Don’t forget to look me up on Instagram, Minds, TikTok and Twitter under “RealAutismSpeak” if you want to follow my daily exploits, for more than what I’m able to put out here–for the time–on this blog! Also on Clouthub, MeWe, Gab, and a few others but need more time to explore.
It seems to be the #1 concern on the minds of a good chunk of our community…..in the very least, the vocal ones: so many on the spectrum are so desperate to do pretty much anything conceivable to–even go so far as–changing everything about who they are….and for the single, solitary purpose of making a good first impression on the non-Autistic crowd, and be “liked and approved of”. I guess to many, the idea is “well, I don’t like myself anyway, so I can find some people who can help me become a version of myself that I will”; this is an idiot’s gamble if I’ve ever heard one. Incidentally enough, as I was driving to work recently, I thought about a perspective that our community never bothers to respond to the non-Autistic community with:
We’re gaslit and manipulated beyond words to be concerned about how we come off to everyone else, and very much so from an early age; we’re told to perform specific tasks and in a specific way; that their approval of us is essentially “conditional” (and I can assure you that you’ve never met those conditions from Day 1, no matter what you’re being told), and that the only way to succeed in life that they’ll accept is by winning their approval, and doing things on those terms. Ok……so here’s my question…….did any of they ever bother to ask what we think? Whether it be of they individually, their structuring, their terms, or any of it? I’m 100% admitting that I expect the response to be “haha Russell, who cares what you and your brethren think? You’re meaningless to us, anyway; you’re lucky we allow you to get as far as we do, from the get-go!” Ho hoooooo rest assured, I’ve already put that together a long, long time ago…..but here’s what you have to understand: it’s a two-way street.
Since I was a young child, no matter how I was treated by other people, their friends would eventually come around at some point, and ask me to give them “a chance”; Sorry, how many chances did I give people? How many times was I kicked under the bus for continuing to keep the door open for ’em? There’s one instance in particular I’ll never forget, and while I did bring it up in a previous entry, I can elaborate a bit on it in a different context here: Back 10 years ago, I was invited to my High School Reunion, on Facebook; just like everything else my class worked on, it was a goddamn mess, to the point where they were even inviting people who didn’t graduate in our class; in the end, the pictures from the reunion were a few folks I hold in high regard, but it was mostly just the cliqs reuniting. I also mentioned 10 years ago…..I’m the class of 2000; see a problem here? Yeah, they couldn’t even get it off the ground to be on time; glorious…..
Anyway, while they were working on getting everyone together, and I got my invitation, I directly declined it, and it was then that one of my former classmates (who up until that point, I’d held in very high regard) gave me the whole “I’m sorry you hate everyone; just give people a chance” speech….cause you know I’d never heard that one before, by age 29. I repeat: I’d looked up very highly to this person for many years; after that moment, my opinion plummeted. I guess this person didn’t consider that–despite knowing how I came off to them, they clearly missed the impression they were making on me….sad too, because they were considered one of the smarter members of our class grade-wise.
Another fun example actually happened several years before this, and with a former neighbor, who was incidentally enough the stepfather of another former classmate:
My Mom had (before her death) become friendly and chatty with him, and my Dad and I semi-continued it for some time; I even semi-attempted to befriend the young son. Well, as was common back then, the fella decided to try to spend the whole day schooling me on “improvements” I could make to myself, and ways I did things, for my own benefit; he semi-admitted though it was more for the image than for anything substantial. I of course spent the day clarifying and double-checking several things, though I was at least willing to hear him out; i.e. “ok, maybe there’s something to this”. Well, by the end of the day, he decided to push every single thing on me all at once that he tried to “recommend” to me, and got extremely manipulative and condescending with it really fast, to the point that I had a meltdown over it….and as my Dad had been witness to it all, he 100% backed me on it, and went off on the neighbor for it! Ready for the part to add insult to injury? I would later find out from a friend who worked at a nearby daycare center that the guy was a raging alcoholic, and later that summer, his son vandalized the exterior of our apartment, while we were on vacation in another state. But you know….as long as I looked and sounded the part to project a certain image (and to a goddamn alcoholic, no less), who cared about substance, right?
For one final big example, I recently did a video on Instagram (and promoted it to several platforms) about how–when I was a little kid–my grandparents would introduce me to all these people they came into contact with in the Morristown, NJ area (all these people were old, and are dead now, for those keeping score), and of course I’d get the typical “hi, how are you doing in school?” thing….and god how I hated that question; it was almost like “do you really have nothing better to ask me, whatsoever? Is your life that dull?” Well……from all the chats I’d overhear my grandparents having with them–chats that by the way could last up to 2-3 hours–yes, the answer was yes, their lives were that dull. I’d overhear their chats, and…..they were basically “nothing-burgers”. It was 3 straight hours talking about absolutely nothing; just how they ran into other people, what those other people looked like how they were dressed, the nothing those people said to them…and the list went on. My grandparents would keep those convos going for 3 straight hours-up-to, and it’s not like this was a one-time thing either; they “thrived” on it. I confess back at the time I used to wonder why my parents never did this….all these years later, I totally get it, even if they never entirely did. I even went to a birthday party for a friend several years back, and his grandparents were doing the exact same thing, and I remember he said “we’ll probably be doing the same thing when we’re their age”; I said “speak for yourself”, and when he saw my recent video, he basically admitted all these years later my being correct on that assertion.
You know what I find the funniest part about all of this? You may recall back in this entry of the “Socializing” Mini-Series, I stated somewhat of a commonality with people I’ve dealt with that I often eventually get–before total fallout with them happens–the statement “you don’t know me!”, and in part because they never let us get close enough so that we would get to know them; well, if they won’t let us get close enough….they don’t know us that well, either! If we’re in no position to judge because we “don’t know them well enough”, they’re not really in any position to judge either, now are they? So if they’re gonna discriminate based on the impressions they get of ours, we’re fully within our right to do exactly the same thing!
Now….don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying to be an ass, and cast off everyone instantly, and start talking behind their backs, being petty, and all that shit like what we commonly receive. To be fair……my Dad–having been a huge Ayn Rand–would tell me about an element from the book Atlas Shrugged about the protagonist John Galt (interestingly enough, I’ve heard a popular criticism about Galt being that he’s not particularly relatable, and seems very robotic/personality-free to a lot folks….coming from Rand though, that doesn’t entirely surprise me, all things considered). Apparently in the story, John Galt is constantly hounded and targeted by some reporter who wants to drag him down into the mud, take potshots at him, all that; at one point the guy asks John Galt what he thinks of him from all he’s tried to do to him….to which Galt responds “but I don’t think of you”. Honestly, I can’t wait til I’m fully at that point; I’m at the point where I don’t care what others think, but admittedly still not at the point yet to move on to the point of just excusing the concept of the idiocy in its entirety; I ain’t denying it, folks!
What I mean by that though is that–as I stated in the beginning–many folks off the spectrum never seem to consider how they come off to us, only the impression we make on them, and while I am here to remind everybody that it’s a two-way street, and if they’re gonna insist on approving of us, we should insist on approving of them the same, the main end goal should be not even giving a shit at all, and just living our lives to the fullest; i.e. giving that aspect the level of importance it truly deserves, which is zero…..and not even concerning oneself with the pettiness experienced on a daily basis, or even in youth by the masses.
But you know what? Maybe I should elaborate better on the whole concept–as well–about “giving things a chance”, and I don’t just mean in the context of “repeat offenders”, as I’ve emphasized in this entry, so next time……we’re gonna talk about an aspect of “the Long Game” I confess I’d forgotten to bring up before, and with the attention and elaborate detail it deserves 😉