Shattered beyond repair (2021)

Image of the Earth burning and destroyed. Source is either Business Insider or unknown.


I’m tired. 

So tired. So, so very tired.

I pray that I will have the “wherewith-all” (that is SUCH a strange word) to clearly convey the subterraneous depths of despair that I am currently and for some time been dwelling in. Right now I don’t think that I do.

This probably isn’t “professional.” It’s probably “too personal.” And people don’t like that. They like personal, but not TOO personal.

I’m raw lumber in a world of varnished wood. I’m a posts-regular-pics outlier in a sea of filters and photoshop. I’m sugar cane amidst Dulcin/Sucrol. I’m a mix tape of Tupac, Biggie, DMX, Rakim, Prince, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, Janet Jackson, Adele, Chante Moore, Alicia Keys, and The Roots with a spoken word intro by Rudy Francisco juxtaposed with a playlist of the likes of Bhad Bahbie, C & C Music Factory, and Vanilla Ice.

I keep trying. Keep speaking out; keep trying to believe; keep trying to make change. Only to be consistently and callously immolated by people who don’t like what I have to say. If the truth hurts, they’re going to make sure you hurt for the crime of uttering said truth as opposed to fawning over the non-existent garment being flaunted by the emperor. 

The price for refusing to imbibe the enticing blue pill of falsehood is a very, very steep one. Maybe one day I will learn, but it doesn’t seem that day is here.

I am so very tired of having malcontent ascribed to my genuine and heartfelt actions. So tired of being punished for wanting better. So tired of being portrayed as the incarnation of all evil.

I don’t know how much more I can reasonably be expected to take.

Let me just share with you all a few of the many incidents that are, always, somehow apparently my fault. I don’t have to look back too far. In May and June 2021, for example, I sought to advocate for greater inclusion of BIPoC autistic individuals and autistic people with intellectual disabilities. Shortly afterward I was unjustly denounced as anti-semitic. Few people actually sought out the truth for verification, instead opting to believe that I had done something that I had no part in and never consented to. A mini-smear campaign ensued, costing me desperately needed consulting revenue that I have yet to recover and leading to needing to make an exodus from the greater autistic community as a result. All behind something that, again, that was done in my name without my knowledge and consent – and I have lots and lots of documentation that confirms this, but rather than examine them, people prefer to portray me as something I am not and jeopardize my credibility as well as my ability to support my family..

Let’s skip on ahead to the next two months. On my own behalf – not representing any other entity – I wrote a public rebuttal of a (public) blog post that linked to a Public Comment that was made in the summer 2021 IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) meeting. The individual who submitted the Public Comment shared the comment on various social media platforms and clearly had no desire to conceal their identity nor their perspective. As a private citizen whose appointment to the IACC was as a member of the public as opposed to being a representative of a particular agency, I wrote a spirited counter narrative refuting the remarks that were made. This has since been designated as “aggressive” behavior  that apparently “disparaged” the author of the post and comment despite the fact that the rebuttal focused solely on the remarks, not personal attributes of the person who wrote it.

And that brings us to the next two months…which have been equally horrific. First, for the “crime” of testifying in court as required by law due to being subpoenaed, my family is now in grave danger. It matters little that it is my very family that was violently and egregiously harmed in numerous ways first by a sexual predator and then by a racially biased criminal “justice” system. That’s apparently of little importance; what’s of greater concern is that a Black family dared to attempt to seek some semblance of accountability from a privileged abuser rather than keeping quiet about the violations. It matters none how we have been obliterated by this; the real tragedy is that a cishet white male sex offender is being forced to serve (a ridiculously tiny amount of) time in lockdown, and it has already been made clear that we will regret not having kept this individual’s shameful, devastating acts a secret. We will pay. 

Then, just this very week, I was foolish enough to seek information about a  project that I’d been invited to be part of rather than just agreeing without having a clear sense of many key aspects of the project. Upon review, I learned that there was not equitable representation in the leadership – zero…literally not even one Black autistic parent among the six project staff and project collaborators. I then learned that beyond the lack of autistic leadership, the entire project (combined leadership and stakeholder collaborative) would have only two autistic people out of 16 people – a ratio of 7 nonautistic people to every 1 autistic person in a project about “engaging the African American autism community.”

