I’m Not Who You Want

I’ve noticed that people expect a lot from me. Honestly, I can’t do everything that is expected. People forget sometimes that I’m autistic, I think. I guess, for a while, it makes me feel more normal but I shouldn’t have to hide myself. My true self isn’t the person people want me to be. This doesn’t mean that people should avoid me, or worry about how to talk to me; they should talk to me exactly how they would anyone else. The only difference is that my reply might be vague or unexpected. It might not be what they wanted. I try to talk normally but sometimes my words get knotted and I end up saying something different than what I wanted to say. That’s just how I am. My thoughts and my words often don’t align. Sometimes, I don’t even speak at all, and that’s not because I don’t want to speak; I feel a physical block on my words. It happens most with strangers but it can happen at anytime with people I’ve known for a while too.

When chatting online, I come across as a very different person to how I act in real life. I type what I wouldn’t dare speak, and my online voice is more confident than my real one. This too can give people the impression that I am capable of a lot. The truth is: it embarrasses me to talk about what I can’t do. That’s why I don’t mention it to my friends unless it’s important for them to know. I put on this act that makes me appear able to do lots of things, when really I struggle to do most things.

I’m someone who needs a carer. That carer is also my mum, which means she is around me constantly, to help me do things. I’m someone who needs someone to go out with me, because I can’t go out alone. I’m someone who has a meltdown about the silliest things. The other day, I had a meltdown because my mum thought my meal was hers and peppered it. It was pasta and I can’t eat pepper on my pasta. A lot of people wouldn’t care about something like that but, like I said, the silliest things cause me distress. I have to have things exactly how they’re supposed to be and, if something goes wrong, I can’t cope.

I’m not who people want me to be. I’m trying so hard for my problems to not affect me, but they will always affect me, because autism isn’t temporary. I don’t mind being autistic, it’s who I am, but sometimes I wish it was more understood. There are many stereotypes around it, but I’m not those stereotypes. People thing that if I keep trying, one day my problems will go away. They won’t go away. I’m autistic for life. I can try to make things easier, but it will take time. It’s not something that can happen overnight.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to go out alone, but that day is not today, and it probably won’t be for many days yet to come. People who pressure me into trying to do things that are hard for me just make it harder still. I’ll do things at my own pace.

Understanding isn’t easy if you haven’t experienced it, but imagine you walk into the middle of a movie, and have missed important parts of the plot. You keep trying to ask people questions, but they’re busy watching the rest so they keep telling you to be quiet. That’s kinda what it’s like. You don’t understand what’s going on and you try to figure it out, but you’re still way behind.

Thank you for reading this post,

Lia

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To The Girls Who Wear Glass Slippers

To the girls who wear glass slippers:
does the shoe fit?
Does it slide on gracefully, or did you have to sand your foot again and again – until the skin rubbed off – just to get it to slide in uncomfortably?
Is that glue I see, crushed into the slipper, so that your foot won’t hang out?
What’s that – rope? Tying your foot to it, are you?
It might be convenient to dig your foot into the first glass slipper you see, dear, but is your foot okay with it? Does it dangle or quench for air? Does it walk smoothly, without blisters?

To the girls who wear glass slippers:
don’t shape your foot. It isn’t clay.
There might be a prince around someday, a boy who passes you a glass slipper, and asks you to try it on. He might have the medals dangling around his neck, gold rings tightened to his fingers, money waddling around in his pocket – he might have all that, but if the shoe does not fit, then he is not a prince. He is merely an impostor; a concoction of stolen awards, gold paint, and forged money.

To the girls who wear glass slippers:
if the shoe fits, wear it.