“You see me here, masking to fit in and you pat my mask on its papier-mâché corners and tell me how wonderful it it. But it isn’t. It’s heavy. It weighs me down and exhausts me. I can’t play with my hands inside my mask, which means I can’t drown out the sensory noise with my nice senses. I have to watch you so carefully to match you expression for expression and check your true meaning against your words. I have to put my face on and decode yours and speak and emote, and communicate in your ways that are so unnatural to me.
And my reward is to be told that I look just like one of you so the mask must not exist.”
Haven’t I heard that only a hundred thousand times in my life..
In 2016 I wrote a post that seemed to capture people’s imagination in a way that others didn’t. Autscriptic has since been shared far and wide.
It taught me that there is great power in sharing conversations between neurotypes: Laying bare the misunderstandings that tangle us up.
The first Autscriptic was about the trials of masking, this Autscriptic is about the times when I’ve had people quantify my autism based on how well I can smile. Once again it is not me recounting any one conversation, it’s a story based on many conversations I have had. Usually with people who know little about me and less about my autism diagnosis.
You must have a mild form
Mild and soft and gentle as a summer rain?
What does mild mean?
Well, you’re not very… flappy. You can talk, you can look at me. I just mean you…
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