally and relentlessly in my face, freezing my cheeks and nose and causing excruciating pain throughout my entire body. 

As I waited for the train, exhausted and trying to recover from the assault, I dreaded the walk at the other end of the commute, from the train station near my house, to my house itself. This walk is more than twice as long as the one from work to the station, and there was no reason to believe the wind would be any less vicious. Because I had gotten out of work a few minutes late, there was no way I could catch the bus from the station.

After getting off of the train, I took my time securing my hat on my head, putting on my gloves, and making sure my scarf covered as much of my face and neck as possible. By the time I stepped out into the painful conditions, the crowd of people from the train had dispersed. Because there was no one to feel self-conscious in front of, I muttered under my breath as I walked. I complained, sometimes profanely, about how painful and horrible the wind was, about how wrong it was that work got out late and cause me to miss the bus, about how bizarre it was people could walk around and exist in these conditions as if nothing was wrong, and about why the heck humans hadn’t invented a way of preventing such atrocious weather conditions from occurring. 

A remarkable thing happened as I made my angry way through the streets: the wind wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

When the ice-cold blasts of air started to increase in frequency and severity, I turned around and walked backwards. That way, the back of my head sustained the brunt of the assault, as opposed to the bare skin of my face. This slowed down my progress considerably, and I must have looked like a complete lunatic to anyone who happened to be observing from the houses that lined the streets, or the cars that occasionally passed by.

But miraculously, it worked. Freed from the obligation to act in a socially acceptable manner, I was able to take the measures that I needed to take in order to minimize the pain. Wearing the warmest clothing possible, walking as quickly as possible, walking backwards when the direction of the wind demanded it, and expressing my anger and pain, all combined to reduce the amount of suffering that I was subjected to.

My past self, if faced with this same situation, might have forced herself to walk quietly and forward-facing at all times, perhaps even with a smile on her face. And then, upon arriving home, she would probably have commenced screaming, kicking furniture, and throwing things immediately after stepping through the door. But because I gave myself permission to do what my body needed, regardless of how it looked to other people, I was able to survive the journey home with a minimum of suffering. 

In the autistic community, the act of forcing oneself to appear socially acceptable is known as masking. This is something that I’ve done to a very high degree for almost my entire life. When I mask, I force myself to hide my sensory sensitivities and other autistic traits. I pretend that I am okay when I am not, I pretend that I am happy when I am miserable, and I pretend to like things that I don’t. I force myself to behave the way that “normal” people behave, even when it goes against my preferences, needs, and true nature.

I wonder how much of autistic people’s suffering is caused by sensory issues themselves, versus how much of our suffering is caused by depriving ourselves of the things that we need to manage the sensory issues, out of the belief that these things would look “weird.” Is it autism itself that makes life difficult, or is it masking?

To a large degree, I think the answer is the latter. Masking is something that I am trying to do less of. I am no longer willing to deprive myself of the things that I need, and subject myself to needless suffering, for the sake of looking “normal.”

bookmark_border“I love breaking those things”

Dear “John Catdog”…

So you “love” destroying everything that makes life worth living?

You “love” inflicting excruciating and unbearable pain on people who’ve done nothing to deserve it?

You “love” bullying and tormenting people merely because they are different from the majority?

And if you really do love the things that I’ve listed above… why on earth would you brag about it?

Both John Catdog and the imbecile who “liked” his idiotic comment are despicable excuses for human beings who should be ashamed of themselves.

bookmark_borderNewspapers and reminders of trauma

One of numerous activities that I’ve given up since the statue genocide happened is reading the newspaper.

I used to read the Boston Globe every day, as well as two small local papers every week. But now the news is so filled with triggers, opinions that make me angry, and reminders of the horrible things that have happened, that I’ve decided to give it up. I have always valued being informed about world events, politics, and the happenings in my community, and have always found the news interesting. But these benefits are no longer worth the pain that consuming news now causes.

Last week, my dad visited my uncle at his new apartment and picked up a copy of that town’s local paper. Thinking he was being nice, he gave it to me, and against my better judgment I decided to read it.

Despite the fact that it was only a small, local weekly newspaper, I could feel my mood steadily decline while reading it.

A column about how the town was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day immediately triggered comparisons with how our society treats Columbus Day. Why is one ethnic group’s holiday embraced almost universally, with parades, the wearing of the green, playing of traditional Irish music, and consumption of traditional Irish food and drink, while another ethnic group’s holiday is either ignored, condemned, attacked, protested against, or abolished entirely?

