[I found this on my old livejournal, it's quite different from how I feel about things now but I thought it might be interesting.]
Liz called me yesterday because she was bored.
I'm accidentally rereading my favorite book, Send in the Idiots by Kamran Nazeer. I just accidentally reread it all the time; whenever I see it I kind of fall into it. I read it for the first time two and a half years ago and it's what made me interested in working with special needs people, which I'm now convinced that I want to do forever. A guy who was diagnosed with classic autism as a kid, and has improved to the point that he's pretty much normal, profiles other autistic kids from his childhood school. The people he profiles are all verbal and have attained different levels of "being better"--one is in a relationship, three have jobs, one lives alone, one doesn't "look" autistic to other people. They all have coping mechanisms they use to manage their autism, some more unusual than others, and Nazeer wanders off into long explorations of why these mechanisms are necessary, what they do, and which ones he uses himself. Actually he wanders off into long explorations of everything so that, for example, we get a discussion of the word "genius" and how it's used to excuse people's bad behavior, and whether the purpose of a conversation is to express what you think. So it's not just a book about being autistic, it's a book about being human, from an autistic perspective.
Maybe because I've been reading the book I kept talking to Liz about putting up a front. She kept asking me doesn't it bother me, but I can't really imagine another way of being. When I started figuring this out a few years ago, I feel like that's when I grew up. Like three years ago: I have trouble putting words together, fast, in the right ways. And I have trouble talking or reacting in what looks like a normal way, or figuring out how to react at all. So I figured out that when I was looking for an emotion, I'd choose "excited." I couldn't buy things before because I didn't know what to do while I was waiting for the thing to be rung up. Then I figured out I could act excited about what I was buying, and it went from there.
So now I have this whole conception of my personality: young, excited, spacey, stoned, random giggling, weird questions. It doesn't involve doing things I would never do, I guess, but it does try to put them in a palatable Manic Pixie Dream Girl package because I feel like that's the only acceptable way for a girl to be weird. And also, if I seem like this cute kid who is really overwhelmed by things, then people will be more likely to make allowances for me, whereas if I was an adult who was really smart and intense and could be sort of angry and nasty, like most people, and still needed people to make allowances for me--well, then it wouldn't be cute anymore. Once I have a negative interaction with someone, I feel like they know how awful I am. I don't feel like I can be both a negative person and a person who sometimes needs to be treated like a child.
Something that really bothers me is when people think that I'm immature. I understand why, it's the obvious reaction to a person who acts like I do. But I wish people could understand but this was the only way of synthesizing my AS into a reasonably acceptable personality, and that when I started acting like a kid, that's when I grew up.