Everyone has a skin;
a protective layer to prevent and repel.
Some skins are thick and watertight,
impervious and resilient.
But an autism skin is thin and raw.
It stings, it burns, it prickles and it bleeds.
One small scratch is all it takes for days of pain.
And over the years, the many scars struggle to fade.
If you prick me do I not bleed…?
…And bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed…?
Please don’t prick me.
I wrote this because I see how nonautistic people struggle to comprehend our reactions and our pain. No one’s saying autism has the monopoly on pain and sensitivity, but an autistic reaction is immediate and often overpowering. We take everything in, we take it to heart, we find it hard to process and hard to recover. Everyone deserves a chance, sensitivity and thoughtfulness, but an autistic person needs extra protection always because our defences are thin and we are too easily shaken.
It can often feel like poking a hornet’s nest when you argue with an aspie, and instead of stopping, people tend to continue jabbing and questioning, ‘Why are you behaving like this?’ ‘Behave like me.’ ‘Get over it.’ ‘Stop it.’
When you reach this situation of desperation and frustration, it means you’re getting us wrong: you’re provoking us.
It’s not the right thing to tell us we’re behaving badly because that’s not how we see it. We see you behaving badly. Eventually, after some hard work, we reach a stage where we contort our thinking to how we think you want us to think and react but it’s tiring and we feel sad that yet again we moved our world for your sake. But you don’t see that you only remember us as reactionary.
Meanwhile, you move on and we continue hurting.
It’s not easy seeing social rules and interaction through a different lens but we’ve had a jolly good go at it over the years. Remember that and think about seeing it our way sometimes.