When you get honest with yourself, you find out who’s in your life for the right reasons.
I’ve spent most of my life hiding to survive. It’s called masking. And it’s not done from a place of envy or vanity. Masking is something autistic women do to survive.
We pretend to be interested in popular things we don’t understand, just to have something to talk to you about.
We summon up boundless energy for work and socializing, just to collapse at the end of the day.
We might even go along with other people’s plans for our lives, just to keep the peace.
And just going along with it makes it so much easier for all the people who feel they have to deal with us.
With no regard for what’s in our hearts. For who we could be, with the proper support and understanding. For the life we lose when we give all our energy to being anyone but ourselves.
My autism diagnosis gave me permission to be honest with myself like I’ve never been before. The kind of honesty that most people consider really fucking rude – because protecting feelings and delaying pain is “nice.” But nice is neither kind nor a quality, so I’m shooting for candid, instead.
Until I can safely (without losing work) express myself all the time, the best thing I can do is set boundaries and expectations. How someone reacts to my boundaries – please don’t swear at me during a fight, please don’t insult my intelligence, please change the subject when the conversation is upsetting me – tells me all I need to decide whether the relationship is worth it to me.
A few weeks post-diagnosis, some of my “close” relationships have either changed shape or been lost. And sometimes I just have to stop and let myself feel how I need to feel about that for a minute. When it comes to letting go of a relationship before you’ve lost the love, and crying when you need to, the truth is the point.