I’m busy today. Really busy, but now I’m also full of words and need to let them out. It’s a productive form of procrastination.
This hashtag #Disabledandcute, crossed my Twitter feed. I was only popping on for a moment, just to fill the time between here and there.
At first I thought “that’s nice”. Because that’s what I generally think about everything. Then it started grating on me. Just gently.
People aren’t built the same as me. They value things for different reasons. “Cuteness” has always been a wonderful thing, to be infantilised and cherished and looked after.
I’m not cute. I don’t want you to get me wrong, I am lucky enough to be conventionally attractive, I’m tall and slim and mostly symmetrical. I go in and out in all the ways that people say I should. But I’m not cute. I’m a grown up woman. My puppy is cute. My toddlers can be cute. I’m not. I’m sarcastic, I’m practical, I’m striking at times, but I’m not cute.
In some ways it’s a beautiful thing. People with disabilities sharing their images of disability in a positive way. Maybe I’m curmudgeonly and disgruntled. I’ve never had a lot of gruntle.
I don’t usually interfere when people are having harmless fun. I’m not the person pointing out the flaws, or ruining someone’s KitKat by pointing out the evils of Nestle.
I certainly don’t judge anyone who joins in. I want them to have that confidence. I want them to feel great about themselves, whoever they are and whatever they look like.
But still there’s this undertone in there. I don’t want anyone to think I’m cute. I never have. I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m beautiful.
Is it the autism? Is it the logic? Is it that people rush to save the cute species and the ugly ones can be crushed underfoot? Is it that it feels like people would only care and help, if we could just fit ourselves into a certain category? They would not kill us if we were cute, we would be safe. Is it that the image of autism is always the cutest and saddest of children?
Now I feel like I’m slipping into hyperbole, because I am. But it niggles. There are angles beneath the superficial that make me itchy.
I’m not cute, but I’m worthy. I’m worth being kept safe, because I’m human. I’m beautiful because I’m kind, not because of the fluke of nature that gave me high cheekbones.
It makes me feel alien again, and that’s ok. I never expect the world not to make me feel alien.
No one is better or worse because of arbitrary genetics.
I go round in my head; if it makes people feel better then it has value, but it could make other people feel worse, so it doesn’t. There is no right or wrong, there’s just thinking about it.
I contentiously pointed out that I’m not cute. People worry when you do things like that, they worry you’re negative about yourself. Don’t worry! I love how I look, I love how I move and am happy with who I am. Physical beauty just isn’t relevant to me. It’s not valuable. It’s fleeting. It passes us all by in the end. And when it does, we are still worthy. All of us, cute or not.
So share your cuteness to your heart’s desire, or sit with me on the grumbly chair, or do both. I’m just letting the words out so they can scamper away and I can get on with being busy in peace.