I refuse to be your saint

When I started writing about autism, I came under heavy criticism with each word I wrote from everyone and everywhere. I had to make sure that each word was the right word, each opinion was as least offensive as possible, that each fact was verifiable and that anything I could say about me or my situation was in no way inferred to mean that it’s how it is for anyone else.

Since starting my Minecraft server for children with autism (Autcraft), all that changed. Now, I can’t just preface the things I say, I can’t just claim things as my own thoughts, I can’t just choose the right words… now I have to aspire to sainthood because apparently anything less will result in the harshest of criticisms.

I thought that by starting a simple little Minecraft server for autistic children, people would simply be appreciative and let their children play and I could just run it while continuing on with my life like usual but that has not been the case. Now my every word, thought, decision and action are put under a microscope and analyzed and judged.

It sounds extreme but trust me, those that work with me on the server have seen it. I can no longer just be me. Sarcasm? Nope, someone will take it wrong. Humour? Nope, someone won’t laugh. ¬†Opinions? Definitely not anymore.

Here’s the thing, if I say or do one wrong thing, no matter how innocent, this wonderful world of the Internet has the ability to take that, twist it, mold it and grow it into something absolutely incredible and have people wishing for your death. Again, sounds extreme, but it’s true.

Normally, in the past, this wouldn’t have concerned me because if people hate me for something trivial or misunderstood or what ever, I wouldn’t care. I don’t know them, I don’t see it when I walk away from the computer, it doesn’t affect me. For the years of writing my blog, this approach has served me well.

Autcraft is entirely different though. Autcraft is a safe haven for children with autism and it is very much needed by many of these children. Their parents too. They love the place. They thrive there.

So¬†now I have more to protect than just my own reputation. Now, I have a community to protect. I have a support system to protect. And every single time I say anything anywhere now… that community is put at risk.

I don’t think many could understand the extreme pressure that puts on me to be… well, perfect, somehow. If I say one insignificantly tiny thing wrong and someone takes that to use against me, it’s no longer me that comes under attack but Autcraft itself.

The children start to doubt their safety. Parents stop letting their children play there. The children start to panic and feel scared.

I’m an autistic adult and I have 2 children, one with autism. I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs… I don’t even swear. I started a Minecraft server for kids with autism simply because I want to help. And every day.. every single day… I have to be a saint… I have to do better than the best… because one wrong word and it’s those children that suffer. They shouldn’t have to be scared.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s just not possible. I am a very nice guy, I do my best to do no wrong, but I just can’t be your saint. I just can’t be as perfect as it seems the world wants me to be.

All that I ask is that people stop forgetting that I’m a human being and start recognizing that I’m just a guy who wanted to do something nice. The server is doing great, the children are happy. Please don’t hold them responsible for any issues you have with me not being perfect.

I refuse to be your saint.

I just can’t take that sort of pressure.

I am not a saint

Nelson Mandela

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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3 Responses to I refuse to be your saint

  1. thelauranadine July 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    I understand this pressure too, as a single parent of a child with autism, and as a high functioning adult with autism. There are times people are just so mean with their comments, questions, and expectations. Not just online, but when I speak in public. I really have no idea what I can say to soothe you, but know you are not alone. All of us striving to do good in the autism world are taking hard hits from our many critics. For what it is worth, I appreciate you.

  2. Mike Henderson July 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Being the parent if an ASD child an exhaustive thing. Through self-imposed and/or external pressures, ASD parents finds themselves performing not only as parents, but activists. There are good days, bad days, and days I just want a vacation from ASD.

    Thank you for your efforts.

  3. Autism Mom July 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I think you’re fantastic, love AutCraft, my son, husband and I have a great time there, and it would take more than a 2-dimensional comment in cyberspace to change that opinion. Sorry that you have had to deal with unpleasantness.

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