I know that phrase not by experience but by hearing it in the context, mostly, of the feminist movement, all seems to encompass, the career, the kids, the family, all of it I guess. It makes sense, I think at heart it’s what many of us want. It’s certainly a different situation totally for men and women, and I in no way seek to make light of banner-764360_1280that struggle for equality and the fight against the glass ceilings and the battles for equality in pay, and under the law.

But I want it all….

This idea is what is occurring to me about how advocacy seems to work so often. But I don’t want to compromise, negotiate or settle for less than I am asking for. I want it all.

Well you know what. The stark reality is that you just bloody well can’t have it all.

You just can’t. It just doesn’t work that way. And if it did, it would be an unmitigated disaster. If I got it all then what of the person I am asking some of that all from. Then they don’t get their all, or they have to somehow take that all from someone else, then they don’t get their all, and so the cycle would go.

The truth is we don’t get it all.

In advocacy terms then what do we want. Well of course we want it all, but we can’t have it all. We can’t even have all of what we get in one go either. Change happens as a process. It doesn’t happen all at once and sometimes the pace is, as they say, glacial.

As I wrote in Could you tell me how to get to Sesame Street the other day, the internet is abuzz with the introduction of Julia the Autistic Muppet, or as the media is directory-281476_1920calling her the Muppet with Autism. There is joy and concern alike with this occurrence. Some of the issues at hand were eloquently put by Ben a young Aspie In Ben Speaks Up about Sesame Street.

This new muppet introduced to sesame Street just on Wednesday morning USA time has already garnered polarised responses. It is a good example of just how we can’t have it all. It just doesn’t work.

A widely circulated throw away line in the autism and autistic communities is “if you’ve met one autistic person you’ve met one autistic person.” It works as a quick way to highlight that every autistic person is different from every other autistic person. And so therein lies the complexity for a media outlet to take on the challenge of having an autistic character.

Yes it really is complex. Even for a production house as adept and experienced with presenting diversity and difference as normal as Sesame Street and The Muppets. A great legacy I believe left by Jim Henson himself. Let’s have a look for a moment at some of the more standout complexities:

  • Verbal or non verbal
  • Co-morbid conditions or not
  • male or female
  • Autistic or Person with Autism
  • Behaviour issues or not
  • Real muppet or digital only or both

And the list could just go on and on. I believe they have made a pretty good crack at it. They have actually tried to involve as many as they can in the process. Here is a list face-730801_1920of organisations they list as advisors, now there are certainly organisations here that I would rather not be here but it illustrates Sesame Street seeking to do their best in this initiative. They very much are seeking not to be tokenistic.

At the moment there are some polarised responses amongst, I think, the mostly positive middle ground response to Julia the autistic muppet. But, some Autistic Advocates are unhappy, they haven’t done enough to give Julia a voice, and they are not using identity first language. Some parent’s of autistic children are not happy as they have made Julia verbal. Some are unhappy because Julia is not severe enough, some think she needs to be playing with her poop and head banging for it to adequately portray “their autism”, which is not theirs anyway but their child’s.

And there’s the rub, there are so many variables to an autistic person that no character will ever adequately reflect all autistic people. You just can’t have it all.

But, here is a genuine attempt to raise both awareness and acceptance. Acceptance the catch-cry of Autistic Advocates and Awareness the same for many parent groups. Is it perfect, no, of course it isn’t nothing ever is. But, surely it deserves an opportunity to put it’s best foot forward before it’s blasted out of the water.

No you can’t have it all. What you get may not be even all you can have. Surely it is right and proper to accept what is given and offered with genuineness and to continue the conversation?

No I can’t have it all, and yes I want it all. But, I will take what I can get, and keep advocating for more. It’s this process than brings change and hopefully one day, road-sign-940630_1280someday, sooner rather than later that glacial change will come face to face with the reality of gravity and will accelerate towards terminal velocity and the destruction of ignorance, and non-acceptance.

Yes, I want it all and yes I realise I just can’t have it.

Come on Julia, put your best autistic foot forward and teach us, teach us all, that real acceptance and real education can happen.