“I’m making illustrations for chapbooks to be sold exclusively through The Satanic Temple in Salem. This one is for a Grey Faction booklet on The Strange Death of Jude Mirra (see the report on GreyFaction.org for that story). “I want to aggressively punish god” was a statement supposedly made by the non-verbal Jude Mirra via the debunked method of “facilitated communication.” -Lucien Greaves
I have never been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, (that I know of) but I do suspect that I may be on the spectrum. I spent a lot of time in and out of specialists offices for both my school and home life. That coupled with how my generation were underdiagnosed in regards to autism because we didn’t understand it as we do now and what I know and relate to from my spectrum friends and how I learn from people makes me fairly certain of the possibility.
What I do remember is that there was an autistic kid, Scott, in my class in third grade, and that I was particularly inclined to bully him and didn’t understand why it wasn’t OK to do so because he clearly behaved worse than me and people bullied me so… One time my mom got me some pointy new cowboy boots for a school field trip to a forest park or something. I don’t remember where because while we were in line to get on the bus that morning Scott started biting his fist and making screeching noises. He did this sometimes and it would really upset me, so I kicked him to shut him up. My teacher was appalled that I didn’t seem to feel remorse for bruising his shin with the point of my boot. The school left for the field trip that day while I had to stay in a seat in the principals office. My parents left me there all day and then I’m sure my stepdad beat me when I got home.
Then the testing started. My elementary school was small, so they brought in a whole separate trailer and parked it next to the school. They tested my intelligence and were quite impressed with it. That was part of the stuff my mother would beam about when she told me what was going on. The parts that she was clearly trying to downplay or rationalize revolved around denying that I could possibly have anything like Antisocial Personality Disorder (which you may be aware is also known as sociopathy or in criminal cases psychopathy and is much reviled with righteous furor…) citing reasons centered on my love of animals and my interest in teens and adults and their conversations and activities over those of my peers simply because kids were often beneath my interest level or abilities.
I also don’t know if they ever finalized Antisocial Personality Disorder as my diagnosis, but from that point on it was clearly enough for my teacher, who went out of her way to make sure everyone knew it was OK to be mean to me. It was also clearly a note of speculation in my file, at least, considering the amount of therapy and testing I kept having to endure until about 5th grade when my mother put me in Christian School. They were always asking me things about how I knew things, or how I felt about the feelings of the people around me.
At this point I want to pause and invite you to find out that Antisocial Personality Disorder is predominantly diagnosed in boys and men, while things like Dissociative Identity Disorder are predominantly diagnosed in women. Then I’d like you to ruminate on how we socialize boys and girls differently and what gendered behaviors we find appropriate for boys verses girls. We do this to all kids, neurotypical or atypical… I’d like to see more professionals exploring these relationships to personality “disorders” and their intersections a little more critically from a cultural standpoint… I finish this paragraph 10 days after another school shooting that occurred in what is my (…) worst mental health month on the only day that I look forward to on that month. Monsters are monsters, but sometimes I see them as if in a mirror of myself on the wrong path from long ago…
Whatever they decided about me was clearly potentially horrific and I always sensed a certain bizarre hyperbolic alarm from adults every time I got caught in a lie or breaking a rule or being disobedient. To be fair, after all of the abuse Mrs. Arnold kicked off for me for the rest of my life and then later exacerbated by the abuse I started receiving for being Queer I can safely say that if there is a sociopathy spectrum of some sort I was well in the heavy side of it in my teens and early 20s. In short, being as talented beyond my years with understanding context and body language as I was I absolutely sensed that there was something both very special and very frightening to adults about me. There is no mystery why boys like me daydream of werewolves and becoming… something else that visually becomes wild and scary and something Other, cause that’s how we were treated.
I’d also like you to pause here and consider that werewolf trials often coincide with witch trials historically but focus predominantly on… men, then ruminate again on gendered cultural expectations and norms in relation to people who have difficulty with cultural traditions that don’t seem logical or “fair”.
My mother had her own mental health problems. Putting me in Christian School was around the beginning of her attempt to self medicate with religious fanaticism. As you perhaps can imagine, it wasn’t long before everything I did was “demonic” and everything I liked was “Satanic”. This was also right in the middle of The Satanic Panic. She often threatened to have me put in a juvenile delinquent home and told me she could even when I pointed out that I’d have had to break a law first before they’d take me. She was probably right, they would have locked me up. I suspect that one way or another I may not have survived it. I understood that I was a monster that everyone was just waiting to catch, so I sought to understand what was so scary about me… One time my mother told me that her therapist said that I drew the things I did (I used to draw zombies a lot) because I was “drawing what’s inside of me” and my mother took that to mean that I was dead inside, specifically that my soul was dead. Yes, she said that to me. I was about 13, I think.
Jude Mirra certainly didn’t write “I want to aggressively punish god“, his therapists and mom did that using a Ouija board or whatever equivalent the discreditied “facilitated communication” consisted of. Jude Mirra was an autistic child in a society with a systemically abusive tendency towards children in general and neuro-diverse or poor kids in particular. I bristle at the discussion which prioritzes “curing” or diagnosing autism over understanding and incorporating it as a social variant.
Jude Mirra didn’t write that, so I will write it for him.
I Want to Aggressively Punish “God” and every thinly veiled moralistic panic that shaped and traumatized me into the kind of righteous she-wolf those fuckers always treated me as… and inadvertently trained me how to excel at.
I’d like to dedicate a song to the folks I find in my past files when I start looking through them. Enjoy;