One of the hardest things to me, when it comes to my autism, is standing out but wanting to blend in.
By standing out I mean that I want to celebrate me. My uniqueness. My personality. From my occasionally brightly coloured hair, to my jazzy shirts, to my Marvel superhero socks (yes, at 50) and to my wacky sense of humour, pun laden, dry and biting.
But then there’s the other side.
The side that hates socialising, that wants to hide, that wants to stand in the corner, who hates social chit chat and small talk and who frequently just wants the world to swallow him up.
And it’s hard to hide when your a brightly dressed 6’4″ guy!
But I hate being one of the crowd. It’s not an ego thing, not a better than you situation, but a genuine dislike of social interaction. Even if I like the people I find it very hard to concentrate my efforts onto them, even for quite short periods. I don’t know what to say or do and, very frequently, I have zero interest in what they are saying.
And I’m quite sure that if I suddenly started talking about Egyptology or venomous snakes, their interest level would be non-existent.
But I just don’t do small talk. Who marries who, who sleeps with who (are you sure it’s just sleeping ?. We know it’s not so why call it that ?. ) who lives near who, how many bedrooms, how much for their house, is the school good…no, means nothing to me. Sorry, I have no interest. So blending in by indulging in small talk of a similar nature is both foreign and impossible for me.
Believe me, I’ve tried. I have sat and really concentrated. I’ve listened. I’ve summoned my counselling training. And I’ve got a headache because no matter how hard I try, I simply don’t get it.
So I can’t blend in when I’m listening because I can’t react appropriately.
It’s a real conundrum.
I’m off to a wedding tomorrow. I will know about ten people out of, potentially, a hundred or more. I’m dreading it. I can’t wear what I want, I have to behave, I have be good, I have to act “normal”…
I want to hide.
And I’m scared. Anxious. Frightened.
I don’t want to blend in. I want to be invisible.