I became angry when reading a press release from the office of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, which bragged about the “just and equitable” district she was creating by securing funding for childcare and programs to help young parents. How is it just or equitable to discriminate against people who do not have children? I found myself wondering.

Similar thoughts were brought forth by an article about a housing voucher program, which was described by the town’s mayor as particularly important because of the disproportionate impact of the housing crisis on people of color and families with young children. Again, I wondered why, in the eyes of society, do white people and people without children always seem to matter less?

The “Beacon Hill Roll Call” column reminded me of the bills to abolish Columbus Day, to force people to undergo medical procedures against their will, and to discriminate against people like me in various other ways, which have been considered by the state legislature at various points in time, some of which unfortunately are still under consideration.

An editorial about Women’s History Month brought to mind thoughts about why other heritage months, such as Confederate History Month and Italian Heritage Month, are not celebrated with equal enthusiasm.

Even an article about subway track work and station improvements caused a pang of sadness. As an autistic person, my special interest is history and statues, exactly the thing that our society over the past four years has decided to destroy. I know several fellow autistic people whose special interest is trains, and I know that they would enjoy reading about these new MBTA developments. It was bittersweet to think about how others are still able to enjoy news about their special interests, while for mine the only available news centers on condemnation and destruction.

The “On This Day In History” feature, something that had been my favorite part of every newspaper since I was 10 years old, reminded me of how much things have changed. I learned that on that particular date, Hernan Cortez had landed in what is now Mexico, and Jefferson Davis had signed a bill authorizing slaves to fight in the Confederate Army. These would simply have been interesting facts to my past self, but now I cannot hear the names of Cortez or Davis without being reminded of how our society has decided to attack, condemn, and largely obliterate from existence, these historical figures.

Because I have always found news interesting and have always valued being informed, my goal has been to one day add the news back into my life. But I have found that right now, the best way of building a life that is worth living is to turn towards my inner world and away from the outer one. Drawing, writing stories about my imaginary world, organizing my toy soldiers, figurines, and dolls, and spending time with my Stonewall statue… these are the activities that bring comfort, joy, peace, and a sense of control. The news, on the other hand, is filled with nothing but oppression, meanness, and injustice.

Perhaps this will change one day, but perhaps not. Maybe my healing will progress, my resilience will increase, my mental state will stabilize, and the world will change for the better, to the point where I will be able to add the news back into my life. But for now, it’s best that I stay away from it.

bookmark_borderPain and perspective

It’s difficult to live in a world that has decided to destroy everything that makes my life worth living. My existence over the past four years has been filled with pain so excruciating that prior to spring 2020, not only had I never before experienced such pain, but it hadn’t occurred to me that such pain was even possible. Over the past four years, I’ve worked to find some way of continuing on, some way of building a life of meaning and purpose in a society that believes I shouldn’t be allowed to exist.

Living this way is laborious, exhausting, and often demoralizing. But to some extent my efforts have been successful. I have dedicated my life to honoring the historical figures that I love. I advocate for them through my writing, which takes the form of this blog, emails to public officials, and hopefully one day a book. I keep them alive through my artwork, which I sell on my art website and at local craft fairs and festivals, through my Historical Heroes Blog, through collecting dolls and figurines depicting them, and through bringing new statues into the world. Additionally, I have tried to make my day-to-day life as rewarding as possible by eliminating unpleasant obligations and incorporating activities that bring me joy. Particularly over the past two years, these efforts have begun to pay off. Often, I do experience a sense of meaning and purpose. Often, I do feel that my life is worth living.

But not always. Sometimes the excruciating pain attacks. This might happen if a new atrocity is committed, or perhaps if I merely have a bad day. And when the excruciating pain attacks, it takes over my entire soul, so that nothing other than the pain exists. The thing about the excruciating pain is that it creates something of a catch-22. There are three theoretical ways of abating the misery, of making the situation just a tiny bit better. But the nature of the excruciating pain makes every option impossible, inappropriate, ineffective, or all of the above.

