Greetings, everyone. My name is James Williams. I am 26 years old, and I have autism. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in the state of Illinois. Autism refers to a disability that causes impairments that impact your life, but appear at first glace as very invisible.
In addition, I have now pursued my dream in life as an advocate for people with autism.
I post here, however, not just to introduce myself, but to apologize for some actions that I engaged in on this forum approximately seven years ago. I look back at the error of my ways and realize that, many years ago, I was going through a difficult identity crisis and underwent a nervous breakdown.
Seven years ago, in 2007, I joined this forum under the name â€œDickens.â€ I chose this name randomly. When I joined the forum, I was going through a difficult time in my life. This time emerged from the age of 14, when I sank into a deep depression at the age of 14 resulting from a fear of death. This depression led me to research many issues on the Internet. Through this quest, I found Ran Prieurâ€™s website, which linked me into the Tribe of Anthropikâ€™s website. I learned about rewilding through the Tribe of Anthropik, and from there I learned about this forum.
The idea of civilizationâ€™s collapse also put me into a deep depression and accelerated the breakdown. The idea that everything I knew in life, my entire identity as a person, the culture I grew up with, and the language that I spoke was itself an illusion that deviated from reality and terrified me. Feeling like I was fighting for my own emotional survival, I started to challenge and argue with many individuals in the rewilding community. I wonâ€™t name names here, however, out of respect for those individuals.
Not knowing how to behave, however, I used several names and sock puppets to argue those pointsâ€”many of them, but the primary ones consisted of â€œaksum,â€ "Terra," â€œpeaknickster,â€ â€œTaylor,â€ and â€œDickens.â€ I did not know what sock puppetry was, and again, I was only a teenager at the time, a teenager with a disability. I would lie when asked when I was Taylor, not knowing what to say and still wanting to write, not knowing the proper way to discuss things. I apologize for my actions and feel sorry for them. The truth is, I was all of those people--one person, by the name of James. Finally, in 2007, I had to ask myself to be banned from several forums and website because I could not control myself and it was too painful for me to continue writing. I stopped writing as â€œDickens.â€ I also spent the next 3 years completing high school (I had been homeschooled prior to then due to my autism).
Later, in 2010, when I finished high school at age 21, I sank into another deep depression. I started writing my thoughts at the College of Mythic Cartography, and Willem wrote back, saying things that helped me get through my depression. I also got very physically sick, and realized I had to part ways with the community, knowing I needed to return to apologize at some time.
Five years later, after going through years of soul searching and starting my adult life, I realize the time has come to return and apologize for the error of my ways. I realize now that at that time, I was naive. I thought that people were wrong because I could not understand them. And at the time, I was a teenager not knowing what sock puppetry was. Today, I realize that my mistakes lay in a lack of understanding. I struggled with understanding much of what was said here, and could not acknowledge that at the time. I realize now that much of my disagreements and arguments that things were wrong lay in a lack of understanding what I was arguing against, again, a part of my autism. I may not understand what is said here, but at least, I hope, I have the knowledge to at least not argue with others here and to accept differences I may not understand.
With this, I wish everyone the best in their journey. But I wanted to be honest. I realize the error of my ways in creating multiple identities and arguing on this forum. In addition, my Dickens account is based on an E-mail address that no longer exists (so I cannot log back onto my account even if I wanted to). I want everyone to know that my true identity is not entirely Dickens, but a confused young man named James Williams. A young man who works in the autism world, and who travels nationwide teaching awareness on autism. Dickens is a part of my past that I hope to move on from.
At this point, my autism forces me to remain in civilization despite the struggles I face in current society. At the same time, though, I have decided to rejoin under my real name so that others can know my true identity, and to move on from my mistakes. I also hope to learn about what others are doing to move beyond a culture that I personally cannot withdraw from, but at least can support others who are doing so. I also realize, in addition, how much I misunderstood so many people here on this forum. I have no intention on telling anyone what to doâ€”just to learn and move on from my past.
I also apologize for the misunderstanding that I felt when I was a teenager. Being autistic, you live in a world of authority figures--where people demand things from you and assert that you MUST act a certain way or else you cannot live. I mistook this group as that group as well, and challenged people for that reason. I felt I was fighting for my life. I completely agree with Jason on another post here that we can go feral, even if we are never wild again. Personally, I believe that with my autism, I probably cannot go feral either. But that acknowledgment--that we can never truly be wild again--has helped me realize the error of my ways in understanding this group. I wish you all the best in your efforts to pursue your dreams.
Finally, I will say that my work in the Autism world has brought me into another community--the community of Indigenous Native Americans in the state of Wisconsin. The state of Illinois, where I live, does not have many rewilding communities. But up North, in the state of Wisconsin, a large Native community exists. This community has accepted me and helped me understand many beliefs of rewilding in ways that I can accept. It has also helped me pursue my dream in life as well.
With that, I wish all of those here the best. I apologize for my actions as a teenager. And I personally would like to thank Willem for helping me cope with my breakdown five years ago. And Willem, I may still comment on the College of Mythic Cartography. But I feel as if, although I may still read your insights, it is best to formally withdraw from this group. This group is not for everyone, and I'm sure we all can agree with that.
Civilization may isolate many people, but my Community and Family still lives within Civilization. I shall stay with my Community and hopefully, do what I must do if and when a collapse occurs. Good luck with your efforts!
At the same time, however, it is my perception that my own experiences are vastly different from the people in this group. In the end, I feel that I must formally withdraw from the group. I shall formally withdraw but with greater enlightenment and awareness. And I shall remain in the Indigenous communities of Wisconsin, a community where I feel accepted and shine in my career and in my work.