Seriously, people, neurotypicals are so easy to figure out.
Even if you can’t figure them out, all you really have to do to get along, is mirror them. Forget making sense of their ways. For the most part, logic has nothing to do with any of it.
I used to study them, like an anthropologist. But now I’ve learned enough to know that it’s a waste of time trying to figure them out. I’m a different species, living in their midst, making the best of it.
I’m actually doing quite well in their midst, thank you very much.
I have a kick-ass NT impression I do around them. I figured out many years ago, that they need to be recognized, and they love to be mirrored — even if it’s so blatant, it’s a little embarrassing for me. They love it when I compliment their clothing or their jewelry or something about them. And they love it when I look at that spot between their eyes, or on one of their cheekbones, while I’m talking to them. They love sing-song prosody, so I’ve practiced that. A lot. I still do practice, in fact. They love to chat about whatever comes to mind, and they feel safer when others are responding in kind.
So, I do it. And I do it well, with all my autistic skill. And I’m ultra-successful, socially speaking.
Which of course hides me from all the folks who are the gatekeepers of support and assistance. Oh, well. I provide for my own assistance. By being successful enough in the NT world that I can carve out my own Autistic corner in my own hours.
Am I “authentically myself” around non-autistic folks? Oh, no. That would be a poor use of time and energy. I’ve tried… A number of times, carefully, gingerly, briefly. I’ve given it a whirl, every now and then. But the results have always been pretty depressing. Autistic! You can’t be! You’re not “like them”! Why are you trying to get attention? Why would you want to be autistic? All this seems to come from a state of panic with them. No higher reasoning, no complex thought. Just knee-jerk reactions designed to get the threat to their identity away from them as soon as possible. They seem to be in perpetual fight-flight mode – not a good use of my time, to join them.
Since the language they speak is the dominant tongue of my expediency-driven world, I’ve had to learn it. The turns of phrase. The gestures. The prosody. I have no interest in suffering or doing with less, because of others’ ignorance and fear. Likewise, I’m not all that keen on being their instructor / mentor / trainer about how to behave like a compassionate human being… how to “raise Autism awareness”… Nobody’s paying me to inform them — and it’s exhausting work.
Even if they do seem to get it, they’re never going to get ALL of it, because, well, they’re not Autistic.
So, I have my peace. I have my peace of mind. I have my piece of the world, and as long as I do my good impression of an NT, they leave me alone.
Which is the most that I can ask for. Just to be left alone. So I can rise on my own — on my own terms, on my own time, on my own turf, on my own wings.
I don’t mind masking. Not at all. It saves me from so much discomfort and annoyance… it’s well worth the effort.