The Pieces of Autism I Hid From the World


Chameleon woman – I’ve been doing it since puberty. Logically the next evolution for a “parrot child” is a chameleon – right?

When many of us were younger, it was thought autism was only found in boys — a gender stereotype that is still hurting us today. Some of us are missed completely or misdiagnosed with other conditions. Some go to the grave without knowing they are Autistic.

A few of us are lucky and eventually figure it out. When we discover the truth, it is as if a light bulb has gone off. Growing up, we felt alien but did not know why. Most days I thought everyone around me was “crazy” – having no idea how different our perspectives were.

Society teaches you to be a lady, have manners and be polite. Flailing about is very unbecoming of a young girl. We learn to hold things in. We read books and create art. We collect pretty things in our rooms, locking away our feelings.

Social pressure is huge on young women. Society expects you to be a certain way.

Over the years I’ve learned to fake it, but learning to play “normal” has taken years of practice, constant trial and error. It is still a character that tires me out and requires a lot of work.

Girls are pressured from a very young age, and perhaps “boys will be boys” could be one reason Autism is often more obvious in males than in females.

I was a tomboy, and I believe my autism was obvious until I hit puberty and became more aware of the ways I differed from my peers. At that point, I made a conscious decision to study my peers and fit in. It was a bit like a science experiment. The more I worked on this project, the less I felt like myself. But for the first time in my life, nobody was bullying me. I was happy to feel safe and kept up the act through high school.

After years of being fake, it was hard to even know who I was anymore. I felt ugly and dirty. It’s hard to explain, but just thinking about how fake I was (years ago) makes my face pucker. I don’t like that person and I pity her.

I’ve recovered from that, but diagnosis was a major part of my recovery. It explained so much. There were always little things I’d never listed, but if I did they would all say – autism. All the pieces of me that I hid from the world, the strange things – autism.

Chameleon woman. Invisible Autism. Anonymously Autistic. Nobody sees me struggling.

#SheCantBeAutistic #InvisibleAutism #ActuallyAutistic #AnonymouslyAutistic #AutisticWomen

Follow this journey on Anonymously Autistic.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Bad date.

Why Understanding Consent Is Essential for People on the Autism Spectrum

Recently I read about a campaign on social media, which had caused some controversy, designed to teach young children about consent.  In weeks and months past, watching events unfold on the world stage, a common theme has been respect and relationship with others: how we interact as a species, decide others’ worth and how, accordingly, [...]
Woman in gray sweatshirt shopping for toys

What I Wish More People Understood About Toys as the Parent of an Autistic Child

A young autistic boy had been asking his parents for a doctor kit. While “shopping” on Amazon, he added about 50 of them to our cart. During that week, he had therapy appointments, so Mama told him she’d take him to Walmart. He couldn’t wait to go shopping for a doctor kit. This little boy [...]
Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin Named to National Women's Hall of Fame

Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the greatest autism advocates of our time, has been named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Grandin, a six-time author with a Ph.D. in animal studies, was diagnosed with autism when she was 2 years old and is one of 10 women to be inducted this year. Previous hall [...]
The author and her partner wearing shirts that say [love] with the o as a puzzle piece

Autism and Dating

As an adult with autism, I do everything a bit differently than most, so it should come as no surprise that I have a partner who is different than most. He is kind, intelligent and compassionate. It sounds cliché, but before he and I began dating, some of his good friends were autistic! He is [...]