Thursday, July 13, 2023

female autism and conformity

I am reflecting on how autism has shaped me over my youth, yeah more rumination. I just feel like it. Autism hasn't been all sunshine and cartoon drawings, it's had it's fair bit of challenges. They told me at my diagnosis session that I aligned perfectly with being autistic, that my childhood was happy and free but adulthood is where many girls suffer.

I read some blog posts lately that often talk about the erosion of self that comes when autistic girls attempt to conform in teenage years and beyond. I don't want to admit that I've masked and conformed, but I've been hurt by a pressure to be a different person than who I really am. As I might have mentioned in a post last year, I endured an autistic man telling me I was 'masking with everything I was saying'. Well, I would be downright rude to his face if I wasn't. Not only that, but a man with BPD in the ward in 2021 reprimanded me for having a 'personality that shapeshifts depending on who I was around'. Of course, both these men are very unwell in their own ways, but it got me thinking. 

I want to be my true self. Somedays I'm stronger than others. I choose clothes that make me feel comfortable rather than pretty often, I smile subtly at myself in the mirror. I let myself peer down into the trauma of decades past, but not dive too deep. I accept that life hurts and that I'm still undergoing an agony due to psychosis damage, but I am proud of my life journey. That's what it comes down to, a pride in yourself. 

This pride for me is in accepting I am what others may consider a 'late bloomer', but that isn't something I let define me. I take pride in my individuality and love of solitude, of inner imaginative worlds where I never have feel alone. Art is not only a calming 'stimming' activity, but an intense special interest which I've honed and polished and been able to make my career! That's awesome, I reckon! That's where 'autism' can be considered a superpower. It's just important to know it hasn't all been a walk in the park.

People tend to undermine female autism especially. 
Oh, everyone has some degree of autism, I get drained around people.
Oh, you can make eye contact and hold down a job.
Oh, you aren't flailing your hands and hitting people.
Oh, you aren't suffering that much right? 
Oh, you can't be that autistic.
No. It has a sadness and a darkness which I won't dive into right now.
Autism isn't just getting drained around people. I feel like my fear of judgement has made me seem like a worried, cold and unpleasant woman. I am those traits sometimes in little ways, but its not representative of me really. I am actually warm, loving and fun, but hide away from many people because the challenge of getting to know them often has too many hurdles. So when people aren't open in return, I give up. Why bother when people put up big barriers and play mind games? Well, I can't stand that sort of behaviour, but I'm afraid because many people these days engage with agendas. Whether its in the fact a man may only befriend me because of the possibility of dating, or in how girls especially make assessments based on whether they think you're worthy hanging around them, like a pretty accessory, I find the agendas too much.

My agenda is I want connections. I want to feel deeply and whether its friendship or more, that's my agenda.
So in short, I need to manage autism like I manage bipolar.
Autism doesn't require heaps of meds and blood tests to check your lithium levels, it requires self insight to realise you are ruminating and thinking in black and white. The monochromatic thinking is probably my biggest weakness and proof of the severity of my autism, besides the medical certificate.
I struggle to reel it in and see the good sketches I do...
To see the stories I write aren't half bad.
To see the games I've made, and how I've learnt what a switch statement is.
To see that I'm not ugly, inside and out.
To see that I have the capacity to form friendships and love. 
Yeah, this melodrama makes me who I am too. I may be a bit of an emotional whirlwind even on good days, but I know I have a strength that can forge an easier future. It's already happening. :) Cya. 

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