Everyone’s Talking about Michael Jackson . . .

I don’t normally blog about news events, but I feel compelled to state the grief I feel over Michael Jackson’s death.  Namely because he was “different” from the cultural norms, and treated negatively as a result.  This issue is a complicated one, and I don’t deny that he made serious mistakes at times.  Still, the pain of being markedly different lasts throughout one’s life, particularly if one has the social awareness level to know about, but not be able to change these qualities.  They make us ourselves, but not always in ways that are culturally approved.  I think that’s one reason so many people identify with his music–the agony it exposes, in part because of how challenging it is to be “different.”  To be treated differently.  And the relationship this has to self-destruction, or at the very least, self-destructive feelings.

Before I was diagnosed, I was seriously depressed.  Even now, with the support of an excellent therapist I’ve known for years and knowledge of NLD and my medical condition, depressed feelings crop up and sting me in stressful times.  Lately when I get upset, I have the wish to say out loud: “I understand why some people with NLD cut themselves.”  I’m not saying it’s productive to self-destruct, but it makes me wonder where those negative thoughts go, and how we can make them into positive experiences (i.e., by learning from mistakes) before self-destructive behavior happens.  And to what extent rebuilding oneself following a trauma or crisis extracts energy from us.

Our society’s general intolerance for difference is mega-disturbing.  Even as I take joy in listening to my favorite Michael Jackson songs, I can’t help realizing the pain he experienced, probably because some of it comes from a similar source as pain I’ve had.  Not from the same situations–I have the luxury of an anonymous life–but I too struggle against persistent social intolerance.  In my case it’s because my social mannerisms do not conform.  I seem “different” wherever I go, and people notice.  For this reason, I get put on the spot, and it’s not always in my best interest to explain.  In some instances, I’ve only trusted animals, despite longing for human relationships.  I hope, but do not expect that, society will learn from this horrible death.  Difference has so much dignity, if we just think in objective, open-minded ways.  Everyone deserves respectful treatment.  It’s a human-rights value, but much too rarely enforced.  I hope that advocating for NLD, and bridging it to other forms of social differences, helps change this, but I believe it will take time.


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4 Responses to “Everyone’s Talking about Michael Jackson . . .”

  1. hannahcamille Says:

    Hi Karl,
    Thank you for sending your response to my blog post. I wasn’t referring to allegations against this celebrity, as that would require me to go back and read the legal cases, which would take me a few months. And it would be a totally separate topic. I was really going for much more abstract themes like racial identity and disability. I am completely opposed to adults engaging in improper relationships with children, and in other posts, I discuss ways parents can help keep kids safe from these horrible patterns of manipulation. Which reminds me, as you probably already know (but no one talks about this much), parents shouldn’t allow children to be in situations that might put them at risk. Due to the combination of NLD and unfocused parents, I experienced abuse from an adult family friend in my teens. Ten years later I still feel it every day. Through legal training, however, I’ve also learned to look at arguments from all sides and weigh things like reasonable doubt. I know too how pedophiles operate, and how very grave it is to wrongly accuse those who didn’t commit these crimes, just as it is to let go those who did commit them. The problems with our system are too many: a) sex abuse lawsuits frequently overlook the best interests of the children, b) risk of parties filing years and years of civil suits, c) public humiliation, et cetera. All this said, this post was not about alleged indecent liberties. It was just a bit of broad social criticism and compassion for those who are very much misunderstood due to outward appearance and disposition. Hope that explains what I’m getting at. Thanks for taking the time to write, and I hope my entries relating to the prevention of child abuse help explain my perspective more.

  2. hannahcamille Says:

    The comment below this one is a response to a comment I received on celebrity abuse allegations. While this blog sometimes discusses abuse, it does not focus overtly on it, and does not display graphic words or images. Graphic material is a civil liberty, but it is for “mature” audiences. This blog is for children and families, so while I respond to nearly all comments, I cannot display adults-only text.

  3. Morpheus Says:

    I enjoyed the fact that you chose to write about Michael Jackson from an ASD perspective. I am delighted by this for two reasons. I strongly contend that MJ was one of us. I saw so many characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome in him that it is beyond debate to me. I am diagnosed with AS my self and also have felt an intuitive connection to Michael all of my life.

    I am interested in your blogs. You are crazy prolific with your entries. I read most of them. You must have great energy. How did you get started?
    What made you want to start writng about NLD ?

    I too write for Autismhangout. That site and I originates from Minnesota.
    What state are you from?

    If you do not mind I would like to make friends and keep communication with you.

    • hannahcamille Says:

      Thanks for writing. I’d be happy to correspond.

      Where in Minnesota are you? I’m in the Great Lakes area.

      I like your MJ theories. I see some savant qualities–brilliance alongside trouble in social settings.

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