And I don’t really feel like doing much. Obviously, I had a very lazy weekend.
I don’t think I’d survive well in Seattle, but then on the other hand, I think I could acclimate and thrive everywhere with a proper observation period.
I know that skill comes from years of masking and being what other people needed or wanted me to be.
It’s really hard not to immediately slip back into that when I meet someone new. Or someone that I haven’t seen in a while.
I feel like if they aren’t greeted with what they expect from me, they will be let down immensely and not want to be my friend anymore.
I have a lot of insecurities that I used to just smile through, but recently instead of just smiling and ignoring, I’ve been trying to get to the root of them.
For years, friends of mine would joke about me being autistic. Like, it was a punchline.
“Oh, Jacki. She’s just has the ‘pergers.”
“Yup, that’s just Jacki being autistic.”
I laughed along because, you know, that’s part of how I masked. But if I’m being honest with myself, it did make me feel less than. And it quite often hurt. But I thought that’s what friends did.
It’s not y’all. It’s not.
And it’s really hard to tell my brain that.
Now, to be fair, when my friends did this I was not officially diagnosed and there wasn’t nearly the same amount of research available that there is now.
I thought it was really awesome to be “accepted” “as I was”.
But was I, though? Or was I just allowing people to make fun of me?
Putting my mask on to hide the hurt, as it were.
Whatever it was, it kept me from actually seeking a diagnosis for a very long time.
Because I was afraid my “friends” would make even more fun of me if they knew their jokes were true. Or worse, make it about them because they were “right”.
That’s honestly the fucking worst. Hearing a “friend” gloat because they were right about your diagnosis.
It’s a special kind of sting.
The other sting that really burns is the other side of the coin, the “You don’t seem autistic!”
Yes, I know that’s because of the very thick mask I have put on for you. It is many years in the making and very intricate so I am glad you appreciate it.
I’m just not comfortable with you yet to take it off. So treat me like a human and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to meet the real me.
And once I got diagnosed with OCD, I was really afraid to tell people. For both sides of the coin: the “YEP I KNEW IT THAT’S WHY YOU _______” and “You are not! That’s not I picture it!”
Here’s a great piece of advice for everyone: If someone, especially a friend tells you, “I am this”
Even if “this” is an “Autistic, Bisexual, OCD, stuffie lover that also has Aphantasia, Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory (SDAM) and a serious praise kink.”
Accept it. Accept them.
Ask questions from a place of curiosity, but make sure they are ready to be asked the questions.
For me, especially with Aphantasia, I often find myself in the place of defending my brain, like the questions asked to me are from a place of disbelief, not acceptance and curiosity.
Curiosity: “Oh wow! I’d never heard of that before. How long
Disbelief: “You’re just overthinking it! You can’t picture ANYTHING? What about a apple? Wait, no candy! You love candy. Try picturing that!”
I want to reply to things like that with, “Yeah, I also love my dead dad, but I cannot picture him. Sure would be cool though!”
That’s not to say I’m against answering questions about my brain and it’s uniqueness, cause I think it’s neat myself so I like talking about it.
But I don’t feel like I have to prove my brain stuff to my friends. Or anyone else, honestly.
I want to share them and talk about them and hear about the stuff that happens in their brains. It’s fascinating to me.
And the SDAM is really hard to talk about with anyone, because it gets laughed off like, “Oh yeah, I have a bad memory too.” or “Yeah, I never remember if I took my pills or not.”
This is much more than that and as I get more comfortable with the diagnosis, I’m sure I’ll open up more here on the blog. So far, save for one experience, each time I’ve tried to start a conversation about it, I’ve been met with skepticism and offers to “prove” it, so I hesitate to say anything at all.
Like I said, the mask is difficult to let go of.
I try my best to be patient with people when they are asking me questions about things like this, because I know their brain doesn’t work like my brain and who knows what’s going on in there? Not me!
But the constant asks to prove either the SDAM or the Autism or the OCD or the Aphantiasia are exhausting. Instead of firing questions trying to “trip us up” (this is what it feels like in my brain), share your brain experience and show curiosity about ours. If you’re not naturally curious, just say “cool” or something and move on.
We’ve been though the “proving” with our doctors or therapists. We don’t need to do it for you too.
Sorry I’m not _____ enough for you. (again, this is what it feels like in my brain.)
Welp, this started out as a moody post about rain but then morphed into this? I guess it’s something I was sitting on. Thanks for reading my words, as always.