Sometimes I feel invisible when another assumes things about me that are not accurate, particularly, if their assumption contradicts my own deepest self.
This happens most often when another interprets my actions as having an ulterior motive. When I speak, there are times another will assume I am:
- bragging to impress;
- stating something to earn respect;
- expressing something to set myself apart and make another feel less than;
- showing off in spite of another’s condition;
- or purposely knowing I am hurting someone, and saying something hurtful despite the knowing.
In most situations, I am merely talking to talk — to share, to open up, to expose, to tell a truth, to make aware, to connect, to enlighten, to set the record straight, to explain, to encourage, to offer another viewpoint, to be seen, to lighten a load, to reach out, to share, to be . . . to just be.
There is no hidden meaning. There is no hidden motive. There is NO END GAME.
I am not hoping to seduce someone with my know-how or knowledge, or great wisdom. Matter of fact, more than likely, I am trying to dodge arrows of my own awkwardness and lack of getting what’s inside out into the open the ‘right’ way. I am trying to figure out the rules and avoid offense. Trying to make the other feel comfortable. Worrying if I’ve come across in a way that has caused anything other than intended.
In fact, my only intention is being AS TRUTHFUL as possible. True to myself, my feelings, my experience, the situation, the facts. Primarily, the facts.
And facts are never truly accurate with the limitations of my mind: the time might be off, the complete memory altered, the details mixed up, the words of a situation or previous thought forgotten. In conversing, I am wondering how to bring up and out what is within, without creating something that is not a true reflection. I am working to avoid even a splinter of falsehood.
In addition, in conversation, my thoughts are going dozens of different directions all at once. I am wondering if the words of my sentence are the accurate words. I am wondering if I will be judged, misinterpreted, or accused. I am wondering if I’d best not say something a certain way. I am rewinding the current conversation, in order to learn how to say it another way, a better way, the next time.
I am leaping into the future, in hopes of ensuring lesser upset with a person I encounter at a later date. I am then leaping back to the moment. And then I am stepping out and observing self — my thoughts, my actions, my tone of voice, my feelings, my responses, my reactions. I am stepping out and watching my body move. I am retrieving aspects of the person standing before me — their facial movements, their body movements, their sentence structure, their tellings.
While all this is going on, I am trying my very best to hear the other person, listen to them fully, and accept them as a human being. All the while I have a running tape inside my mind of prior experiences I am pulling from.
Also, I am doing my best to create a situation in which I am ‘typical’ enough to carry on the conversation without embarrassing another or myself. I am lifting myself up in confidence, while trimming myself down in humility. It’s a fine line, a swinging pendulum, back and forth, of how to sound confident enough to pass as ‘normal’ and how to instill humility and patience enough to pass as caring.
So in that way, perchance I am manipulating the situation, but only in order to survive and complete the conversation. My hope is to have a positive encounter for the two of us. It’s not that I want to impress or win. I just want to be included within the process, when I know at any moment I might be expelled because of the way I present and process.
Most of this happens when I am talking to a non-autistic person, with a mind different than mine. When I am talking to an autistic person, or someone with a similar profile, most of this aforementioned distraction and challenge fades away, and I can just be. It is quiet. It is peaceful. It is right, if ever there was right. I can breathe.
This particularly goes well with an adult on the autism spectrum, if they have their own inner peace and knowing, and some type of faith that balances them in this world. It is then I have my finest moments, and words flow out of me like honey. It is then I feel safe.
Whether in the realm of an encounter with an autistic or non-autistic, in most contacts, I am not evaluating the outcome. I am not pre-planning. There is no exact path I am trying to head down. Indeed, many times my brain is expanding — branching out synapses in a multitude of directions, as I simultaneously contemplate all the branches (and leaves, and buds, and flowers, and fruit) at once.
I am thinking at high-speed, not intentionally, but quite naturally. I am moving down several paths together: flying, floating, swimming. Seeing multiple realities and experiences. Perhaps even time traveling. As it seems time must stop in order to grasp so much, so quickly.
I do not believe when I am conversing that am speaking from a selfish vantage point. Although, I have been accused of that behavior. I don’t understand why. I am not talking for my own advantage or to promote my own agenda. I am not trying to get at something or someone — unless I am defending a point or advocating for self or another. I am not speaking to gain something other than connection or clarity, or a similar aim.
And I am most definitely not purposely meaning to paint an untrue picture. I am not intentionally leaving something out. If anything, I am unable to hold something back. Even with prior prep-talk and self-promises, somehow the whole of a situation usually slips out; and even faster and stronger than I’d ever wanted!
Overall, THERE IS NO HIDDEN. It’s just me. There is no closet. There are no secrets. There is a hallway, but all the doors are open and the lights are on, and there is a backup generator. The only secrets I am able to keep are those that are about someone else. I am able to keep others’ secrets. To keep my word. Of course, there are rare cases, when I know if I spoke my truth it would be damaging to another’s soul or reputation, or upsetting in some sense. In those instances, I can hold my tongue, but typically not without much remorse or guilt. As not telling the whole truth feels as a lie.
Pride is a most difficult concept to grasp. It likely hurts the most when someone thinks I am bragging. I don’t ever want to brag because that doesn’t reflect the truth of me. It’s not what I feel. If someone interprets my behavior as bragging, I feel diminished.
In sorting out the concept of pride, I think mine feels something akin to this:
In relation to doing something ‘right’ or ‘good,’ I feel my faith increased. I feel as a vessel. I feel connected and deeply blessed. When I make a connection with someone on the same level, when someone says I have touched them in some manner there is an energy exchange, in which they touch me back. I feel spirit has worked through me. I feel I have done my part to contribute something to this world. I don’t feel my life is without meaning. I don’t feel anyone’s life is without meaning.
As far as self-pride:
I admire my brain from a logical standpoint, as I admire many others’ minds. I admire my tenacity and resilience, as I do many others’. I don’t see myself as extraordinary. I see unique experiences of my life as extraordinary. I see moments as extraordinary. I am thankful for the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ for the comfortable and uncomfortable. Thusly, in a sense, I am grateful for the discomfort I feel when misjudged and misinterpreted, because it is another experience in which to reflect upon and be. It’s a chance to take something that was found, and create something anew. These words, if you will.
I pray for continual humility. I pray to not hurt others. I pray for deeper understanding of others, of my life’s purpose. And I pray for the relief of others’ suffering.
I find the most difficulty comes when those that think they know me, think that I’ve done something, when I have not. It is then I feel this profound loneliness and isolation. It isn’t that I am being judged, it is that I am not being seen. It isn’t that I need to be liked and accepted, it is that I want to exist outside my own self. I am reaching and reaching to be seen — to escape the isolating shell of existence.
I don’t aspire to walk this planet alone. I DON’T WANT TO BE INVISIBLE.
Sometimes I am invisible. Sometimes this true self is glimpsed by others only in moments. The remainder of the time, I am mere reflection.
Sometimes I am others’ deep seeded fear. Other times I am envy. And sometimes, I am all the demons others set upon me.
In moments, beautiful moments, I am everlasting innocence.
I embrace my soul.
You can learn more about autism and Sam at myspectrumsuite.com