If you were to meet me, I have nothing physically about me that would indicate I am not your run of the mill, ordinary woman from down the street. In a way, it would be easier if I had some sort of obvious marker of being different.
I’ve learned how to play the game of fitting in. Or more how to sit on the fence and join in occassionally. It is very hard to describe the nuanced and shaded hues of difference I feel and experience. So I resort to examples, similies and the like. And I’m a fringe dweller.
As much as I try to hide my development delays, my 10yo self will inevitably come out to play. I cannot go a day with full normality and maturity. Something will pop out of my highly polished public face and cause a puzzled look on someone’s face. My neighbour won’t let her children associate with mine because I show a distinct lack of authority – simply because I actually talk to children at their level. On my knees and one to one. I play out the back with them and make scary faces with them. In many ways, I am still a child. And will always be.
I don’t know what you’ll see because I have a brain achingly difficult time trying to see and understand what you see and understand. On paper, I come across as reasonably intelligent, team playing and just another woman. People see me and don’t quite match me with the image they imagined on paper. Something about me gives me away as being not quite right. I have NO idea what that is. No one will tell me.
I have to guess by researching others like me. If I watch the guys at work who I suspect have autism (Asperger’s etc), I can see they come across as loner types, very clever about the product we sell and service (obsessively so) and have slightly off beat manners that cause discomfort in others. I can see they all try to hide their less favourable side, to varying degrees of success.
I think that is how I seem to others. It matters less now, especially as I am no longer affected by the need to reproduce. I am not interested in fitting enough to play pretend that I am a semi hot chick. I am fitting in enough to keep the job I love. That is all.
The hard part is knowing what others think. It matters only to the degree that I use external markers to gauge if a person feels safe to be me around, or whether I am going to have to go full incognito the entire time in the person’s presence. It is a matter of energy, at the end of the day. I have a finite amount of energy and I constantly play the priority line up in my brain. If I have little energy and I have to be with stalwart norms, then I have to plan my day differently. But none of this gets seen. You might see a slightly cranky me, or my artificial smile and think that is me. Noooo! Sorry! That is my heavy battle armour. Inside is a scared, hard working 10yo tomboy girl swearing at you and imagining a different world where you don’t exist.
I want to play each day. Life to be about the beat of my drum. But I’m not to let you see that. It is anti social, strange, wrong! Irresponsible! My mother cannot tolerate my immature side. I am constantly reminded I am supposed to be a prim Victorian era female. I cannot be me at home!! The only time I can be me and not worry about others’ responses is when I am alone. All alone. I don’t have to worry about feeling safe or judged. So, I prefer to not be seen or be around others.
In fact, only then does this post become superfluous! And that is the most freeing of all. Not worrying about how I come across to anyone.