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Cooling, Calming and Collecting

I’m taking some time away from social media. I will continue to need to take photos as I have always done and I will put them on my Instagram page – because for me this is an important part of living and recording life – but I’m turning off all notifications and deleting a few apps from my phone for a while. A run of negative stuff has put me on a back foot and I need to know how I really feel and not only how I feel when I’m all triggered and anxious. I know my feelings are valid but just what I should do about them I don’t know. I’ve had a lifetime of absorbing these things and making myself ill and I’m not sure I can do that anymore. 

It takes a lot of determination for an autistic person to change their thinking from negative connotations about their brain wiring to ones of self-love, self-respect and self-acceptance. Indeed, some people never get there. I did get there but it is a ceaseless mission to keep fighting a society that triggers the negatives and the bad thoughts and the prejudice. I am smart enough and happy enough to know they are all false and there is not a faulty gene or faulty wiring – it’s just a way of being human and I am fine with it but the world still is not and it is still triggering my anxiety and still asking me to fight back. 

I’m tired. 

So I’m going to go away and be me and be happy about that and the negative shit be buggered. 

Autistic Woman and the Public Persona

I’m out, I’m dressed, I’m bright, I’m smiley. Eyes twinkling with mascara and positivity.

I’m active and alert, acknowledging, nodding, talking. I am efficient. I am cloaked in my efficient persona. I have rehearsed this. I will smile and I will be genuine because I am set up for this.

I’m not fake. This is me. I am real. It is not a mask or an act – but it is an effort and it is only part of me.

The other parts of me are quiet and thoughtful and closed off:

The watchful me, the imaginative me, the creative me; the me that likes to plan and plot and design and reorder and construct and renew and appreciate. The me that needs space away from others to think straight and to survive.

The recovering me, the aching, sore-bellied, groggy me; the me that pushed to make life easier for others and drove herself on adrenaline and internal pep talks and constant alertness to get things right. The me that gets ill because society doesn’t run itself for me. The me that pops beta-blockers in the night to try to cope with all the replay and self-deprecation and the panic about what’s to come and what went before.

The live-wire me, the musical, singing dancing, gardening me; the me who forgets the time, gets lost in thrills and who has a unique surge of productivity that sits so badly with the conventional work day. The me who loves what her imagination and inspiration comes up with.

I am so much that is not bad but that grates painfully up against the social order and that has its own clock.

I will fit. I do fit. I make myself fit.

And then I hide, I curl up, I crawl, I don’t speak. I think and I think and I think.

And then I lengthen and strengthen and stretch towards a life I know I can only take in bites. And boy do I bite it.

And that’s how the public persona survives. Like a symphony of contrasting movements and dynamics and all the rests in between.

Love the autistic woman’s public persona for she has worked hard to perform it for you. But love the whole of her, love the composition and the composer, the way the magic works and the how the best movements are the ones you don’t notice on the first performance.

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