The Mitchells vs. The Machines: A Heart-warming Raptor Bash for Neurodivergent Family

I was gonna put off watching “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” because I’m not in a mood for anything remotely apocalyptic, but then I saw this tweet from AutisticSciencePerson:

I could really use a dose of good autism representation after a terrible acceptance month, so I watched it, and then I re-watched it, and now I enthusiastically cosign.

Maybe someday we’ll get to where we can s/weird/neurodivergent/ in popular media and do so compassionately and authentically, laughing at the deficits of our spiky profiles while celebrating our strengths and whole selves.

Though we don’t get to hear the word autistic aloud, leaving the family’s neurodivergence to headcanon, there’s some great autism rep: stims, special interests, monotropism, hyperfocus, meltdowns, autistic empathy, and more.

I found the following scenes very relatable to neurodivergent family and life (mildly spoiler-ish):

“Hi. Would you like to talk to me about dinosaurs?”

“…we can make ten seconds of unobstructed family eye contact.” [straining]

“After all these years, I’m finally gonna meet my people.”

“These dinosaurs are inaccurate!”

“Check out this pencil topper.” [romantic music plays]

“What would a functional family do right now?”

“Mitchell family on three! Three.”

“Zebulon, scan those people for flaws.”

“Guys, can’t we all just be terrified together as a family.”

“We’re here because we don’t think like normal people.”

“The Mitchells have always been weird, and that’s what makes us great.”

“Don’t hide your feelings, man. That’s no way to live.”

“Just look for anyone who can’t keep it together.”

“They’re pretending to be capable.”

“What kind of maniac has one of those in his pockets at all times? This kind of maniac.”

“Rick, Rick. Let’s not re-litigate this.”

“Sometimes you have to listen to long monologues about Triceratops migration…”

“If this obstinate man could change his programming, we decided we could change ours.”

“I wonder if you could come over and talk about dinosaurs casually sometime!”

“Don’t let the world make you normal.”

“Good luck finding your people.”

“You guys are my people.”

“Raptor bash. For life.”

Source: The Mitchells vs. The Machines — Netflix

This movie is a heart-warming raptor bash for neurodivergent family. Watch it, and then watch it again to appreciate all the queer and neurodivergent touches.

”William Shatner is at it again.”

”William Shatner is at it again.”

That warning regularly goes up in autistic communities. William Shatner has blocked many of us on Twitter, myself included, but still makes time to QT hate our way.

William Shatner is spending the remains of his days habitually shitting on marginalized people. He should recall his cover of “Common People”.

‘Cause everybody hates a tourist

Especially one who, who thinks it’s all such a laugh

That’s your ignorant self traipsing through our space, Shatner.

Here’s some background on this moribund reactionary with a dangerous lack of research skills:

It’s a strange world, after all: Orac vs. The Shat and fake news over…Autism Speaks? – RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE

I am well and truly done with Mr. Shatner. I unfollowed and blocked him, to lessen the chances that I might be tempted to re-engage with him.

I was too, but he keeps on shitting on us. The most nerve-racking and traumatizing Autism Acceptance Month ever just ended, and Shatner is dragging it into May.

You will never understand

How it feels to live your life

With no meaning or control

And with nowhere left to go

You are amazed that they exist

And they burn so bright whilst you can only wonder why

Source: Pulp – Common People Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

The Self-injurious Stims that I Love

CW: Self-injurious stims involving skin, hair, and knives

My self-injurious stims:

  • Trichtillomania – hair-pulling
  • Dermatillomania – skin-picking, particularly but not exclusively the scalp
  • Shaving the skin off my hands with pocket knives

My scalp takes the brunt of my stimming. I pull my hair and dig bloody furrows with my fingernails. Periods of my life were marked by sores on my forehead where the furrows trespassed beyond the hairline. Those healed, but the bald patches are permanent.

My hands bear multiple nicks from exfoliating with knives. There are raw, pink patches where I’ve shaved close to quickened flesh. While those areas heal I tend to others with my collection of pocket knives — so many different blade shapes and grinds with which to peel strips of skin.

These stims have been lifelong companions. They give me great comfort despite the bloody scalp, hands, and fingernails. There have been periods of my life where I and others tried to stymie them, but no longer.

I love scratching my head. Love, love, love. The feel from both head and hand is satisfying, comforting, and necessary. Life is more bearable with the pressure of fingernail on scalp. Life is better when I can scratch, pick, peel, and pull.

Instead of suppressing these stims as I occasionally and unsuccessfully tried over the first four decades of life, I seek a balance that can be covered with a cap.

I buy beanie hats that:

  • cover the sores on my head
  • provide access to my scalp while wearing the hat
  • cover and squeeze my ears for sensory management

I like wearing beanies as sensory management, but they get in the way of scratching. I’ve taken to wearing beanies that are either thin enough or have loose enough stitching to allow my fingernails to gain purchase in my scalp. I can stim in my favorite way while still having my ears covered and my sores obscured from public. I’ll also use slouchy beanies that allow me to get my hand up under the hat while it’s still on, although those don’t provide as much ear pressure as I like. Someone make a stimmer’s beanie that accommodates fingernails while still providing ear pressure.

As for my knife-shaven hands, they don’t have sores like my scalp, so they’re not as anti-social. Regardless, I welcome the normalization of fist bumps and, even better, not touching each other at all.

My self-injurious stims are a great comfort. They’ve gotten me through so much. I no longer try to live without them. I wish all the people who tried to suppress them as a kid had just given me a beanie, let me wear it at school, and let me scratch, scratch, scratch. That would have made the tidal immensity of fear and stress I constantly felt more bearable.