Ranting

I need to rant a little bit.

I need to say that I don’t consider it a compliment to be told that I don’t seem as if I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I don’t consider it flattery to be told that you notice nothing different about me and that I seem completely “normal.”

I don’t know what normal is. Would I be normal if I did not have AS? I don’t know, but I do know that I can’t separate myself from AS. I don’t know what I’d be like without it. It’s part of me. It affects everything in my life.

I don’t know how to explain this, but I don’t care if you don’t notice my Aspie-ness or think I’m just like you. Except when you tell me that I seem to be normal or unaffected by AS – because then it makes me feel invalidated.

You can’t see it, but my brain works in a way that is consistent with a diagnosis of Asperger’s – and in a way that is also different from the majority of the population. Different isn’t bad, but different is still different. My brain works differently. I experience things differently. I sense things differently. I think differently. I analyze differently. I communicate with myself and with others differently. I process differently. You can’t see it because it’s invisible and because I’m trained to hide my differences. You don’t see it because, around you, I’m always “on,” always putting on a performance.

And no, I can’t just turn “off” and act “natural” so you can see all my differences on the surface. There’s way too much anxiety in play and too much of a habit of hiding to just turn off my act around people with whom I don’t feel completely comfortable. It’s almost like all of existence is an act, for me. Every time we cross paths, every attempt at eye contact or communication.

I guess the thing is that when you say I seem normal, I feel completely isolated and misunderstood. I feel like you are happy to just take what you see on the surface and not question what might be beneath. It’s kind of unfair of me, I guess. I shouldn’t, and to some degree I don’t, expect people to dig and struggle to get to know the real me. But at least, if you’re not going to dig, at least acknowledge that you are barely scratching the surface. At least acknowledge that when you say I seem normal, you still know there could be a lot going on under the surface.

I guess that’s all for now. Smile with tongue out