Just Being with People

It’s not any kind of “work” for me to be around my kids or grandkids. In so many different ways. I don’t think about how to BE or act around my kids. With certain friends too. I don’t think anyone could understand this and the intensity of this and the mental work involved unless you are autistic. And I’m so sorry there isn’t a way for others to truly understand this because wow it would clear up so many misunderstandings about me. It’s not you. It’s me. But it’s not that I’m crazy or weird…or disabled or work to be around too. I think others own insecurities come into play a lot when they don’t get someone. I know it does for me and that’s 75% the reason I might be super awkward around you. I am constantly thinking about how to just BE around people. Just be. That quiet you witness…that “shyness” is not what I’m feeling inside or thinking inside my head. The wheels are turning, baby. Constantly. And it’s all about feeling my way through a particular moment being around people. What should I say? What do I do. How should I stand. Did what I just said sound weird. Why can’t I fit in. What’s the thing I can say or do to just fit in. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all. My brain is always on..observing..taking notes…going over my go to lines…can I trust this person…why are they acting like that…just nonstop inside my head. And THIS is why it’s exhausting to me. This is why sometimes I just can’t do it. It’s why I don’t show up. It’s why I cancel plans. It’s why I leave early or take many “smoke breaks” away from the noise…inside my head. I’m not anti social. I do like people and like to be included. It’s heartbreaking to me to not be included. I want it as much as it exhausts me. I’ve learned it’s better to step back than push myself. It’s self care and I’ve learned to accept some not understanding it or misunderstanding it. But it doesn’t not hurt to know I made someone feel they weren’t worth my time. That is never my intention. Omg I hate disappointing people so much. And I’m always torn up about it. I think a lot of my generalized anxiety comes from this alone. Just the constant realization that I will be misunderstood and I don’t want people to feel bad but knowing I have to lesson the anxiety I feel somehow to just be okay. Age and life experiences have taught me it is better to just walk away. Because that one moment turns into months of going through it all in my mind of what I could have done differently.

And this is what trauma looks like. Never quite knowing what I did wrong and having so many many different instances where you are blindsided by reactions to your believing you are doing it all correctly. Your entire life. Simply because you process things differently in your brain. Because you don’t act “normal” to the majority out there. How do you NOT feel incredibly paranoid? How do you not feel real anxiety when too many times to count you really believed you were doing okay until someone reminds you that you are not. Of course I have anxiety issues. How could I not?

The constant search to feel okay around people has been exhausting. There are a few out there that I feel this with. And I think this is why autistic people so cherish these relationships. I really do. I cherish them immensely. Sometimes to the point of being a little weird about it so I’ve learned to not be so dramatic about the people I truly cherish for allowing me to just be me around them. They are rare treasures to me though. I am not anti social. I truly care about feeling accepted and loved. It’s just hard for me to find that “sweet spot”in others. It’s very hard for me to trust people and relax. I wish it were not.

I struggled with it much more when younger and being accepted in a group was much more important to me. Age has been a gift. I do not struggle with it as much now. I’m very okay with accepting it now and even more so since my autism assessment. Even more so now that I understand I am not broken and dumb. I’m just autistic. That’s it. I was trying to be something I wasn’t for so long it’s hard to now unravel all that but I am so grateful I understand it now. And I still want to be part of a group. I still want to be present and comfortable just being me. But now I think..well I know…who it is I may feel more comfortable around. Who those like minded souls really are. No more trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I can be friendly and civil and force myself to be around people not like me fine…but I need to be around those I do feel comfortable around. I really do need that. I think it does build confidence. I think what I was trying to do my entire life was opposite of building confidence in myself. I know it was.


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