The three options are as follows:

  1. Expressing my anger and grief about the terrible thing that happened. This is certainly right, because anger and grief are the appropriate responses when a terrible thing happens. But when the agony is attacking, this can feel pointless. No words are adequate to express the full magnitude of what happened. Ranting wildly, in the strongest language imaginable, would be 100% justified but would also accomplish nothing other than making me look unhinged, which would be counterproductive with respect to my goal of advocating for the historical figures.
  2. Finding some positive aspect of the situation, or of historical figures in general. This might entail focusing on the statues that still remain, making new art depicting the historical figures, or reading about their lives. But when the agony is attacking, it feels as if everything with regards to historical figures is going badly, even if my logical brain knows that this is not 100% true. Focusing on the positive seems hollow and empty, a failure to acknowledge the full magnitude of the bad thing that happened.
  3. Ignoring the situation, and the historical figure topic entirely, and focusing on something else. This seems to be the worst of the three options. When something horrible happens to a historical figure, everything else in the world is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Thinking about, talking about, making a post about, or even caring about pets, food, sports, friends, or family, to give just a few examples, would represent a complete failure to acknowledge the badness of what has happened. Doing so would be petty, superficial, and callous.

When the excruciating pain strikes, it’s as if I am at the bottom of a pit, with no way to climb out. The walls of the pit are perfectly smooth, with no handholds, nothing to grab onto, no protruding pieces of rock on which I might be able to step. I cannot gain purchase, cannot hoist myself out. All possible ways of climbing out of the pit are closed off to me.

But over the past years, I’ve discovered that there is a fourth way out of the excruciating pain, albeit a way that I have no control over: time.

In time, the excruciating pain always subsides. Not permanently, alas, because it keeps recurring. But every time that the pain has attacked, it has eventually gone away. The agony that was nearly omnipresent from spring 2020 to summer 2022 has, since then, alternated with stretches of relatively okay days, days on which I experience a sense of meaning and purpose, and a sense that life is worth living.

I’ve gained a sense of perspective that I didn’t have when the statue genocide began. Although the excruciating pain, when it attacks, is all-consuming, I am now able to recognize, intellectually if not emotionally, that it is temporary.

While waiting for the agony to go away, I have found that the best thing to do is something productive. If the floor needs to be swept, I sweep the floor; if I haven’t exercised yet that day, I exercise; if it is nighttime, I go to bed. These things aren’t exactly fun, but they are useful. When I am in excruciating pain, I am going to be miserable no matter what I do, so I might as well do something that, once the pain subsides, I will be glad that I did.

This pain is probably something that I will need to deal with, to struggle with, to manage, for the rest of my life. It is only logical to experience agonizing and excruciating pain when people have done appallingly awful things. So I continue to fight for both myself and the historical figures. Despite the frequent setbacks and obstacles that I face, I continue to build bit by bit a life of meaning and purpose, a life that is worth living.

bookmark_border“Are we the only country the places monuments to TRAITORS???”

So said an idiotic comment that I saw on Facebook the other day.

In other words…

Are we the only country that places monuments to PEOPLE WHO THINK FOR THEMSELVES???

Are we the only country that places monuments to PEOPLE WHO STAND UP TO AUTHORITY???

Are we the only country that places monuments to PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE MAJORITY IN ANY WAY???

Oh no, not that!!!

God forbid that a country put up monuments to people who are at all unique, distinctive, or remarkable.

God forbid that a country put up monuments to people who are, you know, actually worthy of being honored with monuments.

God forbid that a country put up monuments honoring anything other than compliance, obedience, and mindless conformity.

In reality, the people that this idiot considers “traitors” are not only abundantly worthy of being honored with monuments; they are the only people who are.

bookmark_borderWe don’t need to justify why we should be allowed to do something…


I once was sitting with my co-workers and eating lunch, when one co-worker remarked that guns cause so many problems that she didn’t understand why they were allowed. Um, maybe because it violates people’s fundamental rights for them not to be allowed?

Enough with the argument that, “No one needs an AR-15.” So? I don’t need to need something in order to be allowed to do it. If you think that AR-15s (or anything, for that matter) should be banned, it is your responsibility to prove that they need to be banned. The burden of proof must always be placed on those who wish to control the actions of others, as opposed to those who wish merely to be left alone to live in a way that suits their preferences.

People have the right to do anything that they want, as long as it does not violate the rights of anyone else. If you are arguing that I should not be allowed to do something, I do not have to justify why I should be allowed to do it; you have to justify why I should be prohibited.

bookmark_borderDavid Trone believes that people like me shouldn’t be allowed to exist

Horrific, agonizing pain. My limbs feel like lead, my stomach feels sick, my lungs feel like they’re filled with rocks. I am crushed beneath an avalanche of grief, sadness, and anger. The agony is like a knife that stabs me in the heart. The entire world is dark, horrifying, disgusting. It feels as if my soul is being eviscerated, as if I will never experience happiness again. 

