Great post! I can really relate. These days, I tend to think of masking in terms of bilingualism – being functional in a second language in a culture that’s not native to me. I don’t think of it as a betrayal of myself, because I’m very, *very* clear about the things I do and do not relate to, in the non-autistic world and ways.
I’ve probably benefited a lot from being a lesbian, since that trained me to walk the fine line between the straight world and my own sensibilities. It seems I’m at odds with everything considered “the norm”!
Ha! Well, it’s everyone else’s loss, that they don’t inhabit my world. It’s amazing and wonderful here. And it’s exhausting, dealing with everyone on outside. That exhaustion tends to make passing/masking/blending seem negative, but it’s just my fatigue talking.
… hard to differentiate between goodness and wretchedness, when I’m exhausted, which is a lot.
But I do have my refuge, my solitude, my isolation, my hermitage of a life. So, that saves me. Each and every day, it saves me. That, and compassion I can never seem to fully escape. Even for people who are highly adept at making my life a living hell.
Funny how that works…
Again, great post!
Recently at work in my studio – exploring images of childhood in film.
This post is about both ageing and masking. Masking can be a difficult subject as some autistics can’t mask their autism, and those of us who can often wish we didn’t have to, and yet we may depend on masking to get by. Masking overall is not really a choice though in some circumstances we can chose to unmask ourselves. We may also just be unmasked by circumstances – and this can be deeply confusing and humiliating. It is both a relative privilege and a survival strategy. Yet however important masking can be in mediating aspects of autistic challenge in neuro-normative spaces it is also pernicious in it’s effects on us.
Revealing autism and unmasking are not entirely the same thing in my view – and this is worth pointing out. One of the difficulties we face…
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