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If the World Was Built for Me


If the world was built for me, there would be nothing “wrong” with me. I would be happy and safe and certain and successful.

If the world was built for me, when I met people there would be no expectation of physical contact or small talk. We may ignore each other with a socially acceptable nod, or throw ourselves into a deep and meaningful conversation.

If the world was built for me, we would all sit next to each other, not opposite. Things would be based on literal words, not guessed expressions and gestures.

If the world was built for me, there would be a compulsory day off for everyone after any social event. Just so we could all take the time to recharge and process things.

If the world was built for me, work would be about working and nothing else. There wouldn’t be the necessary interaction that goes with it. My productivity would skyrocket. Working days would shorten. Free time would be shared.

If the world was built for me, you’d ask me why I’m constantly fiddling with a piece of whatever it is I need that day, and I’d tell you with a smile. You’d chuckle and accept it. I’d like you more.

woman on a tire swing

If the world was built for me, noise cancelling headphones would be handed out in crowded places, trains would be bigger, people would be banned from touching people they don’t know without permission. (I don’t mean criminalized. We have that, and it doesn’t work. I mean magically banned.)

If the world was built for me, I could touch and revel and find joy in the textures that please me. And I could hide from and keep away from those that fill me with pain and revulsion.

If the world was built for me, you wouldn’t ask me how your clothes look, unless you want my honest opinion.

If the world was built for me, there would be an airlock between my home and the real world. A buffer zone for daily encroachers. An arm’s length.

If the world was built for me, any invitation would come with a detailed plan of where and when and how. I would be able to construct a plan and a map with little extra effort from me. I would know what was happening.

If the world was built for me, people would let me know if plans needed to change. They would message me and minimize the pain in my head as I grind the gears to adjust.

If the world was built for me, family gatherings would keep me safe. Touching, hugging, kissing, would all be on my terms. Talk would not make me feel alien and alone. It would be safe and kind and loving.

If the world was built for me, real rules would be explicit, and fake rules would come with an explanation. I wouldn’t find myself following rules that everyone else knows aren’t real.

But the world isn’t built for me.

It’s built for people who like those things, or can cope with them, or don’t like them but don’t mind, or don’t like them and can say they don’t like them, for reasons that are valid in the world of everyone-else.

The world isn’t built for me. So as the person with a brain that isn’t the norm, I have to find a way to fit.

I sometimes wonder if you would like my world, with its gentle structure and routine, its beauty and its simplicity, its honesty and its truth, its patterns.

I sometimes wonder if I’d miss your world if it went away. As exhausting and painful as it can be, like cold, blunt metal, all ridged and hard to lean on, it has its charms. It has its moments. It has its joys.

If the world was built for me, I would make sure the world could be built for you too.


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