Aspirational Me

Me: …so, yeah, I’m still having a really hard time reading I Think I Might Be Autistic. I don’t know why. It’s giving me so much good information. It’s telling me things I need to know and confirming things I already suspected. But it’s rough going.

Me: I mean, let’s face it – being autistic is not exactly aspirational.

Me: When was the last time someone said “I think so-and-so might be autistic” and then followed it up with a compliment?

Me: Last month I heard two separate comedians say on two separate comedy podcasts, “I think this guy must be on the spectrum.”

Me: One of them was saying what an idiot someone was; the other was describing a movie where a character didn’t display emotions appropriate to the situation.

Me: Oh, hey – let’s not forget all the advice-column letters where the it’s-always-a-woman is writing in about her problematic it’s-always-a-guy significant other. “He may be on the spectrum.”

Me: Why? Is he disciplined? A hard worker? Compulsively honest?

Me: Oh. No.

Me: He never seems to understand how she feels.

Me: Funny how those good qualities are things anyone could have, but if some guy’s an insensitive lout – boom. Must be on the spectrum.

Me: Because neurotypical dudes are never oblivious to the welfare of those around them.

Me: And autistic people as a group have no discernable good qualities.

Me: And of course there’s all the talk about “curing” us, which is not what you say about people you think are okay.

Me: So, yeah – I guess I can understand why finishing this book and moving forward with my diagnosis is taking some time. Why I need to take some time with this.

Me: Okay. To encourage myself to keep on keeping on, I’ll post short pieces about aspects of autism on my blog. Maybe that’ll help me feel less overwhelmed. 

Me: Plus that’ll be much more enjoyable for readers than if, say, I posted a summary of the dozens of questions in that initial test early in the book.

(Ah, sweet sweet optimism, let me sip thine ambrosial nectar one last wistful time.)

The expectation:

Me: I mean, even neurotypical readers will understand that when I’m talking about just one quality a lot of autistic people tend to share, I don’t mean that you can summarize autism with that one quality.

Me: And of course the neurotypicals and other non-autistics will get that there’s probably no single quality of autism that isn’t also something plenty of other people experience, too.

Me: It’s a matter of preponderance.

Me: And intensity.

Me: Plus we’re talking almost 150 characteristics on just this one list of questions. I can’t go into all of those at once! That would be so tedious!

Me: I already mentioned in a previous post that this questionnaire goes on for almost 30 pages.

Me: Non-autistic people will understand that I’m picking and choosing so this blog will be a source of edutainment rather than the online equivalent of a ten-pound block of cement.

Me: …right?

The reality:

Comments on blog: wrong

Comments on Facebook: wrong!

Comments in frantic phone calls from friends and loved ones: WRONG



Me: hoo boy

I sat down to write a post about impostor syndrome and how much fun it isn’t. I realized as soon as I started to type that I had too much to say for one post to even begin to cover.

So that’s what this is: the beginning.

Two days ago, I had one of my worst days in recent memory, and I say that with the year 2020 looming large as life and twice as ugly in the rearview mirror.

I am feeling beaten down by a toxic combination of impostor syndrome and the fact that I’m feeling like an impostor about something no one wants to be.

I’m not a CEO who’s worried sick someone will figure out that secretly she’s not worthy of that promotion.

I’m not a kid who just got accepted into the Ivy League but who’s convinced she’s the only one who struggles with feelings of inadequacy. “Everybody else is doing great. I know some of them say they feel like impostors sometimes, but I really am one!”

I get to feel like an impostor because if I’m not autistic, everything that’s a life-defining struggle is just me being lazy, disorganized, and frankly kind of weird.

More on Monday.

3 thoughts on “Aspirational Me

  1. Remember, no matter what any official diagnoses may be, you are still *you*, and that is someone whose friendship I truly value.

    Spectrum? Not spectrum? Doesn’t change a thing, other than knowledge. And maybe ways to help make your life a bit easier. Which I would want for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hope I haven’t made you feel like I ever thought you were wrong about what you were describing as your experience in life. I often feel the same things (that you’ve described). Am I autistic? I don’t think I am, but I also wouldn’t care if a doctor said I was or wasn’t. When I took my son in for testing, they told me he wasn’t autistic, but had sensory issues. From all the reading I did after that, I just feel like everyone has some sensory issues, and that if they interfere with what “others” call having a normal life and normal interaction with one’s family and friends, then maybe that is being on the spectrum, but I also think that lots of people are on the spectrum and being on the spectrum makes them really, REALLY good at what they do.

    I agree with you; being on the spectrum shouldn’t be viewed as negative or positive, anymore than having blue eyes should be viewed as negative or positive. And maybe being part of the Deaf community colors my perception of things because we don’t see ourselves as disabled, but rather, have created a full and rich environment for our culture and our language that fulfills us. Yet, other people might view this community with pity.

    Well, that’s on them that they don’t understand how full our lives are. And I mean this towards being Deaf/deaf, having sensory issues, being autistic, or anything else like this.

    You’re a great writer and that’s why I love interacting with you. If you’re autistic, then that’s a part of you like your pretty blue eyes. If you’re not autistic, then that’s like saying, well you’re also not Asian; it’s not important.

    We’ll see you back here or on FB sooner or later. Much affections to you, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

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