Here’s some fun stuff while on my journey of discovering I am autistic. Apparently in this moment there are also a lot of other people discovering they are autistic too because naturally people are seeing others talk about it and saying hey..that’s me. The power of information at work. Ya knowledge! Finally there is some about autism. Especially concerning high functioning or Level 1 autism. And yes I’m going to use that term until I find a better term and I am not going to always explain that because honestly I don’t need to. If your idea about me is I am an evil person over one sentence or term you aren’t the sort I want around me anyway. Super tired of the overreacting online. But anyhoo..I’m starting to notice tik tok videos of people talking about autism by people who..I don’t know how to put this..since I’m new here…but they aren’t really talking about autism. And I hate even saying that out loud because who am I to say and “it’s a spectrum” and all that but honestly my gut tells me we are not talking about the same thing. And it almost feels like a jump on a band wagon kind of thing but I’ve been holding my tongue and keeping in mind that not everyone is going to be the same. Maybe if they dialed it back a little and it didn’t feel like “a show”…maybe it would feel more authentic. But I am getting some kind of feeling about it and it just doesn’t feel genuine or like we are talking about the same thing.

Another fun thing is trying to talk to ANYONE I know or sorta knows me about it because I am discovering I really masked hard my entire life. No one truly recognizes it in me for a damn good reason. I became very good at secrets. I was taught at a very young age while being brought up in a very extreme evangelical religious household and having a very emotionally disconnected step to bury anything about me that wasn’t approved of. To truly be myself as a child was to cause problems for the adults around me and ultimately get in trouble. Every day I learned to suppress something and not be me. Some things were acceptable. Thankfully I was allowed to be myself out in the backyard and in fields behind my childhood home looking for my number one special But beyond that special interest..everything else I had to hide or suppress or risk being punished or disappointing my parents.

Then I became a teen and it all turned into another fun trip of suppression and hiding and keeping secrets. It’s literally why almost my whole life I attributed my “things” “quirks” to abuse. I had no other explanation. My stims were responses to abuse. A way to self soothe. My special interests were also some kind of self soothing things except it was weird they were all inside me before I remember the first instance of abuse. I just thought I was fucked up by abuse. And I was. And am. But now I understand it went a lot deeper than the abuse and it certainly didn’t help with my being born autistic. But in order to survive and come off as “normal” or try to..I really REALLY masked hard. It’s shocking to me now to realize that. To think back at all the many, many things I was and did to simply survive in a world I have never truly felt part of. But boy did I try. My god I tried. And I paid the price for all of it too many times to count. I tried to follow a script that everyone else was following. I really tried very hard and I don’t think there is a person alive who truly knows me still. Truly knows all my parts and things. For a reason. It became part of me to suppress. I could put in a good show of being a free spirit and able to express myself and not care what anyone thought and there are parts of it that are absolutely genuine and how I really feel. But the toughness was a bit of a cover. The not giving any shits was a protective layer. I did give a shit..too much. I was hurt deeply by things others could let roll off their back. I did feel things very strongly and they hurt me deeply. Feeling and trying to not feel was the same deep hurt I didn’t allow people to see much of. I think in my writing is when I was able to express that a little. I think writing wether in my journals or online gave me an outlet along with my art. So I at least had that.

So I’m discovering I am still very much on my own on this journey too. And I get it. I understand it’s hard for people not in my head and having never seen the many ways I cope during a day and in different circumstances. They couldn’t possibly know all the things I am sensitive to or feel and a lot of that had to do with my own not understanding it and suppressing these things. Constantly telling myself to stop being so sensitive. Yea that light in this dr office hurts my face and is giving me a headache but suck it up buttercup and stop being so sensitive. Constantly. Every day. Stop being so sensitive and afraid of everything. The nonstop internal voice willing myself to be tough and logical and “normal”. And the fear of someone realizing I was this weirdo was a pretty strong motivator in itself. Many moments when I could not hold it together and the friends I did have thinking I was a flake because I would last minute cancel or leave early. And you know…I couldn’t explain it to them (or to myself) and I certainly wasn’t going to tell them the truth of how I felt so I let them think I was this uncaring flake. This person they couldn’t fully trust to show up and be there for them. While inside I loved the few people I had as friends dearly. So dearly. I am extremely loyal to the few who do like me for who I am anyway. I feel an abundance of gratitude for them because in my head, I just can’t be this person they deserve and it always bothered me I couldn’t tell them that. But not to the point where I could explain myself beyond what I felt was not a burden or weird. Never wanted to be a burden or drama for anyone. I just sucked it up. They never truly knew who I was. And some will never know. So to expect anyone to understand something different from what I let them not logical. And it’s still lonely. I’m still on my own in this and still having to explain myself as much as I’m able to and I’m still misunderstood. The hardest part for me is in realizing I’m still misunderstood. And unless someone is really invested in understanding me..that’s just how it’s going to be and I need to find comfort in the fact that what’s different now is…I understand me. In my understanding all these things I can stop beating myself up internally. I can be more me now. I don’t need to hide it or mask as much. I can remove myself from stressful situations and not feel guilt. I can internally feel better about myself. And that is huge. It really is.

I just need to find peace in that. Maybe it comes with time like everything else. Maybe I will find new relationships with people more like me and better able to understand my struggles. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be understood by people who couldn’t possibly know all I feel. I know what it is. It’s my wanting to share the relief I feel and the joy I feel in finally understanding what this all was and is and finding that too is a solo trip. For someone who so enjoys being alone and doing my own things..I sure still ache for that feeling of being understood and belonging. It’s another lovely contradiction that is me.

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