Josh Sauchak - Why he's so important to me.
Today I bawled my eyes out, not out of sadness but out of happiness because I finally got to explain to someone what Josh means to Autistic and Aspergers people and I realised during that explanation that he’s my favourite character. Not just in Watch Dogs but in the whole of existence.
Now I feel a little weird writing this because I’ve never felt this way with a character before and if you read this and start to get a little confused please bare with me.
Growing up for me was different, I always knew I was different from how I could read Lord of the Rings or Poldark at the age of six and understand every word. From how I never fit in with the other kids, from how I could only talk to adults because I was on their mental capacity levels and how I’m effected by the system for being this way. When I was finally diagnosed as an Aspergers young lady, it all made sense. Back then, I believed that I had all these quirks and was bullied a lot because I was broken. I wasn’t neurotypical, I was defective.
For me I had nobody in TV, Film or later on video games. Autistic and Aspergers people are always represented as the dependant person who burdens the carer because it’s so “difficult and challenging” to raise / care for people like us.
Because of all these things, people misunderstand people like us. They treat us differently like there is something wrong with us. We’re defective. Broken. Weird. They tell us to “just be normal” and some people say we need a cure.
Some of us are effected more than others like myself and need special attention and care, others are independent but none of us are broken.
I’m in the middle myself, I’m partially independent but sometimes I need help. Especially in social situations like meetings and phone calls or studying but I’m independent enough to fund and plan out every single detail of a trip to Montreal, Boston and New York by myself. To meet new people and old friends. I do get sensory overload and I have breakdowns so sometimes I need help myself. We’re all different though.
This teaches some of us to feel as though we aren’t worth anything. To hate who we are and some of us to more extreme measures that I myself have done and even depression. Some of us are even afraid to tell others that we’re autistic in some way even friends because just like Clark Kent in Smallville, we’re scared they’ll hate us or no longer treat us the same if they find out our “secret”. I know that means they were never really our friends but it still hurts us so much.
But then Ubisoft created Josh.
With Josh he’s independent but sometimes has sensory overloads, like when Lenni hacked Dedsec. He also has a moment when he realises some of the followers are fake and begins to fall into a breakdown. Yet his friends never told him to get over it or that he was over-reacting. They never treated him like he was broken. They never said he was that way because he’s autistic. They never pushed on it. Horatio mentions it in an audio file but never puts Josh down about it. Just Blume and how they ruined his life by marking him as people usually do. Defective.
I relate to Josh so much, when I look at him I see myself and I’ve never had that. I’ve never seen someone so like Josh/me be loved so much because they’re human. Even the little things like how he wears a green hoodie. So simple but I wear a green hoodie all the time. It’s my favourite, even more so now. Even now I struggle with acceptance of my Aspergers but it’s because of these things I speak about it constantly and try to raise awareness and acceptance and I feel with Josh. We’ve taken a huge step towards it. If only TV and film could follow Ubisoft in this way.
So thank you Ubisoft and Jonathan for making someone like Josh so people like me can have someone to relate to and see that it’s okay to be different because the right people won’t treat us like freaks, they’ll love us for who we are. I cry about this because I’m so happy because I see people play this game and love Josh so much and it gives me hope because that means neurotypical people can love me too. I honestly can’t explain it as I can in my head but I tried my absolute best to get the words out.
If you read all this, thank you. I’m sorry for the rambling, I tried.