INTERNATIONAL FAME…SORT OF

I am not sure if you are aware of this or not, but a little over a year ago, I was featured in a Washington Post article. The article was picked up by news stations online all over the country. That in and of itself was amazing to me. What meant the world to me about that was not the fame and adulation that followed from my agency. It wasn’t the recognition I got from people I didn’t even know. And it sure as Hell wasn’t about the money I got…because I didn’t get any at all. Cheap Washington Post bastards! No, what meant more than anything to me is that my grandfather saw the article right before he died. So that was March/April of 2018. Flash forward to about two weeks ago. My Aunt calls me and tells me my Autism puzzle piece tattoo is “famous”. As it turns out, the picture of my Autism tattoo had somehow made it overseas to the British Broadcast Company (BBC). I was dumbfounded. The fucking BBC…IN FUCKING ENGLAND!…is using a picture of my tattoo. Me, Tom Whalen…in Baltimore, Maryland, USA…like, really?! I am at a loss for words. It’s an honor to be that recognized, even if it is just in the form of my tattoo. I work my ass off for understanding of Autism. Not even I thought it’d go this far though. Obviously I am honored that a foreign news station picked up at least something from a very prominent newspaper in America. I know stations in Texas, San Francisco, and Atlanta, Georgia picked up the story. My sister shared the link on Facebook. My popularity blew up on email and phone calls. Don’t get me wrong. I love the attention I am getting. But part of me wonders if it’s too much too quick. Yes, I know how long I have been advocating but I wonder if this is moving too quickly. The way I see it, in my line of work and how much I enjoy doing it…this could go on for a long, long time. I am in this line of work for a few reasons. One is because I am extremely passionate about Autistic people being treated equally and fairly. The other reason is that it’s a fun job for me. I found a job I love and can have a lot of fun with. I get to entertain as well as inform. I know the BBC has a photo of my Autism tattoo, but I think they missed out on a giant opportunity. They have a photo of my tattoo, but they do not know me or my impact, if I can put it like that without sounding self-centered. If I could actually travel to England and maybe even further. If I could do a world tour talking about my Autism and how it has impacted me, I’d be the happiest man in the world. Hell, I’d be happy to even do it in another state. I am a local celebrity. So why not expand and branch out? If any other advocates or anyone just wanting more info on Autism or me personally, feel free to email me at tomsept1990@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading! Attached is a link to the BBC article and the original Washington Post article.

-Tom

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20191018-where-75-of-workers-are-on-the-autistic-spectrum

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/he-has-autism-hes-willing-and-able-to-work-can-he-find-the-right-fit/2018/03/11/e3a0b860-1f27-11e8-b2d9-08e748f892c0_story.html

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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