I emailed to express my concerns about this. I was naive enough to think that by pointing this out to the project leads, funders, and collaborators, the matter would be amicably resolved…because we all  truly want “inclusion,” right? Wrong.

In addition to being treated in a contemptuous and dismissive manner and then being ordered to stop seeking information, I have now been falsely accused by Family Voices, Inc. of “publicly vilifying” and “defaming” an individual…despite intentionally sharing nothing about this publicly until today, and I haven’t mentioned any specific names. I was also, along with some individuals who attempted to emphasize the concerns I had raised, falsely accused of “attacking” their character (despite making no observation of their character) and destroying their “life’s work” because I sincerely believed that equitable representation was a priority. 

All it took were the “real” people (I don’t count because I’m just Black disabled trash) to shed some faux abled tears and engage in some DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim and oppressor) tactics…then I was subsequently gaslighted and shamed and falsely accused while one of the nation’s largest funders of community engaged research observed in silence.

The person, as well as their employer, a “wonderful” nonprofit organization, knew that they could do it with impunity. There weren’t going to be any consequences for being condescending and dismissive of me nor for the noninclusive design of the project. Remember, I’m not a real person. Black and disabled? At best 1/3 of a real person.

Stupid, stupid, stupid Morénike. When will you learn? No one truly wants all these things we all talk about…you know, justice, equity, inclusion, acceptance. Those are just pretty buzzwords. The only fool who actually believes in these concepts is you. You’re not supposed to really  want it to happen.

As I sit here halfway through my unpaid medical leave from work due to a severe health crisis…knowing that I’m not in any position to return in a few short weeks and trying to wrap my mind around the ramifications of that, which likely include no longer being employed…

As we contend with my father in law being in and out of the hospital (the most recent discharge being just one day ago) due to aggressive cancer…

As I try to support my sweet, wounded child through intense depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation as a result of the nightmare we have endured – a nightmare that was apparently only worth 270 days in prison because Black lives don’t matter…

As I try to subdue my own suicidal ideation and self-injurious behavior…

As I wake up each day with more and more bald patches on my scalp – the same scalp which until only weeks ago bore a head of full, thick, beautiful hair…

As I struggle to “make a dollar out of fifteen cents” with nearly five figures of outstanding invoices for work that I rendered in good faith, but have yet to get paid for. Reminder after reminder gets ignored. My fault for speaking/writing/consulting with the belief that people would honor their obligations and actually pay me as agreed rather than just screw me over having already gotten what they wanted. Who cares that the money is needed and was already planned for?

I’m the villain; I’m the problem. It’s better to just pretend that all is well. 

Let there be inadequate representation of multiply marginalized groups. You’re just supposed to leave it alone and pretend like you are unaware.

Let people perpetuate stigmatizing and hurtful misinformation about my autistic brethren with more highly visible support needs and complex health challenges. You’re just supposed to leave it alone and pretend like you are unaware.

Let a privileged person who is the “right” color skip off into the sunset after robbing your child of their innocence and destroying their life. They were horny, and pre-pubescent Black children are such a temptation…so very sensual indeed. It’s really their fault it happened, and deep down they probably “wanted it” anyway, right? You know how “fast” they are. You’re just supposed to leave it alone and pretend like you are unaware.

Let a six figure grant for the “community” proceed without questioning why there is literally not one single individual from said community occupying a leadership position. It’s good enough to have allies in charge…that’s close enough. Why are you causing trouble by not just acquiescing? Abled folks always know best. You’re just supposed to leave it alone and pretend like you are unaware.

I don’t know if I can go on even one more day. I just don’t anymore…I don’t.

God, help me please. I cannot make even one more step. I just can’t. I’m destroyed…every part of me.

Recommended citation: Giwa Onaiwu, Morénike. (2021). Shattered beyond repair. Just Being Me...Who Needs "Normalcy," Anyway? [Personal essay.]