January 16, 2021

Autistic life, a life on the outside

By rosieweldon

Today at work someone made a comment that I engaged with. I went to smile and respond when I was hit with the overwhelming fear that I had miss understood his comment and he was actually joking. I immediately looked down as I turned back to my desk.

Just keep myself to myself and do my job. My job makes sense, people do not.

It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks. It’s a Wednesday. I have been dreading it since I joined this job. Birthdays at work are celebrated by everyone contributing and then a gift being bought. The first few times I willed myself to be able to get up and go and hand cash to whoever was collecting it. But I could not, and I still cannot. There are a hundred variables in that situation and a social interaction with someone I do not talk to.

So, I have not contributed. Not because I do not want to, but because I cannot. I have no doubt people probably think I just don’t care. I also have no doubt that the reason the system was changed a week ago to an opt in opt out process was because my birthday is two weeks away. I could not be happier about that. I am now firmly not involved and have no guilt in not contributing. Nor do I have to worry about my own birthday. It should come and go like a normal day. I am perfectly happy for it to go under the radar.

Just keep myself to myself and do my job. My job makes sense, people do not.

These two things did get me to thinking about how my life has been and always will be a spectator sport. I am always looking in from the outside.

I am part of the team, but the one who can’t go out and have a team lunch. I am someone who can attend the Christmas party but can’t hold a conversation.

Always looking in, never a part of.

Yes, I know, I am autistic. That is my life.

Sometimes I just wish I could walk over and eat lunch with people, or joke back with someone and not fear I have mistaken something. Or hey, just be able to say morning or bye without choking on my words.

Autism puts a barrier between myself and the world. I can’t handle eye contact and I am touch averse. My life is lived at an arms length.

Autism can make the world a lonely place.

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