As I’ve written in the past, I used to love the month of April. April brings warmer weather, springtime, and new life. More importantly, it brings my birthday! I’ve always looked forward to this time of year. Nowadays? Not so much. The more Aprils I experience, the less excited I feel and the more incensed I get.
Those not personally affected by autism are lead to believe that Awareness is all we need. Families like mine are way beyond needing just awareness. Autism is expensive to treat. It can be a struggle to handle, too. Families need support – emotional, physical, and financial support. They also need autism action.
Over the last ten years, after watching my favorite month turn into what feels like a big money-making scam, just the anticipation of flipping the calendar page makes me twitchy. April claims to boast autism awareness. Awareness was a great initiative over thirty years ago when the autism rate was 1 in 10,000. But for a disorder that now affects 1 in 68, focusing energy on actually doing something about the rising rate would be better. That needs to happen before the rate rises again, which at the rate they are going now, that will happen sooner than later.
As March wraps up, and before we flip the calendar page, I’d rather flip over two pages and let May begin early. I’d get to skip through the depressing amounts of blue washing from multi-billion dollar corporations. Blue is splayed all over news stories, municipalities, and grocery products. Making a profit on our children’s diagnosis feels like a punch in the gut. But, I have a way to combat those depressing thoughts.
When I start to feel down in the dumps, I have found a way to work my way out of feeling so blue: through my music. Music can PUMP. You UP!
Before April gets a chance to begin, and before I start to feel like I’m drowning in blue splattered this and blue soaked that, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of a playlist that I’ll surely have on repeat. From April 1st through to midnight on April 30th, and through some of the madness that comes during what used to be my favorite month, I have a plan.
Music turned up to a nice respectable level.
Madness turned off.
If you’ve got a go-to song that is a “must listen to”, share it in the comments below. If I add it to my playlist, I promise that I’ll dance to it in my kitchen sometime during the next thirty days.
Songs that inspire me to Speak Up!
Blondie – Rip Her to Shreds
This could be anyone. Male. Female. Former provider. Current arch nemesis. This person is the one that could’ve done something to help your child but didn’t. They are the ones who should’ve done some more but nothing instead. Acting like everything is fine. That you’re overreacting. Telling everyone that they’re perfectly right and that you’re a hot mess. While we would never promote punching people in the face, we know that sometimes that thought crosses your mind. So does wanting to rip that sort of person to shreds. You know her. Come on. Rip her to shreds. Rip her to shreds. Yeah. But don’t actually do that! Just hit replay. Let the music soothe your soul. ♫
Nine Inch Nails – Head Like a Hole
When you bow down to money, to greed and to bottom line, you’ll end up trampling over the very people you’re supposed to be helping. So, remember as you bow down before the one you serve…you’re going to get what you deserve… And keep in mind that there are those of us who’d rather die than give you control. I’ll do anything than give you control. Really, really.
Depeche Mode – Everything Counts
The grabbing hands grab all that they can - all for themselves. That’s what it feels like when the government placates to big business instead of protecting its people. That’s what actually happened when pharmaceutical companies were given protection and while citizens are being threatened with vaccine mandates. The lies and deceit gained a little more power. Oh, they have the power, alright. All for themselves. Without considering us. Am I right? Yeah. I am.
Action speaks louder than words.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – I Won’t Back Down
I know what’s right. Me too, Tom! When I hear this song, I think of those parents who bravely walked before me. I think of all those who are walking with me. We’ve stood our ground. Even after being pushed around – by reporters, by politicians, by school nurses, by neighbors. Back down? Nope. Not gonna happen. I won’t back down. I’ll stand my ground. Yep. I will. I know a lot of you will, too.
Muse – Uprising
This has to be my all-time favorite revolution song. It says everything I have thought, I have felt, and I have fought for and then some! Another promise, another seed. Another packaged lie that keeps us trapped in greed. And endless red tape to keep the truth confined. Oh, boy! Do those words speak to me! Corporate greed. Creating vaccine mandates wily nilly. It’s not for our benefit, oh, no. It’s for someone else’s. As those lyrics speak to me, so do these: They will not force us. They will stop degrading us. They will not control us. We will be victorious. Yes, we will. We are rising up, thankyouverymuch.
Songs that have me leaping into autism action helps. But so do songs that bring on the big, ugly cry.
Depeche Mode – Precious
Because at the end of the day, it’s for our children. Yes, people can get distracted. Yes, their egos can get ahead of them. But things get damaged, things get broken. On the days that there is so little left to give, we give. We work. We fight. We do it for the children. Always for our precious children.
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
Oh, this one can make me cry. Don’t worry about a thing…’cause every little thing is gonna be all right. Some days it doesn’t feel like that will ever happen. More things have gone wrong than gone right for many of us. Interrupted childhoods. Exorbitant medical bills. Reputations tarnished. But I know we’ll all rise up again tomorrow morning. When you do, remember this my message for you – if you don’t worry about a thing, everything is gonna be all right. Don’t worry. Instead, hope. Hope. Pray. Believe. Because sometimes, those are the only three things we have the energy to do.
Some days I feel so lost and so overwhelmed. Some days it feels like I’m stuck in a bad dream. But I’ll never stop wishing, or hoping, or praying. For my son, autism is not a gift. It’s not rainbows and unicorns. It’s seizures and constipation. It’s no speech and serious medical issues. His autism isn’t going to get any better with just simple awareness. It’s going to take a lot more. It’s going to take more work than we ever thought. It’s going to cost more than we ever imagined.
Action over awareness. That’s what my son’s autism requires. Thankfully some autism advocacy groups recognize that. Nationally, that’s another story. It’s *yawn* awareness all over again. If awareness was the best that society could dream up, well, then someday I hope to wake up from this dream.
Israle “Iz” Kamakawiwoʻole – Over the Rainbow
Because some days are dark and dreary. Becomes sometimes things don’t always work out. Because sometimes we need to cry. Someday wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind…where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney tops...that’s here you’ll find me. If only wishing upon a star was all it took. This song always makes me cry – a good, ugly cry. That kind of cry can cleanse. It can heal. And who doesn’t need a little healing every now and then? A bit of healing and a wish. Yes. Please. I’ll take one of each.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.