...Warriors are good at some things, like smashing things with an axe and using all kinds of weapons, and wizards are good at others, like casting spells and knowing a lot about things you may come across. Every class has its own specialties and affinities, and a group needs a diverse set of characters to be able to tackle the challenges ahead. As I playfully filled out character sheets with what I imagined my own stats would be, it made me realize-- “I've been playing the game of life all wrong.”
I’m monster designer Ra Butler, and to celebrate the month of April and raise awareness about the diversity among individuals on the autism spectrum, I decided to create a group of unique creatures who embody a few of the different strengths and challenges of people with ASD. All of us are different and experience life in our own unique way, so these friendly critters were lovingly crafted to represent that.
Let me introduce you to a figure from the folklore of Japan called the Futakuchi-onna. Her name means “two-mouthed woman,” and she comes from a country facing a crisis of self-care. In fact, at the end of last year, the youth suicide rate in Japan had reached its highest in thirty years.
The stress of a work-centric culture along with a strong stigma against reaching out for mental health care are thought to be major factors for the suicide rates in Japan. Most of us can relate on some level to the fear of those stigmas and the need to appear industrious and ambitious enough. Perhaps then, it is somehow appropriate that we can learn about the dangers and effects of neglecting ourselves through the story of the Futakuchi-onna.