This is something I’ve experienced hundreds of times over the past four years. 

In this most recent instance, this pain was directly caused by Rep. David Trone, who despicably sponsored a bill * – known as HR 7474, the Robert E. Lee Monument Removal Act – which would turn the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Battlefield into yet another thing whose entire purpose is to send the message that people like me shouldn’t be allowed to exist. Yet another place in which I am not welcome, yet another area of society in which I cannot participate, yet another part of our physical world that would be altered in order to ensure that I cannot feel represented or included. 

Despicably, Trone said of his act of vicious cruelty and aggression: “I thank my colleagues for joining me in this effort to ensure Antietam honors our nation’s victory over the Confederacy rather than memorializes historical figures who fought to break up the Union and restrict fundamental human rights.”

As if forcing people to remain part of the same country against their will somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights. As if inflicting on another human the type of pain that I described in the first paragraph of this blog post somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights. As if decreeing that only one side in a war deserves to be honored, only one perspective acknowledged, only one story told, only one viewpoint reflected, somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights. 

To “ensure Antietam honors our nation’s victory over the Confederacy” completely defeats the purpose of even preserving the battlefield as a historical site, both because the entire concept of a battle requires that there be two opposing sides, and also because there is no benefit in something existing when the very attribute that made it beautiful, distinctive, and remarkable has been destroyed. 

David Trone would like Antietam to be transformed from a historical site honoring a battle and the soldiers who fought there, into yet another monument to authoritarianism, compliance, and mindless conformity, into yet another piece of propaganda designed to send the message that any person who differs from the mainstream, from the norm, from the majority in any way, has no right to exist. 

As if sending this message somehow doesn’t restrict fundamental human rights.

David Trone’s decision to introduce this bill is an attack on me as a human being. It is an attack on me because I am different, because I do not fit in, because I see the world differently from most people, because I have different interests and passions and values and ways of thinking than the majority. Because I am different, the Robert E. Lee Monument represents me. It makes me feel included. It makes me feel that people like me are allowed to exist. By attempting to remove it, David Trone is attempting to turn the Antietam Battlefield into yet another instrument in society’s war against people like me. Yet another thing that used to make me feel represented and included, now turned into a cudgel to beat me with. Yet another tool for society to use to hammer home the brutal and intolerant message that I do not deserve to exist because I am different. 

Tell me again, why does America need another monument to authoritarianism, compliance, and mindless conformity? Why does America need yet another memorial honoring the same bland, mundane, and meaningless values that people are already bombarded with every day, in every facet of life? 

Tell me again, what is the point of the Antietam battlefield even existing, if its existence does nothing other than to stab my heart, punch me in the gut, stomp on my face, and inflict horrific and agonizing pain?

Pardon my French, but fuck David Trone. He doesn’t care a whit about fundamental human rights. If he did, he would campaign passionately against vaccine mandates, gun control, the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, and the use of full-body scanners at airports, to give just a few examples. Each of these policies restrict fundamental human rights vastly more severely than anyone from the Confederacy ever did.

How dare David Trone pontificate about fundamental human rights while simultaneously going out of his way to violate them?

How dare he go about his life as if nothing is wrong, while his actions inflict horrific and agonizing pain on other people?

It is mentally exhausting and demoralizing that acts of vicious cruelty and aggression, such as this one perpetrated by David Trone and his 6 co-sponsors, continue to happen. I am tired, I am angry, and I am exhausted. I don’t deserve for this pain to be inflicted on me, and David Trone has no right to inflict it. Despicably, he pontificates about “fundamental human rights” while actively violating mine. 

I learned from a quick Google search that David Trone has a wife and several children. How would he like it if his wife and children were beaten, strangled, dismembered, burned, and had their limbs sawed off and their bodies cut to pieces as he was forced to watch? That might sound sadistic, outlandish, excessive, ridiculous… but it has been my reality for the past four years. Perhaps if this happened, David Trone would experience a tiny fraction of the pain that I’ve experienced. Maybe then he’d have a shred of empathy for the people he’s harmed. Maybe then he’d work towards enacting policies that would compensate me for the pain I’ve suffered, rather than actively inflicting even more of it.

* as well as 6 other members of Congress who co-sponsored this bill