I had a moving experience recently at a concert by an artist whose music is one of my “special interests.”
I was on such a cloud of bliss during their show that kinda hit me between the eyes spiritually and politically.
It dawned on me that I am afraid of all the things that matter, that create empathy to spark change, that fulfill the soul of me rather than the perception of me.
People would say I have done “fearful” things in my life
like moving to a new country to go to university,
performing live shows in a band,
doing a poetry reading in a fully booked coffee house,
or taking part in a panel discussion for international students for UCAS conference in front of 400+ global higher education leaders that was also live-streamed for millions across the world.
I have done fearful things. But that isn’t what I’m afraid of.
I’m afraid of being misunderstood,
hurting peoples’ feelings due to my bluntness,
misreading social cues,
going off script,
using the telephone
or my good intentions being mistaken for malice.
I’m afraid of making friends,
sharing my “special interests,”
or staying quiet instead of educating people on important causes that I care about like the environment.
It isn’t about ego. I don’t have an ego to bruise, to be honest, and I can thank my superpower for that.
The reason I was able to do all of those “fearful” things was because I believed in its higher purpose to help, heal and support other people who may have related to my music, my words or studying abroad to start their lives over or to just start their life like I did.
We all wear masks regardless if we’re marked as neurotypical or neurodiverse. Taking the mask off is scary for everybody and for lots of different, complicated reasons.
I am afraid of fully taking off my mask
and I’m deeply, painfully lonely
partly for it.
I isolate myself because of my fear of expressing common qualities that attract people to one another. It’s not like I’ve been a total failure in this, because I haven’t been, but I am still shackled, and I don’t want to be shackled anymore.
I’m going to try again.
I need to be more “me” and less the “me” that I feel people want to see because I’m afraid of my autistic weaknesses.
The reality is I may be weak at some things, but I am damn good at other things like pushing my fear out of the way because I don’t have ego.
I may fail but at least I will have tried.