When People Can’t See Who I Am as an Autistic Person
Sometimes people are caught off by my blog’s title, “Anonymously Autistic.” People ask me if I am Anonymously Autistic because I am ashamed of my autism. Please allow me to explain — I started my blog anonymously because I love my privacy, not out of a shame for my autism. In fact, I quickly realized I needed to share so others could see autism from my perspective. Some days suck, but overall I love my life and would never want to be “normal” or not autistic.
I generally keep to myself with personal things. Speaking about matters of the heart has never been easy for me, so I don’t. My blog became a place where I do something completely out of character: share my feelings.
For me, it is easier if the people around me don’t know my feelings or else they may ask me about them, and I would be forced into unwanted conversations. I enjoy talking about my passions and other matters, but my feelings and emotions have always been sacred to me in a way.
The more I write, the more confident I get in speaking about autism. Most of my problems come from whenever I choose to share face-to-face. I hide my emotions and keep things to myself. People don’t get to know me and don’t see my autism.
I’m always calm and composed (because I always run away and hide before I fall apart). It looks like I’ve got it in control. Nobody ever sees me struggle.
People say these things in the nicest ways; they have no idea how much their words hurt or how wrong they are.
“You’re not really Autistic right? It’s a misdiagnosis?”
“Asperger’s? You are too nice, you definitely don’t have that! I can’t believe it.”
“Are you sure? Have you gotten a second opinion?”
“You are not Autistic.”
“There is nothing wrong with you. I think you are great!”
“We’re all a little different.”
Or when I ask for accommodations for sensory troubles:
“Everyone likes natural light. It’s not fair to give you special treatment.”
“You complain too much. Just relax.”
“I know you said you wanted to meet in a quiet space, but I think you will love this bar.”
“It’s not that bad. Look, everyone else is having fun.”
“You are overreacting.”
“I think you can do it, if you try harder.”
“Don’t make excuses.”
Worse is when they say nothing at all. When you say something, they give you a look. Doubt. I recognize it now that I’ve seen it over and over again.
The face people make when they think you are telling them a decelerate lie. It is a look that stops me cold in my tracks and is the reason I’ve stopped mentioning my autism in face-to-face conversations lately.
I have a theory that if people saw a unicorn in a field of horses, they would mistake it for a white horse because they do not believe unicorns exist.
I am feeling a bit like that unicorn. People can’t see me because they don’t know Aspies like me are out there.
A unicorn, something that challenges their beliefs. I am right in their faces and they can’t even see me.
Follow this journey on Anonymously Autistic.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock image by cerenatalay