(Note: When talking about myself, I tend to jump around and ramble, and it’s even worse when I have to WRITE about myself. Please forgive any and all errors in this post, however, feel free to point out things that I did wrong and could do better, as long as it is in a constructive fashion. Thank You. Also, I’m REALLY bad at paragraphing. Sorry. Also, I wrote this with a fever. Yeah. I came down with a serious case of the flu that I’m still fighting as I’m updating this. It’s not great.)
Oh boy, this is going to be a long article, so, fair warning. You might want to get comfortable. Anyway, like I said before in the short overview, my name is Colby Stamport, and I am The Autistic Cowboy.
23 years ago, I was born in Austin, Texas, and pretty much from the beginning, I was obsessed with entertainment. I loved movies, television, books, comics, music, and video games. I loved them. For as long as I can remember, nothing was able to rival my love of entertainment and the arts, except for my love of wanting to entertain.
I acted, sang, told jokes, wrote, etc. and I was good at it. Not the best, but good. It all came naturally, especially acting and singing, and it just got easier as I got older. I was in every play I could be in from middle school all the way through college. When I was playing a character, I was in my element. I felt more “myself” when I was pretending to be someone else, no matter the character, than when I was just “myself”. I had an easier time understanding motivations, emotions, etc. in art, than I did understanding, well, anything in the real world, especially people. At first, my parent thought it was just because I was a child, a redneck kid that was sheltered from the world, but that theory would fall apart as soon as I would near adulthood.
I was 16 years old, nearly 17, when I was diagnosed with ASD, and it was a godsend. Most people may not view it that way, but I did. Up till this point, I thought I was either losing my mind, or all of those things that had been yelled at me, either by classmates, teachers, and my father, were true. Lazy, stupid, and worthless. My grades were basically non-existent, despite being high the year before. I was incredibly depressed, and even stopped pursuing acting. Hell, I stopped pursuing any interest. I just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up, but then there it was, like a beam of light cutting through the darkness, an actual reason for why I was the way I was. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t worthless. I was just different. I was autistic, and that was ok.
It was a lot more than just ok. That news most likely saved my life, though I give that glory to God(I was raised an Evangelical Christian. We are required by law to talk about God at least once in every story we tell.). I had prayed for years for an answer, and I finally got one. That, and some really good medication.
After the diagnosis, I had a new lease on life. Got back into acting, grades skyrocketed, graduated in the top 10, started a YouTube and Twitch channel(Stampy Knows Gaming), got to act in college, met my amazing wife, Jo, and now, I’m here.
You probably noticed that I sort of jumped to present day all of the sudden. I am aware of that. It’s not that a lot didn’t happen in my life, rather I’m trying my hardest to stay on point. Don’t worry. I will surely write plenty of articles detailing my life, but my complete autobiography isn’t necessary here. What is necessary, however, is telling you who I am, and why I’m doing all of this.
I’ve already given some decent background on who I am, so let’s move on to the whole “why”. I love just about all things entertainment, which we covered above, and that includes making it. Singing, acting, even dancing(I hate dancing), I did it all, but one thing eluded me. I knew I could do all of those things, even the dreaded dancing, there was one thing that I just couldn’t crack. Writing.
Now, I wrote all through out school, and made my English teachers very happy, but I never felt satisfied. I’ve been in plays, danced and sung on stage, and even done camera work. I never took off and became a star, but I know that I have the ability to be in shows, movies, etc.(This is not me gloating, by the way. MANY people have talent like this, but what they, and I, don’t have is luck.) I know I can do it, but despite getting good grades on essays, I’ve never felt that I was successful at writing. I’ve tried writing novels, scripts, short stories, comics, etc. for years, and nothing has come of it, yet I keep feeling this need to write. I love acting, but I don’t feel like I NEED to do it, like I do when it comes to writing, or at least not in the same way. I’m compelled to write, but I can’t finish anything. On top of that, writing takes a lot more effort than just about anything else. I could talk all day about nothing, but writing is different. Writing is where the ole communication disorder, that is Autism, comes out in full force, though I’m not sure why. It’s because of this, however, that I am writing this, and doing this whole blog.
We’re already in “Long Winded” territory, so I’m going to try to some this up as best I can. Everyone has different points of view, and we see a lot of them, though we mainly see these POV’s from the same kind of sources, mainly being straight neurotypical(Not displaying ASD or any other mental disorders) white men. I’m also a white man, so I’m not exactly different in that regard, but I’m not neurotypical, nor am I straight(Bi Pride). Even when it’s not a straight white man’s POV, it’s usually still someone that is neurotypical, and even when a non-neurotypical person’s POV is shown, it’s usually in shows/movies that are written, directed, and played by neurotypical person.
Think about how hard it is to completely understand all the horrible issues that minorities face in this country, and around the world, due to racism. As a white man, I have never experienced systematic racism, or even racism, towards me due to the color of my skin. I’ve experienced some VERY minute prejudice for the way I look(I dress and talk like I’m out of a western. There are a lot of people who are wary of me because of this, but considering US history, I don’t blame them.), but that’s NOTHING compared to what minorities go through everyday. I will never truly know what that is like, due to my white privilege, but I can read about it. I can research, watch news footage, see movies made by the very people going through this hell, and so on. You can come to an understanding of how bad it is, and what they’re life is like, even though you may not know what it’s like to go through it yourself. Now, imagine that those things that you researched, read, watched, etc. were all made by white people, with no minority input what so ever. Not even minority actors. Would you get the best view of what it is like to be a minority, or understand how bad things are? No, you wouldn’t. Even if they were all made by people with the best intentions, and not one racist bone in their body, you would still get an improper representation, no matter how hard they tried. Even the best people have blind spots to many issues. It’s not because they don’t care, but that they simply have never experienced those issues themselves, however, it must also be pointed out that many people use their ignorance as a shield so that they can continue to not care, but even with people who would care, and would do everything in their power to help, if they don’t know the issues then how can they help, let alone speak about them? That exact scenario is what is happening, right now, with autistic representation.
