“My Pencils outlast their erasures.” -Vlad Nobokov
Fairly recently, I’ve discovered that, despite the happy-go-lucky personality I showcase to the world, I’m damaged goods. There are times where, like Jean Luc Picard, I’m found myself thinking of my own mortality and thinking of those timeless questions philosophers greater than I have wrestled with, all to little avail. I know that I’ve mentioned “masking” before on my blog before, but now I feel the need to tell my own story.
It happened when I was first diagnosed, when I was very young. Through ABA or applied behavior analysis, I was taught that conforming was the “norm” that I needed to emulate, to suppress my stimming habits and attempt to be “normal.” It vividly reminds me of an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Spongebob tries to be “normal” to Squidward’s irritation, ironically since it was his idea in the first place.
I’ve often wondered recently why I can’t act goofy and silly at times, like my NT friends (and even some fellow Spectrumites.”It makes me really appreciate my friend and fellow author Jesse, who despite his status as a published author, can be silly and funny when he wants to. As a result, a reoccuring habit that I have is saying sorry for even the smallest thing, even when it’s nothing major; when it wasn’t my fault.
It’s something I wish I could change, honestly…
Recent talks with my parents make me feel that-given the results, which include improved manners, improved social ability and my ability to mask in the world- they don’t regret the decision at all, even as they do see my social awkwardness at family gatherings, a challenge that I’m still trying to overcome.
That said, I think it’s important to put this note in: I grew up in the 1980s, where Nintendo would make its mark on gamers as it still does today, where Apple was just starting out to grow its massive empire, where the luxuries of technology and information were not so widespread as they are now.
In light of this, I’ve made a decision..to forgive my abusers. They didn’t know what would happen or how good I would turn out.
I can’t even imagine what I’d do in their shoes, under the pressure of cold stares; whispers and decisions from people who (quite honestly) didn’t understand what it’s like to be a young Spectrumite who doesn’t know any better. My parents were trying to find answers, to find relief; to not “cure” me but only to understand and to help me….
Shine on as only I (and we by extension) can!!