- Posted September 19, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Living with autism: Out in public
Marcus Shane Morris, How an Autistic became a Guardian
My name is Marcus Shane Morris. I am a 34 year old, Aspie. I was diagnosed roughly five years ago during my disability determination. I applied for disability after having tried to work at over seventy different jobs during a ten year period. I was not thrilled to need the additional help, but as I have a family to think of I had to accept it.
After receiving my diagnosis, a lot of my earlier life started to make much more sense. Not just to me but those who helped raise me in the various group homes, institutions, foster homes and adopted families that I had been a part of. All my life I had been seen as very troubled. Intelligent but incorrigible.
I was unable to lie, at least very well. My extremely literal nature caused no small amount of friction with the placements I lived in that expected me to fill in blanks on my own, and my emotional distance from everyone around me made people believe I was cold and aloof.
I was prone to violent outbursts at first, but gradually those turned into more dangerous verbal attacks as I learned that the damage you cause someone mentally lasts far longer than anything you can do physically. I am sad to say that I caused a great deal of damage to others in my youth.
During my lifetime I have suffered sexual, physical, emotional and mental abuse at the hands of others who really didn't understand why I was the way that I am. I was seen as less than human. That never stopped me from trying to get those around me to like me, using an often dry and quirky sense of humor. Not that many people ever really understood my humor.
I have problems to this day dealing with religion as a concept due to being very nearly killed at the Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky at the hands of the Baptist minister in training who believed 'saucing" me would get the devil out of me and make me normal. His version of saucing included stripping me bare, dumping hot sauce down my throat and submerging me repeatedly in a bath rub filled with ice cold water. I will never forget, or forgive that monster.
In that particular case, the man and his wife got away with hurting me because they were from wealthy families and were able to get the court to just let them walk. My social worker David White did the best he could but he says there was no way to stop them and getting me away from him was the best he could do. I deeply appreciate that he did.
I don't see any of the abuse I lived through as a negative thing. I think that because of the abuse, and because of those rare people who came into my life and reminded me what love is supposed to be just as I was about to go dark forever; I learned to care for others in a way I might not have been able to before.
Because of my experiences, I can understand and sympathize with a very large number of people. I can be there for them like so few were there for me as a child. The people who held me back from becoming a hopeless, lifeless husk are still with me even now.
Many are on my friends list, hiding amongst the friends I have only recently met. They keep me honest, and can verify what I say is true. I couldn't talk, wouldn't talk at age 6. At least so I am told. I can't remember my childhood to well, just the moments of sheer terror and anger... a lot of the mundane day to day stuff is just... gone. I remember learning to read and speak though. I know that is why I enunciate so clearly today. A sure sign someone has had speech therapy is that they speak too well.
I am not saying all this because I want your pity. In fact, I believe many people know my story as I have published it a few years ago. I share what I can, when its relevant.
The reason I feel its important to do so now is to show you that I do really understand you. I do know the struggle you live, I lived it too. I also know that the only thing that saved me from myself, from hopelessness was the rare and special people who loved me when I was unlovable. Those people who held me to standards no one else believed I could achieve. I was not allowed to give up on myself, even when I wanted to.
There is a lot more to my story, and over time I am happy to share it. I hope that this posting shows you that I am willing to trust you even though I don't know you yet. I am reaching out to you, and I believe many others will as well, if you let them.
If you have questions, I am always just an IM or phone call away. I love friend requests, and never turn anyone away unless they are hurting themselves or others. You can also be a part of our virtual community center in Second Life and our Facebook community :
In a lot of ways... I help people not because I was hurt so badly... but because of those who kept reminding me, at my darkest moments... that love and acceptance were still there if I wanted them, even when I attacked those that offered either. What I do is in honor of my hero's not in remembrance of my tragedies.
Some of those Hero's: Harry Kimmel, Candace Moore, Jeff Kimmel, Mitchell Huff, Joanie L Melody, Jeff McIntosh, The late Mike Antle. Beverly Harvey. Karen Cooke, David White (the last two were my social workers). and more that I can't name at the moment.
The names aren't always right on top of my memory but as I remember I will give them credit for giving me a chance at life. Karen Cooke thinking that I would have to be put into adult placements because I would never be able to live on my own is part of why I hate it when I hear others on the spectrum say that, I know how casually that is tossed around.
At that point in my life I believed that I was unlovable with ample evidence to back that belief. After all if you keep getting returned when people take you home... it has to be you and not them right? I know better as an adult, I wasn't fishing for pity. That was my mindset at the time.
I think the best help and support we can give one another on the spectrum is to share our real life struggles and successes while holding nothing back. I think holding each other accountable and responsible for our own actions is extremely important as well.
From what I have seen the general attitude in our community tends to be more along the lines of anti-personal responsibility. Besides, I am not trying to change the entire world just to help those people who I really understand to have a better life.
Marcus Shane Morris