Changing my outdated, unwelcomed views on the autism puzzle piece.
Have you had to struggle to change an opinion/belief? I thought I’d share my thought process of what I just went through to change my point of view that was hard for me.
As most of you know, I have made autism awareness puzzle piece pendants for over 10 years. When I first read this article from Autistic Truth about the autism community not wanting to use the puzzle piece as their symbol I felt deep sadness. I would hope that anyone who knows me, knows that I have never thought the puzzle symbol represented the need to be “fixed” or have a “piece missing”. In fact, I’d never even heard of those definitions until reading this article. I’ve always looked at it as meaning “it’s puzzling”. I have fibromyalgia. It’s puzzling. I don’t find that offensive. It’s a puzzling condition and if the fibro community had decided to use the puzzle symbol to represent fibromyalgia and bring awareness to it, I would wear it proudly in the hopes to raise awareness. But that’s just it, isn’t it? The autistic community didn’t choose the puzzle symbol. People chose it for them. It doesn’t matter what I think, how I feel, if I agree, or if I don’t personally find it offensive. It just doesn’t matter. It is not up to me. Which led me to feeling angry. Am I supposed to just stop making puzzle pieces? What do I do with my hundreds of hours of unfinished inventory in different stages of puzzle shapes in my studio? Bin them? I love making these pieces! I love bringing awareness about autism! I love the feel and shape of the puzzle piece in my hand. What do you mean the puzzle symbol isn’t art? Each pendant I have created are one-of-a-kind, hand made, genuine pieces of art that have hours of work put into each one! That led to a feeling of loss. All my work felt meaningless. How do I contribute to bringing awareness now? I can’t afford to make infinity symbols out of gold! How do I let go of something I’ve loved and felt so proud of for so many years? However, my opinions, feelings and personal connection to the symbol DO NOT MATTER. I have to let it go.. That’s all. Acceptance. Do I need to throw out all my inventory? No. But I do have to respect the autism community’s decision and remove autism from my definitions and tags on my listings and stop selling my puzzle pieces as autism awareness. Also I felt strongly compelled to share with you all how the greater autism community feels and what their wishes are for a symbol, and hope you share it too. Please read the article from Autistic Truth.
When I told my two teenagers about this article, neither of them had an opinion either way on the symbol or felt invested as to what it should be. One of them shrugged and said “Oh well. I love my puzzle pendant and I’m still going to keep wearing it.”
That being said, any puzzle fans out there in the market for some puzzle pendants?
Sometimes a customers story really touches your heart. This stunning pendant is on its way to a 15 year old who is coming to terms with being on the #autism#spectrum with the support of his amazing grandmother who lovingly wanted to reinforce the fact that, as she said “It’s OK to be different. Hard…but OK.” I hope he loves it as much as I loved making it and I think she made a wonderful choice! What an honour to be a part of something so special!
The BEST Fidget Spinner Ever! <== Click to see a video I took of my son using his Autism Awareness Pendant as a fidget spinner that has stopped him from biting his nails! I actually noticed that his nails need clipped again! This is the only fidget spinner that hasn’t been lost, stolen or broken and has sparked many conversations!
I was so excited to be asked to return to the Victoria Autism Expo! It’s a great event and there are even more vendors and businesses registered this year! And it’s a full day! 9-5! Aaaaaand IT’S FREEEEEEE! The workshops sound so fantastic that I almost wish I wasn’t a vendor so I could go to them!
I have a huge inventory of #AutismAwareness pendants that are not posted to my online store yet that I have been saving for this event! Please come check out the Expo and choose the PERFECT fidget spinner for $10 off at the event on Saturday!
Don’t forget that all my rocks are found on the beaches of beautiful Vancouver Island!
I registered for a table at the Autism Awareness Fair here in Victoria on May 5th to sell my Autism Awareness Pendants! Kinda nervous but excited!
Also, I brought my swivels into an engraver to get my logo etched on them. I’m anxious to see how they turn out and then get attaching all my Autism Awareness Pendants to them.
The symbol for Autism is a puzzle piece, and is very fitting as Autism is a puzzling syndrome for sure. Having two boys (5 and 7) on the spectrum makes this cause very near and dear to my heart. I want to do my part to help raise awareness. For those of you who are curious, here is a sneak peek at what they will look like and the process I go through to make them. They are not finished yet, as I am still waiting for my swivels from the engraver, and I hope to have a lot more made soon-but I am thrilled with how they turned out!