Get Back Up And Do It Again

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Taking off the mask

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.

So.

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.

Baby steps.

I may fail but at least I will have tried.

Speaking in Public

ActuallyAutistic, asd, autism, Life events

I’ve mutually volunteered/been asked to do a presentation at work about autism in the workplace.

I feel kind of excited about it but also a bit unsure of where to start.

There are so many things to say but don’t want to say everything as to not overload people.

A million questions swirling and consuming my thoughts:

How detailed do I go?

How open should I be?

Do I really need to share that I sometimes have meltdowns in the middle of the night because insomnia can be overwhelming for me?

Will people understand what “executive function” means?

Will anyone care?

Will they think I’m making it up because they can’t see it?

Am I wasting my time?

Will I offend?

The list of ‘what if,’ ‘why,’ ‘because’ is expansive.

And then there’s public speaking.

But I’m comfortable being uncomfortable so have spoken publicly quite a bit when I’ve had to so it’ll be alright.

And, with age, comes experience and far less concern about what others think about me.

I’ve never really had that ego though; I’ve never really cared what other people have or do think of me.

Sorrynotsorry. 🙂

I am hoping for the best with this presentation.

It does leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable to open up about my brain like this but

there is a strength within that vulnerability.

Sidenote: I actually was able to be a “normal” human being and spoke to my neighbors for the first time by myself last week. I’m considering that a life event so tagged the post as such. I was recoiling inside but it did feel good to show myself how far I’ve come. Little steps = big progress.