23 yr old grrl. Please 221B my friend.
(I have a lot of feelings about passing—most of which are rage-adjacent—and this is just the placid, presentable tip of the iceberg)
In some ways my diagnosis seems totally new and strange and I feel weird and even sort of approproative using the term[s? asperger’s, autism, ASD, Is ___ ablest??, I’m just kind of clueless about the whole thing at the moment—-]. But then, in other ways, didn’t I know even as a little kid? I mean, in fucking preschool I had solid, unambiguious knowledge that I was different. I kindergarten I could not relate to any of my classmates and found their behavior baffling.
As a child I met my mother’s friend’s son who had Asperger’s. I asked my mother what that was and she gave an explanation. I replied, “Oh, but that sounds just like me.” And she said, “Oh no, of course not. It’s different.” [I remember this conversation verbatim becuase that’s the kind of memory I have.] But, to me, the only obvious differences were gender and his behavioral problems, which, apparently, make all the difference.
Looking back, my difference has so pervaded my life I think mine is a case of not being able to see the water you’re swimming in.
I went to high school with an obviously autistic boy who always had a helper with him and we had an inexplicable connection. Before school or during lunch or break he would walk all the way across the quad past crowds of people straight up to me, specifically, to the exclusion of the people around me, to talk about the local weather and/or power outages. I’m fairly sure he could tell you the day of the week for any date, too.
Anyway, my “friends” would joke that he had a crush on me. Meanwhile, I would stand there chanting to myself, “please don’t say it, nobody say it, please don’t” because it seemed obvious to me—and I’m fairly sure it was evident to at least one or two of them—that it wasn’t that he liked me, but that I was like him. And, for that reason, I was always uncomfortable having him around. I tried to avoid contact because, “We can’t stand together or I’ll be found out!” [I know, I know, I’m an asshole. I knew it then too.]
It’s just kind of mindblowing to realize that even then, years before I had a diagnosis or anything close, I had a clear conception of myself as passing, and what’s more, I thought it was important work that I had to do even at the expense of my own and other’s well-being.
I mean, I knew, but I didn’t know, and I can’t even begin to parse that.