This has taken a lot of thought. And when an autie says that, then that’s an awful lot of thinking.
I am ‘out’ online, in that I make no secret of my autism on Pharyngula, and comment on a few other blogs such as Woman with Aspergers. But to link my autism, via this blog, to me and my books is a much bigger step. A scary step.
When I’ve told people IRL about my diagnosis, the commonest response has been ‘But you don’t look/come across as autistic!
Would you say to someone who’d just told you that they were deaf ‘But it looks to me as though you can hear!’ Or tell a paraplegic that it looks as though your legs work?
And if not, then why say the same to me? Are you trying to reassure me that I pass, that I’m nearly as good as normal, that I’ve become so expert that I really can fool you that I’m human?
Or are you saying that you don’t believe me, that I’m clinging on to this as a fashionable diagnosis, that I’m attention seeking, that I want to be special?
Another response, when I try to explain what being autistic means for my day to day life, is: don’t tell me those things! I want to think of you as normal!
Thanks. Even a close friend doesn’t want to hear about the realities of my life. I should stick to the sanitised version.
FYI, there are autistics in all walks of life, many of them simply concentrating on getting through each day. We don’t wear badges, or have autie tattooed on our foreheads. Our mouths don’t always hang open, and many of us don’t dribble. Some of us have become spectacularly good in certain social environments, like work, where we’ve had a lot of practice. Whatever the achievement, you can bet that somewhere at least one autie has done it.
Because we’re not homogenous. We’re as varied as the rest of the population. All we have in common is autism, and there’s a hell of a lot more to life than that.