16 May, 2010

About Not Being Thought of This Way and Why That's All Right

It can just be a part of me. Not everyone who knows me well sees it or thinks about it. Because:

1. It's a way of doing things. I don't know which contact lens you put in first, what order you wash yourself in when you take a shower, what you do about your hair, how you do your homework. I mean, I may know any of these things about any of my good friends, but I also may not. And likewise they may not know everything I have to do differently.

2. It's my history. Some people are defined by their history. For example you might have a friend whose childhood you are very clear on--deaths, schools, social life. You also might have friends who don't tell you much about their history. It's not because you aren't close, but you get different parts of them, like their ambitions or their fandom, or their beliefs. This stuff is more visible in my past than in my present, but depending on what our friendship is like, a person may not know that.

3. Carrying through on the same track, disability is a particular kind of interest for me as well. With some people you talk about feelings or other people, or you mostly watch TV. With other people the connection is the big thing and it's less about exchange of information. To be exposed to the fact that I identify as disabled, someone would probably have to be someone who I'd be interested in discussing my beliefs and theories with.

When I run through the list of the people I consider my good friends, I think that everyone knows. But there are some people who I almost don't remember if they know. And then there are other people with whom it's quite a big part of who I am--generally friends who have disabilities or illnesses (though not all the ones who do, and not none of the ones who don't).

It's strange to write this because I seem to be implying that without me talking about it, no one would know. I was going to say that for better or worse, I pass even when I'm not trying--which doesn't change my ways of doing things, or lessen impairments that are not related to the way I look. However, I'm not prepared to judge how much trying is trying, or how much passing is passing. I choose certain environments and types of people where someone like me is more acceptable. And I've found when I try to get drunk, nothing happens because I keep myself very well-trained in almost every state.

But a point is, fantastically and sometimes miraculously, under all this calculation I am capable of connection. And the main point is just that not everyone I am connected to thinks of me as Autistic or any of those words--which doesn't mean that I'm not. But just that they have a particular kind of me.

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