knowing me

A few weeks ago, I decided to visit campus and I ran into two good friends of mine. Its funny sometimes I don’t feel different, but I always know that I am. I felt this way when I was on campus, not because my friends were unfriendly but because I found myself struggling to make conversation. I could see the happiness in their eyes as they saw me and I knew my eyes and face were their stoic selves. when I spoke to them I knew that there was this huge barrier between me and them and not just the customary three feet I like to have between me and other people. That distance I often measure out with my eyes. If anyone ever gets closer than that it makes me uncomfortable. In case you are wondering many autistics do this when speaking to people. Having a comfortable distance which is close enough for non-autistics to feel welcome to speak to us but far enough that they can’t try and hug us or touch us without us knowing. For some autistics physical contacts bothers us. I barely tolerate being hugged. Our nerves are very sensitive and mine give me this tingling unpleasant feeling when someone touches me ie hugging or putting their hand on my shoulder, or anything else. Yet I hug people all the time, but still cringe a little at times, but the more I do it the more that tingling goes away.
I realize I have completely digressed from my earlier point about barriers.
As I have gotten older and have accepted who I am I have discovered what that barrier is that stands between me and other people:
Autism.
I have it.
Unless people have it they can never truly understand what it is. Evidence of this was when I asked some friends why they never responded to my tweets about autism on my twitter profile. The general response was they couldn’t relate to the experience of having autism. Their inability to relate to me often makes me feel isolated and alone when I’m with my non-autistic friends. so today I asked myself the question is it possible to know a lot of people and have never truly know you? Yes. Particularly if they cant understand what you have to go through. People call me remarkable and inspiration when I see myself as neither of those things. I try to just be me. I’m often dysfunctional in my choices and behaviors and often say things that are seen as odd or awkward unless people take the time to listen and understand and get to know me. The best way to know me is to simply ask what is it like to be autistic? I just wish someone cared enough to ask that question.

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