That long and rambling paragraph’s purpose was to set up the main point for why I started this thing. There is a severe lack of autistic representation in media. Most movies, shows, and even books are made by people who only have an association with autism, whether it be a child, sibling, friend, or whatever. Even when it’s news coverage, and a network needs to talk about autism, they never bring on an autistic person. I’m not against doctors or experts in the field who’ve studied ASD they’re entire life, but unless they are on the spectrum themselves, they don’t know anything. They don’t know how our minds work or how we feel. For the longest time, it was believed that people with ASD don’t have feelings or emotions. It was also believed that it could only occur in men. Both of those beliefs couldn’t be more wrong, yet these misconceptions are still believed to this day. That is why I am starting this blog/website. That is why I am writing this.
People with ASD deserve representation. We don’t deserve it more than others, nor will I ever suggest that, or say that other minorities are already represented enough. They’re not. Just because the black community got Black Panther doesn’t mean that racism is over, or that they have enough representation. They don’t, nor do any other minority, and they are still fighting in order to get the bare minimum, let alone, fair representation, but people with ASD do deserve it.
Representation matters, but what matters most is proper representation, and people with ASD don’t have a lot of either, whether in real life or in fiction. ASD effects everyone of all races, sexes, genders, etc. There are so many that haven’t even been represented once. Let’s run down the list of races and ethnicities, and try to name prominent figures with ASD, both real and fictional, off the top of my head. If you’re a white man with ASD, like me, then there is some out there, but most of it isn’t proper representation, and perpetuates incredibly harmful stereotypes(Example: Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory), but at least we have some. If you’re a black man with ASD, well, you got the blue Power Ranger from the last movie, and “maybe” Ben Carson. That’s all I can think of, and it isn’t exactly the best selection. Let’s say you’re a woman, all races included, then you have Temple Grandin. That’s it off the top of my head. Now, Ms. Grandin is amazing, and deserves to be talked about, and taught about in school for the wonderful work that she has done, but it’s strange to me that I can only think of one example of a prominent woman on the spectrum. It’s also weird how I don’t know of any fictional characters. I could probably do I Google search to find some, but that’s not the point. I can name all kinds of neurotypical white men and women off the top of my head in both fiction and in real life. I can do the same thing with black people, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians(I can even divide by country and ethnicity, as well), and the list goes on, though, the number does get smaller the farther I go down that list, but there is still a list. If we keep on going down the list of ASD representation, we should be at black women. I can’t think of a single one. What about Latinos and Hispanics? Nothing. Same goes for all Asians. I can’t think of any more, and that’s troubling.
Representation. That’s this whole thing’s main purpose. Represent those with ASD by giving them content made by people with ASD. It’s to show my point of view, and share my opinions on the going’s on in the world around me, as viewed through the spectrum. A point of view that not only can relate to those with ASD, but to those without it, so that we may better understand each other.
Now, I do not speak for all people with ASD. It is a spectrum, after all, with many different variants and factors. That is why it is my hope to showcase others who are also on the spectrum by giving them the chance to write and post on here. I may be the only writer on here at the moment, but that hopefully won’t be the case for very long.
Oh, and I nearly forgot. For those wondering, “Why an entertainment blog?” Well, it’s quite simple. I love it. I love entertainment, or rather, I love art. I love it, and want to express that love, however there is a little more to it. The reason I love acting, and happened to be really good at it, is because I had already gotten good at acting as a child through “mirroring”. Mirroring is a technique that many people on the spectrum do in order to fit in. We “mirror” the people around us. Actions, reactions, movements, facial expressions, etc., and we try to absorb it all. That’s what I did, but I didn’t just mirror the people around me. I mirrored the people I saw on TV, and in movies. I created a backlog of everything I needed to know, and do, in order to be a “regular” person, and I didn’t even realize it. I thought that was just how you learned how to be a proper person. You watched and learned. It wasn’t until many years later, after I was diagnosed, that I realized what I was doing. A lot of people on the spectrum do this. Why use just the few people around you when you could use everyone you see on TV? A bigger sample size means more to draw from, which makes everything you do seem so much more natural. This, however, isn’t the other reason, at least not the only other reason, that I’m doing this. Entertainment is how we, people on the spectrum, escape. We’re far from the only people who use entertainment to escape reality, but for me, I used it to feel normal.
A lot of people on the spectrum use various forms of art to actually express their feelings. Many do it by making art, while others are able to express themselves by just enjoying the said art. Art takes some of the guess work out of how we should feel. An example would be a sad movie. Instead of wondering what you’re feeling, how you should feel, how you should express it, or even if you should express it, the movie tells you. It’s sad. This is a sad moment. You should be sad. This is what sadness looks like, this is how it’s expressed, and, finally, it is ok to express it. It is because of this that I believe that I, as well as many other people with ASD, have a very unique view on the arts, be it music, movies, games, etc., and that view deserves to be out there. We deserve to have our voices heard. We deserve to be able tell our own stories, and have our own opinions. We deserve that representation. We also deserve to be able see those views, and hear those voices, stories, and opinions.
In closing (finally) I want to say that I hope people will be entertained by what they find on this site. Hopefully, most will like what they see here, and, if I do my job right, the ASD community will be provided, in part, by some of the representation that it deserves.